Jun 232021
 
 June 23, 2021  Posted by at 8:48 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  76 Responses »


Edward Hopper New York movie 1939

 

‘It’s Anti-science, And It’s