Apr 142021
 


Edgar Degas Leaving the paddock1866
Stolen from Gardner Museum March 18 1990, the single largest art theft in the world. Never recovered

 

Nearly A Quarter Of Registered Covid Deaths Are Not Caused By The Virus (DM)
More Brands Are Putting Money And Clout Behind Covid-19 Vaccine Ads (F.)
Big Pharma Uses Big Tobacco’s Strategy To Defeat Ivermectin (DR)
How Bill Gates Impeded Global Access to Covid Vaccines (TNR)
Russia Accuses US, NATO Of Moving Troops To Its Border (AA)
Biden Urges Russia To De-Escalate Ukraine Tensions In Call With Putin (G.)
Russia Warns US Warships To Stay Far Away From Crimea “For Their Own Good” (ZH)
Biden To Withdraw US Troops From Afghanistan By September 11 (G.)
Joe Biden Is Proceeding With Donald Trump’s Biggest Arms Deal (HuffPo)
The Absentee Vote Logic of the New York Times (RCI)
CNN Staffer Admits Network’s Focus Was To ‘Get Trump Out Of Office’ (Fox)
Crackdown On Cryptocurrencies May Be Coming, Warns Kraken CEO (RT)
Republican Antitrust Bill Would Block All Big Tech Acquisitions (TC)
Mexico’s War on Obesity Sends Junk-Food & Sugary-Drink Giants Scrambling (WS)
Airborne Plastic Pollution ‘Spiralling Around The Globe’ (G.)

 

 

 

 

The indoctrination is so deep that educated people think they’re being objective.
– Noam Chomsky

 

 

We will never ever know the real numbers.

But 50% of under 25s having antibodies doesn’t seem to point to lockdowns as the main “success” factor.

Nearly A Quarter Of Registered Covid Deaths Are Not Caused By The Virus (DM)

Nearly a quarter of registered Covid-19 deaths are now people who are not being killed by the virus, new official figures show as Boris Johnson comes under renewed pressure from Tory backbenchers to end the third lockdown sooner than planned. The latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveals that 23 per cent of coronavirus deaths which are registered are now people who have died ‘with’ the disease rather than ‘from’ an infection. This means that the person who has died will have tested positive for Covid-19 at some point, but that the disease was not recorded as the victim’s primary cause of death on their death certificate. Even though just 23 deaths were announced yesterday, the Prime Minister is continuing to resist calls from his own party to lift all coronavirus curbs ahead of schedule as he warned that cases will rise in the coming weeks as people meet with friends and family in pubs and parks.

Outdoor hospitality and non-essential retail reopened on Monday under the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown. Thousands of people rushed to high streets to splurge their cash on drinks, haircuts and clothes as economists predict a mini-boom fuelled by pent-up demand. However, in his downcast interview with Sky News, Mr Johnson even appeared to dismiss the efficacy of the vaccines his government has been busily rolling out this winter, as he claimed the shutdown – not jabs – had reduced the number of cases, hospitalisations and deaths. ‘It is very, very important for everybody to understand that the reduction in these numbers – in hospitalisations and in deaths and in infections – has not been achieved by the vaccination programme,’ he said.

‘People don’t, I think, appreciate that it’s the lockdown that has been overwhelmingly important in delivering this improvement in the pandemic and in the figures that we’re seeing. So yes of course the vaccination programme has helped, but the bulk of the work in reducing the disease has been done by the lockdown.’ Conservative backbenchers led by Steve Baker, deputy chairman of the Covid Research Group of Tory MPs, have mounted a campaign to get the country opened up sooner than planned.

Boris

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A giant PR campaign for Pfizer, that’s all it is, paid for by the state.

More Brands Are Putting Money And Clout Behind Covid-19 Vaccine Ads (F.)

As the Covid-19 vaccine becomes more widely available, well known companies ranging from tech giants to beer brands are rolling out public service announcements to encourage people to get their shot. This past week, The Boston Beer Company debuted a new Sam Adams campaign promoting the vaccine featuring the brand’s “Cousin From Boston” character. The ad—created by the advertising agency Goodby, Silverstein and Partners—shows the “Cousin” getting vaccinated by a real healthcare worker at Fenway Park’s mega site. But right before getting his jab, he passes out from his fear of needles and dreams of the day he can once again meet up with friends at a bar. (Sam Adams is also offering $7 toward a celebratory beer to the first 10,000 people to share proof of vaccination with the hashtag #ShotForSam on social media.)

According to GS&P cofounder Jeff Goodby—the legendary creative behind the iconic “Got Milk” campaign and countless Super Bowl ads—humor is a good way to reach younger audiences, especially after a year as emotionally draining as 2020. “You know what humor did for me is it puts this in perspective,’ Goodby says. “It’s just an inoculation. We’ve had a million of them in our lifetime, and this one is actually for the good of the community around you as well as for yourself and I think we tried to get that across. And it leads to a certain liberation and togetherness. And beer of course, is central to togetherness. One of the great things about getting inoculated is you can drink beer with people.” While Sam Adams went with humor, it wasn’t without first testing the ad to make sure it would be well-received, despite the serious nature of the topic, says Boston Beer Company CMO Lesya Lysyj.

Before introducing the “Cousin” last year, Sam Adams had been taking a more serious tone, even before the pandemic began. “We felt like it was important to show him showing it since he’s so relatable,” Lysyj says. “And if that guy can do it, anybody can do it . . . We did feel like you could put yourself in the shoes of this guy.” Sam Adams isn’t alone in its messaging. In fact The Ad Council—a nonprofit with a long history of collaborating with marketers to create PSAs for a variety of causes—has raised more than $50 million to fund Covid-19 PSAs and other related initiatives with a goal of appealing to a wide audience. To promote mask-wearing, it teamed up with Warner Media and the CDC in February for “Mask Up America,” a PSA featuring characters—from Harry Potter to the Joker to hobbits from Lord of the Rings—all wearing face masks in iconic scenes.

And in March, it released a vaccine PSA featuring former Presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George Bush. Heidi Arthur, the Ad Council’s chief campaign officer, says the Covid-19 vaccine effort is the most complicated initiative undertaken by the organization, which also led polio vaccine efforts in the 1950s. “The amount of change can happen so quickly as the medical community learns more about the efficacy of vaccines and making sure that all of our messages and the content we’re creating is really where the science is because it can get very confusing for people with the flip of a switch,” she says.

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It’s about your money, not your health.

Big Pharma Uses Big Tobacco’s Strategy To Defeat Ivermectin (DR)

The Marlboro Man, as Dr. Mukherjee wrote in his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Emperor of All Maladies, was the most successful smoking icon by 1955. Dr. Mukherjee describes how the Tobacco Industry fought back by twisting science against the public, first by arguing that an association does not prove cause and effect, and later by offering to perform the studies. The tobacco scientists argued that lung cancer was caused by genetics: if you were born with cancer genes, you developed cancer, and if you weren’t, you didn’t get it. Cigarettes might be associated with cancer, but they argued that more studies were needed if one were to actually “prove a causal link” between cigarettes and cancer. The actual cause of lung cancer, the tobacco scientists concluded, was faulty genetics and not cigarettes.

To assist with these studies, the generous Big Tobacco even offered to fund the research by founding the Tobacco Industry Research Committee. The TIRC is described further in The Emperor of All Maladies, a book I strongly recommend everyone read. The author writes how this ingenious strategy kept the tobacco companies in business and record-breaking profits for the next 50 years despite causing many millions of lung cancer deaths. Blurring or confusing the facts as a tactic proved remarkably effective. But by far, the craftiest ruse was for the Tobacco Industry to pretend to embrace the research and set up their own studies. Because by controlling the study design, they could control the outcome. The same strategy is now used against the public in this pandemic.

Their first victim was Hydroxychloroquine, which proved easy to discredit given that Donald Trump sounded unhinged in his praise for the drug. Later studies seemed to reinforce the belief that HCQ was ineffective; however when academic misconduct was found, it threatened to expose the effort. Big Pharma successfully distanced itself when the fraudulent articles were retracted and blamed on lone scientists acting by themselves. Dr. Tess Lawrie is a highly-respected and independent research consultant to the World Health Organization and NHS. Her work is routinely relied upon in the formation of International Practice Guidelines. She has found HCQ to have an effect against the coronavirus. Most tellingly, when Dr. Tess Lawrie performed her independent review of the data on Ivermectin, she removed the Fonseca study, which purported to show no benefit against COVID with Ivermectin use.

Dr. Lawrie explained, “They (The Fonseca Group) didn’t find that much of a difference between Ivermectin and the control arm. But the control arm received HCQ. So basically, there’s a comparison between two fairly active treatments.” Dr. Lawrie explained that there were many reasons to consider HCQ active against the virus. Thus, two patient groups were compared in Fonseca, both of which received effective drugs against COVID-19, and this was not considered a valid controlled trial of Ivermectin. Therefore the study was eliminated from the meta-analysis.

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Stay away from Bill.

How Bill Gates Impeded Global Access to Covid Vaccines (TNR)

In April [2020], Bill Gates launched a bold bid to manage the world’s scientific response to the pandemic. Gates’s Covid-19 ACT-Accelerator expressed a status quo vision for organizing the research, development, manufacture, and distribution of treatments and vaccines. Like other Gates-funded institutions in the public health arena, the Accelerator was a public-private partnership based on charity and industry enticements. Crucially, and in contrast to the C-TAP, the Accelerator enshrined Gates’s long-standing commitment to respecting exclusive intellectual property claims. Its implicit arguments—that intellectual property rights won’t present problems for meeting global demand or ensuring equitable access, and that they must be protected, even during a pandemic—carried the enormous weight of Gates’s reputation as a wise, beneficent, and prophetic leader.


How he’s developed and wielded this influence over two decades is one of the more consequential and underappreciated shapers of the failed global response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Entering year two, this response has been defined by a zero-sum vaccination battle that has left much of the world on the losing side. Gates’s marquee Covid-19 initiative started relatively small. Two days before the WHO declared a pandemic on March 11, 2020, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced something called the Therapeutics Accelerator, a joint initiative with Mastercard and the charity group the Wellcome Trust to identify and develop potential treatments for the novel coronavirus. Doubling as a social branding exercise for a giant of global finance, the Accelerator reflected Gates’s familiar formula of corporate philanthropy, which he has applied to everything from malaria to malnutrition.

In retrospect, it was a strong indicator that Gates’s dedication to monopoly medicine would survive the pandemic, even before he and his foundation’s officers began to say so publicly. This was confirmed when a bigger version of the Accelerator was unveiled the following month at the WHO. The Access to Covid-19 Tools Accelerator, or ACT-Accelerator, was Gates’s bid to organize the development and distribution of everything from therapeutics to testing. The biggest and most consequential arm, COVAX, proposed to subsidize vaccine deals with poor countries through donations by, and sales to, richer ones. The goal was always limited: It aimed to provide vaccines for up to 20 percent of the population in low-to-middle-income countries. After that, governments would largely have to compete on the global market like everyone else. It was a partial demand-side solution to what the movement coalescing around a call for a “people’s vaccine” warned would be a dual crisis of supply and access, with intellectual property at the center of both.

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“Over 40,000 people and 15,000 units of military equipment and weapons will be deployed on Russia’s western border in the near future..”

“In the spring of this year, the joint armed forces of NATO began the largest exercise in the last 30 years, Defender Europe 2021..”

Russia Accuses US, NATO Of Moving Troops To Its Border (AA)

The US is moving its troops to Russia’s borders, a top Russian official said on Tuesday. Over 40,000 people and 15,000 units of military equipment and weapons will be deployed on Russia’s western border in the near future, Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu said in a video conference with other military chiefs in the northern city of Severodvinsk. “In Poland and the Baltic states, US forces are being reinforced … the intensity of aerial reconnaissance has been doubled compared to last year, and the intensity of naval reconnaissance has increased by one-and-a-half times,” he said.


The minister accused the US and its allies of carrying out active military activities “with a clear anti-Russian orientation,” including up to 40 major military training events in Europe every year. “In the spring of this year, the joint armed forces of NATO began the largest exercise in the last 30 years, Defender Europe 2021,” he said. According to Shoygu, Russia redeployed two army and three airborne units to its western border “to counter the threat.”

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This is propaganda theater. It’s very obviously NATO that’s escalating tensions.

Biden Urges Russia To De-Escalate Ukraine Tensions In Call With Putin (G.)

In a phone call with Vladimir Putin, Joe Biden has called on Russia to de-escalate tensions with Ukraine and proposed a summit between the two leaders amid growing concern over a Russian military buildup on Ukraine’s border. The president emphasized the United States’s unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and expressed concern about Russia’s military buildup, the White House said. “President Biden reaffirmed his goal of building a stable and predictable relationship with Russia consistent with US interests, and proposed a summit meeting in a third country in the coming months to discuss the full range of issues facing the United States and Russia.” Biden expressed concern about Russia’s military buildup in the Crimea region of Ukraine and on Ukraine’s border, the White House said in a statement.


It said Biden also made clear that the United States will act “firmly” to defend its national interests in response to Russia’s actions, such as cyber intrusions and election interference. Biden also proposed holding a summit with Putin in a third country in coming months. The phone call came hours after Nato’s secretary general called on Russia to halt its military buildup around Ukraine, describing it as “unjustified, unexplained and deeply concerning”. Flanked by Ukraine’s foreign minister at a press conference on Tuesday morning, Nato’s Jens Stoltenberg said Russia had moved thousands of combat troops to Ukraine’s borders in “the largest massing of Russian troops since the illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014”.

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“The trend in the behavior of the Ukrainian side creates the risk of a resumption of full-scale military action.”

Russia Warns US Warships To Stay Far Away From Crimea “For Their Own Good” (ZH)

At a moment the United States appears poised to send its warships near Ukraine as a strong ‘deterrent message’ against Russian forces built up near the east Ukrainian border, Russia on Tuesday warned that US vessels better stay away from Crimea “for their own good”. A Kremlin statement further called the new US deployment into the Black Sea a serious “provocation” which serves no other purpose but to test Russia’s “strength” and “nerves”. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov issued the Tuesday warning as follows: “There is absolutely nothing for American ships to be doing near our shores, this is purely a provocative action. Provocative in the direct sense of the word: they are testing our strength, playing on our nerves. They will not succeed.”

“We warn the United States that it will be better for them to stay far away from Crimea and our Black Sea coast. It will be for their own good,” he added. It was late last week that Turkey’s foreign ministry confirmed that it’s granted permission for US warships to use the Bosporus and Dardanelles straits to enter the Black Sea. The Pentagon has downplayed the deployment by keeping mostly mum about it, only saying that it’s “routine” for US warships to patrol the Black Sea. The Kremlin has warned that it’s Kiev’s own actions and initial troop build-up in and near Donbass that is risking “broader war” in the region. Days ago Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, “The trend in the behavior of the Ukrainian side creates the risk of a resumption of full-scale military action.”

Russia’s newest warning that US ships better not come near Crimea likely also have in mind Joe Biden’s first words addressing the long-simmering Ukraine crisis issued early in his presidency. He said in a February 26 statement that the US “will never” recognize Russia’s claims over Crimea: The United States does not and will never recognize Russia’s purported annexation of the peninsula, and we will stand with Ukraine against Russia’s aggressive acts. We will continue to work to hold Russia accountable for its abuses and aggression in Ukraine.

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Trump wanted to do it but got obstructed by the Pentagon. So Biden can get all the glory. On 9/11, no less. Oh boy.

“The president has judged that a conditions based approach, which has been the approach of the past two decades, is a recipe for staying in Afghanistan forever.”

No, seriously, that’s not about Trump, it’s about Biden. Don’t try to make this up at home, they have professionals to do it for you.

Biden To Withdraw US Troops From Afghanistan By September 11 (G.)

Joe Biden will withdraw all the remaining US troops from Afghanistan by September 11, the 20th anniversary of the al-Qaida terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, a senior administration official has confirmed. The president is expected to make a formal announcement on Wednesday. There are currently about 2,500 US troops in the country, serving alongside 7,000 other foreign troops as part of a Nato coalition. Most, if not all, Nato allies are likely to withdraw in coordination with the US. “We will remain in lockstep with them as we undergo this operation. We went in together, adjusted together and now we will prepare to leave together,” a US official said. The drawdown of US troops will begin by 1 May, the withdrawal deadline the Trump administration agreed with the Taliban last year, and will be completed by the 9/11 anniversary.

“We went to Afghanistan to deliver justice to those who attacked us on September 11th and to disrupt terrorists seeking to use Afghanistan as a safe haven to attack,” a senior administration official said. “We believe we achieved that objective some years ago. We judge the threat against the homeland now emanating from Afghanistan to be at a level that we can address it, without a persistent military footprint in the country and without remaining at war with the Taliban.” The only remaining US military presence after September 11 this year will be security for the US embassy, a task normally carried out by marines. The Biden administration has said it will negotiate with the Afghan government over the precise security arrangements for the diplomatic mission in Kabul.

About 800,000 US soldiers and other military personnel have served at least once in Afghanistan since the US invasion in 2001, launched in the wake of the September 11 attacks. More than 2,300 have been killed, and 20,000 wounded. The US military orthodoxy until recently has been that any withdrawal from Afghanistan would have to be “conditions based”, meaning it was dependent on the security situation and the threat posed by the Taliban to the democratic and social gains of the past 20 years. The senior US official briefing reporters on the decision said: “The president has judged that a conditions based approach, which has been the approach of the past two decades, is a recipe for staying in Afghanistan forever.”

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“$23.4 billion in sophisticated weaponry”, but only after commitments to human rights.

Joe Biden Is Proceeding With Donald Trump’s Biggest Arms Deal (HuffPo)

President Joe Biden is advancing controversial Trump-era plans to transfer $23.4 billion in sophisticated weaponry to the United Arab Emirates, a State Department spokesperson told HuffPost on Tuesday – despite concerns from influential lawmakers and progressive activists, as well as the Biden administration’s promise to review the package. The news came amid an ongoing lawsuit by a nonprofit group called the New York Center for Foreign Policy Affairs, which echoed criticism of the deal as potentially destabilizing for the Middle East. “While we will not comment on ongoing litigation, we can confirm that that the Administration intends to move forward with these proposed defense sales to the UAE, even as we continue reviewing details and consulting with Emirati officials to ensure we have developed mutual understandings with respect to Emirati obligations before, during, and after delivery,” the spokesperson said.

Last December, nearly all Senate Democrats voted to try and block the sale, citing President Donald Trump’s rushed attempt to push it through and the UAE’s alarming violations of human rights at home and around the region. Biden put the deal – which would give the UAE the F-35 fighter jet, armed drones and associated bombs and missiles — under review shortly after becoming president. The administration has since been vague about that process. The transfers are incredibly complex and will take years to complete, so it was clear that they were not occurring yet. In January, an official told the Wall Street Journal that the UAE sales “were not frozen while they are being examined” – in contrast to Trump-era arms deals for Saudi Arabia, a UAE ally which has also faced growing criticism in Washington.

Still, many observers believed there was an effective pause on the deal and that at some point the administration would offer a public explanation of how it would handle the agreement. Democratic lawmakers and activists, who opposed to the deal because of the UAE’s aggressive activities across the Middle East, wanted to ensure the Biden administration was serious about the review, to the extent of possibly shrinking the package to pressure the Emiratis to respect human rights standards. U.S. officials will continue raising rights and geopolitical concerns with the Emiratis, the State Department spokesperson told HuffPost. “The estimated delivery dates on these sales, if implemented, are scheduled for after 2025 or later. Thus, we anticipate a robust and sustained dialogue with the UAE to [ensure] any defense transfers meet our mutual strategic objectives to build a stronger, interoperable, and more capable security partnership,” the spokesperson wrote in an email.

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“..what of the Times’s cautions over decades that the most common sort of election fraud involves absentee voting?”

The Absentee Vote Logic of the New York Times (RCI)

To pass a law limiting the use of absentee ballots, as Georgia recently did, is no longer to choose a side in a legitimate debate over how to balance ballot integrity and ease of voting. Instead, to express concern about the risk of election fraud is seen as being engaged in a different sort of fraud — an illegitimate effort to disenfranchise the poor and minorities. The New York Times has aggressively insisted the last several months that worries over absentee and mail-in ballots, in particular, are dishonest violations of voting rights. Times staff opinion editor Spencer Bokat-Lindell wrote late in October that “[t]he effort to discredit and discourage mail-in voting” was the “culmination of a decades-long disinformation campaign by the Republican Party and others to suppress votes, especially those cast by Black and Latino Americans.”

Spencer Bokat-Lindell: Times opinion editor: Efforts to discredit mail voting are aimed at suppressing votes, “especially those cast by Black and Latino Americans.” Then what of the Times’s cautions over decades that the most common sort of election fraud involves absentee voting? But what of the Times itself, which for over two decades has warned readers that the most common sort of election fraud involves absentee voting? As recently as September, Times reporters Stephanie Saul and Reid Epstein quoted Richard Hasen, who teaches election law at the University of California, Irvine, saying that “[e]lection fraud in the United States is very rare, but the most common type of such fraud in the United States involves absentee ballots.”

In 2018 operatives working for the Republican candidate for North Carolina’s Ninth Congressional District seat, falsified absentee ballots. Times reporters Alan Blinder and Michael Wines told readers that the state’s long history of election fraud was “under a spotlight.” They quoted lawyer Bill Gilkeson saying that “absentee ballots” were “where the fraud really happens.” In 2019 Blinder wrote, “The Ninth District controversy ranks among the highest-profile examples of modern election fraud,” one that “underscores how absentee ballots remain susceptible to abuse.”

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What comes below fake news on the scale?

CNN Staffer Admits Network’s Focus Was To ‘Get Trump Out Of Office’ (Fox)

A staffer for CNN spoke candidly to an undercover journalist about the political motivations the network had during the 2020 presidential election, boasting the left-leaning outlet helped defeat former President Donald Trump and even calling his own employer “propaganda.” In the first installment of what’s billed as a three-part #ExposeCNN campaign from the right-wing guerilla news outlet Project Veritas, network technical director Charles Chester shed light on how the network wanted to remove its nemesis from the White House and help now-President Biden. “Look at what we did, we got Trump out,” Chester said in a celebratory tone. “I am 100% going to say it. And I 100% believe it that if it wasn’t for CNN, I don’t know that Trump would have got voted out.”

While similar videos are sometimes deceptively edited and taken out of context, many comments made by Chester throughout the video are longer clips that feature him speaking in clear, complete sentences. In a series of sitdowns with an undercover journalist over the past month, Chester — who bragged he was “one step down” from a director — claimed CNN was “creating a story” that questioned Trump’s health that “we didn’t know anything about,” calling it “propaganda” to help remove Trump from office. “Trump was, I don’t know, like shaking his hand or whatever… we brought in like so many medical people to like all tell a story that, like, it was all speculation that he was like neurologically damaged, that he was losing it, he’s unfit to, you know, whatever,” Chester said. “We were creating a story that we didn’t know anything about.”

While Chester claimed CNN wanted to help remove Trump from office, he also said the network wanted to promote the health and fitness of Biden. “We would always show shots of him jogging… him in his aviator shades and like you paint him as a young geriatric,” Chester said of Biden, before dismissing concerns that he wouldn’t make it a full term because he’s a fan of Vice President Kamala Harris. “I think we got him through this term,” Chester said “He’s not going to f—–g die, but I’m OK with that. [Harris] probably could be like a b—-h in like a board meeting and you’d hate her as a boss, but she’s f—–g real and better than what we got regardless.”

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“It would certainly send a message that the government sees this as a superior alternative to their own currency.”

Crackdown On Cryptocurrencies May Be Coming, Warns Kraken CEO (RT)

Governments around the world could start clamping down on the use of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, according to Jesse Powell, the chief executive of the Kraken exchange. “I think there could be some crackdown,” the CEO told CNBC, adding that regulatory uncertainty around crypto isn’t going away anytime soon. Powell’s words follow a recent anti-money laundering rule proposed by the US government that would require people who hold their cryptocurrencies in a private digital wallet to undergo identity checks if they make transactions of $3,000 or more. “Something like that could really hurt crypto and kind of kill the original use case, which was to just make financial services accessible to everyone,” Powell said.


He expressed hopes that “the US and international regulators don’t take too much of a narrow view on this,” noting that “Some other countries, China especially, are taking crypto very seriously and taking a very long-term view.” The chief executive said he feels the US is more “shortsighted” than other nations and is “susceptible” to the pressures of incumbent legacy businesses – in other words, the banks – that “stand to lose from crypto becoming a big deal.” “I also think it might be too late,” Powell added. “Maybe the genie’s out of the bottle and just trying to ban it at this point would make it more attractive. It would certainly send a message that the government sees this as a superior alternative to their own currency.

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The CIA will stop it. Big Tech=Big Intel.

Republican Antitrust Bill Would Block All Big Tech Acquisitions (TC)

There are about to be a lot of antitrust bills taking aim at Big Tech, and here’s one more. Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) rolled out a new bill this week that would take some severe measures to rein in Big Tech’s power, blocking mergers and acquisitions outright. The “Trust-Busting for the Twenty-First Century Act” would ban any acquisitions by companies with a market cap of more than $100 billion, including vertical mergers. The bill also proposes changes that would dramatically heighten the financial pain for companies caught engaging in anti-competitive behavior, forcing any company that loses an antirust suit to forfeit profits made through those business practices.

At its core, Hawley’s legislation would snip some of the red tape around antitrust enforcement by amending the Sherman Act, which made monopolies illegal, and the Clayton Act, which expanded the scope of illegal anti-competitive behavior. The idea is to make it easier for the FTC and other regulators to deem a company’s behavior anti-competitive — a key criticism of the outdated antitrust rules that haven’t kept pace with the realities of the tech industry. The bill isn’t likely to get too far in a Democratic Senate, but it’s not insignificant. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), who chairs the Senate’s antitrust subcommittee, proposed legislation earlier this year that would also create barriers for dominant companies with a habit of scooping up their competitors. Klobuchar’s own ideas for curtailing Big Tech’s power similarly focus on reforming the antitrust laws that have shaped U.S. business for more than a century.

The Republican bill may have some overlap with Democratic proposals, but it still hits some familiar notes from the Trump era of hyperpartisan Big Tech criticism. Hawley slams “woke mega-corporations” in Silicon Valley for exercising too much power over the information and products that Americans consume. While Democrats naturally don’t share that critique, Hawley’s bill makes it clear that antitrust reform targeting Big Tech is one policy area where both political parties could align on the ends, even if they don’t see eye to eye on the why.

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“In Mexico City, the local government has proposed a law that would ban the sale, delivery and distribution of packaged foods with a high caloric and energy content and sugary drinks to children..”

Mexico’s War on Obesity Sends Junk-Food & Sugary-Drink Giants Scrambling (WS)

Since Mexico’s government has passed one of the strictest food labeling laws on the planet in October last year, all soft drinks cans and bottles, bags of chips and other processed food packages must bear black octagonal labels warning of “EXCESS SUGAR”, “EXCESS CALORIES”, “EXCESS SODIUM” or “EXCESS TRANS FATS” — all in big bold letters that are impossible to miss. Many states have also introduced legislation making it much more difficult for retailers to sell junk food and sugary drinks to children. Evidence from other countries suggests that warning labels can be effective. Chile started requiring them in 2016. It also limited cartoon food packaging, prevented schools from selling unhealthy foods, restricted TV adverts, and banned promotional toys.

Over the next two years, sugary drink sales in Chile plunged by 23%. According to one study, the labels reduced the likelihood of people choosing sugary breakfast cereals by 11% and sugary juices by almost 24%. A nightmare for the companies affected. The prospect of something similar transpiring in Mexico, a country almost seven times larger than Chile and that consumes more processed food than any other country in Latin America, unnerved global food and beverage companies. The United States, EU, Canada and Switzerland, home to some of the world’s biggest food companies, tried to derail the new legislation. But to no avail. The arrival of Covid-19, which has proven to be particularly lethal to people with three comorbidities — obesity, diabetes, and hypertension — has strengthened the government’s case and resolve.

Over a dozen of Mexico’s 36 state governments have banned or are in the process of banning the sales of soft drinks and junk food to children. In Mexico City, the local government has proposed a law that would ban the sale, delivery and distribution of packaged foods with a high caloric and energy content and sugary drinks to children. The law will also ban the presence of soft drink vending machines in schools. Mexico’s Senate also recently passed a law that will compel educational authorities to prohibit the sale of foods with low nutritional value and high caloric content in the vicinity of school facilities while promoting the establishment of healthy food outlets. There are also moves afoot to restrict the advertising of foods high in fat, salt, sugar and saturated fats on children’s television channels.

These moves have raised concerns that the government is overstepping its bounds. The business lobby group Coparmex said that banning the sale of junk food and sugary drinks to minors represents a frontal attack on commercial freedom and freedom of choice. It will also have serious economic consequences for businesses in the retail sector. But those consequences are dwarfed by the economic and health impact of widespread obesity. This is particularly true in the time of Covid when the risk of death from the virus is about 10 times higher in countries where more than half of the population is overweight, according to a report released in March by the World Obesity Federation.

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Either our bodies find a way to incorporate plastics, or we’re doomed.

Airborne Plastic Pollution ‘Spiralling Around The Globe’ (G.)

Microplastic pollution is now “spiralling around the globe”, according to a study of airborne plastic particles. The researchers said human pollution has led to a global plastic cycle, akin to natural processes such as the carbon cycle, with plastic moving through the atmosphere, oceans and land. The result is the “plastification” of the planet, said one scientist. The analysis calls plastic pollution one of the most pressing environmental issues of the 21st century. It indicates that the billions of tonnes of plastic discarded into the oceans and land and being broken down into tiny pieces are being thrown back into the air by road traffic and winds over seas and farmland. People are already known to breathe, drink and eat microplastics and the other research suggests levels of pollution will continue to rise rapidly.

The scientists said this “raises questions on the impact of accumulating plastics in the atmosphere on human health. The inhalation of particles can be irritating to lung tissue and lead to serious diseases.” Prof Natalie Mahowald, at Cornell University in the US and part of the research team, said: “What we’re seeing right now is the accumulation of mismanaged plastics just going up. Some people think it’s going to increase by tenfold [per decade]. “But maybe we could solve this before it becomes a huge problem, if we manage our plastics better, before they accumulate in the environment and swirl around everywhere.” She said clearing up ocean plastic could help reduce the amount that gets thrown back up into the atmosphere, and that more biodegradable plastics could be part of the solution.

The research, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, examined airborne microplastics, which have been far less studied than plastic in oceans and rivers. The team had more than 300 samples of airborne microplastics from 11 sites across the western US, the best dataset available globally. These were the basis for atmospheric modelling that estimated the contribution from different sources, the first such study to do so. Virtually none of the airborne microplastics came directly from plastic being discarded in cities and towns, the scientists found, but were the result of road traffic and winds across oceans and farmland whipping up plastic particles already in the environment. “We thought population centres would be a much better source, obviously, but it just didn’t work out that way,” Mahowald said. “Resuspension [of microplastics] makes the most sense with this set of data.”

[..] Microplastic pollution has been detected across the planet, from the summit of Mount Everest to the deepest oceans. The revelation in December of small plastic particles in human placentas was described by scientists as “a matter of great concern”.

Read more …

 

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Mick Jagger’s take on Covid. Easy Sleazy. With Dave Grohl.

 

 

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Apr 022021
 
 April 2, 2021  Posted by at 8:44 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  90 Responses »


Pablo Picasso Vue de Notre-Dame de Paris 1945

 

Why Are ‘Experts’ Disagreeing With Each Other Over Covid Vaccine? (Ron Paul)
CDC Real-World Study Confirms Protective Benefits of mRNA Vaccines (CDC)
Faith in Quick Test Leads to Epidemic That Wasn’t (NYT)
Quadruple Therapy With Ivermectin Is Effective In Treating COVID-19 (Hindu)
Texas COVID-Positivity-Rate Drops To Record Low After Mask-Mandate Lifted (ZH)
Fewer Than 1 In 5 Britons With Symptoms Gets Tested, Only 2 In 5 Isolate (RT)
Almost Third Of UK Covid Hospital Patients Readmitted Within 4 Months (G.)
GOP Rep. Greene Introduces Bill To Cut Fauci’s $400,000 Salary To Zero (JTN)
Kremlin Responds To Anger Over Ukraine Border Build-Up (ZH)
We‘ll Talk To NATO ‘But Not Just About Ukraine’ – Lavrov (RT)
Analyst Pleads To Leaking Secrets About Drone Program (AP)
The Empire State Building Falls into the Suez Canal (Stoller)
Massive DNA Damage Caused By CRISPR/Cas9 Gene Editing (GMW)
New Digital Archive Preserves and Protects Indigenous Folk Medicine (Smiths.)

 

 

Reopening

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Deaths in Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), since its start in 1990. 2021 is off the charts.”

 

 

Ron Paul is a Doctor of Medicine. Will he be censored too?

Why Are ‘Experts’ Disagreeing With Each Other Over Covid Vaccine? (Ron Paul)

Even the establishment experts seem to be in total disagreement with each other – and often with themselves – over the experimental Covid “vaccine.” Does it prevent the illness? Lessen the illness? Provide lasting immunity? Temporary immunity? Is it safe for all? So many questions, but so few reliable answers.

Read more …

Pfizer’s sales team.

CDC Real-World Study Confirms Protective Benefits of mRNA Vaccines (CDC)

A new CDC study provides strong evidence that mRNA COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective in preventing SARS-CoV-2 infections in real-world conditions among health care personnel, first responders, and other essential workers. These groups are more likely than the general population to be exposed to the virus because of their occupations. The study looked at the effectiveness of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna mRNA vaccines in preventing SARS-CoV-2 infections among 3,950 study participants in six states over a 13-week period from December 14, 2020 to March 13, 2021. Results showed that following the second dose of vaccine (the recommended number of doses), risk of infection was reduced by 90 percent two or more weeks after vaccination.

Following a single dose of either vaccine, the participants’ risk of infection with SARS-CoV-2 was reduced by 80 percent two or more weeks after vaccination. It takes about two weeks following each dose of vaccine for the body to produce antibodies that protect against infection. As a result, people are considered “partially vaccinated” two weeks after their first dose of mRNA vaccine and “fully vaccinated” two weeks after their second dose. These new vaccine effectiveness findings are consistent with those from Phase 3 clinical trials conducted with the vaccines before they received Emergency Use Authorizations from the Food and Drug Administration. Those clinical trials evaluated vaccine efficacy against COVID-19 disease, while this study evaluated vaccine effectiveness against infection, including infections that did not result in symptoms.

“This study shows that our national vaccination efforts are working. The authorized mRNA COVID-19 vaccines provided early, substantial real-world protection against infection for our nation’s health care personnel, first responders, and other frontline essential workers,” said CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH. “These findings should offer hope to the millions of Americans receiving COVID-19 vaccines each day and to those who will have the opportunity to roll up their sleeves and get vaccinated in the weeks ahead. The authorized vaccines are the key tool that will help bring an end to this devastating pandemic.”

Read more …

PCR history.

From New York Times Jan. 22, 2007

Faith in Quick Test Leads to Epidemic That Wasn’t (NYT)

Dr. Brooke Herndon, an internist at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, could not stop coughing. For two weeks starting in mid-April last year, she coughed, seemingly nonstop, followed by another week when she coughed sporadically, annoying, she said, everyone who worked with her.Before long, Dr. Kathryn Kirkland, an infectious disease specialist at Dartmouth, had a chilling thought: Could she be seeing the start of a whooping cough epidemic? By late April, other health care workers at the hospital were coughing, and severe, intractable coughing is a whooping cough hallmark. And if it was whooping cough, the epidemic had to be contained immediately because the disease could be deadly to babies in the hospital and could lead to pneumonia in the frail and vulnerable adult patients there. It was the start of a bizarre episode at the medical center: the story of the epidemic that wasn’t.

[..] For months, nearly everyone involved thought the medical center had had a huge whooping cough outbreak, with extensive ramifications. Nearly 1,000 health care workers at the hospital in Lebanon, N.H., were given a preliminary test and furloughed from work until their results were in; 142 people, including Dr. Herndon, were told they appeared to have the disease; and thousands were given antibiotics and a vaccine for protection. Hospital beds were taken out of commission, including some in intensive care. Then, about eight months later, health care workers were dumbfounded to receive an e-mail message from the hospital administration informing them that the whole thing was a false alarm. Not a single case of whooping cough was confirmed with the definitive test, growing the bacterium, Bordetella pertussis, in the laboratory. Instead, it appears the health care workers probably were afflicted with ordinary respiratory diseases like the common cold.

[..] “You’re in a little bit of no man’s land,” with the new molecular tests, said Dr. Mark Perkins, an infectious disease specialist and chief scientific officer at the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics, a nonprofit foundation supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. “All bets are off on exact performance.” Of course, that leads to the question of why rely on them at all. “At face value, obviously they shouldn’t be doing it,” Dr. Perl said. But, she said, often when answers are needed and an organism like the pertussis bacterium is finicky and hard to grow in a laboratory, “you don’t have great options.” Waiting to see if the bacteria grow can take weeks, but the quick molecular test can be wrong. “It’s almost like you’re trying to pick the least of two evils,” Dr. Perl said.

At Dartmouth the decision was to use a test, P.C.R., for polymerase chain reaction. It is a molecular test that, until recently, was confined to molecular biology laboratories. “That’s kind of what’s happening,” said Dr. Kathryn Edwards, an infectious disease specialist and professor of pediatrics at Vanderbilt University. “That’s the reality out there. We are trying to figure out how to use methods that have been the purview of bench scientists. The Dartmouth whooping cough story shows what can ensue.

Read more …

From September 2020.

Quadruple Therapy With Ivermectin Is Effective In Treating COVID-19 (Hindu)

Elaborating on the effective methods being followed for treating COVID-19 across the globe, Shashikanth Manikappa, a specialist cardiac anaesthetist working at Monash Health in Melbourne, Australia, has strongly advised what he termed Quadruple Therapy involving four medicines — Ivermectin, Doxycycline, Zinc and Vitamin D3 — as a preventive as well as treating method. Addressing a media conference in Kalaburagi on Monday, the senior doctor said that the use of Ivermectin would be more effective than that of Hydroxychloroquine which was widely being used worldwide, right from the outbreak of the pandemic.

Referring to a pre-official release of a randomised controlled trial using Ivermectin in three doses in primary contacts of COVID-19, Dr. Manikappa said that 93 % of primary contacts who received Ivermectin did not develop any symptoms and 58 % of primary contacts who did not receive Ivermectin did progress to have symptoms of the pandemic. “Quadruple Therapy includes Ivermectin 12 mg one dose, Doxycycline 100 mg once a day for four days, Zinc 50 mg once a day for four days and Vitamin D3 once a week. Ivermectin, Doxycycline and Zinc are to be repeated every 14 days and Vitamin D3 every week with blood levels monitored. The synergistic effect of these medicine acts to prevent viral multiplication and also stop the virus from entering human cells.

Thomas Borody, an Australian gastroenterologist who is known for curing peptic ulcers with triple antibiotic therapy, has revealed that one block in South America that received Ivermectin combination prophylaxis did not contract coronavirus infection while others did,” he said. On the side effects, Dr. Manikappa said that Ivermectin was being used in 3.7 billion people for intestinal parasites and was found to be safe. “These are not new medicine. They are already in use for treating different ailments and are found to be safe. They can be prescribed by any doctor to control the pandemic,” he said.

Read more …

“The 4.95 percent test positivity rate is the lowest the state has seen since the start of the pandemic.”

Texas COVID-Positivity-Rate Drops To Record Low After Mask-Mandate Lifted (ZH)

For the better part of the past year, the US public was bombarded with “science” how only the wearing of a mask (or two masks, or three masks or more) was the only thing that stood between the Western way of life and Armageddon (despite the periodic emergence of cold, hard data showing no improvement in covid transmission in states that mandated masks vs those that did not, at least until Twitter decided to ban it). Then, one month ago, Texas had had enough and its governor shocked the Faucis of the world – and the White House – when he declared that the mask mandate in the state was officially over. What happened then? Well, in a development that would likely shock Dr. Fauci, newly confirmed Coronavirus cases in Texas plunged to their lowest since June, roughly three weeks after the state lifted its mask mandate and reopened businesses.

Additionally, the 7-day Covid positivity rate dropped to a new recorded low: 4.95%…

Texas Governor Greg Abbott wrote in a tweet over the weekend. “Everyone now qualifies for a shot. They are highly recommended to prevent getting Covid but always voluntary.” The 4.95 percent test positivity rate is the lowest the state has seen since the start of the pandemic. According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, some 1,900 new virus cases were reported on Sunday, which is the lowest daily number the state has seen since early June. Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that the seven-day moving average number of cases in Texas dropped to the lowest level since mid-June. According to the CDC, Texas was averaging 3,783 daily cases as of March 27.

Read more …

National Health Service’s Test and Trace program costs £37 billion over two years.

Fewer Than 1 In 5 Britons With Symptoms Gets Tested, Only 2 In 5 Isolate (RT)

Only half of Britons know the main symptoms of Covid-19, and most don’t get tested or self-isolate, a new study has shown, raising questions about the UK’s Test and Trace system and placing emergence from the pandemic at risk The large study, exploring the effectiveness of the National Health Service’s Test and Trace program, was published in the British Medical Journal on Wednesday. Designed to identify, find and test those who have coronavirus, it has been allocated a massive budget of £37 billion over two years. Researchers at King’s College London, University College London and Public Health England looked at aggregated data from some 37 national online surveys, encompassing more than 75,000 responses from nearly 54,000 people living in the UK.

Only some 51.5% of those surveyed managed to properly identify the symptoms of Covid-19 – which include a cough, high temperature, fever, and loss of sense of smell or taste – that have been “actively promoted to members of the UK public,” the study reads. Moreover, the willingness to get tested should any of those symptoms be experienced turned out to be extremely low, with only 18% of those who reported suffering such symptoms having requested a test to confirm whether they had coronavirus. Such low figures call into question the effectiveness of the whole Test and Trace system, the researchers said, while acknowledging a slight improvement in people’s willingness to follow the rules over time.

With such low rates for symptom recognition, testing, and full self-isolation, the effectiveness of the current form of the UK’s test, trace, and isolate system is limited. Only 43% of respondents said they had adhered to self-isolation. The need to go to work or to leave the house to shop or attend to medical needs other than Covid-19 were among the most common excuses given for breaking the rules. Young people, those on a low income and/or from a working-class background were identified as the ones most likely to break the rules. The researchers suggested targeted messaging and increased financial support as methods by which to improve adherence.

Read more …

“..far from a benign illness..”

Almost Third Of UK Covid Hospital Patients Readmitted Within 4 Months (G.)

Nearly a third of people who have been in hospital suffering from Covid-19 are readmitted for further treatment within four months of being discharged, and one in eight of patients dies in the same period, doctors have found. The striking long-term impact of the disease has prompted doctors to call for ongoing tests and monitoring of former coronavirus patients to detect early signs of organ damage and other complications caused by the virus. While Covid is widely known to cause serious respiratory problems, the virus can also infect and damage other organs such as the heart, liver and kidneys. Researchers at University College London, the Office for National Statistics, and the University of Leicester, compared medical records of nearly 48,000 people who had had hospital treatment for Covid and had been discharged by 31 August 2020, with records from a matched control group of people in the general population.


The records were used to track rates of readmission, of deaths, and of diagnoses for a range of respiratory, heart, kidney, liver and metabolic diseases, such as diabetes. After an average follow-up time of 140 days, nearly a third of the Covid patients who had been discharged from hospital had been readmitted and about one in eight had died, rates considerably higher than seen in the control group. “This is a concern and we need to take it seriously,” said Dr Amitava Banerjee, at the Institute of Health Informatics at University College London. “We show conclusively here that this is very far from a benign illness. We need to monitor post-Covid patients so we can pick up organ impairment early on.”

Read more …

Ha ha ha!

GOP Rep. Greene Introduces Bill To Cut Fauci’s $400,000 Salary To Zero (JTN)

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene on Thursday said she is introducing a bill to strip Dr. Anthony Fauci of his government salary. In a press release Greene posted on Twitter, the controversial Georgia Republican said her “Fire Fauci Act” would decrease “Dr. Always Wrong’s pay to $0 and the ‘We Will Not Comply Act’ will ‘prevent discrimination against the unvaccinated.’ ” Greene said the Fire Fauci Act will: • Remind the American public that Dr. Fauci is the highest paid ($434,312) of all 4 million federal employees, including the president. • Cite numerous findings about Dr. Fauci’s evolving and contradictory advice on COVID-19. • Reduce Dr. Fauci’s salary to $0 until a new NIAID administrator is confirmed by the Senate. • Direct the Government Accounting Office to conduct a study about the correspondence, financials, and policy memos inside the NIAID before COVID through the end of this year. This will allow us to see what Fauci and the NIAID knew, when they knew it, what they spent money on, and how the agency responded to the virus.


The bill has little if any chance of passage in the Democrat-controlled House. Fauci has made several seemingly contradictory statements during the pandemic about the virus and related health-safety measures – including one on mask wearing. The annual salary for Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease, makes him “the highest paid doctor in the federal government and the highest paid out of all 4 million federal employees,” Forbes reported. In fact, Fauci’s salary is more than the president of the United States’ annual $400,000 pay.

Read more …

Who do YOU think is the agressor here?

Kremlin Responds To Anger Over Ukraine Border Build-Up (ZH)

Various reports strongly suggest that over the past week there’s been a significant uptick in shelling and fighting in the war-torn Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine. This has served to thrust the over 5-year long crisis back in the media spotlight in the past days, particularly after the US Army ( via US European Command, or EUCOM) raised its Europe threat level to its highest of “potential imminent crisis”. At the same time The New York Times and others are detailing the escalation while alleging ‘Russian aggression’ is fueling the fresh flare-up, which has signaled the collapse of yet another cease-fire. And more alarmingly the reports allege a major build-up of Russian troops and tanks along Ukraine’s eastern border. But even as the NY Times report mused, it’s also likely that the estimated 4,000 regular Russian soldiers there were simply left over from recent scheduled military exercises common during this time of year.


The Kremlin has responded to the slew of reports on Thursday, underscoring that given the troops remain entirely within Russia’s national boundaries, it’s essentially ‘nobody’s business’ where they go. “The Russian Federation transfers the Armed Forces on its soil as it wants to. This should not concern anyone and this is not posing any threat to anyone,” spokesman Dmitry Peskov emphasized. Moscow is taking “all the necessary measures to ensure security of its frontiers,” he stressed according to TASS. Peskov added that: “As for the participation of Russian troops in the armed conflict on Ukraine’s soil, the Russian troops have never taken part in it and are not participating now.” He further said: “And we, the European countries and all world states would not like the civil war in Ukraine as a result of provocations and provocative steps by Ukraine’s military to flare up again.”

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“we do not refuse to work, we just don’t want to sit there and hear about Ukraine.”

We‘ll Talk To NATO ‘But Not Just About Ukraine’ – Lavrov (RT)

Moscow has rejected claims that it is unwilling to participate in talks with NATO, arguing instead that it would be eager to hold a summit, but only if it sticks to topics that are actually within the US-led military bloc’s remit. Last week, the faction’s General Secretary, Jens Stoltenberg, claimed that a breakdown in communication was the fault of one side alone. “Since the summer of 2019, there have been no meetings of the NATO-Russia Council,” he said. “And that’s because Russia has not responded positively to our invitation to convene the Council.” “I regret that, because I think that dialogue is important, especially when times are difficult as they are now, then it is important that we sit down, discuss also difficult issues,” Stoltenberg added.

“I believe in dialogue with Russia partly to strive for a better relationship with [that country].” However, on Wednesday, Moscow hit back at the remarks, with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov arguing that his country was not opposed to talks with the bloc. “Our colleague Mr Stoltenberg declares that Russia refuses to work in the Russia-NATO Council,” Lavrov said, insisting that “we do not refuse to work, we just don’t want to sit there and hear about Ukraine.” “NATO has nothing to do with Ukraine,” the Minister said, “and yet when they offer to convene the Russia-NATO Council, they always insist that the first question should be about Ukraine. We sat down a couple of times, listened, we all know this.

Therefore, we have proposed to restore contacts between our militaries in order to save complex agreements that we have previously signed.” In February, Stoltenberg said that the ball was in Moscow’s court when it comes to relations with the bloc. “We need to send a clear signal to Russia,” he said. “If they want clashes, we are ready. If they want to co-operate, we will be glad.”

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“Damn, @theintercept got yet another whistleblower pinched. It’s almost like Omidyar is running a sting operation there.”

Analyst Pleads To Leaking Secrets About Drone Program (AP)

A former Air Force intelligence analyst pleaded guilty Wednesday to leaking classified documents to a reporter about military drone strikes against al-Qaida and other terrorist targets. The guilty plea from Daniel Hale, 33, of Nashville, Tennessee, comes just days before he was slated to go on trial in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, for violating the World War I-era Espionage Act. Hale admitted leaking roughly a dozen secret and top-secret documents to a reporter in 2014 and 2015, when he was working for a contractor as an analyst at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). While court papers never specified the recipient of the leak, details about the case make it clear that the documents were given to Jeremy Scahill, a reporter at The Intercept, who used the documents as part of a series of critical reports on how the military conducted drone strikes on foreign targets.


He faces up to 10 years in prison at sentencing scheduled for July 13. The original indictment against Hale states that he reached out to the reporter in April 2013 while still enlisted in the Air Force and assigned to the National Security Agency. The leaks continued after Hale became a private contractor and was assigned to NGA. Hale’s lawyers sought unsuccessfully last year to have the case tossed on First Amendment grounds. They also argued that the case was a selective and vindictive prosecution. Defense lawyers said that while Hale was being punished for leaking information about negative aspects of the drone program, the government seemed unconcerned about anonymous leaks by government officials about successful strikes.

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“And frankly, we should have seen this coming, because a lot of people have been noticing supply chain fragility, even if Thomas Friedman didn’t.”

The Empire State Building Falls into the Suez Canal (Stoller)

Over the last few decades, ships have gotten really really big, four times the size of what they were 25 years ago, what the FT calls “too big to sail.’ The argument behind making such massive boats was efficiency, since you can carry more at a lower cost. The downside of such mega-ships should have been obvious. Ships like this, which are in effect floating islands, are really hard to steer in tight spaces like ports and canals, and if they get stuck, they are difficult to unstick. In other words, the super smart wizard financiers who run global trade made ships that don’t fit in the canals they need to fit into. The rise of mega-ships is paralleled by the consolidation of the shipping industry itself. In 2000, the ten biggest shipping companies had a 12% market share, by 2019 that share had increased to 82%.

This understates the consolidation, because there are alliances among these shippers. The stuck ship is being run by the Taiwanese shipping conglomerate Evergreen, which bought Italian shipping firm Italia Marittima in 1998 and London-based Hatsu in 2002, and is itself part of the OCEAN alliance, which has more than a third of global shipping. Making ships massive, and combining such massive ships into massive shipping monopolies, is a bad way to run global commerce. We’ve already seen significant problems from big shipping lines helping to transmit financial shocks into trade shocks, such as when Korean shipper Hanjin went under and stranded $14 billion of cargo on the ocean while in bankruptcy. It’s also much harder for small producers and retailers to get shipping space, because large shippers want to deal with large clients.

And fewer ports can handle these mega-ships, so such ships induce geographical inequality. Increasingly, we’re not moving ships between cities, we’re moving cities to where the small number of giant shipping lines find it efficient to ship. Dumb big ships owned by monopolies are the result of dumb big ideas, the physical manifestation of what Thomas Friedman was pushing in the 1990s and 2000s with books such as The Lexus and the Olive Tree and The World is Flat, the idea that “taking fat out of the system at every joint” was leading towards a more prosperous, peaceful and competitive world. Friedman’s was a finance-friendly perspective, a belief that making us all interdependent with a very thin margin of error would force global cooperation.

Just make ships bigger, went the thinking, until a big boat got stuck in a canal, taking down global supply chains with it. It seems so dumb. And it is. But it’s also reality, because for whatever reason, a lot of powerful people at one point thought Thomas Friedman was a genius. And frankly, we should have seen this coming, because a lot of people have been noticing supply chain fragility, even if Thomas Friedman didn’t.

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Bigger than God.

Massive DNA Damage Caused By CRISPR/Cas9 Gene Editing (GMW)

New research from Chinese scientists shows that CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing causes massive damage to the genome, much of which would have been missed by the analytical tools used so far. In a previous study, the same authors described a novel DNA sequencing procedure, which they called a “primer-extension-mediated sequencing assay” or PEM-seq. By applying this procedure, they found that DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) brought about by the CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing tool could lead to unintended chromosomal translocations and large deletions. In their latest follow-up report, the researchers describe a new computer program, which enabled them to analyse the PEM-seq data to greater depth than previous programs had allowed.

They used this program to analyse real sequence data from their own new experiments, as well as previous ones, following CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing in mouse and human cells. In gene editing, while the initial double-strand break made by the DNA “scissors” or gene-editing tool can be targeted to a given location, the subsequent DNA repair that makes the “edit” is performed by the cell’s own repair mechanisms and is not controllable or precise. The researchers analysed the outcomes of the gene edit – and found what they call “tremendous deleterious DSB repair byproducts of CRISPR/Cas9 editing”. The unintended outcomes or genetic errors ranged from unintended small insertions or deletions (indels) to large deletions, plasmid (gene-editing tool delivery vehicle) integrations, and chromosomal translocations.

The researchers wrote, “Our findings provide an extra dimension for genome editing safety besides off-targets” – the well documented unintentional DNA damage at locations of the genome that were not targeted for editing. They added, “Caution should be exercised to avoid not only off-target damages but also deleterious DSB repair byproducts during genome editing.” Worryingly, these unintended deleterious outcomes of gene editing were not overcome even when a high-fidelity CRISPR/Cas tool was used. Furthermore, when components of the DNA repair machinery were inhibited in an attempt to force a specific gene sequence modification outcome (known as SDN-2), this resulted in large deletions, large insertions, and DNA cuts around the start site of genes.

Read more …

Smithsonian. The Archive of Healing lists traditional remedies, procedures and practices from all seven continents.

New Digital Archive Preserves and Protects Indigenous Folk Medicine (Smiths.)

For thousands of years, people around the world have relied on medicinal folklore, herbal treatments and rituals to heal an array of ailments. Now, researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) have created an online platform featuring hundreds of thousands of these traditional therapies. Spanning seven continents and 200 years, the Archive of Healing draws on such sources as anthropologists’ field notes, scholarly journals, oral histories and folktales. “The whole goal here is to democratize what we think of as healing and knowledge about healing, and take it across cultures in a way that’s respectful and gives attention to intellectual property rights,” says David Shorter, director of the digital archive, in a statement.

As Valentina Di Liscia reports for Hyperallergic, the database is one of the most inclusive catalogues of medicinal folklore in the world. A key goal of the project is preserving Indigenous treatments while ensuring that this knowledge is protected against exploitation by pharmaceutical companies seeking to make a profit. To that end, certain identifying details for plants and recipes are omitted from the archive. Western medicine has, historically, overlooked herbal remedies used by women and Indigenous peoples. As folk herbalist Sade Musa explained for Healthline in 2019, many traditional treatments were passed down orally and, as a result, overlooked in favor of written documentation.

“[C]olonialism built a medical industrial complex through often violent means of cultural suppression, erasure, and exploitation,” noted Heathline. “The rise of the patriarchy also authorized only white male physicians to practice and define medicine for the world.” Former faculty member Wayland Hand launched the UCLA database more than 40 years ago. In 1996, folklorist Michael Owen Jones began digitizing the collection of more than one million notecards—then known as the Archive of Traditional Medicine—after receiving a grant. Speaking with Jeyling Chou of the Daily Bruin, UCLA’s independent student newspaper, in 2005, Jones said, “Folk medicine [includes] the beliefs and practices that we learn and teach in our first-hand interactions with one another in our everyday lives.” He added, “It’s not institutional medicine, it’s not medicine that requires a license.”

Read more …

 

 

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How Earth will look in 250 million years according to plate tectonics theory

 

 

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Apr 012021
 


Pablo Picasso Jacqueline in Turkish costume 1955

 

Biden Unveils $2T Infrastructure Plan, Tax Increases (OAN)
Emergence Of Dominant Selective Immune Escape Variants (Vanden Bossche)
Therapeutics and COVID-19: Living Guideline (WHO)
Judge Demands That Belgium Scraps All Corona Measures Within Thirty Days (AD)
France Headed For New National Lockdown As COVID Cases Surge (ZH)
Outdoor Mask Decree Met With Dismay By Spain’s Tourism Industry (G.)
Washington State ‘Vaccine Breakthrough’: 100s Get Covid Weeks After Jab (JTN)
15 Million Doses Of J&J Vaccine Ruined By Ingredient Mix-up (DM)
Bipolar Corona-Politics Positive? (OffG)
Russiagate Prober Couldn’t Verify Anything in the Steele Dossier (RCI)
US Dollar’s Status as “Global Reserve Currency” Drops to 25-Year Low (WS)
Ron Paul: Gold and Bitcoin Are At Risk Of Government Crackdown (Kitco)
Journalists Are “Centering” Their “Trauma” To Acquire Power (Tracey)

 

 

We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.
— Elie Wiesel

 

 

Tucker Greenwald Vaccine passports

 

 

The problem with such schemes in the US can be summarized in one word: pork.

Biden Unveils $2T Infrastructure Plan, Tax Increases (OAN)

Joe Biden has unveiled his massive infrastructure plan, projected to cost roughly $2 trillion in taxpayer money. Dubbed the American Jobs Plan, the details of it were made public during an event in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Wednesday. “So today, I’m proposing a plan for the nation that rewards work, not just rewards wealth,” Biden said. “That builds a fair economy and gives everybody a chance to succeed, and it’s going to create the strongest, most resilient, innovative economy in the world.” The plan’s largest proposed investment is $621 billion devoted to transportation, with a heavy focus on transitioning to so-called “green energy,” followed by $400 billion to home care services, $300 billion to manufacturing and $213 billion to housing. It would also allocate funds to digital infrastructure, schools and workforce development.

Biden claimed the package would modernize the American economy and boost job creation. “It will create millions of jobs, good paying jobs, it will grow the economy, make us more competitive around the world, promote our national security interests, and put us in position to win the global competition with China in the upcoming years,” Biden stated. Yet despite Biden’s grandiose claims of an American revival brought about by government spending, conservatives have balked at the huge price tag attached to his plan, and how he intends to pay for it. The package proposed a reversal of the Trump administration’s 2017 cut to the corporate tax rate, raising it from 21 to 28 percent. It would introduce a minimum tax of 15 percent on book income, the income reported by companies to their investors rather than the IRS.

Additionally, it would increase the global minimum tax on international subsidiaries of U.S. corporations from 13 to 21 percent, regardless of where their profits were made. This last point is notable, as it creates a strong incentive for U.S. companies to reincorporate abroad and ultimately bypass the higher tax rates the Democrat administration wishes to levy from them. This has prompted leading Republicans to heavily criticize Biden’s plan for using infrastructure as a smokescreen to sneak in tax hikes favored by Democrat politicians. “I think the Trojan horse will be called infrastructure, but inside the Trojan horse will be all the tax increases that Senator Scott and others have talked about,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said. “They want to raise taxes across the board and the only way I think they could pull that off would be through a reconciliation process. They have one more of those available to them.”

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Vanden Bossche is not giving up.

Emergence Of Dominant Selective Immune Escape Variants (Vanden Bossche)

Mass vaccinaton of vulnerable groups does not abrupt viral transmission chains but increasingly redirects transmission events to asymptomatic carriers (i.e., vaccinated subjects as well as not yet vaccinated young and healthy people, several of whom experienced asymptomatc infecton without mounting long-lived Ab titers2 ). As ongoing mass vaccinaton campaigns are shifing the ‘reservoir’ of viral transmission to asymptomatcally infected subjects (whether vaccinated or not), the likelihood for unvaccinated, previously asymptomatcally infected subjects to experience re-infecton with Sars-CoV-2 while being endowed with suboptmal and short-lived ant-S Abs substantally increases.


This is to say that within the populaton that is now most actvely involved in viral transmission, new, spontaneously emerging S variants have plenty of opportunity to train under suboptmal immune pressure such as to ultmately adapt to the human host and become part of the dominant circulatng Sars-Cov-2 populaton. This is how – afer inital breeding of viral variants as a direct result of infecton preventon measures – subsequent mass vaccinaton campaigns will drive enhanced circulaton of additonal, more infectous viral S variants. ‘Training’ of such more infectous immune escape variants is thought to be refected by the plateau that follows the vaccine-mediated decline in cases and the height of which exceeds the one following the previous wave of cases.

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They test for those things that are most likely to fail.

Therapeutics and COVID-19: Living Guideline (WHO)

This fourth version of the WHO living guideline addresses the use of ivermectin in patients with COVID-19. It follows the increased international attention on ivermectin as a potential therapeutic option. While ivermectin is also being investigated for prophylaxis, this guideline only addresses its role in the treatment of COVID-19. Ivermectin is relatively inexpensive and accessible, and some countries have already witnessed its widespread use in the treatment of COVID-19; in other countries, there is increasing pressure to do so (14).

In response to this international attention, the WHO GDG now provides recommendations on ivermectin for treatment of COVID-19. Ivermectin is an antiparasitic agent that interferes with nerve and muscle function of helminths through binding glutamate-gated chloride channels (15). We currently lack persuasive evidence of a mechanism of action for ivermectin in COVID-19, and any observed clinical benefit would be unexplained (see Section 5).

[..] Benefits and harms: The effects of ivermectin on mortality, mechanical ventilation, hospital admission, duration of hospitalization and viral clearance remain uncertain because of very low certainty of evidence addressing each of these outcomes. Ivermectin may have little or no effect on time to clinical improvement (low certainty evidence). Ivermectin may increase the risk of SAEs leading to drug dicontinuation (low certainty evidence). Subgroup analyses indicated no effect modification based on dose. We were unable to examine subgroups based on patient age or severity of illness due to insufficent trial data (see Section 5). Therefore, we assumed similar effects in all subgroups. This recommendation applies to patients with any disease severity and any duration of symptoms.

Certainty of the evidence: For most key outcomes, including mortality, mechanical ventilation, hospital admission, duration of hospitalization and viral clearance, the panel considered the evidence of very low certainty. Evidence was rated as very low certainty primarily because of very serious imprecision for most outcomes: the aggregate data had wide confidence intervals and/or very few events. There were also serious concerns related to risk of bias for some outcomes, specifically lack of blinding, lack of trial pre-registration, and lack of outcome reporting for one trial that did not report mechanical ventilation despite pre-specifying it in their protocol (publication bias).

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Google translate

Judge Demands That Belgium Scraps All Corona Measures Within Thirty Days (AD)

The Brussels court of first instance orders the Belgian government to end the corona measures within thirty days, on pain of a penalty of 5000 euros per day. According to the judge, the current measures are based on laws that cannot serve as the basis for the ministerial decisions by which the corona measures are issued. The ruling follows a lawsuit brought by the League for Human Rights and has been confirmed to the Belgian media by the lawyers involved. The League is an independent Belgian foundation that fights “injustices and arbitrary attacks on the rights of the individual or the community”. The court finds that the measures taken by the governments to prevent the further spread of the corona virus are illegal. According to Lackner, the court actually says that the legal basis on which the ministerial decisions are based is not valid.

According to the court, the measures in Belgium to prevent the further spread of the corona virus are illegal. The measures are based on the 2007 Civil Security Act and two other laws, De Standaard writes about the case. That law came after a major train disaster in Ghislenglien to be able to act quickly and with urgency after such disasters. The court finds that this basis is not sufficient for the imposed corona measures. The judge gives the Belgian state thirty days to provide a solid legal basis on pain of a penalty of 5000 euros per day that that term is exceeded, up to a maximum of 200,000 euros. The Belgian Ministry of the Interior is said to be studying the verdict. An appeal is possible against the decision.

Belgium announced last week that it will continue to be locked, because the number of hospital admissions and infections with the corona virus continue to rise. The non-essential stores may only open by appointment and the very large stores for a maximum of fifty people at a time. The non-medical contact professions such as hairdressers also have to close again for the time being for four weeks. The number of people with whom Belgians are allowed to meet outside their families in the open air will be reduced from ten to four people. A number of corona measures remain, such as the curfew. Non-essential journeys from Belgium will also remain prohibited until April 19. According to Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, a “short period of pain, an Easter break” has been chosen in the hope of reducing the virus.

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It’s just sad.

France Headed For New National Lockdown As COVID Cases Surge (ZH)

Despite expanding lockdown measures to cover more than one-third of the country (including Paris and other major cities) earlier this month, and other areas French President Emmanuel Macron is expected to follow German Chancellor Angela Merkel by imposing strict new nation lockdown measures as Europe’s “third wave” of COVID cases intensifies. France has seen COVID cases (adjusted for population) surge to the highest level in Western Europe, while only hard-hit ex-eastern bloc countries like Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic have it worse than France, as the chart below shows. This has inspired Germany and Spain to restrict travel from the country.

Bloomberg reports that President Macron is planning to announce during a national address on Wednesday evening that he will impose new nationwide measures to contain the spike, and that these measures could include school closures and a ban on inter-city travel. The new national edict would mark the end of the “regional” approach that France has relied on all year. Although he declined to elaborate, government spokesman Gabriel Attal said Wednesday after a defense council meeting that “decisions have been made” regarding new lockdown measures, but he declined to elabroate. Macron will address the nation at 2000 local time (1400ET). If Macron follows through with the school closures, that would also mark a major reversal for France, which had insisted on keeping schools open over the past year, unlike many of its European neighbors.

Macron has so far been “unapologetic” about his resistance to more restrictive measures, according to Bloomberg. As the EU vaccination push lags for a number of reasons (primarily a shortage of supplies, and widespread skepticism) more than 8MM people have received at least one jab of the vaccine, which represents more than 10% of the population. The target to vaccinate all French adults willing to get the jab by the end of the summer remains in place. Notably, Macron ignored the advice of his health minister who began advocating for more restrictive measures earlier this year. Instead, the government imposed a nationwide curfew, closed malls and expanded travel curbs – but didn’t go all in on a national lockdown. The hope was that the most pessimistic forecasts wouldn’t become a reality – but they have.

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On the beach.

Outdoor Mask Decree Met With Dismay By Spain’s Tourism Industry (G.)

The Spanish tourist industry has reacted with dismay to the government’s decree that face masks must be worn in all outdoor spaces, including beaches and swimming pools, even when it is possible to maintain social distancing. “We’re going through hell with thousands of jobs and businesses threatened and now they want to turn the beaches into open-air field hospitals,” José Luis Zoreda, vice-president of Exceltur, the umbrella organisation that represents Spain’s tourism industry, told El País newspaper. Industry representatives complain that they were not consulted over the decision, which was announced in an official state bulletin on Tuesday. “We’ve already given up on Easter as a lost cause,” said Zoreda. “Now we have to put our hopes on summer.”


He said the “improvised measures” did not inspire confidence on the part of the foreign visitors whom the struggling industry is desperate to bring back. Tourism accounts for about 12% of Spain’s GDP. Masks have been obligatory indoors and out in Catalonia since last July and in Valencia since early this year, despite claims by scientists that there is a very low risk of contagion in the open air. Earlier this month Fernando Simón, head of Spain’s coordination centre for health emergencies and alerts, said: “I don’t believe that masks are the key to reducing transmission. It’s not necessary for everyone to wear one. What’s important is that people who are infected wear one, although we don’t know who is infected and who isn’t.” Simón added that they should be obligatory in enclosed spaces.

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Building trust.

Washington State ‘Vaccine Breakthrough:’ 100s Get Covid Weeks After Jab (JTN)

The state of Washington is investigating what officials are calling a “vaccine breakthrough,” after roughly 100 cases of people testing positive for the virus about two weeks after being vaccinated. Epidemiologists report evidence of 102 breakthrough cases in 18 Washington counties, among millions of vaccinated residents. Two patients who received the vaccination died after becoming infected with the virus. “DOH is investigating two potential vaccine breakthrough cases where the patients died. Both patients were more than 80 years old and suffered underlying health issues,” officials said in a news release.


The health department also said the majority of those vaccinated who tested positive experienced mild symptoms, but at least eight have been hospitalized. “It is important to remember that every vaccine on the market right now prevents severe disease and death in most cases,” said Dr. Umair A. Shah, the states’s health secretary. “Finding evidence of vaccine breakthrough cases reminds us that, even if you have been vaccinated, you still need to wear a mask, practice socially distancing, and wash your hands to prevent spreading COVID-19 to others who have not been vaccinated.”

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“..poorly trained employees, cracked vials and mold around one of its facilities..”

15 Million Doses Of J&J Vaccine Ruined By Ingredient Mix-up (DM)

The Biden administration knew more than a week ago that 15million doses of Johnson & Johnson had been ruined by its contractor – potentially causing significant delays in the vaccine rollout, senior administration officials said. Two senior officials on the government’s Covid-19 response team told Politico that it was clear there were serious problems at the West Baltimore plant of Emergent BioSolutons, a little-known company at the center of the vaccine supply chain. A third official said the Department of Health then found out last week that Emergent had ruined 15 million doses of vaccine by adding the wrong ingredient. ‘It was no secret that Emergent did not have a deep bench of pharmaceutical manufacturing experts,’ that official told Politico.

The news finally became public on Wednesday when Johnson & Johnson said that a batch of vaccine made by Emergent at its Baltimore factory, known as Bayview, can’t be used because employees accidentally swapped in an ingredient meant for a different vaccine into the J&J shot, the New York Times reported Wednesday. The Emergent BioSolutions plant is also manufacturing doses for AstraZeneca, and apparently used an ingredient for the UK firm’s vaccine in a batch of J&J’s. The gaff occurred two weeks ago and will delay tens of millions doses of J&J’s shot slated to ship next month while the FDA investigates.

The company at the center of quality problems that led Johnson & Johnson to discard 15 million doses has a had string of citations from U.S. health officials for quality control problems. Emergent, which was key to Johnson & Johnson’s plan to deliver 100 million doses of its vaccine to the U.S. by the end of May, has been cited repeatedly by the Food and Drug Administration for problems such as poorly trained employees, cracked vials and mold around one of its facilities, according to The Associated Press.

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“He trusts the government would only deliver a safe, effective vaccine.”

Bipolar Corona-Politics Positive? (OffG)

I had a patient this morning. More precisely, I telephoned him. He suffered a myocardial infarction last year and is on anti-hypertensives. His last few BP measurements showed very good, stable control. He barricades himself in his home against the rogue cold virus each time the government locks-down. He expressed terror about the link between hypertension and an enhanced Covid-19 risk. I would say he is, like the government, somewhat delusional about it or at the very least harbours some fixed false beliefs towards it. Hence, he measures his blood pressure many times a day. It fibrillates up and down with the propaganda. Masks are not enough for him. He refuses to leave his home until Johnson and Hancock lift lockdown. He asks me to increase his medications without seeing him.

The easy cure might be to turn off his TV and smartphone. But, there is more bipolarity, more paradox, more human folly. He refuses to come out for a hypertension review until he receives his Covid-19 vaccinations. I ask him how he suggests doing that? Perhaps he could find it reasonable to specifically come for his vaccine and have an opportunistic BP? He pauses, and then refuses. Classic Joseph Heller, Catch-22. Nothing surprises me these days in medical practice, so without a pause I remind him that we are not currently offering a bespoke domiciliary vaccination service. He remains insistent. As his doctor, I try to reassure him he is not at any great risk. I remind him we pay great lip service to all the viral psychological interventions such as porous ill-fitting mask, alcohol gel and … polythene apron.

Rather selectively, he dismisses these sacred verses of the government propaganda. As if to out-fox me, he replies in denouement, ‘Okay, I won’t come in, then.’ I leave it open for him to come back to us. It is not only the rule of law, but also the practice of medicine which has succumbed to hysteria. He is the ideal citizen of the corporate pharmaceutical Gods. Open to suggestion, vulnerable to propaganda, crouched with bayoneted rifle in trench against an unavoidable, invisible particle. Always willing to go above and beyond the unreasonable demands of tyrants. He trusts the government would only deliver a safe, effective vaccine.

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“..without the dossier, the warrants could not have been obtained.”

Russiagate Prober Couldn’t Verify Anything in the Steele Dossier (RCI)

For the past four years, Democrats and the Washington media have suspended disbelief about the Steele dossier’s credibility by arguing that some Russia allegations against Donald Trump and his advisers have been corroborated and therefore the most explosive charges may also be true. But recently declassified secret testimony by the FBI official in charge of corroborating the dossier blows up that narrative. The top analyst assigned to the FBI’s Russia “collusion” case, codenamed Crossfire Hurricane, admitted under oath that neither he nor his team of half a dozen intelligence analysts could confirm any of the allegations in the dossier — including ones the FBI nonetheless included in several warrant applications as evidence to establish legal grounds to electronically monitor a former Trump adviser for almost a year.

FBI Supervisory Intelligence Analyst Brian Auten made the admission under questioning by staff investigators for the Senate Judiciary Committee during closed-door testimony in October. The committee only this year declassified the transcript, albeit with a number of redactions including the name of Auten, who was identified by congressional sources who spoke on condition of anonymity. “So with respect to the Steele reporting,” Auten told the committee, “the actual allegations and the actions described in those reports could not be corroborated.” After years of digging, Auten conceded that the only material in the dossier that he could verify was information that was already publicly available, such as names, entities, and positions held by persons mentioned in the document.

His testimony, kept secret for several months, is eye-opening because it’s the first time anybody from the FBI has acknowledged headquarters failed to verify any of the dossier evidence supporting the wiretaps as true and correct. As one of the FBI’s leading experts on Russia, Auten was highly familiar with the subject matter of the dossier and the Russian players it cited. He also had a team of intelligence analysts at his disposal to pore over the material and chase down leads. They even traveled overseas to interview the dossier’s author, former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, and other sources. Still, they could not corroborate any of the allegations of Trump-Russia “collusion” in the dossier, and actually debunked many of them — including the rumor, oft-repeated by the media, that Trump attorney Michael Cohen flew to Prague in the summer of 2016 to secretly huddle with Kremlin agents over an alleged Trump-Russia plot to hack the election.

They determined that Cohen had never even been to the Czech Republic. Yet Auten and his Crossfire teammates — who referred to the dossier as “Crown material,” as if it were valuable intelligence from America’s closest ally, Britain — never informed a secret surveillance court that the dossier was a bust. Instead, they used it as the basis for all four warrant applications to spy on Carter Page, a tangential 2016 Trump campaign adviser. Former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who personally signed and approved the final application, has testified that without the dossier, the warrants could not have been obtained.

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But I see the remarkable strength of the USD. Yes, the euro has taken a few percent, and so has the yen. So what?

US Dollar’s Status as “Global Reserve Currency” Drops to 25-Year Low (WS)

Two decades ago, when the dollar had a share of about 70% of reserve currencies, a presumed competitor became day-to-day reality: The euro, which combined the currencies of the member states into one currency, thereby combining their weight as reserve currency. Since then, the dollar’s share has dropped by 11 percentage points. By contrast, between 1977 and 1991, the dollars share had dropped by 46 percentage points – with huge plunges in 1979 and 1980 possibly linked to US inflation which was threatening to spiral out of control, peaking at nearly 15% in 1980. The plunge bottomed out in 1991, with inflation more or less under control. And the dollar’s share then surged by 25 percentage points until 2000:


The euro’s share had since been in the range between 19.5% and 20.6%, but it Q4 it broke out of the range and rose to 21.4%, the highest in the data. The ECB’s holdings of euro-denominated assets that it acquired as part of its QE are not included in the euro-denominated foreign exchange reserves. The rest of the reserve currencies are also-rans – the spaghetti at the bottom in the chart below. This includes the Chinese renminbi, the bold red line at the bottom:

The renminbi’s share is still only 2.25%, despite the magnitude and global influence of China’s economy, and despite the hype when the IMF elevated the renminbi to an official global reserve currency in October 2016 by including it in the basket of currencies that back the Special Drawing Rights (SDRs). But the renminbi’s share has been creeping up ever so slowly. At the rate it has been gaining momentum over the past two years (+0.36 percentage points in two years), it would take the renminbi another 50 years or so to reach a share of 25%. Clearly, other central banks are still leery of the renminbi and its implications, and are not eager to dump their dollars all at once in exchange for renminbi; easy does it.


To see what’s going on with the spaghetti at the bottom of the above chart, I magnified the scale and limited it to the range of 0% to 6%. This takes the dollar and the euro out of the picture, and allows for a detailed look of the other reserve currencies. What sticks out is the surge of the yen, the third largest reserve currency. This includes a 2.0-percentage point gain since Q4 2016, which blew away the 1.15-percentage point gain over the same period by the renminbi. With regards to the yen, the renminbi is losing ground.Despite Brexit and all the scary hoopla around it, the pound sterling (GBP), the fourth largest reserve currency, has not given up any share.

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“I was banking committee for all those years, I couldn’t even go to the Open Market Committee meeting. There was no way that would be permissible..”

Ron Paul: Gold and Bitcoin Are At Risk Of Government Crackdown (Kitco)

The best way to protect against economic turbulence is with hard assets like precious metals and real estate, but even these are under threat from the government, said former Congressman and host of The Liberty Report, Ron Paul. “The government is a threat,” Paul said. “They will crackdown because they have the ability to do it. We had a taste of [a free society]. If you don’t know where to start, just start with the Constitution, that might give you an idea of what a free society is all about.” Paul noted that this “crackdown” could take the form of taxes. On President Biden’s proposed infrastructure bill, Paul said that its outcome would be “worse than average.”

“Most likely it will do what those kinds of programs always do, they spend a lot of money, they’re inefficient, they always cost more than they thought they should. Besides, it’s built on some mystical belief that you shouldn’t have any concern about the deficit…everybody’s just in a dream,” he said. During Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s testimony to Congress last week, Republican Senator John Neely Kennedy from Louisiana questioned whether or not the central banks around the world are still “independent” entities, or if they’ve already become intertwined with politics. Paul commented that “independence” was never the objective of central banks to begin with.

“This whole idea of independence…I just don’t believe they’re interested in secrecy because I don’t think of the Treasury or the Federal Reserve and the fiscal people in Congress as really representing a whole lot. I think about the people in the shadow government, in the Deep State, because there’s people pulling strings that have a lot of power and clout. I was banking committee for all those years, I couldn’t even go to the Open Market Committee meeting. There was no way that would be permissible,” he said.

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Virtue signalling in overdrive.

Journalists Are “Centering” Their “Trauma” To Acquire Power (Tracey)

On March 28, Washington Post journalist Felicia Somnez posted a Twitter thread describing the intense trauma she said she’d endured over the past year. An editorial policy imposed by the paper’s management had greatly exacerbated this trauma, she alleged, causing her to burst into tears during a recent therapy session and frequently lapse into spells of “vacant staring.” Somnez, a Harvard graduate in her 30s who holds one of the most prestigious journalism jobs in the country, spoke of being “silenced” by her editors, which in turn kicked her “trauma response” into overdrive and worsened her condition further. She declared that the new crop of young journalists now beginning at the Post “deserve better” than how she’d been treated, particularly on account of their being so “diverse, talented and relentless in their fight for equity.”

If any of these buzzwords and/or phrases sound familiar, it’s because their usage now dependably instigates a swift capitulatory reaction from the people who run legacy media institutions. The editorial policy adjustment that Somnez had demanded be effectuated did in fact get effectuated, within a matter of hours. Her elaborately confessional Twitter thread — a well-worn tactic by this point — worked fantastically. Whatever the merits of the proposed policy adjustment at issue (and she may well have been on sound footing in demanding it), no one can dispute that her chosen self-advocacy approach achieved what she set out to achieve. Because increasingly, as this episode once again demonstrated, the key to coaxing stodgy old editors into acquiescence is to publicly “call them out” using a now-familiar punchy, emotionally inflammatory rhetorical style.

We can just take Somnez at her word and grant that this professional adult journalist genuinely did undergo the debilitating trauma she described, vacant staring spells and all. It’s impossible to judge the precise veracity of these trauma-related claims anyway, given how inextricable they are with the interior mental state of the individual in question. So we’ll have to just accept that Somnez being “attacked online,” as she put it, really did result in the kind of extraordinary psychological turmoil she says she experienced. What can be judged, however — and what has to be judged given its rapidly increasing prominence in public life — is the wider impact of the rhetorical style used so adroitly by Somnez. Because it very clearly gets results. Call it therapeutic trauma jargon.

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Engineered food

 

 

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Mar 312021
 
 March 31, 2021  Posted by at 8:53 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  65 Responses »


Pablo Picasso The old fisherman 1895

 

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

 

 

Wall-E after Ever Given

 

 

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

 

 

Lacy Hunt

 

 

An army to protect Bezos.

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

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

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

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

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

Twitter Censors Famed Epidemiologist Martin Kulldorff (AIER)

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Has been for a long time.

It’s Time To Talk About Ivermectin (NC)

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


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

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

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

The “Unvaccinated” Question (CJ Hopkins)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Only $2 trillion?

Biden To Unveil $2 Trillion Infrastructure Proposal (Hill)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more …

What an insane story.

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

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


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

Read more …

 

 

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Collateral Crucifixion

 

 

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Mar 302021
 


Edouard Manet Jeanne Duval, Baudelaire’s Mistress, Reclining (Lady with a Fan) 1862

 

Ron DeSantis Vows To Ban Vaccine Passports (Fed.)
UK Now Considering Digital Face-Scanning To Enter Pubs (SN)
CDC Director Chokes Back Tears As She Fearmongers “Impending Doom” (ZH)
Texas COVID Cases Drop to Record Low 3 Weeks After Mask Mandate Lifted (NW)
Dr. Fauci Warns Parents About Children Playing Together Without Masks (NYP)
Canada Suspends Use Of AstraZeneca Covid Vaccine For Those Under 55 (AP)
New Covid Vaccines Needed Globally Within A Year, Say Scientists (G.)
Ivermectin Prophylaxis Leads To 73% Reduction In Covid Infection (NIE)
Global Treaty Needed To Protect States From Pandemics, Say World Leaders (G.)
Dear Joe Scarborough, Let’s Debate Your Network’s Russiagate Coverage (Taibbi)
Journalists Attack the Powerless, Then Play Victim When Called Out (Greenwald)
Do You Believe in Magic? (Kunstler)
The Eurozone Weakness: Much More Than Covid (Lacalle)
Financial Capitalism: The Endgame (Ren.)

 

 

 

 

There is a move in Washington towards saying it’s the private sector that wants vaccine passports. “It’s just the markets at work”.

That way the government won’t be blamed, or so they hope. Coming soon to a country near you.

This promises to turn into an epic fight for rights and freedoms.

Ron DeSantis Vows To Ban Vaccine Passports (Fed.)

Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis denounced so-called “vaccine passports” in a Monday press conference — a policy currently being tested in New York State and one the Biden administration is reportedly developing, according to The Washington Post. Vaccine passports are digital credentials, a way of proving the carrier has received a COVID-19 immunization before frequenting a venue or traveling. DeSantis said he would take “an executive function” and “emergency function” and urged the state Republican legislature to propose legislation banning vaccine passports. “We always said we wanted to provide [the vaccine] for all but mandate it for none,” DeSantis said.

“While it was advised to take, particularly if you’re vulnerable, we were not going to force you to do it. It’s completely unacceptable for either the government or the private sector to impose upon you the requirement that you show proof of vaccine to just simply participate in normal society.” The Washington Post reported on Sunday that the Biden administration is working with Big Tech to develop vaccine passport technology. Five administration officials told the media outlet that coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients is leading the operation. In January, 30 international airlines penned a letter to Zients urging the U.S. to implement vaccine passports for all citizens for travel. This followed an executive order by Biden instructing government agencies “to assess the feasibility” of COVID-19 documentation requirements.

[..] The Florida governor said in the press conference that by sometime this week the state will have administered the vaccine to 75 percent of seniors, or 3.5 million individuals. “You want the fox to guard the henhouse? I mean, give me a break,” DeSantis said. “I think this is something that has huge privacy implications. It is not necessary to do. It’s important to be able to do it [get the vaccine], but at the same time, we are not going to have you provide proof of this just to be able to live your life normally.”

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No other country has as many surveillance camera’s as Britain. Let’s add some more.

UK Now Considering Digital Face-Scanning To Enter Pubs (SN)

The UK government is funding companies that are producing technology which will utilize digital face scans to check people’s vaccination status and allow or block them from entering pubs, stadiums and other venues. “Britons could have their faces scanned to allow them to access pubs, gigs and sports events under one government-funded plan being drawn up for vaccine passports,” reports the London Times. Two companies – Mvine and iProov – are working together on the system after being given a £75,000 grant by the government having already worked with the NHS on facial recognition technology in the form of the contact tracing app.

The technology is being proposed as a solution to concerns that presenting vaccination status via an app on a phone will be too slow when multiple people are entering a busy venue. “Whoever is standing on the door of the pub is going to have to scan the certificate, read the name and date of birth, then ask the person for an ID document, check that the name and date of birth on the ID document are the same, squint at the photograph on the ID document and then make sure that the person in front of them is that person,” iProov CEO Andrew Bud said. “To which the answer is, that’s not going to happen.” Bud said that the facial recognition system would reduce this process to a matter of seconds, streamlining the system.

“It speeds the process up and it absolves people of what would otherwise be a very heavy responsibility,” he added. After months of promising that there would be no domestic vaccine passport, every indication is now that the government is going ahead with it. Millions of Brits will refuse to submit to digital face scans to go about their everyday business, but the vast majority are likely to accept it without question, creating a two tier society where those who resist the biosecurity surveillance state will remain in a de facto permanent state of lockdown.

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Some states are not doing well, but overall, does that graph justify panic?

CDC Director Chokes Back Tears As She Fearmongers “Impending Doom” (ZH)

In a stunningly emotional outburst during this morning’s COVID-19 Response press conference, new CDC Director Rochelle Walensky went “off-script” (though if one watches here eyes it appears she is very much reading a script) to warn the public about her “impending doom” following a rise in COVID cases and hospitalizations. The seven-day average of hospital admissions with confirmed or suspected Covid-19 increased in 25 states plus the nation’s capital and Puerto Rico last week, compared with same period a week earlier, according to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services data through Saturday.


The most dramatic surge has come in Michigan, with admissions up 50%, to an average of 379 a day. The next-worst momentum was in South Dakota, where daily admissions rose by 40% to an average of 28. “I’m going to reflect on the recurring feeling I have of impending doom,” Walensky said, appearing to hold back tears. “We do not have the luxury of inaction. For the health of our country, we must work together now to prevent a fourth surge.” “Right now, I’m scared,” Walesky exclaimed. Here is what Walensky is freaking out about… (could that simply be a rise in testing around Spring Break as responsible Americans check their health before traveling? Or is it remnants of the vaccines being picked up by the RT-PCR tests being run at 35 Ct?)


Source: Bloomberg

Of course, Fauci knows why: “I think the reason we’re seeing this plateauing and the increase that I hope doesn’t turn into a surge is because we are really doing things prematurely right now with regard to opening up.” Walensky implored Americans to mask up, socially distance, etc., etc. as she is worried about a new wave “if rules are lifted” too soon… “I’m speaking today not necessarily as your CDC director, but as a wife, as a mother, as a daughter to ask you to just please hold on a little while longer,”

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Others states do very well. Wonder why.

Texas COVID Cases Drop to Record Low 3 Weeks After Mask Mandate Lifted (NW)

Coronavirus cases have dropped to a record low in Texas roughly three weeks after the state lifted its mask mandate and reopened businesses. “Today the 7-day Covid positivity rate dropped to a new recorded low: 4.95%. Hospitalizations dropped to a 6 month low. This week we have 1 million 1st vaccines available,” Texas Governor Greg Abbott wrote in a tweet on Sunday. “Everyone now qualifies for a shot. They are highly recommended to prevent getting Covid but always voluntary.” The 4.95 percent test positivity rate is the lowest the state has seen since the start of the pandemic. According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, at least 1,900 new virus cases were reported on Sunday, which is the lowest daily number the state has seen since early June.

Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that the seven-day moving average number of cases in Texas dropped to the lowest level since mid-June. According to the CDC, Texas was averaging 3,783 daily cases as of March 27. Abbott’s tweet also notes that hospitalizations dropped to their lowest number in the past six months. According to data from the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), 3,104 COVID-19 patients were in hospitals across the state as of Saturday. Data shows that the state has not recorded a number this low since September 19, when there were 3,081 hospitalizations. As of Monday, Texas has reported more than 2.3 million confirmed coronavirus cases and at least 47,156 deaths.

Biden Mask Up

Read more …

Fauci on masks. Oh well.

Dr. Fauci Warns Parents About Children Playing Together Without Masks (NYP)

Dr. Anthony Fauci on Sunday warned that vaccinated parents still need to worry about their children becoming infected while playing with other kids. “The children can clearly wind up getting infected,” Fauci told CBS anchor Margaret Brennan on “Face the Nation” when asked about the risk of kids playing in groups. The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said that while adults inoculated against COVID-19 don’t always have to wear masks around each other, children — who are not yet eligible for the jab — should wear them around each other.


“When the children go out into the community, you want them to continue to wear masks when they’re interacting with groups or multiple households,” he said. But when asked whether kids can return to camp or playgrounds this summer, Fauci said it was “conceivable that will be possible.” “We now have 3 to 3.5 million vaccinations each day. If we keep up with that pace, invariably, that’s going to drive the rate and the level of infections per day to a much, much lower level,” Fauci said, adding that lower infection rates will enable the country to have a “good degree of flexibility during the summer … with things like camps.”

Read more …

“..the fatality rate among those who develop clots is as high as 40%..”

Canada Suspends Use Of AstraZeneca Covid Vaccine For Those Under 55 (AP)

Canada on Monday suspended the use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine for people under 55 following concerns it might be linked to rare blood clots. The pause was recommended by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization for safety reasons. The Canadian provinces, which administer health in the country, announced the suspension on Monday. “There is substantial uncertainty about the benefit of providing AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines to adults under 55 given the potential risks,” said Dr Shelley Deeks, vice-chair of the National Advisory Committee on Immunization. Deeks said the updated recommendations came amid new data from Europe that suggests the risk of blood clots is now potentially as high as one in 100,000, much higher than the one in one million risk believed before.


She said most of the patients in Europe who developed a rare blood clot after vaccination with AstraZeneca were women under age 55, and the fatality rate among those who develop clots is as high as 40%. Dr Joss Reimer of Manitoba’s vaccine implementation taskforce said despite the finding that there was no increase risk of blood clots overall related to AstraZeneca in Europe, a rare but very serious side-effect has been seen primarily in young women in Europe. Reimer said the rare type of blood clot typically happens between four and 20 days after getting the shot and the symptoms can mirror a stroke or a heart attack. “While we still believe the benefits for all ages outweigh the risks I’m not comfortable with ‘probably’. I want to see more data coming out of Europe so I know exactly what this risk-benefit analysis is,” Reimer said.

Read more …

How about ivermectin?

New Covid Vaccines Needed Globally Within A Year, Say Scientists (G.)

The planet could have a year or less before first-generation Covid-19 vaccines are ineffective and modified formulations are needed, according to a survey of epidemiologists, virologists and infectious disease specialists. Scientists have long stressed that a global vaccination effort is needed to satisfactorily neutralise the threat of Covid-19. This is due to the threat of variations of the virus – some more transmissible, deadly and less susceptible to vaccines – that are emerging and percolating. The grim forecast of a year or less comes from two-thirds of respondents, according to the People’s Vaccine Alliance, a coalition of organisations including Amnesty International, Oxfam, and UNAIDS, who carried out the survey of 77 scientists from 28 countries. Nearly one-third of the respondents indicated that the time-frame was likely nine months or less.

Persistent low vaccine coverage in many countries would make it more likely for vaccine-resistant mutations to appear, said 88% of the respondents, who work across illustrious institutions such as Johns Hopkins, Yale, Imperial College, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and the University of Edinburgh. “New mutations arise every day. Sometimes they find a niche that makes them more fit than their predecessors. These lucky variants could transmit more efficiently and potentially evade immune responses to previous strains,” said Gregg Gonsalves, associate professor of epidemiology at Yale University, in a statement. “Unless we vaccinate the world, we leave the playing field open to more and more mutations, which could churn out variants that could evade our current vaccines and require booster shots to deal with them.”

The current crop of vaccines that have received emergency authorisations in different parts of the world is a mix of old and fresh technologies. Of particular interest is the mRNA approach, employed by the companies Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, which can be tweaked at speed (within weeks or months) to accommodate new variants – however, manufacturing hiccups are always a potential problem. But crucially, they are unlikely within reach of poorer countries, given that this set of vaccines are far more expensive and have comparatively onerous temperature storage requirements.

Read more …

I read the WHO is due to announce its guidance on the use of Ivermectin for Covid. This from India dates from November 2020.

Ivermectin Prophylaxis Leads To 73% Reduction In Covid Infection (NIE)

In a significant finding, two-dose Ivermectin prophylaxis has led to 73 per cent reduction in COVID-19 infection among healthcare workers (HCWs), who are more likely to contract the virus given their nature of job. The findings of the study conducted by AIIMS-Bhubaneswar between September 20 and October 19 is set to give a new dimension to the ongoing research on the behaviour of SARS-CoV2 and prevention and treatment of COVID-19. Ivermectin is one among several potential drugs explored for its therapeutic and preventive role in COVID-19 infection. The study conducted by 12 physicians of AIIMS-BBSR aimed at exploring the association between Ivermectin prophylaxis and development of COVID-19 infection.

The study was conducted on two sets of HCWs. While one set was administered with two doses of Ivermectin in a gap of 72 hours, the other took other prophylaxis. Corresponding author of the study and AIIMS Director Gitanjali Batmanabane said two-dose Ivermectin prophylaxis at a dose of 300 micro gram per one kg body weight with a gap of 72 hours was associated with 73 pc reduction of COVID-19 infection among the HCWs. AIIMS-BBSR has around 4,600 employees of which, over 625 have so far tested positive for novel coronavirus. As many as 372 including doctors, nurses, paramedics and sanitisation workers were considered for the month-long study. The list was prepared by the contact tracing team of the institute as per their exposure to COVID-19, based on WHO risk assessment guidelines.

“Earlier, at least 20 to 25 HCWs were getting infected with the virus daily. After the workers started taking Ivermectin, the number of infection has come down to one or two per day,” Dr Batmanabane said. As per ICMR guidelines, hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), vitamin C and other interventions were used by HCWs of AIIMS from April 11 in addition to the appropriate use PPE depending on the place they were posted. However, the uptake was not encouraging on account of known side-effect as large numbers of HCWs were getting infected. “Considering the fact that Ivermectin had been shown to have diverse mechanisms by which it successfully attacks the SARS-CoV-2, we decided to use it. The Ivermectin has a proven safety profile as a safe drug which has been used for many decades. The encouraging results of a study from Egypt prompted us to explore its role as prophylaxis for HCWs,” she said.

Read more …

All these “leaders” have failed for an entire year, despite often draconian measures, to stop the pandemic. Now they want more power.

Global Treaty Needed To Protect States From Pandemics, Say World Leaders (G.)

The world needs a global treaty for pandemics to protect states in the wake of Covid-19, akin to the settlement forged after the second world war, Boris Johnson and other world leaders have urged. In a joint article published in newspapers across the world, leaders including the UK prime minister, the French president, Emmanuel Macron, and the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, warn that a future global pandemic is an inevitability and that Covid has served as “a stark and painful reminder that nobody is safe until everyone is safe”. Escalating international tensions over vaccine supplies have led to calls for countries to abandon isolationism and nationalism, and come together to make way for a new era founded on principles like solidarity and cooperation.

The call comes from 24 world leaders, alongside the head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and will appear in newspapers including the Telegraph in the UK, Le Monde in France and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in Germany. The leaders describe the pandemic as “the biggest challenge to the global community since the 1940s” and said that a settlement like the one formed after 1945 is needed to build cross-border cooperation before the next international health crisis. In the joint article, they say: “At that time, following the devastation of two world wars, political leaders came together to forge the multilateral system. The aims were clear: to bring countries together, to dispel the temptations of isolationism and nationalism, and to address the challenges that could only be achieved together in the spirit of solidarity and cooperation, namely peace, prosperity, health and security.”

A treaty on pandemics “should lead to more mutual accountability and shared responsibility, transparency and cooperation within the international system and with its rules and norms”, the leaders go on.

Read more …

Death, taxes and RussiaRussia.

Dear Joe Scarborough, Let’s Debate Your Network’s Russiagate Coverage (Taibbi)

Joe begins his rant by insinuating that those who’ve spent time documenting errors on the Russiagate story are maybe on “Russia’s payroll,” which is nothing new for this network, of course, or frankly for the press in general during this time. Implying that anyone who didn’t buy into the moral panic on Russia was a traitor was a fairly constant theme in media and politics in the last four years, with NBC’s smear of Tulsi Gabbard as a “favorite” of “Russia’s propaganda machine” being one of the ethical low points of the era. Why should Joe Scarborough be above the same tactics? The exact quote: “I’m amused by so-called reporters who — I don’t know if they’re useful idiots for Russia, or if they’re on Russia’s payroll … but there are some gifted writers who spend all night and day, trying to dig through, looking for instances where the press screwed up on Russia stories.”


He went on to say that yes, there were instances of mistakes, and some bad mistakes, but “more often than not,” the press got it right. Perhaps this could be a new slogan for the network: “MSNBC. We get it right. More often than not.” The full quote: “If you look at the totality of it, the totality of everything — I mean, yeah, the media screwed up at some points, and sometimes they screwed up badly… But more often than not, they got it right.” Obviously, I won’t presume that he’s talking about me when he mentions “some gifted writers” who may or may not be foreign spies, criticizing networks like his. He could be referring to Aaron Mate, or Glenn Greenwald, perhaps even Erik Wemple of the Washington Post, whose critique of Scarborough’s colleague Rachel Maddow’s Russia coverage was scathing enough.

Read more …

Judge and jury.

Journalists Attack the Powerless, Then Play Victim When Called Out (Greenwald)

The daily newspaper USA Today is the second-most circulated print newspaper in the United States — more than The New York Times and more than double The Washington Post. Only The Wall Street Journal has higher circulation numbers. On Sunday, the paper published and heavily promoted a repellent article complaining that “defendants accused in the Capitol riot Jan. 6 crowdfund their legal fees online, using popular payment processors and an expanding network of fundraising platforms, despite a crackdown by tech companies.” It provided a road map for snitching on how these private citizens — who are charged with serious felonies by the U.S. Justice Department but as of yet convicted of nothing — are engaged in “a game of cat-and-mouse as they spring from one fundraising tool to another” in order to avoid bans on their ability to raise desperately needed funds to pay their criminal lawyers to mount a vigorous defense.

In other words, the only purpose of the article — headlined: “Insurrection fundraiser: Capitol riot extremists, Trump supporters raise money for lawyer bills online” — was to pressure and shame tech companies to do more to block these criminal defendants from being able to raise funds for their legal fees, and to tattle to tech companies by showing them what techniques these indigent defendants are using to raise money online. The USA Today reporters went far beyond merely reporting how this fundraising was being conducted. They went so far as to tattle to PayPal and other funding sites on two of those defendants, Joe Biggs and Dominic Pezzola, and then boasted of their success in having their accounts terminated: ”

“As of Wednesday afternoon, the Biggs fundraiser was listed as having received $52,201. Pezzola had received $730. Biggs’ campaign disappeared from the site shortly after USA TODAY inquired about it…. Friday, a USA TODAY reporter donated to Pezzola’s fundraiser using Stripe. Stripe told USA TODAY it does not comment on individual users. A USA TODAY reporter was able to make a $1 donation to Pezzola’s fundraiser using Venmo, a payment app owned by PayPal. After being alerted by USA TODAY, Venmo removed the account. Soon a PayPal account took its place. PayPal caught that and removed it, too.”

Wow, what brave and intrepid journalistic work: speaking truth to power and standing up to major power centers by . . . working as little police officers for tech giants to prevent private citizens from being able to afford criminal lawyers. Clear the shelves for the imminent Pulitzer.

Read more …

“..whatever energy you actually can marshal to Build Back Better, save it for your town or your local community. ..”

Do You Believe in Magic? (Kunstler)

UBI is the primary feature of that because, in a command economy, production is mostly pretend, so you just have to give people money (for nothing). Remember the old basic operating system of the Soviet Union, stated succinctly as: We pretend to work and they pretend to pay us. Got that? The idea behind “Build Back Better” is to renovate the infrastructure of a hyper-tech economy that actually no longer exists because we are in the contraction phase of an historic pulsation or cycle, leaving us with lots of tech and less production, tending toward zero. Nobody flogging this slogan actually knows what it ought to mean under the circumstances, which is to go with the flow of the reality of this contraction: to downsize, downscale, and re-localize all our activities to bring them back into sync with actual productivity — that is, raising food, making real stuff, and trading it.

Again, it’s the energy dynamic, stupid. To get to that point, we’re going to shed the massive over-burden of financial game-playing that has pretended to represent our economy. That means stock valuations and bond prices will vaporize along with the derivative activities concocted for trading gainfully in these now-phantom representations of capital. If that happens sooner rather than later, we won’t even be able to pretend to Build Back Better the interstate highways, the electric grid, airports, and all the other stuff in the “infrastructure” folder. Indeed, a lot of that would be malinvestment folly now because we’re nearing the end of mass motoring and commercial aviation as we’ve known them.

If we even have electricity twenty-five years from now, it will come from much-reduced grids on a much more regional basis. The bottom line for all this is that pretty soon every corner of the country will be on its own amid quite a bit of social disorder and financial wreckage. So, whatever energy you actually can marshal to Build Back Better, save it for your town or your local community. And remember, all of the attempts by a national government to control these events, and coerce its citizens in the service of that, will only lead to a more ineffectual and impotent national government that nobody has faith in, confirming the fact that you are on your own.

Read more …

“..the European Central Bank increasing its balance sheet to 63% of the eurozone GDP vs the Fed at 36%..”

The Eurozone Weakness: Much More Than Covid (Lacalle)

The eurozone’s economic problem do not come from just a slow vaccination, but overly aggressive lockdowns. Between October and November, Europe’s leading economies decided to shut down the economy aggressively to prevent an increase in cases. Despite France’s extremely severe lockdown, one of the most aggressive in the world, daily new confirmed cases per 100 people went from 250 cases at the beginning of October to 522 as of March 26th. Daily new cases rose rapidly and fell in the month of November but have risen steadily since January. In Italy, new cases went from 70 in October to 369 by March 26th. In Germany, from 117 to 179 in the same period. In all of them, daily new cases have steadily risen since bottoming in January even with severe lockdowns.

Shutting down the economy for prolonged periods of time generates long-term side effects in jobs and growth that will likely hurt the recovery and create important social challenges. We cannot forget that the eurozone still had an unemployment rate of 8.3% and more than seven million furloughed jobs at the end of February. Massive stimulus plans have been implemented, with the European Central Bank increasing its balance sheet to 63% of the eurozone GDP vs the Fed at 36%, and money supply growing at a 12% annualized rate in the euro area. Fiscal stimulus is also enormous, with fiscal impulse and liquidity measures ranging between 10% (Spain) to 50% of GDP (Germany) in the main economies.


It is important to note that it is not just how much is spent, but where and when. A significant part of the fiscal stimulus in Spain, France, Italy, and Germany has been targeted at maintaining current government spending, and the measures to support businesses have only been decisive in Germany and France. However, large, and decisive measures to support businesses may fail as prolonged lockdowns lead to an insolvency crisis and inevitably a relevant part of those support mechanisms will zombify the economy, especially as this was an important risk that already existed in the eurozone before Covid-19, according to the Bank of International Settlements.

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“..lots of people earned a lot of money and a lot of people can’t afford living anymore.”

“We’re at the end game because it’s the final bubble. We’ve got the government bond bubble and there won’t be another bubble afterwards.”

Financial Capitalism: The Endgame (Ren.)

In 2008, we had the opportunity, collectively, to reboot a broken financial system so it became fit for purpose. But instead of reconfiguring finance to serve the real economy politicians and central bankers used quantitative easing to buy time which lulled the mainstream media into reporting that everything was back on track. Some people haven’t bought that story. Marc Friederich and Matthias Weik are two economists who didn’t succumb to groupthink after the 2008 crash and now see financial capitalism’s end game. Friedrich explained to Renegade Inc. that the authors’ intention is to help translate the complexity of a financial system by inverting it into a language that everybody understands. Having studied economics, and as children of the dot com bubble, the authors of four best-selling books in Germany, stress the important role sarcasm and dark humour play in their work in respect to making seemingly complex matters accessible to the wider public.

According to Weik, the aim behind mainstream economists’ use of convoluted language is to create a camouflage in order to prevent them from having to explain what their terminology means. “It’s like the language of law spoken in secret phrases whose purpose is to garner public trust”, said Friedrich. But what mainstream economists and politicians haven’t explained is the structural nature of a crisis that hasn’t been remedied since the 2008 crash. Instead, the metaphorical can has been kicked down the road. “We’re at the end game because it’s the final bubble. We’ve got the government bond bubble and there won’t be another bubble afterwards. It will burst because last time China and all the states rescued the world. They won’t save us anymore. We used cheap money like a drug. We just put more and more drugs into the system”, said Weik.

“Economists and politicians have learnt nothing in the last decade, rather they have merely bought time. The banks who created the last financial crisis continue to be the big winners”, says Friedrich. The losers are the working class and underclass who were encouraged to borrow recklessly. And yet it is these latter groups who the American and British press blame for the crisis. According to Friedrich, the catalyst for the crisis was low-interest rates and too much cheap money. “They tried to solve it with even lower interest rates and much more money. The debts have doubled since 2008”, said the economist. In Friedrich’s view, the Fed, ECB and other central banks will try to print more money “like they always do.” “We will definitely see negative interest rates….Since 2008 debts worldwide doubled for private people and for companies even three times more debts than 2008. So this is the final bubble. And the central banks create one bubble after the next one to keep the whole thing running. That’s it.”

“And we all know the patient is dead but nobody is ready to unplug the life support. The aim is to keep the system alive for as long as possible.” Weik added: “Over the past two years real estate prices exploded, the share prices exploded, lots of people earned a lot of money and a lot of people can’t afford living anymore.”

Read more …

 

 

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Tucker Candace

 

 

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Mar 292021
 


Rufino Tamayo The Dance of Joy 1950

 

 

We’re running two grand experiments at the same time: we inject 100s of millions with untested substances, and then we let them fly and gather and tell them it’s safe to do so.

 

 

First things first: none of the “vaccines” that are being injected as we speak into 100s of millions of people have been approved by “medical authorities”. The Pfizer and Moderna mRNA ones, as well as the AstraZeneca and in some places Johnson&Johnson “substances” have only, best case, gotten a permit for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).

This is needed because none of these things have ever been properly tested. The “logic” behind this is that we are in an emergency, so there’s no time for testing. Somehow, this “logic” is combined with claims about “listening to the science”. While not testing is the direct opposite of science.

In order to get the Emergency Use Authorizations, you need to show that there are no other substances available that could perform the job that the “vaccines” do. I put “Vaccines” in quotation marks because mRNA are not vaccines in the traditional sense, they are, at least potentially, much more invasive. A factor that has… never been properly tested.

The other substances that might work vs the coronavirus, repurposed drugs such as ivermectin and (hydroxy) chloroquine -about which many doctors have written very positive reviews-, if the (EUA) label is to be put on the new “vaccines”, must also remain untested, just like the “vaccines” themselves.

So there are a few “tests” out there that applied HCQ and ivermectin, but in the wrong environment. See, if you give them only to 80+ year-olds who are already on an intubator and have multiple co-morbidities, you may well end up with the verdict that they did not prevent that person from dying. The thing is, the same would be true if you gave that person an mRNA “vaccine”. But that last bit, we don’t hear about.

We recently had this from a medical journal in Holland, Google translated:

High Fine For Doctors Who Incorrectly Prescribe HCQ Or Ivermectin (MC)

Doctors who prescribe (hydroxy) chloroquine or ivermectin against covid-19 will now receive a fine of up to 150,000 euros imposed by the inspection. This may also include other medications that are prescribed outside the guidelines. The IGJ calls on pharmacists to report. The Health and Youth Care Inspectorate regularly receives reports that doctors prescribe medicines that are contrary to the treatment recommendations for covid-19, the IGJ reports on its website.


When asked, the IGJ spokesperson cannot explain exactly how many doctors this is about and what their specialty is. “We have talked to a number of doctors about this, but because some of them continue to do so, we are now going to impose fines. We are not going to warn anymore, “said the spokesman. [..] According to the IGJ, (hydroxy) chloroquine has been proven to be ineffective against covid-19 and at the same time can cause serious side effects. There is also no scientific basis for the use of ivermectin.

They either don’t test HCQ and ivermectin at all, or they test them in the wrong environment. When someone is dying from old age and co-morbidities, and then catches Covid, you’re not going to save them with HCQ or ivermectin. But nobody ever said you would. Moreover, you wouldn’t save them with mRNA either.

Chloroquine, later (hydroxy) chloroquine, was discovered in 1934, and used as a malaria treatment, for decades. Some 200 million people were treated with it, primarily in Africa, since, with great success. In fact, so many people were treated that it lost its effectiveness because the parasite that causes malaria slowly developed an immunity against it. But we would still have known if it killed large numbers of people. Same goes for ivermectin.

Ivermectin stems from 1975, long time ago, (though Joe Biden had been a senator for 3 years already ;-)), and many many millions were successfully treated with it as an anti-parasite drug. There’s an entire library by now of ivermectin vs Covid 19 studies. But the health board in Holland says :“There is also no scientific basis for the use of ivermectin.”. Yeah, sure. Look, what there is no scientific basis for is the use of the newfangled untested “vaccines”. Not testing equals not scientific. You could label it “technology” if you will, but not science.

 

Then we have Prof Anthony Harnden talking about the AstraZeneca vaccine reducing transmission by some 50%. Given the uncertainties and lack of testing and investigation, I would be inclined to label this prof a ‘lying, dog-faced pony soldier’. Yes, I am getting tired of this spiel.

Vaccines Do Not Completely Stop Transmission, JCVI Member Says

Covid-19 vaccines do not completely prevent transmission, Prof Anthony Harnden, deputy chair of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has said. He told BBC Breakfast on Sunday that while they appear to reduce transmission by about 50%, vaccinated people can still get the virus and spread it to others. He added:


“There’s some good evidence now from Public Health England and from the Oxford/AstraZeneca trials that the vaccines do prevent transmission. But they don’t completely prevent transmission. The figures are still being calculated but it’s in the order of 50%. So, there will be some reduction in transmission, no doubt at all, but it’s still possible, even though you’ve been vaccinated, to get infected, have no symptoms and transmit it to others. That’s why it’s important that all those who get vaccinated still stick to the rules.”

In other words: Get that needle in your arm, stay home, put some underwear on your face, and keep your clap shut. The European Medicines Agency has two cents to spare as well:

EMA advises against use of ivermectin for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19 outside randomised clinical trials

EMA has reviewed the latest evidence on the use of ivermectin for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 and concluded that the available data do not support its use for COVID-19 outside well-designed clinical trials. In the EU, ivermectin tablets are approved for treating some parasitic worm infestations while ivermectin skin preparations are approved for treating skin conditions such as rosacea. Ivermectin is also authorised for veterinary use for a wide range of animal species for internal and external parasites. Ivermectin medicines are not authorised for use in COVID-19 in the EU, and EMA has not received any application for such use.

Following recent media reports and publications on the use of ivermectin, EMA reviewed the latest published evidence from laboratory studies, observational studies, clinical trials and meta-analyses. Laboratory studies found that ivermectin could block replication of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19), but at much higher ivermectin concentrations than those achieved with the currently authorised doses. Results from clinical studies were varied, with some studies showing no benefit and others reporting a potential benefit.

Most studies EMA reviewed were small and had additional limitations, including different dosing regimens and use of concomitant medications. EMA therefore concluded that the currently available evidence is not sufficient to support the use of ivermectin in COVID-19 outside clinical trials. Although ivermectin is generally well tolerated at doses authorised for other indications, side effects could increase with the much higher doses that would be needed to obtain concentrations of ivermectin in the lungs that are effective against the virus. Toxicity when ivermectin is used at higher than approved doses therefore cannot be excluded.

So that’s experiment number 1. 100s of millions of people injected with untested substances. For which there seems to be some evidence that they make a person less sick. But that’s all the evidence there is. They can still be infected, and there’s still no evidence that they can’t infect others. So by all means, let’s bet the house on that, shall we? And if we have to kill drugs that might do a much better job to get there, we will.

 

Then comes experiment number 2. The people who have been injected with this stuff will now be able to get vaccine passports of one sort or another, and travel, get into planes and theaters and what not, and, according to the CDC, gather without wearing masks. While “there’s still no evidence that they can’t infect others”.

I know that politicians are getting desperate, after a full year of lockdowns. But they could all have started nationwide campaigns of improving immune systems through vitamin D a year ago. That was the easiest thing ever, and still is, potentially decreasing both infections and deaths by 50%. Yes, there’s scientific literatute for this.

They could have initiated large scale trials with ivermectin, HCQ, doxycycline and other drugs, but none of them did, outside of countries like India, Peru, Argentina. So that didn’t happen either. Now all they have left are a bunch of non-proven and questionable technologies, and they’re promoting those as if their lives and careers depend on them.

And then we all double down and tell people they’re safe after getting a couple of “jabs”, and everyone around them is too, though there is zero evidence for this. That is a big gamble. But gambling is all we have left. Economies need to open or else. People must be able to see people or else. Governments need to get out of the way and let people take responsibility for their own lives.

We can only wait for the first politician and government and their “expert” advisers to come clean and say they failed. That would at least be a breath of fresh air. Here in Athens after a hard lockdown of almost 6 months, case numbers and intubations are higher than ever. The least they can do is say: we’re sorry, we were wrong, we screwed up.

But politicians and “scientists” don’t do that, unless they’re forced to, even if countless lives are lost in the process. So what do you do? Well, you force them to. And then you make them leave, and start saving lives.

 

 

 

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Mar 282021
 
 March 28, 2021  Posted by at 9:19 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  52 Responses »


Edouard Manet Portrait of Emile Zola 1868

 

High Fine For Doctors Who Incorrectly Prescribe HCQ Or Ivermectin (MC)
New York Launches COVID-19 Vaccination ID Program (JTN)
Keep Your Covid-19 Vaccination Card Safe – You’re Going To Need It (F.)
Mexico Covid Death Toll Leaps 60% To Reach 321,000 (G.)
Race and False Hate Crime Narratives (Q.)
Joe Biden’s ‘Horrible’ Regime Is ‘Way More Racialised’ Than Before (Sky)
What Biden’s Talking Filibuster Could Look Like (IC)
US-NATO vs Russia-China in a Hybrid War To The Finish (Escobar)
The Facebook Filter Bubble (AEA)
Experts Fear Ever Given May Be Stuck In Suez For Weeks (G.)
Monetary Adaptation To Planetary Emergency (UoC)

 

 

 

 

Google translated from Dutch. This is so crazy.

High Fine For Doctors Who Incorrectly Prescribe HCQ Or Ivermectin (MC)

Doctors who prescribe (hydroxy) chloroquine or ivermectin against covid-19 will now receive a fine of up to 150,000 euros imposed by the inspection. This may also include other medications that are prescribed outside the guidelines. The IGJ calls on pharmacists to report. The Health and Youth Care Inspectorate regularly receives reports that doctors prescribe medicines that are contrary to the treatment recommendations for covid-19, the IGJ reports on its website. When asked, the IGJ spokesperson cannot explain exactly how many doctors this is about and what their specialty is. “We have talked to a number of doctors about this, but because some of them continue to do so, we are now going to impose fines. We are not going to warn anymore, “said the spokesman.

The fines could run in the thousands of euros, she says. “There is no real minimum amount and the exact amount of a fine will depend on the circumstances. Did the doctor prescribe the medicine once or several times? How many patients has it been prescribed, things like that. The maximum amount for a fine is 150,000 euros. ” The Inspectorate sees prescription as a risk to the quality of care and points out that all doctors’ professions in the Netherlands advise against using (hydroxy) chloroquine or ivermectin for the prevention or treatment of corona. According to the IGJ, (hydroxy) chloroquine has been proven to be ineffective against covid-19 and at the same time can cause serious side effects. There is also no scientific basis for the use of ivermectin. The IGJ states that it is allowed to prescribe medicines off-label, but that there are strict rules for this.

Pharmacists can also be held responsible if they provide these medicines inappropriately. The IGJ calls on them to report if they are offered prescriptions and suspect that this is for the treatment of corona.

Read more …

Getting vaccinated makes you a guinea pig. And so does sending vaccinated people around the world and into closed spaces.

New York Launches COVID-19 Vaccination ID Program (JTN)

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo this week announced the rollout of his state’s vaccine passport program, a measure the Democratic politician says will help the state continue to reopen its long-shuttered economy. In a statement on Friday, Cuomo revealed the debut of “Excelsior Pass,” what the governor’s office said was a “free, voluntary platform … which utilizes proven, secure technology to confirm an individual’s recent negative PCR or antigen test result or proof of vaccination.” The program, developed in partnership with IBM, will allow users to either “print out their pass or store it on their smartphones,” permitting them to gain access to public venues and establishments such as “major stadiums and arenas, wedding receptions, or catered and other events above the social gathering limit.” “New York State is the first state in the U.S. to formally launch this potentially transformational technology,” the governor’s office said.

Read more …

Wow. We got there. How creepy is that?

Keep Your Covid-19 Vaccination Card Safe – You’re Going To Need It (F.)

Your most precious travel accessory this summer is going to be a small white piece of paper. Some destinations, cruise lines and major sports venues are already requiring travelers to provide proof that they have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19. Other businesses, like Krispy Kreme, are offering freebies and other perks to people who can prove they’ve been inoculated. If you are among the 48 million Americans who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, the only proof that you have received your Covid shots is typically your paper vaccination record card with the CDC logo in the upper corner. The vaccination card tells you what Covid-19 vaccine you received, the date you received it, and where you received it — but that information is not being stored in any centralized, easily searchable database.

If you lose your card, you should return to the place you received your vaccination and ask for a replacement. “If you do not receive a Covid-19 vaccination card at your appointment, contact the vaccination provider site where you got vaccinated or your state health department to find out how you can get a card,” says the CDC website. That’s easy enough if you were vaccinated at a pharmacy chain but more difficult if you had to travel cross-state or inter-state to be vaccinated at a drive-through or pop-up event. All Covid-19 vaccination providers are required to report data within 72 hours in their state’s immunization system, so there should be a back-up record of your vaccination status there. The CDC has a list of the Immunization Information System (IIS) in each state, which is where to start if you need a replacement card and either can’t remember where you were vaccinated or have difficulty contacting the facility.

Digital vaccine passports may become a reality in the future, but for now your paper vaccination record card is an extremely valuable possession. Here are five easy ways to protect it for safekeeping.

Read more …

We don’t know anymore who’s counting what, or how.

Mexico Covid Death Toll Leaps 60% To Reach 321,000 (G.)

Mexico’s government has acknowledged that the country’s true death toll from the coronavirus pandemic now stands above 321,000, almost 60% more than the official test-confirmed number of 201,429. Mexico does little testing, and because hospitals were overwhelmed, many Mexicans died at home without getting a test. The only way to get a clear picture is to review “excess deaths” and review death certificates. On Saturday, the government quietly published such a report, which found there were 294,287 deaths linked to Covid-19 from the start of the pandemic through 14 February. Since 15 February there have been an additional 26,772 test-confirmed deaths. The higher toll would exceed that of Brazil, which has the world’s second-highest number of deaths after the US.


The Johns Hopkins coronavirus tracker puts Brazil’s toll at about 307,000 and the United States’ at 548,000, but Mexico’s population of 126 million is far smaller than either of those countries. The new report also confirms just how deadly Mexico’s second wave in January was. At the end of December, excess death estimates suggested a total of about 220,000 deaths related to Covid-19 in Mexico. That number jumped by around 75,000 in just a month and a half. Also suggestive were the overall number of “excess deaths” since the pandemic began, around 417,000. Excess deaths are determined by comparing the deaths in a given year to those that would be expected based on data from previous years.

Read more …

Deceived by storylines.

Race and False Hate Crime Narratives (Q.)

The reaction to the mass shootings in Boulder, Colorado, and Atlanta, Georgia, over the last week has revealed how invested the Democratic establishment is in one all-powerful narrative. Both shootings produced an immediate response from the media, Democratic politicians, and activists—that the slaughters were the result of white supremacy and that white Americans are the biggest threat facing the US. That interpretation was reached, in the case of the Boulder shooting, on the slimmest of evidence, and in the case of the Atlanta shooting, in the face of contradictory facts.

After the Boulder supermarket attacks, social media lit up with gloating pronouncements that the shooter was a violent white male and part of what Vice President Kamala Harris’s niece declared (in a since-deleted tweet) to be the “greatest terrorist threat to our country.” (Video of the handcuffed shooter being led away by the police appeared to show a white male.) Now that the shooter’s identity has been revealed as Syrian-American and his tirades against the “Islamophobia industry” unearthed, that line of thought has been quietly retired and replaced with the stand-by Democratic response to mass shootings—demands for gun control.

But the false narrative about the Atlanta spa shootings still has legs. It represents a double lie—first, that the massacre was the product of Trump-inspired xenophobic hatred, and second, that whites are the biggest perpetrators of violence against Asians. The most striking aspect of these untruths is the fact that they were fabricated in plain sight and in open defiance of reality. Given the enduring hold of the Atlanta story on mainstream discourse, it is worth examining in some detail.

Read more …

“We’re so busy enthralled in race, enthralled in fighting one another.”

Joe Biden’s ‘Horrible’ Regime Is ‘Way More Racialised’ Than Before (Sky)

President Joe Biden’s administration is keeping the “racial narrative” going because it is the “biggest smoke screen” to all its policies, according to US political commentator Benji Irby. Mr Irby told Sky News the country under Joe Biden at the moment is “absolutely horrible”. “The country is way more racialized than usual; everything’s about race,” he said. “Everybody’s concerned about all types of slights and microaggressions and the left are really taking over everything. “We’re in really bad straits here, it’s not very good”.


Mr Irby said the left and the Biden administration are fuelling racial tensions and using it as a “smokescreen”. “No one’s ask asking about Hunter Biden and this new gun scandal, no one’s asking about Joe Biden being bought and sold by China. “No one’s talking about the fact that China now has a larger navy than the US, and that China is making moves towards Taiwan, and is taking over our country as far as busines is concerned. “We’re so busy enthralled in race, enthralled in fighting one another.”

Read more …

Much scarier than the filibuster is the fact that Biden was first elected to the Senate in 1972.

What Biden’s Talking Filibuster Could Look Like (IC)

When President Joe Biden was first elected to the Senate in 1972, the filibuster was rarely deployed, and when it was, it could be beaten back by a vote of two-thirds of the Senate. That almost never happened, and instead the threat of a filibuster would sink legislation, not because the majority couldn’t overcome it but because they didn’t want to waste a few weeks on it and had other pressing business to get to. In 1975, the rule was reformed to lower the threshold from 67 down to 60, though it was still rarely used. The Senate that Biden grew up in — remember, he was 29 when he was elected — largely passed bills by a simple majority vote, including controversial bills. When the debate was over, even senators who opposed the underlying bill would vote yes on what’s known as “cloture,” which means closure of the debate.

That began to change, first with Harry Reid, D-Nev., as Senate minority leader, determined to fight President George W. Bush, and then went into overdrive under Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. McConnell effectively raised the threshold any legislation needed to 60 votes in order to undermine President Barack Obama. For somebody like Biden, that phenomenon — that legislation needs 60 votes to pass — is a relatively new innovation, not the beating heart of the Senate as some people claim. And nobody knows that better, perhaps, than Biden himself. He alluded to his old-school cred in an interview with George Stephanopoulos published Tuesday evening by ABC. “I don’t think that you have to eliminate the filibuster, you have to do it what it used to be when I first got to the Senate back in the old days,” Biden said. “You had to stand up and command the floor, you had to keep talking.”

“You’re for bringing back the talking filibuster?” Stephanopoulos asked. “I am. That’s what it was supposed to be,” Biden said. “It’s getting to the point where, you know, democracy is having a hard time functioning.” Notice that Biden is using the credibility he owns as a Senate traditionalist — he was elected six years before I was even born, and I’m getting old — to make the case that reform is necessary to defend democracy and return the Senate to the working condition it was in when he got there. It’s no secret that Biden was far from progressives’ first choice to win the Democratic nomination, but he may possess a unique ability to disarm centrist and conservative Democrats who otherwise might oppose the same project or program if it was proposed by Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.; Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.; or, really, anybody but Biden.

Read more …

“Nord Stream 2 is really bad for you. A trade/investment deal with China is really bad for you. Now sit. Good girl.”

US-NATO vs Russia-China in a Hybrid War To The Finish (Escobar)

Let’s start with comic relief: the “leader of the free world” has pledged to prevent China from becoming the “leading” nation on the planet. And to fulfill such an exceptional mission, his “expectation” is to run again for president in 2024. Not as a hologram. And fielding the same running mate. Now that the “free world” has breathed a sigh of relief, let’s return to serious matters – as in the contours of the Shocked and Awed 21st Century Geopolitics. What happened in the past few days between Anchorage and Guilin continues to reverberate. As Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stressed that Brussels “destroyed” the relationship between Russia and the EU, he focused on how the Russia-China comprehensive strategic partnership is getting stronger and stronger.

Not so casual synchronicity revealed that as Lavrov was being properly hosted by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Guilin – scenic lunch in the Li river included -, US Secretary of State Tony Blinken was visiting NATO’s James-Bondish HQ outside Brussels. Lavrov made it quite clear that the core of Russia-China revolves around establishing an economic and financial axis to counterpunch the Bretton Woods arrangement. That implies doing everything to protect Moscow and Beijing from “threats of sanctions by other states”; progressive de-dollarization; and advances in crypto-currency. This “triple threat” is what is unleashing the Hegemon’s unbounded fury.

On a broader spectrum, the Russia-China strategy also implies that the progressive interaction between the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) will keep apace across Central Asia, Southeast Asia, parts of South Asia, and Southwest Asia – necessary steps towards an ultimately unified Eurasian market under a sort of strategic Sino-Russo management. In Alaska, the Blinken-Sullivan team learned, at their expense, that you don’t mess with a Yoda such as Yang Jiechi with impunity. Now they’re about to learn what it means to mess with Nikolai Patrushev, head of the Russian Security Council. Patrushev, as much a Yoda as Yang Jiechi, and a master of understatement, delivered a not so cryptic message: if the US created “though days” for Russia, as they “are planning that, they can implement that”, Washington “would be responsible for the steps that they would take”.

Meanwhile, in Brussels, Blinken was enacting a Perfect Couple routine with spectacularly inefficient head of the European Commission (EC) Ursula von der Leyen. The script went something like this. “Nord Stream 2 is really bad for you. A trade/investment deal with China is really bad for you. Now sit. Good girl.” Then came NATO, which put on quite a show, complete with an all-Foreign Minister tough guy pose in front of the HQ. That was part of a summit – which predictably did not “celebrate” the 10th anniversary of NATO’s destruction of Libya or the major ass-kicking NATO “endured” in Afghanistan. In June 2020, NATO’s cardboard secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg – actually his US military handlers – laid out what is now known as the NATO 2030 strategy, which boils down to a Global Robocop politico-military mandate. The Global South has (not) been warned.

Read more …

“In the past, everyone was really concerned about what the editor of The New York Times put above the fold. Now, we should be concerned about what Facebook’s algorithm decides to rank higher..”

The Facebook Filter Bubble (AEA)

In his 2020 victory address, President Biden called for an end to what he termed this “era of grim demonization.” He forcefully urged Congress and fellow Americans to overcome their political differences. “The refusal of Democrats and Republicans to cooperate with one another is not due to some mysterious force beyond our control,” Biden said. “It’s a decision. It’s a choice we make.” And yet, that choice isn’t just up to US citizens or individuals on Capitol Hill. It’s also a decision for today’s largest social media company, according to a paper in the American Economic Review. Author Ro’ee Levy found rigorous evidence from a field experiment that Facebook’s algorithm results in people being exposed to more news matching their own opinions, and it may be increasing polarization.


Polarization in the United States has been on the rise for some time. As of 2014, Republicans and Democrats were more divided than at any point in the previous two decades. Other studies have argued that this growing division drives dysfunction in Congress and undermines trust in important institutions. Meanwhile, Facebook has emerged as a dominant source of news. As recently as 2008, fewer than one in eight Americans consumed news on any social media site at all. By 2019, 52 percent of Americans were receiving at least some of their news on Facebook, which was more than the share getting news on all other social media platforms combined. “In the past, everyone was really concerned about what the editor of The New York Times put above the fold. Now, we should be concerned about what Facebook’s algorithm decides to rank higher,” Levy told the AEA in an interview.

Read more …

Syria has already started rationing gasoline.

Experts Fear Ever Given May Be Stuck In Suez For Weeks (G.)

Dredge and pull, dredge and pull. Dislodging a vessel that has become lodged in sand is simple, in theory. If the vessel is as long as New York’s Empire State building is tall, then the process gets more complicated. Dredgers, tugboats and excavators, guided by world-leading consultants in salvaging ships, have been working for days to free the 220,000 tons, 400 metre-long Ever Given that became stuck in the Suez canal last Tuesday. It has created a jam of more than 200 vessels in one of the world’s key trade lanes. The ripple effect on shipping may be felt for weeks – and longer if the Japanese-owned “megaship” cannot be dislodged any time soon. On Saturday the chairman of the Suez Canal Authority (SCA), Osama Rabie, said that work to dislodge the ship was continuing and had so far allowed its stern and rudder to move and its propeller to restart.

But the changing tide had jammed the equipment once again. “The type of soil we’re dealing with is very difficult to manage, as are the tides which affect the vessel due to its size and its cargo load,” he said. Asked when the ship could be afloat again, Rabie suggested it was possible “today or tomorrow, depending on the ship’s responsiveness to the tides”. A key hurdle has been the sheer size and weight of the enormous vessel, part of a class of container ships that has ballooned in size over the past two decades, partly due to the proliferation of “just in time” logistical models that keep companies lean, efficient and reliant on fast deliveries from factories and warehouses overseas.

The experts brought in to free the vessel, the Dutch company SMIT Salvage and Japanese specialists Nippon Salvage, have been working to dislodge tens of thousands of cubic metres of earth around the stricken vessel, as tugboats help to pull it free. “These are the experts, but it took them three days to get into country, now they have to find these large tugboats and get them to the canal, they’re not positioned there,” said Captain John Konrad, a maritime expert and the founder of maritime news-site gCaptain. The refloating process, he explained, will likely involve a manoeuvre called a “backwards twist,” using large tugboats to rotate the ship counterclockwise and dislodge it from the bank after dredging sand from around the bow.

Read more …

“In any economy where money hoarding and accumulation is not curtailed, and where most of the money in circulation is issued by private banks as debt, with or without interest, there will be a system-wide scarcity of money..”

Monetary Adaptation To Planetary Emergency (UoC)

The existence of a Monetary Growth Imperative (MGI) and its implications for economic stability, democracy and environmental sustainability have been put forward by environmental economists for around two decades but recently criticised as invalid. Given the urgency of the climate and ecological crisis alongside spiralling public and private debt, the MGI deserves closer attention. Methods: For this review paper we analysed studies on the MGI, using a selective, iterative approach to the literature review. Results: Our critical review of the research on the MGI revealed several full academic treatments of the argument and even a taxonomy of them, most of which have not been refuted. We articulate one of them in a new way, as well as two more which have not received academic treatment, before considering why it might be thought politically expedient that any MGI should be refuted, or at least seen to be refuted.

Conclusion: In any economy where money hoarding and accumulation is not curtailed, and where most of the money in circulation is issued by private banks as debt, with or without interest, there will be a system-wide scarcity of money available to people and organisations to service their debts – unless, that is, there is continual economic growth. To avoid the deleterious implications of a shortfall of money in an economy, policies are used to maintain economic growth, which is therefore a form of imperative on society. This MGI may be accentuated, at a system-wide level, by the practice of full-reserve re-lending of money.

Interest is not the main driver of the imperative, but because it increases the transfer of money to those who are wealthy and more likely to hold that money in a stagnant form that is not available for debt servicing by others, interest charges may indeed exacerbate the MGI. We conclude that the debt-money system creates a competition for money between debtors and savers which is resolved through creation of more debt-money, which in turn drives growth and the resulting ecological and climate emergency.

Read more …

 

 

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Mar 242021
 
 March 24, 2021  Posted by at 9:09 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , ,  52 Responses »


Paul Gauguin Farm in Brittany 1894

 

We Are Living Through a Time of Fear (Cook)
Covid: £5,000 Fine For People Going On Holiday Abroad (BBC)
Lockdown One Year On – It Was Never Supposed To Work (OffG)
CoroNaspresso: A Cheap, Rapid and Simple Home Test (chemrxiv)
Every Day We Discuss Closure And Then Decide To Keep Going (MENA)
Top Yale Doctor: ‘Ivermectin Works,’ Including For Long COVID (TSN)
Logic In Lockdown: The German Corona Policy Is In Ruins (NZZ)
US Home Sales Fell Nearly 20% In February (F.)
EU Has ‘Destroyed’ Once Friendly Ties With Russia – Lavrov (RT)
Welcome To ‘Shocked & Awed’ 21st Century Geopolitics (Escobar)
H.R.1 – Is It Really “For the People”? (Farrell)
Leaked Docs Show Obama FTC Gave Google Its Monopoly (Bovard)
Big Oil Backs Carbon Tax (Reason)
Minnesota Police Ready For Pipeline Resistance (IC)

 

 

“One must still have chaos in oneself to give birth to a dancing star.”
– Friedrich Nietzsche

 

 

“I was not born to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion. Let us see who is the strongest”.
– Henry David Thoreau, ‘Civil Disobedience’

 

 

UK politics has gone completely bonkers….

We Are Living Through a Time of Fear (Cook)

Welcome to the age of fear. Nothing is more corrosive of the democratic impulse than fear. Left unaddressed, it festers, eating away at our confidence and empathy. We are now firmly in a time of fear – not only of the virus, but of each other. Fear destroys solidarity. Fear forces us to turn inwards to protect ourselves and our loved ones. Fear refuses to understand or identify with the concerns of others. In fear societies, basic rights become a luxury. They are viewed as a threat, as recklessness, as a distraction that cannot be afforded in this moment of crisis. Once fear takes hold, populations risk agreeing to hand back rights, won over decades or centuries, that were the sole, meagre limit on the power of elites to ransack the common wealth. In calculations based on fear, freedoms must make way for other priorities: being responsible, keeping safe, averting danger.

Worse, rights are surrendered with our consent because we are persuaded that the rights themselves are a threat to social solidarity, to security, to our health. It is therefore far from surprising that the UK’s draconian new Police and Crime Bill – concentrating yet more powers in the police – has arrived at this moment. It means that the police can prevent non-violent protest that is likely to be too noisy or might create “unease” in bystanders. Protesters risk being charged with a crime if they cause “nuisance” or set up protest encampments in public places, as the Occupy movement did a decade ago. And damaging memorials – totems especially prized in a time of fear for their power to ward off danger – could land protesters, like those who toppled a statue to notorious slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol last summer, a 10-year jail sentence.

In other words, this is a bill designed to outlaw the right to conduct any demonstration beyond the most feeble and ineffective kind. It makes permanent current, supposedly extraordinary limitations on protest that were designed, or so it was said, to protect the public from the immediate threat of disease. Protest that demands meaningful change is always noisy and disruptive. Would the suffragettes have won women the vote without causing inconvenience and without offending vested interests that wanted them silent? What constitutes too much noise or public nuisance? In a time of permanent pandemic, it is whatever detracts from the all-consuming effort to extinguish our fear and insecurity. When we are afraid, why should the police not be able to snatch someone off the street for causing “unease”?

The UK bill is far from unusual. Similar legislation – against noisy, inconvenient and disruptive protest – is being passed in states across the United States. Just as free speech is being shut down on the grounds that we must not offend, so protest is being shut down on the grounds that we must not disturb.

Read more …

… and I mean completely.

Covid: £5,000 Fine For People Going On Holiday Abroad (BBC)

A £5,000 fine for anyone in England trying to travel abroad without good reason is due to come into force next week as part of new coronavirus laws. The penalty is included in legislation that will be voted on by MPs on Thursday. Foreign holidays are currently not allowed under the “stay at home” rule which ends on Monday. But then the ban on leaving the UK at this time will become a specific law backed up by the threat of the fine. Under the current plan for easing restrictions, the earliest date people in England could go abroad for a holiday would be 17 May. However, another surge in Covid cases in continental Europe, as well as the slow rollout of vaccines across Europe, has cast doubt on the resumption of foreign travel.


Health Secretary Matt Hancock said restrictions on travelling abroad were necessary to guard against the importation of large numbers of cases and new variants which might put the vaccine rollout at risk. Shadow Cabinet Office minister Rachel Reeves told BBC Breakfast that Labour supported measures to keep the UK’s borders secure and avoid the importation of new variants but said the government’s “slowness to react” had contributed to the country’s high death rate. Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned on Monday the UK should be “under no illusion” that it will feel the effects of a rising number of cases on the continent. One of his ministers, Lord Bethell, said England might put “all our European neighbours” on the “red list” of countries. However, Mr Hancock told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme there were no plans to do this.

Read more …

A two week lockdown can achieve something. A one year lockdown can only achieve something other than the stated intent.

An entire library on lockdown effectiveness is at The Fat Emperor.

Lockdown One Year On – It Was Never Supposed To Work (OffG)

And so we come to March 23rd, and lockdown’s first birthday. Or, as we call it here, the longest two weeks in history. 1 year. 12 calendar months. 365 increasingly gruelling days. It’s a long time since “2 weeks to flatten the curve”, became an obvious lie. Sometime in July it turned into a sick joke. The curve was flattened, the NHS protected and the clapping was hearty and meaningful. …and none of it made any difference. This was not a sacrifice for the “greater good”. It was not a hard decision with arguments on both sides. It was not a risk-benefit scenario. The “risks” were in fact certainties, and the “benefits” entirely fictional.Because Lockdowns don’t work. It’s really important to remember that.


Even if you subscribe to the belief that “Sars-Cov-2” is a unique discrete entity (which is far from proven), or that it is incredibly dangerous (which is demonstrably untrue), the lockdown has not worked to, in any way, limit this supposed threat. Lockdowns. Don’t. Work. They don’t make any difference, the curves don’t flatten and the R0 number doesn’t drop and the lives aren’t saved (quite the opposite, as we’ve all seen). Just look at the graphs. This one, comparing “Covid deaths” in the UK (lockdown) and Sweden (no lockdown):

Or this one, comparing “Covid deaths” in California (lockdown) and Florida (no lockdown):

From Belarus to Sweden to Florida to Nicaragua to Tanzania, the evidence is clear. “Covid”, whatever that means in real terms, is not impacted by lockdowns. Putting the entire population under house arrest doesn’t benefit public health. In fact, it’s (rather predictably) incredibly counter-productive. The damage done by shuttering businesses, limiting access to healthcare, postponing treatments and diagnoses, postponed surgeries, increasing depression, soaring unemployment and mass poverty has been discussed to death. The scale of the impact cannot be overstated.


Dr David Nabarro, World Health Organization special envoy for Covid-19, said this of lockdowns back in October: “We in the World Health Organization do not advocate lockdowns as the primary means of control of the virus[…]just look at what’s happened to the tourism industry…look what’s happening to small-holding farmers[…]it seems we may have a doubling of world poverty by next year. We may well have at least a doubling of child malnutrition […] This is a terrible, ghastly global catastrophe.”

Read more …

Haven’t read the whole document yet, but the picture looks intruiging.

CoroNaspresso: A Cheap, Rapid and Simple Home Test (chemrxiv)

Development of a novel LAMP device which is cheap, reusable, and can be produced in large amounts in a short period of time. The device was designed such not to require chemical exothermic reactions, have limited waste produced and with a minimum cost of the device as a whole. The device was tested for the detection of SARS-CoV2 RNA.

Read more …

In Lebanon, it’s one crisis on top of another crisis on top of another.

Every Day We Discuss Closure And Then Decide To Keep Going (MENA)

Once bustling with life, Beirut’s famed Gemmayze Street is now deserted. Lined with damaged homes, collapsed buildings and closed businesses, the residential and commercial hub was one of the city’s most vibrant destinations – but not any more. “It’s like a nightmare. We’ve never seen anything like this before,” said Charbel Bassil, owner of renowned Le Chef restaurant, on the first day of reopening after a nationwide lockdown. One of Beirut’s oldest and most popular restaurants, Le Chef, in in Gemmayze, is one of many businesses struggling to stay afloat under the weight of Lebanon’s compounding crises. The family business reopened its doors on March 22, as per the government’s lockdown strategy, but customers were hardly pouring in.

The modest space, which was often full to the brim for lunchtime, now welcomed only three tables after a full day of work, or about 10 customers. The burst of vigor and energy that characterised the dining experience at Le Chef was replaced by a sense of moping and melancholy. “We’re doing our best to keep going, but everything is a mess,” Mr Bassil told The National. Le Chef , founded in 1967, weathered civil wars and crises, but none harmed trade like Lebanon’s current events. “This is our family business. I’ve been working here since I was a child, but nothing we lived through was as bad as this,” Mr Bassil said. After almost losing the restaurant in the Beirut blast, Le Chef was able to rebuild thanks to donations, $5,000 of which came from the actor Russell Crowe.

But what the port explosion could not destroy, the economic crisis shattered. “We can’t work in this crisis. Suppliers won’t give us goods because of the market rate and we don’t know how to price our dishes,” Mr Bassil told The National. “We’re a restaurant for the people. We want to serve high-quality food for affordable prices.” Lebanon’s currency lost more than 80 per cent of its value since the beginning of the economic crisis, declared one of the worst in the country’s history. In one year, the Lebanese pound, which once traded at 1,500 to the US dollar, slumped to 15,000 on the parallel market. The minimum wage shrank from $450 to an average of $50, leaving people with insufficient salaries to cover rising living costs.

[..] Despite the opportunity to be back in business, Lebanon’s hospitality sector is wary about reopening because operational costs now outweigh profits. Fewer than 1,000 restaurants and cafes are expected to reopen this week, said Aref Saade, treasurer at the Syndicate of Owners of Restaurants, Cafes, Night-Clubs and Pastries. Prior to the crisis, Lebanon had about 8,500 tourist institutions in business. The number decreased to 4,500 when Covid-19 struck, and is anticipated to sink below 1,000 due to the soaring and unstable currency exchange rate. “Businesses are refraining from reopening – it’s just not worth it,” Mr Saade told The National.

Read more …

“If I can save you,” he said referring to his father, “I can tell you, I save anybody.”

Top Yale Doctor: ‘Ivermectin Works,’ Including For Long COVID (TSN)

A Yale University professor and renowned cancer researcher has pored over the COVID-19 literature and treated several dozen patients. He can remain silent no longer. Dr. Alessandro Santin, a practicing oncologist and scientist who runs a large laboratory at Yale, believes firmly that ivermectin could vastly cut suffering from COVID-19. Santin joins a growing group of doctors committed to using the safe, generic drug both as an early home treatment to prevent hospitalization and alongside inpatient treatments like steroids and oxygen. “The bottom line is that ivermectin works. I’ve seen that in my patients as well as treating my own family in Italy,” Santin said in an interview, referring to his father, 88, who recently suffered a serious bout of COVID. “We must find a way to administer it on a large scale to a lot of people.”

Santin’s statements carry the prestige of a leadership position at Yale School of Medicine and the gravitas of a top uterine cancer researcher, who has authored more than 250 science journal articles and pioneered treatment, used worldwide, for the most aggressive form of uterine cancer. At Yale, he is an OB/GYN professor, team leader in gynecologic oncology at the Smilow Comprehensive Cancer Center, and co-chief of gynecologic oncology. When COVID came along, Santin began reading about how best he might help his cancer patients, 10 to 20 percent of whom were coming in infected with COVID. He began using ivermectin after the National Institutes of Health changed its advisory in January to allow the drug’s use outside of COVID trials. Santin’s endorsement is not only important but broad.

He said he has seen ivermectin work at every stage of COVID — preventing it, eliminating early infection, quelling the destructive cytokine storm in late infection, and helping about a dozen patients so far who suffered months after COVID. One of them is an athlete and mother of two, 39, who had been disabled by post-COVID chest pain, shortness of breath and fatigue; she confirmed in an email to me her joy at being able to walk up a hill again and breathing better within 72 hours of her first dose. “When you have people that can’t breathe for five, six, eight, nine months and they tried multiple drugs and supplements with no success, and you give them ivermectin,” Dr. Santin said of long-haul patients, “and you see that they start immediately feeling better, this is not placebo. This is real.”

[..] Beyond his outpatients, Santin has treated family members and friends infected with COVID in both his home community in Connecticut and in his native Italy via telemedicine. There, he prescribed ivermectin to more than 15 families, in which parents, children or others had became infected; the goal was both to treat early and prevent severe COVID, as studies have shown ivermectin does. “I have not a single one that right now had to go to the hospital to receive oxygen,” he said. “I have no doubt ivermectin saved my 88-year-old father’s life.” His father survived COVID despite high blood pressure, cardiac disease that led previously to seven stents and open heart surgery, and lung problems. “If I can save you,” he said referring to his father, “I can tell you, I save anybody.”

Read more …

Google translate.

Logic In Lockdown: The German Corona Policy Is In Ruins (NZZ)

Instead of easing concepts, the Chancellor and Prime Minister present the extension and tightening of the lockdown. The citizens have to pay for what the government has missed for months. Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Prime Minister wrestled with each other for twelve hours on Tuesday. Anyone who expected a big hit after this nightly marathon was disappointed: The result of the conference is shameful. Not only that the tentative easing of the corona measures has been discarded. Germany should also go into a tough lockdown at Easter. “We thought again today,” said the Chancellor in the early hours of the morning. In order to “break through” the third corona wave a little bit, April 1st and 3rd at Easter will be “one-off days of rest”, as “extended rest time”.

Rethought? With these resolutions, Germany’s government surrenders to the principles of reason. If you wanted to avoid hamster purchases and crowds in supermarkets until now, the opposite is now the case: the closing of supermarkets over Easter is forcing citizens to replenish their supplies. You don’t need a crystal ball to predict the resulting overcrowding of the shops on Holy Saturday. Is that still wanton or already deliberate bad planning? Either way, it lacks any logic. Religious freedom could also be a victim of the comfortably formulated “extended rest period at Easter” – for all those for whom five months of rest are not enough – there should be no Easter services with an audience in attendance, according to the will of the conference.

So while in the past few days 700 Hansa Rostock football fans were allowed to go to the stadium with a negative quick test and 1,000 classical music fans who also tested negative were allowed to go back to the Berlin Philharmonic, is it not possible to organize a gathering of Christians at their highest festival? Not if you leave it to this government, that’s for sure. Local politicians such as Tübingen’s Mayor Boris Palmer show that there is another way. With test stations he enables the citizens of his city to live a little and the business people to survive.

Read more …

“..the lowest reported inventory since the Realtors association began tracking it in 1982..”

US Home Sales Fell Nearly 20% In February (F.)

Single-family home sales dropped 18.2% from January to February, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, even as annualized sales remain much higher than pre-pandemic rates. 775,000 (at a seasonally adjusted annual rate) new single-family homes were sold in Feb. 2021—that’s a large drop from the 958,000 homes sold rate in Jan. 2021. Adjusted home sale rates are still far higher than they were pre-pandemic: 716,000 new single family homes were sold in Feb. 2020. The median price of new homes sold in February was $349,000 and the average sale price was $416,000. The National Association of Realtors said the decline from January was due to “historically-low inventory”, and said home sales are ahead of total 2020 sales. At the end of December 2020, there were just 1.07 million homes for sale—the lowest reported inventory since the Realtors association began tracking it in 1982.

Read more …

“Brussels “has consistently destroyed all mechanisms without exception that existed on the basis of an agreement on partnership and cooperation.”

EU Has ‘Destroyed’ Once Friendly Ties With Russia – Lavrov (RT)

Months of political tension and a wave of new sanctions have severed all links between the EU and Russia, Moscow’s top diplomat has said, adding that his country is ready to resume cooperation if Brussels decides it is interested. Speaking at a press conference alongside his Chinese counterpart on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that currently, “there are no relations with the EU as an organization. The entire infrastructure of these relations has been destroyed by unilateral decisions made from Brussels.” Some individual European countries, he argued, are still seeking closer ties with Moscow, “guided by their national interests.” However, these are being fast outpaced by growing partnerships with China, Lavrov told journalists.

“If and when Europeans decide to eliminate these anomalies in contacts with their largest neighbor, of course, we will be ready to build up these relations based on equality,” the diplomat confirmed, “while in the East, in my opinion, we have a very intensive agenda, which is becoming more diverse every year.” In February, the foreign minister stated that Moscow’s relations with the bloc had taken a tumble in 2014, after the EU “blamed the Russian Federation for everything that is happening” in Ukraine following the Maidan. Since then, he argued, Brussels “has consistently destroyed all mechanisms without exception that existed on the basis of an agreement on partnership and cooperation.”

As part of a fiery broadcast interview, Lavrov warned that if the bloc’s leadership sought to impose sanctions on Russia that hit sensitive areas of the economy, Moscow could break off diplomatic contact altogether as a last resort. “Of course, we do not want to isolate ourselves from living in the world, but we must be ready for this. If you want peace, prepare for war,” he stressed. Earlier this month, the EU unveiled a new package of sanctions against four Russian officials it claimed were responsible for the detention of opposition figure Alexey Navalny, and “human rights violations” during the policing of subsequent protests held in his support. At the time, the Foreign Ministry in Moscow said the bloc had “missed yet another opportunity to review its … approach to relations with Russia.”

Read more …

“The United States is not qualified to talk to China in a condescending manner. The Chinese people will not accept that.”

Welcome To ‘Shocked & Awed’ 21st Century Geopolitics (Escobar)

With a Russia-China-Iran triple bitch slap on the hegemon, we now have a brand new geopolitical chessboard… It took 18 years after Shock and Awe unleashed on Iraq for the Hegemon to be mercilessly shocked and awed by a virtually simultaneous, diplomatic Russia-China one-two. How this is a real game-changing moment cannot be emphasized enough; 21st century geopolitics will never be the same again. Yet it was the Hegemon who first crossed the diplomatic Rubicon. The handlers behind hologram Joe “I’ll do whatever you want me to do, Nance” Biden had whispered in his earpiece to brand Russian President Vladimir Putin as a soulless “killer” in the middle of a softball interview.

Not even at the height of the Cold War the superpowers resorted to ad hominem attacks. The result of such an astonishing blunder was to regiment virtually the whole Russian population behind Putin – because that was perceived as an attack against the Russian state. Then came Putin’s cool, calm, collected – and quite diplomatic – response, which needs to be carefully pondered. These sharp as a dagger words are arguably the most devastatingly powerful five minutes in the history of post-truth international relations. In For Leviathan, it’s so cold in Alaska, we forecasted what could take place in the US-China 2+2 summit at a shabby hotel in Anchorage, with cheap bowls of instant noodles thrown in as extra bonus.

China’s millennial diplomatic protocol establishes that discussions start around common ground – which are then extolled as being more important than disagreements between negotiating parties. That’s at the heart of the concept of “no loss of face”. Only afterwards the parties discuss their differences. Yet it was totally predictable that a bunch of amateurish, tactless and clueless Americans would smash those basic diplomatic rules to show “strength” to their home crowd, distilling the proverbial litany on Taiwan, Hong Kong, South China Sea, “genocide” of Uighurs. Oh dear. There was not a single State Dept. hack with minimal knowledge of East Asia to warn the amateurs you don’t mess with the formidable head of the Foreign Affairs Commission at the CCP’s Central Committee, Yang Jiechi, with impunity.

Visibly startled, but controlling his exasperation, Yang Jiechi struck back. And the rhetorical shots were heard around the whole Global South. They had to include a basic lesson in manners: “If you want to deal with us properly, let’s have some mutual respect and do things the right way”. But what stood out was a stinging, concise diagnostic blending history and politics: “The United States is not qualified to talk to China in a condescending manner. The Chinese people will not accept that. It must be based on mutual respect to deal with China, and history will prove that those who seek to strangle China will suffer in the end.”

Read more …

It is a weird piece of legislation.

H.R.1 – Is It Really “For the People”? (Farrell)

A lot has been written about H.R.1 — the so-called “For the People Act of 2021.” Former Vice President Mike Pence has opined on the bill. The Editorial Board of the Wall Street Journal sounded the alarm back in January. The editors of National Review come right out and call it a “partisan assault on American democracy.” H.R.1 purports to, “expand Americans’ access to the ballot box, reduce the influence of big money in politics, strengthen ethics rules for public servants, and implement other anti-corruption measures for the purpose of fortifying our democracy, and for other purposes.” The Bill is 791 pages long. Here are just a few of the more egregious federal power grabs in H.R.1 concocted against the 50 states that run elections under the U.S. Constitution:

• Ban voter ID laws and allow ballot harvesting; • Expand Election Day to “election season” by mandating mail-in ballots be counted 10 days after the election would normally be over; • Automatic voter registration of people who apply for unemployment, Medicaid, Obamacare and college, or who are coming out of prison. There is a lot more, and it gets worse. Substantially worse. There are First Amendment restrictions on political speech and on the support or opposition of a bill and/or a candidate. Remember: This is supposed to be “fortifying our democracy.” If you are interested in a “through the looking glass” annotated analysis of H.R.1 — then head over to the Brennan Center for Justice. They are happy to explain how those pesky constitutional rights can be whittled down to something more “fair” for everyone.

For example, the Brennan Center analysis confidently assures readers about how H.R.1 “affirms Congress’ power to protect the right to vote, regulate federal elections, and defend the democratic process in the United States.” It seeks to airbrush Article I, Section 4 — The Elections Clause — from history and practice. The Clause directs and empowers states to determine the “Times, Places, and Manner” of congressional elections. H.R.1 would federally strangle the Elections Clause. In order to find our way out, it is helpful to know how we got into this terrible predicament. The foundation for the madness of H.R.1 is legal positivism, a thesis, according to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, which states “that the existence and content of law depends on social facts and not on its merits.” H.R.1 is nearly 800 pages of meritless, militant, social engineering targeting the foundations of the U.S. Constitution, voting rights and political free speech — all dressed-up as being “for the people.”

Read more …

Too late now.

Leaked Docs Show Obama FTC Gave Google Its Monopoly (Bovard)

Eight years ago, the Federal Trade Commission had the chance to face down Google — the giant of Silicon Valley whose power now alters the free flow of information at a global scale, distorts market access for businesses large and small, and changes the nature of independent thought in ways the world has never experienced. Instead, the FTC blinked — and blinked hard, choosing to close the investigation in early 2013. A remarkable leak to Politico of agency documents about the 2012 Google investigation reveals that, despite ample evidence of market distortions and threats to competition presented by the agency’s lawyers, the five commissioners of the FTC deferred instead to speculative claims by their economists.

Records and reporting about the 2012 investigation suggest the FTC did so while bending to political pressure from the Obama White House — which was, in turn, bending to political pressure from Google. William Kovacic, a former FTC chair under President George W. Bush, reviewed the more than 300 pages of documents leaked to Politico and concluded the agency overlooked “what many experts and regulators would consider clear antitrust violations,” calling the specificity of issues outlined “breathtaking.” In short, where we find ourselves today — with Google as the primary filter of the world’s information, engaging in a network of exclusionary contracts and anti-competitive conduct, and subject to an antitrust lawsuit led by the Department of Justice and joined by 48 state attorneys general — could have, and should have, been avoided.

That it wasn’t, however, provides key takeaways about where we are now with Big Tech, and, in particular, the method of enforcement of our antitrust laws, whose application has become too tightly wrapped around the axle of price, and captured by the speculative science of economic forecasting. It also reveals just how politicized antitrust enforcement has become — influenced by the siren song of internet exceptionalism and the powerful tug of Google, one of the world’s richest companies. Perhaps the most stunning takeaway in the 2012 documents is the extent to which the recommendations of the FTC’s lawyers sharply differed from those of the agency’s economists, on whose judgment the FTC commissioners ultimately relied in their decision to drop the investigation into Google.

The FTC’s antitrust attorneys concluded that Google was breaking the law by “banishing potential competitors” with a series of exclusionary contracts on mobile phones — much of which forms the basis for the lawsuit brought nearly a decade later by the Trump Department of Justice. The FTC’s economists, however, demurred, insisting that claims of Google’s market dominance were unfounded and would soon give way to competition. This required a markedly un-curious treatment of key facts.

Read more …

Whatever Big Oil backs can never be good.

Big Oil Backs Carbon Tax (Reason)

Executives from leading oil companies, including ExxonMobil, BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and the American Petroleum Institute (API), met virtually with Biden administration officials to discuss policies aimed at addressing the problem of man-made climate change. The Wall Street Journal reported that company leaders said that “they wanted to work with the administration and pledged support for policies that would make it more expensive to emit the gases that contribute to climate change.” In a statement issued after the virtual meeting, API CEO Mike Sommers declared, “We are committed to working with the White House to develop effective government policies that help meet the ambitions of the Paris Agreement and support a cleaner future.” The API is rumored to be considering coming out in support of carbon emissions pricing.

ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips previously endorsed the bipartisan Climate Leadership Council’s (CLC) revenue neutral carbon tax and dividend proposal in which escalating taxes collected on oil and natural gas at the wellhead and on coal at the minehead would be entirely rebated in equal sums to each American as an annual payment. The CLC cites a 2018 study that finds that 70 percent of American households would receive more in dividend payments then they would pay in increased energy prices. Once the CLC’s carbon tax plan is adopted, all other regulations and subsidies aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions, such as automobile fuel efficiency and renewable portfolio standards, are supposed to be permanently repealed.

However, lots of climate activists oppose carbon taxes. Why? InsideClimateNews offered the example of Matto Mildenberger, a political scientist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, who has argued that carbon taxes make climate action unpopular because they front load the costs immediately onto consumers while the eventual benefits of lower temperatures, less fierce storms, and lower sea levels stretch into the future. As InsideClimateNews explained: “In the view of Mildenberger and others who’ve studied climate politics around the world, subsidies, regulation, and other policies that provide more immediate and visible benefits—like jobs creation—are a better way to jump-start climate policy, even if they cost more in the short run. That’s because they stimulate investment to help lower the cost of alternative energy, and at the same time help broaden political support for stronger climate policy. New actors with real investments they want to protect and advance will want more aggressive action, and politicians will respond.”

Read more …

Drilling under the Mississippi. Leave it be.

Minnesota Police Ready For Pipeline Resistance (IC)

As you drive toward the Mississippi River’s headwaters from the east, the lakes that open up on either side of the highway are still white-blue with ice. The Mississippi River, however, is flowing. The open water — a trickle compared to the expanse it will become farther south — is a hopeful sign of the end of another long Minnesota winter, but it also has opponents of pipeline construction in the area on edge. Enbridge, the Canadian energy-transport firm, is planning to route its Line 3 pipeline under the Mississippi, near where it crosses Highway 40. In winter, a pollution-control rule bars drilling under the frozen waters. As the ice melts away, so do the restrictions. Those organizing against the project worry that Enbridge could begin tunneling under the Mississippi and other local rivers any day — and the pipeline-resistance movement is getting ready for it.

“They got a lot of money, they got a lot of equipment, but we got a lot of people,” said Anishinaabe water protector Winona LaDuke at an event last week with actor and activist Jane Fonda, which took place in front of the flowing Crow Wing River, not far from where Enbridge seeks to drill under its shores. “Spring is coming. Let’s be outdoorsy.” Enbridge’s Line 3 project began construction four months ago. It was designed to replace a decaying pipeline of the same name; however, a large portion of its 338-mile Minnesota section, which makes up most of the U.S. route, plows through new land and waters. The project would double Line 3’s capacity for carrying tar sands oil, one of the most carbon-intensive fossil fuels in the world, at a moment when a rapid shift away from fossil fuels has become critical to address the climate crisis.

The delicate waterway ecosystems through which the pipeline passes have become the central organizing point of the anti-pipeline, or water protector, movement. Hundreds of rivers, streams, and wetlands face the specter of a tar sands leak after the replacement Line 3 begins operating. And the particularly intensive form of drilling required to tunnel the pipeline under rivers holds its own set of risks during construction.

Read more …

 

 

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God Save the Queen

 

 

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Mar 222021
 
 March 22, 2021  Posted by at 9:00 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  32 Responses »


Paul Gauguin Tahitian village 1892

 

3 Fully Vaccinated People Catch Covid-19 Coronavirus in Hawaii (Forbes)
Travel Changes For Those Who Are Fully Vaccinated (Forbes)
European Trust In AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine Plunges (R.)
Ivermectin: Game changer vs Covid-19? What’s the Controversy? (Manila Times)
Greece Mobilizes Private Doctors to Cope With Surging Covid Infections (GR)
Growing Rebellion Against Draconian Covid Restrictions By Canadians (RT)
V. Putin Ain’t No Corn Pop (Kunstler)
Welcome To The Age Of Modern Monetary Theory (Kodrik)
Next Round Of Us Fiscal Legislation Could Reach $4 Trillion – Goldman (FXS)
Media Pseudo-Debates and the Silence of Leftist Critics (Curtin)
Biden Pushes Colombia to Restart Glyphosate Spraying Program
Bipartisan Australian MPs Meet With US Embassy About Julian Assange (SMH)

 

 

“It is spring again.
The earth is like
a child that knows
poems by heart.”
~ Rainer Maria Rilke

 

 

 

 

 

 

This from Forbes is actually part of the sales job. It’s “only” 3 people. And:

“just because you catch the virus after getting fully vaccinated doesn’t mean that the vaccine didn’t help you. You don’t know how much worse the infection could have been without the vaccine”

3 Fully Vaccinated People Catch Covid-19 Coronavirus in Hawaii (F.)

While the Covid-19 vaccines may protect you against Covid-19, their protection is not perfect. Even after getting vaccinated , you can still catch the virus. You can still get Covid-19. Case in point. Or rather three cases in point. According to the Hawaii Department of Health (DOH), three people in Hawaii who had received both doses of either the Moderna or the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine subsequently tested positive for the Covid-19 coronavirus. Additionally, a fourth person who had received the first of two doses of the vaccine ended up catching the B.1.1.7 variant of the severe acute respiratory respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV2). That be a more contagious version of the SARS-CoV2.

Don’t press the panic button just because you saw this news though. In general, pressing a button labeled “Panic” is a bad idea. Plus, three people catching the Covid-19 coronavirus does not mean that the Covid-19 vaccines do not work. Getting the vaccine does not mean that a giant six-feet thick concrete condom forms around your body. The vaccine does not serve as a solid 100% effective barrier to the virus. Even though the vaccines may be quite effective at preventing more severe Covid-19, you still have a chance of getting Covid-19 after being fully vaccinated. And there is still a chance that this Covid-19 can be severe. It’s just that your chances after vaccination may be significantly lower.

Ultimately, three people is not that many people. It’s not even enough to form a four-person bobsled team or a typical boy band or a combination of the two. And it’s only a tiny fraction of the people who have been fully vaccinated to date. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Covid-19 Vaccine Tracker, over 35 million people have gotten both doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna Covid-19 vaccines. [..] just because you catch the virus after getting fully vaccinated doesn’t mean that the vaccine didn’t help you. You don’t know how much worse the infection could have been without the vaccine, unless you’ve somehow mastered time travel.

Read more …

Sales job continued:

“A rebound in travel and day-to-day life most likely won’t be complete until after a vaccine for children becomes available..”

Travel Changes For Those Who Are Fully Vaccinated (F.)

The coronavirus vaccine is becoming available to more people across the United States and the world. Given the uptick in travel, it seems that more people are becoming confident to travel once they become fully vaccinated. Here are some travel changes to know about for those who have been (or will soon be) vaccinated. What Does “Fully Vaccinated” Mean? Your body must develop antibodies after receiving the recommended coronavirus vaccine dosage before you are “fully vaccinated.” The waiting period is 14 days after receiving your final dose. The 14-day period starts after receiving your second dose if you receive the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine. The Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine only requires one dose.

If you want to travel after getting the vaccine, your travel dates should start 14 days after receiving the second dose. As always, you should stay home if you’re showing potential signs and symptoms. People can still contract the coronavirus after being fully vaccinated. Vaccines For Children Are Coming A rebound in travel and day-to-day life most likely won’t be complete until after a vaccine for children becomes available. Moderna is currently testing a children’s vaccine for recipients between ages 6 months and 12 years. For now, fully vaccinated adults have fewer social distancing restrictions. Current social distancing guidelines remain in place for unvaccinated households and travelers.

Being fully vaccinated isn’t a free pass to unrestricted travel as it was before the pandemic. The CDC interim guidelines do not expressly state that those who are fully vaccinated should avoid non-essential travel. However, the vaccinated must limit their exposure to the unvaccinated, who can be at more risk of getting the virus in close contact. The fully vaccinated can visit these people without masks or social distancing: • Other fully vaccinated persons (in small groups only) • Visit with unvaccinated people from a single household if they are “low-risk”.

Read more …

“EMA did not rule out a possible link, however..”

European Trust In AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine Plunges (R.)

Confidence in the safety of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine has taken a big hit in Spain, Germany, France and Italy as reports of rare blood clots have been linked to it and many countries briefly stopped using it, poll data showed on Monday. The polling firm YouGov said it had already found in late February that Europeans were more hesitant about the AstraZeneca vaccine than about those from Pfizer Inc/BioNTech and Moderna Inc, and that the clot concerns had further damaged public perceptions of the AstraZeneca shot’s safety. At least 13 European countries in the past two weeks stopped administering the AstraZeneca shot, co-developed with scientists at Oxford University, after reports of a small number of blood disorders.

Many resumed its use on Friday after the European Medicines Agency regulator said in a preliminary safety review on Thursday that the vaccine was safe and effective and not linked with a rise in the overall risk of blood clots. EMA did not rule out a possible link, however, with rare cases of blood clots in the brain known as cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST). YouGov’s poll – which covered about 8,000 people in seven European countries between March 12 and 18 – found that in France, Germany, Spain and Italy, people were now more likely to see the AstraZeneca vaccine as unsafe than as safe. Some 55% of Germans say it is unsafe, while less than a third think it is safe, the poll showed. In France, where AstraZeneca’s COVID vaccine was already unpopular, 61% of people polled say they now see it as unsafe.

In Italy and Spain, most people previously felt the AstraZeneca vaccine was safe – at 54% and 59% respectively – but those rates have fallen to 36% and 38% respectively, in the latest poll. The survey showed that only in Britain, where the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine has been used in a national rollout since January, have the blood clot concerns had little to no impact on public confidence. The majority of people polled in the UK – 77% – still say the shot is safe. Their trust in it is on a par with Pfizer’s 79% perceived safety rating.

Read more …

A lot of material here. Good for the Philippines.

Ivermectin: Game changer vs Covid-19? What’s the Controversy? (Manila Times)

Desperation time is arriving at our door. Our infection rates are reaching all-time highs, hospitals are full, people are unnerved already and the Philippines is far behind other countries in the recovery. Most of us will survive, but many will die unnecessarily; millions of jobs are lost.Real tests are needed, not speeches. Let’s not kid ourselves that survival is proof of resilience and innovativeness; we must improve all performance indicators, including time to adopt the best practical practices. Can we improve this reality test of our nation’s ability to anticipate, select talent, plan and execute by turning around the Covid health and economic situation quicker? When do we kick out demagogues and incompetents?

One potentially very powerful decision that is simple to execute can bypass the costs, vaccine availability and logistics issues we have (but not the pharma politics and traditional medical bureaucracy?) is the properly managed use of ivermectin.Game changer? Worldwide cases on ivermectin have been accumulating since the middle of 2020. Many highly competent doctors and research institutions are asserting that it can massively decrease infection rates, periods, and severity, at low risk, even prior to the arrival and use of vaccines. What are the arguments for or against ivermectin use for Covid control and treatment? The National Institute of Health (NIH) of the US in January 2021 had upgraded their recommendation on ivermectin, from “against” to “neither for nor against,” making it an option for use against Covid-19.

With the All-Indian Institute of Medical Sciences of Bhubaneswar, India’s Dr. Batmanabane says of his experience: “Earlier, at least 20 to 25 health care workers were getting infected with the virus daily. After the workers started taking Ivermectin, the number of infections has come down to one or two per day.” Their study indicates an over 70 percent overall improvement. While ivermectin is associated at times with some nausea or dizziness or other mild reactions, there have not been serious cases. The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) notes that of 49 ivermectin studies, all show favorable results. Patients are dying, while over a billion doses have been used since the 1980s of this “very safe drug”. “Perhaps with this change, patients won’t need a court order to get a lifesaving drug,” according to AAPS executive director Dr. Jane Orient.

Read more …

“Greece will start offering Covid-19 self-testing kits next month to the entire population of the country.” “Greece will be the first EU member-state to offer these tests to the entire population free-of-charge.”

Greece Mobilizes Private Doctors to Cope With Surging Covid Infections (GR)

Greece announced on Monday it is mobilizing private doctors in an effort to contain the pressure on public hospitals struggling to cope with surging Covid-19 infections.Minister of Health, Vassilis Kikilias, said that despite an appeal for volunteers in the last few weeks “very few doctors came forward.” Of about 200 doctors requested by the government to assist their colleagues in the public sector, just 50 have come forward. Worse yet, attempts over the weekend to woo them with bonus fees failed. “Taking into account the emergency conditions and the urgent need for treatment of our fellow human beings, the Ministry of Health is mobilizing the services of Pathologists, Pulmonologists and General Practitioners in Attica,” Kikilias announced.

Doctors associations say the government should first recruit residents at state hospitals and other medical staff waiting to be hired before proceeding with the order, which they describe as absolutely extreme. On Sunday, Greece recorded another 1,514 new Covid-19 cases and the country broke yet another grim record, as a total of 674 people are now intubated in ICU units.The situation in Greece’s hospitals remains critical, with the capacity of many of them in Athens and other large cities being almost overwhelmed. Kikilias confirmed last week that Greece is “at the toughest point of the pandemic’s development.”He added that public hospitals are “on high emergency mode.”

Greece will start offering Covid-19 self-testing kits next month to the entire population of the country, the government said on Saturday.This comes as the latest addition to a series of measures that aim to curve the rising coronavirus infections in the country.Information and details on the new self-tests were announced by the Greek authorities, who claim that Greece will be the first EU member-state to offer these tests to the entire population free-of-charge.

Read more …

“The government’s response has lacked a risk variant analysis on all our populations.”

Growing Rebellion Against Draconian Covid Restrictions By Canadians (RT)

Some Canadians, armed with knowledge of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, aren’t complying with the draconian and absurd measures, and instead are walking out of airports instead of being incarcerated in quarantine hotels. In March, nurse Jessica Faraone made headlines for doing just that and walking out of Toronto’s Pearson airport instead of subjecting herself to a costly $2,000-plus quarantine hotel stay. In a later interview, Faraone said a border guard had attempted to intimidate and shut her up, but she knew her rights. She added: “I have worked in the hospitals and more than ever I’m seeing suicide, depression, strokes, heart attacks, addiction issues. Masking people and children, oppressing health-care workers’ opinions that go against the grain, socially isolating people, and instilling fear into Canadians… is not how we solve this problem.”

And it’s not just well-informed individuals who are contesting the drastic measures. The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms has been active in challenging the government both on quarantine hotels and on tickets issued to citizens for alleged violations of public health orders. The centre is also disseminating resources for Canadians to know their rights regarding Covid measures. Liberty Coalition Canada was formed after Covid restrictions were brought in. The coalition is a “national network of clergymen, elected officials, small business owners, legal experts and other concerned citizens” that now has a number of sub-groups addressing specific aspects of the measures Canada has taken. These include the social media campaign Save Our Youth, Reopen Ontario Churches, and the End the Lockdowns Caucus.

The latter comprises a number of current and former elected representatives who came together in February “resolved to ensure there is open, honest, and public debate regarding the Covid government response.” This body espouses what many ordinary Canadians have been feeling: “After careful examination and scrutiny of mitigation measures undertaken by all levels of government, it is now evident that the lockdowns cause more harm than the virus and must be brought to an end.” Likewise, the newly-formed Professionals Against Lockdowns – already listing over 100 professionals, including doctors, nurses, healthcare professionals, legal experts, police and teachers – aims to provide “evidence-based, scientific research that will educate and empower the public.”

Noting the widespread censorship of any dissenting voices on issues Covid, its statement reads: “It is our professional duty to protect the public, our communities, and our children. We will advocate for what is right and speak up against harm. Together, we will continue to be the voice for the voiceless to ensure that the truth about these lockdowns is heard. “The government’s response has lacked a risk variant analysis on all our populations. We are seeing the harm being done first-hand. We know lockdowns, isolation of healthy individuals, and the violation of our rights are causing more harm than good.”

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“They’re strangely compelled to seek every possible opportunity to insult the public’s intelligence while destroying what’s left of American culture..”

V. Putin Ain’t No Corn Pop (Kunstler)

Pretty soon, the president’s handlers will have to forbid him to open his pie-hole in public altogether. No more one-on-one interviews even with slow-pitch party shills like Mr. Stephanopoulos. They’ll just wheel him into the rose garden periodically like a cigar store Indian for proof-of-life demonstrations and leave the management of the nation… to others.

And how’s that going after a couple of months? Apparently, economic collapse is not enough for the party in charge of things now. They’re strangely compelled to seek every possible opportunity to insult the public’s intelligence while destroying what’s left of American culture. Case in point out of Nancy Pelosi’s Congress: HR1, the so-called “For the People Act,” institutionalizing ballot fraud in US elections. The law would make permanent the Covid-19 emergency mail-in voting system, over-riding whatever each state’s election law says — which makes the act appear patently unconstitutional — plus permitting same-day motor-voter registration of any live body, citizen or not, plus removing all voter ID requirements, and much more to ensure the country is never again threatened by a fair election.

Next up: HR5, the so-called “Equality Act,” institutionalizing the notion that categories of “male” and “female” are mere cultural constructs and must in no way be allowed to order any cultural activity from school to work to leisure. The bill was initially conceived to harden into law President Obama’s EO expanding the Department of Education’s Title IX rules on school sports — which eventuated in “trans women” disrupting girls’ sports. Now, men pretending to be women (and vice-versa) will be allowed to disrupt everything else in American life, especially the civil courts, with frivolous lawsuits.

Also in the pipeline: HR6, the so-called “American Dream and Promise Act,” and its Senate companion, S264, the plain “Dream Act,” that will grant permanent residency and then citizenship to currently “undocumented” people who snuck into the USA as children. The dreams and promises have already been delivered, even before the final passage of any new act, with an unprecedented flood of unaccompanied migrant children crashing the border, as well as a surge of adults fleeing Mexico and Central America. Apparently, the thinking in Washington these days is that we don’t have enough poor people in America, that their lives are not difficult enough. The message couldn’t be clearer to millions outside the United States: by all means, cross the border and we will do nothing about it.

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“When overspending does cause inflation, the MMT remedy is to remove money from circulation through progressive taxation, rather than by reducing spending and sacrificing the poor to unemployment.”

Welcome To The Age Of Modern Monetary Theory (Kodrik)

Congress has authorized $6 trillion in deficit spending to defeat the coronavirus. That’s more than the United States spent fighting World War II, when $4 trillion of government spending released the country from the clutches of the Great Depression. Naturally, politicians and pundits debate whether the amount is excessive. But implicit in their seemingly routine deficit debate is a remarkable shift: Inflation has replaced debt — the old stalking horse for defeating progressive legislation — as the primary concern with deficit spending. It’s a subtle change, with profound consequences. And it augurs the rise of a revolutionary approach to political economy, Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), as the dominant paradigm in the politics of money.

Like Keynesians of yesteryear, Modern Monetary Theorists urge government to achieve full employment through fiscal policy, even when it requires deficit spending. Their comfort with large deficits emerges from an understanding that an obsession with national debt is a relic of another time, the age of gold standards and fixed currency arrangements. Today, in the age of national monetary sovereignty and free-floating currencies, countries like the United States can fulfill all financial obligations with a simple keystroke. Still, MMT economists don’t exactly scoff at deficits. Their point is that inflation, rather than rising national debt, is the best indicator of whether deficits are too large.

Short of extreme inflation, MMT encourages policymakers to juice the economy through government spending. Seen through MMT goggles, a tenet of economic orthodoxy is flipped on its head: Deficits appear as virtuous public investments, while surpluses become scourges, condemned for sucking money out of the economy. In this brave new world, the refusal of monetary sovereigns to run substantial deficits seems cruel and inefficient. According to MMT economist Stephanie Kelton, deficit spending can and should continue while additional spending can be absorbed by an economy’s productive resources. When overspending does cause inflation, the MMT remedy is to remove money from circulation through progressive taxation, rather than by reducing spending and sacrificing the poor to unemployment.

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We are all MMT now.

Next Round Of Us Fiscal Legislation Could Reach $4 Trillion – Goldman (FXS)

Analysts at Goldman Sachs eye another US fiscal stimulus, ranging to as high as $4.00 trillion, in their latest note published recently. The US bank suggests a minimum of $2.00 trillion of the infrastructure spending package, which could go to $4.00 trillion if including health care, education, and child care initiatives, in the next round of relief from US President Joe Biden. It should be noted that the bank anticipates higher taxes as a resource for paying the fiscal relief bill. “The tax plan proposed by President Biden in his election campaign would raise the statutory corporate tax rate on domestic income from 21% to 28%, partially reversing the cut from a rate of 35% passed in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The plan would also raise the tax rate on foreign income (also called the “GILTI” tax) and institute a minimum corporate tax rate,” said the note further.

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Edward Curtin starts out alright, but then…

Media Pseudo-Debates and the Silence of Leftist Critics (Curtin)

You’ve heard of them, no doubt, the U.S. rulers who can’t rule too well and are always getting surprised by events or fed bad advice by their underlings. Their “mistakes” are always well intentioned. They stumble into wars through faulty intelligence. They drop the ball because of bureaucratic mix-ups. They miscalculate the perfidy of the elites whom allegedly they oppose while ushering them into the national coffers out of necessity since they are too big to fail. They never see the storm coming, even as they create it. Their incompetence is the retort to all those nut cases who conjure up conspiracy theories to explain their actions or lack thereof. They are innocent. Always innocent.

They and their media mouthpieces offer Americans, who are most eager to accept, what Lutheran pastor and anti-Nazi dissident Dietrich Bonhoeffer, executed at age thirty-nine by Hitler, called cheap grace: “Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance…” These incompetents are, in the immortal words of the New York newspaper columnist Jimmy Breslin, “The Gang Who Couldn’t Shoot Straight.” Except they could and can. They’ve actually shot a lot of people, here and abroad. It’s one of their specialities. But they mean well. They screw up sometimes, but they mean well. They care, even while they kill millions with their guns and bombs. But they have their followers.

As another dissident thirty-nine-year-old pastor, executed by the American state, Martin Luther King, Jr. said: “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” The US rulers have their defenders. Most are corporate mainstream journalists whose jobs are to defend the ruling elites of both political parties. They will criticize across the political divides depending on their organizations’ political leanings at the moment. But they will never attack the fundamentals of the oligarchic war system since they are part of it. Their jobs depend on it. So CNN and The New York Times will obsessively attack Trump while Fox News will do the same to Obama or Biden. This is a game.

These days such massive media conglomerates are seemingly starkly divided and basically serve as adjuncts of one political party or the other. They are essentially political propagandists for either the Democrats or the Republicans and have abandoned any pretense to be anything else. They speak to their respective audiences in self-enclosed vacuums. They promote the divide that runs down the middle of the USA, a divide they helped to create.

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Round-Up used to destroy entire crops. Anything else you wish to know?

Biden Pushes Colombia to Restart Glyphosate Spraying Program

After a six-year halt, Colombia plans to restart the toxic aerial spraying of glyphosate on coca crops as early as next month—drawing “most welcome” support from U.S. President Joe Biden and sharp criticism from 150 regional experts who wrote to Biden, “your administration is implicitly endorsing former President Trump’s damaging legacy in Colombia.” On March 2nd, the Biden administration welcomed Colombia’s decision to restart its aerial coca eradication program in Biden’s first annual 2021 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report: “The government of Colombia has committed to re-starting its aerial coca eradication program, which would be a most welcome development.”

Colombia halted the controversial spraying program in 2015. In 2018, Colombia’s then-new President Ivan Duque vowed to resume the program but has yet to restart the aerial spraying The country faced increasing pressure from the United States to restart the program. “You’re going to have to spray,” former US President Donald Trump told Duque at the White House during a March 2, 2020 meeting. Aerial fumigation had been a central component of Plan Colombia, the 2005 multi-billion dollar U.S. program to finance the Colombian government war on coca cultivation and their war on FARC, which was Colombia’s largest rebel group before being disbanded in 2017.

But in 2015, the Colombian Supreme Court ruled that the spraying must end if the spraying of glyphosate was creating health problems. Also, in 2015, the World Health Organization found that glyphosate—also known as “Roundup”—was harmful to the environment and health, potentially causing cancer. In 2014, ending aerial fumigation was central to peace negotiations with FARC, with the Colombian government agreeing with FARC negotiators that it would transition away from aerial spraying. The Colombian government was also facing significant pressure from the rural poor, who were organizing national protests against aerial fumigation and other forms of forced eradication.

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Hmmm. Sounds pretty weak.

Bipartisan Australian MPs Meet With US Embassy About Julian Assange (SMH)

A cross-party delegation of Australian MPs has met with Washington’s top envoy in Canberra in their continued attempts to encourage the United States to drop its extradition attempts against the WikiLeaks founder. Nationals MP George Christensen, Independent Andrew Wilkie and Labor’s Julian Hill lobbied the US embassy’s charge d’affaires, Michael Goldman, on Monday morning, arguing the Australian citizen should be allowed to return home. The US Justice Department has appealed a British judge’s ruling that prevents Mr Assange from being extradited from London to face espionage charges. Judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled last month that while the case against the Australian was sound, his fragile mental health put him at “substantial risk” of taking his own life in prison.

Supporters of Mr Assange had hoped that new US President Joe Biden’s administration would opt to drop the case, which the Obama administration had declined to charge over concerns that doing so would put press freedoms at risk. He is accused of helping former army private Chelsea Manning obtain and leak classified information on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Mr Wilkie, a whistleblowing intelligence officer-turned-MP, said the delegation raised numerous issues with Mr Goldman, including the increasing cross-party and public support for the US extradition of Mr Assange from the UK to be dropped. The trio argued the US was at risk of “reputational damage” over the inconsistency that WikiLeaks source, Chelsea Manning, had her sentence commuted while WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, was still being pursued.

[..] “It was heartening that Mr Goldman agreed to the meeting and gave us a fair hearing,” Mr Wilkie said. “Hopefully our representations this morning impressed upon him the broad concern in Australia, and indeed right around the world, at the shocking injustice being meted out to Julian Assange. The US’s pursuit of Mr Assange is obviously not in the public interest and must be dropped.”

Read more …

 

 

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If the Queen moves four squares forward the Bishop can take her.

 

 

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Mar 062021
 


Vincent van Gogh Lane near Arles 1888

 

The Trial of Winnie the Pooh (Jim Kunstler)
88% Of COVID Deaths Are In Countries With Over Half Of People Overweight (ZH)
UK Scientist: Substantial Degree Of Covid Mortality Inevitable In Future (G.)
Russia’s 3rd Vaccine Uses Classic ‘Dead Virus’ Technology (RT)
Ivermectin Does Not Alleviate Mild Covid-19 Symptoms – Study (NYT)
Europe Divided Over Covid Passports (Kern)
The Political Economy of Covid-19 Vaccines (IF)
Senate Clears Pathway To Passing COVID-19 Relief Bill (JTN)
Lessons From Today’s Doomed Effort To Save The $15 Minimum Wage
The Myths Of Green Energy (CHS)
100,000 Illegal Immigrants Arrested At US Mexico Border in February (ZH)
Legislature Strips Cuomo Of Emergency Powers (ZH)
US, Allies Drop 46 Bombs Per Day for 20 Years (MPN)
‘Shia Backed’, ‘Iran Backed’ Nonsense And Other Warmongering Journalism (MoA)
Neoclassical Economics III: A Machine To Destroy The World (RWER)
Love, politics, and Universal Basic Income (Meaden)

 

 

 

 

Jim gets his mojo back. Love it.

The Trial of Winnie the Pooh (Jim Kunstler)

A solemn silence turned collective gasp in the District of Columbia Woke Circuit courtroom as two bailiffs entered the door beside the jury box with the small cream-colored bear suspended between them, his stumpy hind legs wheeling fruitlessly to seek purchase in the unavailing air. The Queen of Hearts, presiding, banged her gavel as the little bear was seated at the table for the defense beside another rather small, darkish, furtive figure. The Queen of Hearts peered over her half-glasses at the defendant and snarled, “State your full name and residence.” “Winnie-the-Pooh,” the defendant said. “From the Hundred Acre Wood.” “What is your personal pronoun?” The bear looked perplexed. “Oh, bother,” he said. “Nobody I know has such a thing?”

“Of course they do,” the Queen said. “Perhaps it’s ‘the’,” the bear said. “That is a definite article, not a pronoun!” the Queen barked. “Are you an imbecile?” “I’m not sure. Maybe it’s ‘dear’”— “That’s enough out of you!” the Queen said. “And let’s have no more impertinence! Do you have counsel?” “Why, yes,” the bear said. “Mr. Kafka, who is seated beside me.” “You are mistaken,” the Queen said. “That is a cockroach seated beside you, and the court is displeased to see it. Bailiff, please remove that disgusting cockroach from my court.” Mr. Kafka, gesticulating in protest with all six arms and legs, had to be dragged out. “First witness!” the Queen screeched. “Counsel for the prosecution….” “Calling Uncle Remus,” said the prosecutor, Andrew Weissmann, famous for his exploits in the Enron case and with The Mueller Team in the old Russia collusion days.

An elderly gentleman-of-color with white beard and a kindly face limped forward and took the witness stand. “Do you know this bear?” Weissmann asked. “I knows a Brer B’ar,” Uncle Remus said. “But he a black b’ar. Dishyere one a white b’ar.” “Exactly!” Weissmann said. “Dismissed.” “Dat all?” Uncle Remus asked. “It’s plenty,” Weissmann retorted and smirked at the jury, composed of members from the United Federation of Teachers, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and Antifa, who all nodded amongst themselves. “A white bear!” Weissmann repeated for emphasis, shaking his head. “And not a polar bear, either. A white bear. From England. Think about it…!” The jurors emitted growls of opprobrium. “Next witness,” the Queen cried. “Calling N-Word Jim,” Weissmann said.

A strapping middle-aged gentleman-of-color, dressed in ragged clothes, strode to the witness chair. “You reside in libraries all over the world, is that correct?” the attorney asked. “Yassuh, dat is so. But I’se originally fum Hannibal, Missouri.” “Are you acquainted with the defendant?” “I done seen him on many a shelf ‘round de worl’.” “How much shelf space does he occupy compared to you?” “Well, fur as I knows, ‘bout double.” “Does that seem fair to you?” “Way I sees it, he in mebbe twice as minny books as me and Huck.” “Huck! Who is this Huck?” “White boy I done made a journey down de ribber wif one time.” “What is your experience with white folks, Jim?” “Well, dey runs mos’ everything, I ‘spect. Leas’ as fur as I kin see.”

“Exactly!” Weissmann argued. “Is it not white privilege to — as you say — run everything?” he added, shaking his head gravely. “Hegemonizing and colonizing literature everywhere you look.” “Say, what…?” the witness rejoined and pulled his chin. “You can go back to your raft, Jim,” Weissmann said. “Dismissed. Calling Mr. Christopher Robin.”

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“..obesity is a “global pandemic in its own right.”

But we’ll keep promoting corn syrup.

88% Of COVID Deaths Are In Countries With Over Half Of People Overweight (ZH)

A new report by the World Obesity Federation found that 88% of deaths in the first year of the pandemic occurred in countries where over half of the population is classified as overweight – which is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) above 25. Of note, BMI values above 30 – considered obese – are associated with ‘particularly severe outcomes,’ according to the Washington Post. On the other hand, in countries where less than half of the adult population is considered overweight account, the risk of death from COVID-19 is around one-tenth of countries with the higher proportion of overweight adults. Higher BMIs are also associated with an increased risk of hospitalization, ICU admissions, and the need for mechanically assisted ventilation.


The ‘overweight’ countries in question include Britain, Italy and the United States – the latter of which has seen over 517,000 COVID deaths out of a total of 2.5 million globally. Hilariously, the Post also suggests that “correlations between coronavirus severity and weight are also tied to racial and ethnic inequality.” How, you might ask? Because “Hispanic and non-Hispanic Black adults have a higher prevalence of obesity and are more likely to suffer worse outcomes from COVID-19,” according to the CDC. In the UK, overweight COVID-19 patients were 67% more likely to require intensive care, while obese patients were three times more likely. The findings by the World Obesity Federation were “near-uniform across the globe,” according to the Post, which notes that the report found that increased body weight is the second greatest predictor of poor outcomes after old age. According to the United Nations, contrary to what the woke fashion industry tells us, obesity is a “global pandemic in its own right.”

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More measures, more vaccines, we’re truly stuck in one dimension.

UK Scientist: Substantial Degree Of Covid Mortality Inevitable In Future (G.)

Prof Andrew Hayward, a member of the UK government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), has said society will have to live with a degree of mortality that will be “substantial”, but added that we will “get back to normal”.He told Times Radio: “I think, you know, given the societal trade-offs, we are going to have to live with a degree of mortality that will be substantial … it will get less over time as more people get vaccinated and as more people get immune, and I do believe that we’ve been through the worst of this.” Hayward said he did not think new variants of Covid-19 would completely evade vaccine-related immunity. “The vaccines will still take the sting out of it, if you like, and reduce the case fatality rates,” he said.


“Of course, we have the technology to update the vaccines and I think that’s where we’re going really, a situation that will be much more like flu, the numbers of deaths will be much more like flu, the approach to surveillance of new strains and development of new vaccines and regular annual vaccinations will be like that. And we will get back to normal.” Looking back on the beginning of the pandemic, Hayward, a professor of infectious disease epidemiology at UCL, said: “I think one of the reasons that we’ve had so many deaths is that we left things far too late, in terms of taking more restrictive measures. “We should have been taking social distancing measures – if not a full lockdown then other measures that were trying to separate people – much earlier. At that time, of course, we also didn’t really have the same mechanisms to measure how much disease there was in the community, so we were largely only really seeing the tip of the iceberg of cases.

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“The most important thing is that at this point we have a vaccine that definitely has no side effects..”

Russia’s 3rd Vaccine Uses Classic ‘Dead Virus’ Technology (RT)

The third Covid-19 vaccine registered in Russia is based on a “perfectly conventional” platform, and those who have been injected experienced no side effects, the head of the Chumakov Scientific Center, which created it, told RT. The CoviVac vaccine received national approval in Russia on February 20. The first batch of doses is expected to be available to the public in mid-March, according to the government. The vaccine is based on the most traditional technology that has been around for a long time and is widely used throughout the world, Aidar Ishmukhametov, the director general of the Chumakov Scientific Center, told RT.

“Globally, almost 100% of vaccines contain either deactivated or live pathogens,” he said, adding that the one developed by his center contains an ‘inactivated’ (dead) coronavirus. This type of vaccine simulates a natural infection process, introducing the immune system to the virus and “teaching” the body to fight the pathogen without the risk of it spreading through the body and causing disease, he explained. “Two weeks after the first shot, we give a person another jab to reinforce the immune response. As a result, the body becomes fully capable of fighting off the virus on its own,” Ishmukhametov said, adding that this vaccine involves two shots, as is the case with all other currently existing Covid-19 vaccines.

It is based on a particular specimen of the coronavirus that was found to be more susceptible to inactivation and controlled reproduction in the center. Nevertheless, Ishmukhametov believes that the vaccine will be effective against all Covid-19 strains, including the South African variant, which reportedly proved to be resistant to the AstraZeneca vaccine. “Since we are talking about a whole-virion vaccine, the deviations in the genetic sequence – something one is calling different strains or different variants – are insignificant and amount to less than one percent. So… it would be weird to think that a whole-virion vaccine might fail to work against new strains, considering how small the differences are,” he said.

CoviVac received national approval in Russia while still in the second phase of clinical trials. It now has to go through the third phase so the developers can precisely assess its effectiveness, according to Ishmukhametov. However, the first trials have already shown that it has no side effects, he said. “The most important thing is that at this point we have a vaccine that definitely has no side effects,” he said, adding that, out of 300 volunteers, none reported any symptoms except for occasional soreness around the injection site. [..] “We have been doing this for 60 years, and we’ve defeated polio and yellow fever,” he said, adding that the Chumakov Center hosts the Collaborating Centre for Poliovirus and Enterovirus Surveillance and Research of the World Health Organization (WHO) and actively cooperates with the UN health watchdog.

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The propaganda machine speaks…

Ivermectin Does Not Alleviate Mild Covid-19 Symptoms – Study (NYT)

Ivermectin, a controversial anti-parasitic drug that has been touted as a potential Covid-19 treatment, does not speed recovery in people with mild cases of the disease, according to a randomized controlled trial published on Thursday in the journal JAMA. Ivermectin is typically used to treat parasitic worms in both people and animals, but scientific evidence for its efficacy against the coronavirus is thin. Some studies have indicated that the drug can prevent several different viruses from replicating in cells. And last year, researchers in Australia found that high doses of ivermectin suppressed SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, in cell cultures. Such findings had spurred use of the drug against Covid-19, especially in Latin America.


“Ivermectin is currently being used widely,” said Dr. Eduardo López-Medina, a doctor and researcher at the Center for Pediatric Infectious Diseases in Cali, Colombia, who led the new trial. “In many countries in the Americas and other parts of the world, it’s part of the national guidelines of treating Covid.” But the drug has also proved divisive. While some scientists see potential, others suspect that effectively inhibiting the coronavirus may require extremely high, potentially unsafe doses. Health officials have also worried that people desperate for coronavirus treatments might take versions of the drug that have been formulated for pets. (It is commonly used to prevent heartworm in dogs.) “There’s been a lot of conflicting views on this, sometimes extreme conflicting views,” said Dr. Carlos Chaccour, a researcher at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health who was not involved in the new study. “I think it has become another hydroxychloroquine.”

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What a lousy idea, executed even lousier. Ergo … a winner.

Europe Divided Over Covid Passports (Kern)

Professor Christopher Dye, Professor of Epidemiology in the Department of Zoology at the University of Oxford and co-author of the Royal Society report, added: “An effective vaccine passport system that would allow the return to pre-Covid-19 activities, including travel, without compromising personal or public health, must meet a set of demanding criteria — but it is feasible. First there is the science of immunity, then the challenges of something working across the world that is durable, reliable and secure. There are the legal and ethical issues and if you can crack all that, you have to have the trust of the people. “Huge progress has been made in many of these areas, but we are not there yet. At the most basic level, we are still gathering data on exactly how effective each vaccine is in preventing infection and transmission and on how long the immunity will last.”

The Reuters News Agency reported that there are still many unanswered questions about immunity to Covid-19: “EU officials also point out there is no guidance yet from the WHO and EU agencies whether people who have received two shots of the Covid-19 vaccine can still carry the coronavirus and infect others, even if no longer vulnerable themselves. “It was also not clear if people could be infectious having already fought off the coronavirus themselves, for how long they remained immune and if they too should get certificates.” Professor Carsten Maple, a cyber security expert at the Alan Turing Institute, the UK’s national institute for data science, warned that criminals could exploit the demand from prospective travelers for vaccine passports:

“This really gives that kind of incentive. You’ll get people who’ve got these rights, especially if it’s mandatory. Other people will be excluded. People, where it is mandatory and really offers a significant difference, will be incentivized to create a market of forged documents. “We know that in Israel they’ve made statements about anybody who tries to forge will face criminal proceedings and possibly be imprisoned. So, they really think that this is a risk that could happen.”

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Mostly about “fair distribution” of as much mRNA as we can produce, but these details are interesting.

The Political Economy of Covid-19 Vaccines (IF)

[..] for Covid-19 vaccines, many big pharma companies received massive subsidies from governments that have mostly and in some cases completely covered research and development costs. In the US alone, the six major vaccine companies received over $12 billion in public subsidies for developing Covid-19 vaccines (MSF 2021). Other rich country governments have provided similar subsidies. Private pharma companies also benefited from prior public research (Scientific American 2020) and reduced costs of clinical testing, because of more unpaid volunteers for trials. The ‘leader’ vaccines may have already received what could be considered as reasonable returns on their own investment, and more. For example, while Pfizer did not receive direct subsidies from the US government, I received pre-orders for 100 million doses for $1.95 billion (Industry Week 2020).

Moreover, it relied on technology from BioNTech, which had received $445 million from the German government for their research (Bloomberg 2020). Pfizer claims costs of $3.1 billion to develop this vaccine (BBC 2020), while estimated sales in 2021 will be worth $15 billion (Quartz, 2020). Developing the Moderna vaccine cost $2.5 billion, apparently entirely funded by the US federal government (USA Today, 2020). The recently approved Johnson and Johnson vaccine benefited from US government subsidies and a pre-order of 100 million doses likely to cover costs (Johnson and Johnson 2020). The original distribution model [for the Oxford vaccine] was for an open-licence platform, designed to make the vaccine freely available for any manufacturer.

The case of the AstraZeneca vaccine is particularly instructive, also because it is seen as viable for developing country use. (Significant quantities of this vaccine are being produced by the Serum Institute of India under a collaboration agreement.) The vaccine was entirely developed by a publicly funded lab at Oxford University. The original distribution model was for an open-licence platform, designed to make the vaccine freely available for any manufacturer. However, the Gates Foundation, which had clout because it had donated $750 million to Oxford for vaccine development, persuaded the university to change course completely and sign “an exclusive vaccine deal with AstraZeneca that gave the pharmaceutical giant sole rights and no guarantee of low prices” (Jay Hancock 2020).

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Dysfunctionality like in the last days of Rome. Marie Antoinette.

Senate Clears Pathway To Passing COVID-19 Relief Bill (JTN)

The Senate broke a logjam Friday night and reached agreement on an issue that had stopped debate for approximately nine hours, and which paves the way for a continuation of the “vote-a-rama” of amendments to the Democrats’ $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. The agreement was to provide $300 a week in unemployment benefits through Sept. 6, plus $10,200 in tax relief for people who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic. Democrats had been fighting for $400 a week, instead of $300. The key figure in the negotiations was Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). He represented the 50th vote for Democrats, which is what they need to prevail, considering that Vice President Kamala Harris represents the 51st vote.


Manchin has indicated he will support the rest of the Democrats’ bill, making its passage in the Senate on Saturday a near certainty. Republicans have pointed out that approximately 90% of the bill, which passed the House along party lines, has nothing to do with COVID-19 relief. One of the largest components of the bill is $350 billion for states and cities, which Republicans have argued is a way to bail out poorly run and profligate states and cities at the expense of well run, mostly Republican states. Since there have been changes to the House bill that was originally introduced in the Senate, the Senate version will go back to the House where it is expected to easily pass, again along party lines. It would then go to President Biden for his signature, making it the law of the land.

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“Harris wasn’t even in the Senate chair today during the vote on Sanders’ amendment.”

Lessons From Today’s Doomed Effort To Save The $15 Minimum Wage

There was another way Democrats could have moved forward with the $15 minimum wage in their COVID-19 relief bill: Vice President Harris, as presiding Chair of the Senate, could have ruled against the parliamentarian’s advice and kept the provision in the legislation. While the Senate could vote to overturn the ruling, it would take 60 of the Senate’s 100 members to do so. A confidential memo obtained by The Daily Poster that circulated on Capitol Hill last week detailed exactly how that scenario would play out: “What would probably happen is a senator would appeal the ruling of the chair and then the full Senate would vote on whether to sustain the appeal,” the memo stated. “The Chair’s ruling would be upheld as long as there are not 60 affirmative votes to sustain the appeal. So, if the majority could hold enough members together (less than 60 affirmative votes to sustain the appeal), the ruling that runs counter to the Parliamentarian’s advice would be upheld.”

In other words, if at least 41 Democrats refused to overturn Harris’ ruling, the minimum wage provision would have remained in the bill. Today, 42 Democrats voted in support of a $15 minimum wage. That is one more than would have been necessary for the alternative approach to work. It’s fair to wonder whether some of these Democrats would have wimped out in a situation where their votes weren’t simply a symbolic gesture, as they were today. Colorado freshman John Hickenlooper, for example, was a late, surprise yes vote on the minimum wage amendment on Friday.

But these 42 Senators voted in favor of considering a $15 minimum wage even after the Biden administration signaled again and again that passing such legislation was less of a priority than, say, trying to get Neera Tanden, a scandal-plagued, union-busting, rage-tweeting apparatchik, confirmed as the head of the White House budget office. Imagine if the Biden administration had fought for the $15 minimum wage as hard as it fought for Tanden’s doomed confirmation. Instead, Harris wasn’t even in the Senate chair today during the vote on Sanders’ amendment.

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Charles cites my friend Nate Hagens, but it’s unclear to me how much of this is from Nate.

The Myths Of Green Energy (CHS)

Finance is often cloaked in arcane terminology and math, but the one dynamic that governs the future is actually very simple. Here it is: “All debt is borrowed against future supplies of affordable hydrocarbons (oil, coal and natural gas).” Since global economic activity is ultimately dependent on a continued abundance of affordable energy, it follows that all money borrowed against future income is actually being borrowed against future supplies of affordable energy. Many people believe that alternative “green” energy will soon replace most or all hydrocarbon energy sources, but this belief is not realistic. All the “renewable” energy sources are about 3% of all energy consumed, with hydropower providing another few percent. There are unavoidable headwinds to this appealing fantasy…

1. All “renewable” energy is actually “replaceable” energy, analyst Nate Hagens points out. Every 15-25 years (or less) much or all of the alt-energy systems and structures have to be replaced, and little of the necessary mining, manufacturing and transport can be performed with the “renewable” electricity these sources generate. Virtually all the heavy lifting of these processes require hydrocarbons and especially oil.

2. Wind and solar “renewable” energy is intermittent and therefore requires changes in behavior (no clothes dryers or electric ovens used after dark, etc.) or battery storage on a scale that isn’t practical in terms of the materials required.

3. Batteries are also “replaceable” and don’t last very long. The percentage of lithium-ion batteries being recycled globally is near-zero, so all batteries end up as costly, toxic landfill.

4. Battery technologies are limited by the physics of energy storage and materials. Moving whiz-bang exotic technologies from the lab to global scales of production is non-trivial.

5. The material and energy resources required to build alt-energy sources that replace hydrocarbon energy and replace all the alt-energy which has broken down or reached the end of its life exceeds the affordable reserves of materials and energy available on the planet.

6. Externalized costs of alt-energy are not being included in the cost. Nobody’s adding the immense cost of the environmental damage caused by lithium mines to the price of the lithium batteries. Once the full external costs are included, the cost is no longer as affordable as promoters claim.

7. None of the so-called “green” “replaceable” energy has actually replaced hydrocarbons; all the alt-energy has done is increase total energy consumption. This is what’s called Jevons Paradox: every increase in efficiency or energy production only increases consumption.

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“We are weeks, maybe even days, away from a crisis on the southern border. Inaction is simply not an option..”

More kids, more cages facilities.

100,000 Illegal Immigrants Arrested At US Mexico Border in February (ZH)

This may come as a shock to Joe Biden supporters. Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), whose Congressional district lies near the U.S.-Mexico border, warned that more than 10,000 illegal immigrants have been apprehended in a single border sector in Texas in about a week, with Reuters adding that a stunning 100,000 migrants were detained at the border in February, the highest arrest total for the month of February since 2006. “We are weeks, maybe even days, away from a crisis on the southern border. Inaction is simply not an option,” the Texas Democrat said in a news release on Thursday. “Our country is currently unprepared to handle a surge in migrants in the middle of the pandemic.”

As The Epoch Times’ Jack Phillips notes, in recent days, Cuellar has issued warnings about what appears to be a looming humanitarian crisis at the border, adding that it will spread COVID-19 in southern Texas and other border communities. But now, his office has released figures showing Border Patrol in the Rio Grande Valley arrested about 10,000 illegal immigrants in the past week alone, according to the release, while adding that some 2,500 illegal immigrants have been apprehended in the past two days since the press statement was released. According to Border Patrol data, agents also apprehended 5,700 unaccompanied child illegal immigrants in January. Illegal immigrants are “potentially exposing border communities to the coronavirus and putting us at risk,” Cuellar said, guaranteeing the triggering of progressives everywhere. “Right now, none of the migrants are being tested for COVID-19 by Border Patrol.”

“As a border representative, I will continue to fight in Washington for my community to ensure they have the necessary funding and resources to properly care for these migrants and to keep American families safe. I urge the Biden administration to listen and work with the communities on the southern border who are dealing with the surge of migrants,” he added. Cuellar isn’t the only Texas member of Congress who is sounding the alarm. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, another Democrat, did not mince words in how he described the current White House’s immigration policy and said a proposed bill is “catastrophic.” “I can assure you, it won’t be long before we have tens of thousands of people showing up to our border, and it’ll be catastrophic for our country, for my region, for my district,” he told CNN. “In the middle of a pandemic, in an area where we’ve lost over 3,000 people in my small congressional district … I think we need to have a better plan in place.”

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Drip drip.

Legislature Strips Cuomo Of Emergency Powers (ZH)

In November, the TV Academy presented Cuomo with the International Emmy Founders Award “in recognition of his leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic and his masterful use of TV to inform and calm people around the world.” It sure wishes it could take that day back. Late on Friday, three days after NY legislators reached a deal to strip disgraced NY governor Andrew Cuomo – who now finds himself in a vortex of potentially criminal scandals involving both nursing home deaths and alleged sexual assaults – of his emergency powers, and two days after an “embarrassed” Cuomo told a disgusted TV audience (well everyone except for the virtue-signaling sycophants at CNN and MSNBC) that he was “very sorry” but was “not resigning” in the aftermath of his own sexual assault scandal, late on Friday, the New York legislature approved a bill to repeal the pandemic-era emergency powers afforded to the scandal-plagued Governor Cuomo.

The measure, which received final passage from the Assembly on Friday evening, revoked temporary powers given to Cuomo in March that effectively gave him dic(k)tator powers, allowing him to supersede the legislature, as well as local laws, to issue hundreds of sweeping emergency directives on everything from closing businesses and schools to mandating the use of masks. In retrospect, this was the worst – and deadliest – decision the legislature had made who may be just as culpable of crimes as Cuomo.

[..] As Bloomberg reports, the rebuke from lawmakers, where Democrats hold a supermajority in both chambers, follows public outcry over sexual-harassment claims by what are now three women against Cuomo and allegations that his administration deliberately covered up Covid-19 deaths of nursing-home residents. In the latest twist which emerged late in the week, Cuomo’s administration said Thursday that officials had altered a July report of data on the deaths to exclude those who had died outside the facilities. The administration was responding to a New York Times report that said these changes show that the state had a fuller accounting of the deaths at the time, despite resisting requests for that data.

[..] Earlier this week, Cuomo said he had brokered the emergency-power deal with lawmakers to focus just on curbing new directives. Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, a fellow Democrat, disputed Cuomo, saying lawmakers didn’t work with the governor to cut a deal. Senate Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris said on the floor that the governor lied to the public and was not involved in negotiations. Asked if he was bothered by the lie, Gianaris said: “There is so much that this governor has done that I’m bothered by.” Asked if he trusts the governor, Gianaris said: “I haven’t trusted this governor in a long time.” Gianaris is a democrat. Imagine if he was republican. Currently, only the governor may declare and end a state of emergency. “For the first time ever, we are adding a power for the Legislature to nullify a state of emergency,” Gianaris said.

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Costs? Lives?

US, Allies Drop 46 Bombs Per Day for 20 Years (MPN)

The United States and its allies have dropped at least 326,000 bombs and missiles on countries in the greater Middle East/ North Africa region since 2001. That is the conclusion of new research by Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J.S. Davies of anti-war group CODEPINK. Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Yemen are the countries that have felt the worst of the violence, but Lebanon, Libya, Pakistan, Palestine and Somalia have also been targeted. The total amounts to an average of 46 bombs dropped per day over the last 20 years. CODEPINK’s numbers are based primarily on official U.S. military releases, as well as data from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the Yemen Data Project, and the New America Foundation.

As striking as the figure of 326,000 is, it is an underestimate, as the Trump administration ceased publishing figures of its bombing campaigns in 2020, meaning there is no data for Iraq, Syria or Afghanistan for either of the previous two years. Also not counted are bombs or missiles used in helicopter strikes, AC-130 gunship attacks, strafing runs from U.S. bombers, or any counterinsurgency or counter-terrorism operations in other parts of the world. Last week President Joe Biden gave the order to attack Iraqi militias in Syria, dropping 1.75 tons of bombs on a border village and killing 22 people — something that brought cheers from Washington insiders and corporate media pundits alike. The move was reportedly in response to strikes on U.S. military bases in Iraq — bases that, last year, the Iraqi parliament unanimously demanded be closed.

Yesterday, anonymous administration officials claimed that Biden called off a second Syria strike after being warned that women and children were in the area. Though no evidence was offered and the officials refused to go on record, corporate media diligently parroted the State Department line, allowing the new administration to simultaneously present itself as getting tough on its enemies and as a champion of human rights. The United States has been at war for nearly every year of its existence as an independent nation, fighting in 227 years of its 244-year history. While both Barack Obama and Donald Trump offered up anti-war rhetoric when they were on the campaign trail, both moved steadfastly away from that position once in office.

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The bombs were dropped in Iraq, not Syria. And they’re trying to hide that fact.

‘Shia Backed’, ‘Iran Backed’ Nonsense And Other Warmongering Journalism (MoA)

The recent U.S. airstrike at the Syrian-Iraqi border and the missile attacks on U.S. bases in Iraq were followed by many examples of bad journalism. U.S. media, as FAIR documents, have purged inconvenient facts from their coverage of Biden’s ‘first’ airstrike: “The less clear the US population is about the frequency and scale of murderous violence its government carries out, the easier it is for the US ruling class to go about its wars. Fortunately for the US state, corporate media help manufacture collective amnesia by expunging US aggression from the record…. Securing consent for running a lethal, worldwide empire requires unremitting propaganda: Redacting the historical record and playing the victim are two useful strategies.”

The dozens of examples in the FAIR piece are telling. FAIR gets one thing wrong though. The attack was not in Syria, as the U.S. claimed, but on the Iraqi side of the border. Elijah J. Magnier @ejmalrai – 6:01 UTC · Mar 3, 2021 “Analysts keep making this mistake: 1st Biden’s bombing was in #Iraq not #Syria. An Iraqi military delegation sent by @MAKadhimi verified & confirmed that the #US bombed Iraqi security forces on the Iraqi borders with #Syria and not on Syrian territory. Nearly all U.S. media use ‘Iran-backed militia’ when describing the groups that allegedly launched the missiles. The Pentagon now wants to change that. A press briefing with spokesman John F. Kirby had several exchanges about that:

“Q: Just going back to — to the rocket attack, could you describe roughly the distance that the rockets were coming from? And what does that say about the tactics — and how does that — of the — whoever fired those? And to what degree does this resemble previous attacks by the Iranian-backed militia? MR. KIRBY: I’m not qualified to do the forensics, Dan, on — on — on how this equates to previous attacks, other than obviously it’s a rocket attack and we have seen rocket attacks come from Shia-backed militia groups in the past. So in that way, it certainly — it certainly coincides with our past experience here.”

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“Unchecked growth has no place, outside of the microbial world. Unchecked growth is called a plague, an epidemic or a cancer..”

Neoclassical Economics III: A Machine To Destroy The World (RWER)

Growth has a fundamental place in the biological world, of which we humans are a part. Unchecked growth has no place, outside of the microbial world. Unchecked growth is called a plague, an epidemic or a cancer. Growth, among mainstream economists, has become a reflexive, mindless goal, specifically growth of the Gross Domestic Product. Growth of the GDP is the dominant global criterion for allegedly successful management of an economy. GDP is an indiscriminate measure of what we spend money on: some things good, some useless, some bad and, increasingly, some attempting to repair damage from previous spending. GDP is not a useful measure of our quality of life, whose improvement should be the real goal, but it does correlate with resource use and resource waste, also known as pollution.

The claim that unchecked competitive markets are the most efficient way to increase material wealth has no basis, as I explained in Part II. Nor have free markets worked in practice. Australia’s economic performance post-1983 has never come close to that in the 1950s and 60s when it averaged over 5% annual GDP growth and 1.3% unemployment. However economists and the self-interested rich have promoted a system based on unrestrained markets that in turn promotes anything that yields short-term profit. Thus we have unsustainable extraction of natural resources, and for-profit aged care that consigns our grandparents to disgusting neglect. We also have potent and dangerous new technologies like face recognition, meta-data analysis, artificial ‘intelligence’ and various biotechnologies including, imminently, the suspension of biological ageing.

The planet really needs a plague of demanding, smart-aleck old farts. The surveillance state is a reality, and rapidly gaining in power and pervasiveness. I am only mentioning war making and killer robotics. Some older people occasionally wonder why the forecasts of our childhood have not come to pass. We were told that by the year 2000 no-one would work more than 15 hours a week. The reason is that we have been kept on the treadmill so as to keep the GDP increasing. A major motivator has been ‘labour market flexibility’, the notion that your labour is just a free-market disposable commodity that needs to be used to maximum efficiency and effect. One difficulty of course is that your labour comes with you attached. The primary effects have been to keep the employed insecure and to enrich the rich and empower the powerful.

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The Catholic church promotes UBI. What do catholics think though?

Love, politics, and Universal Basic Income (Meaden)

London mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey recently said that if people were given a Universal Basic Income (UBI) they would spend it on ‘lots of drugs’. This was widely reported. Less widely reported was the response of Dr Simon Duffy, speaking in the same meeting, where he helped to persuade the Economic Committee of the London Assembly to vote in favour a pilot of UBI in the capital. Dr Duffy said: “What the UK has become is an increasingly mean-spirited society. What we’ve seen is a decline in respect for people on low incomes, and a concomitant decline in the value of basic benefits. So now, the poorest 10 per cent of people in the UK receive, after tax, about £40 to £50 per person [per week]. There’s a reason why they get less and less – it’s to do with the political choices that we make, it’s to do with the way the political system has been able to stigmatise those people as somehow unworthy.

And that’s why we increasingly move away from cash and economic security and move to increased sanctions and conditionality, and even talk of vouchers. It’s all interconnected. And what we really need to do – and this is about politics, not economics – we need to move towards a universal approach that says every citizen is entitled to economic security, every citizen is worthy of respect. And that’s where the love is, Shaun.” The idea that an economic or political policy could be an expression of love, and a recognition of the innate dignity and worth of every human being may sound unusual to our ears, but it really shouldn’t. As the Archbishop of York said recently, “Loving your neighbour is a profoundly political statement.”

This connection, between truly loving our neighbour and its and implications for politics is explored in a profound way in Catholic Social Teaching, and there we find a single phrase which fundamentally challenges the way our society and our economy are organised. That phrase is “the universal destination of goods”. The universal destination of goods means, quite simply, that as the world was created for all of us, and as we are all equal in human dignity and worth, then we are all entitled to a share of what the world has to offer. And this right does not have to be earned – it is the automatic right of every human being, by virtue of being human.

The phrase first appeared in the foundational document of CST, Rerum Novarum, written by Pope Leo XIII in 1891. The principle has largely remained in the realm of the abstract, underpinning a belief in social justice, but with no specific policy application endorsed by the church. Recently however, Pope Francis has been quite vocal in his insistence that the time has come to put such beliefs into practice, in order to protect the planet and human dignity. [..] UBI is an idea which is the logical outcome of looking at the world through a lens of love and justice. To be implemented properly it will, as Dr Duffy acknowledges, involve some redistribution of wealth. This will no doubt meet resistance, particularly from those who have most, and therefore have most to lose.

But as the Catechism of the Catholic Church says: “The right to private property is secondary to the right of everyone, without exception, to their share in the goods of creation. The right to private property, acquired or received in a just way, does not do away with the original gift of the earth to the whole of mankind. The universal destination of goods remains primordial, even if the promotion of the common good requires respect for the right to private property and its exercise” (Catechism 2403).

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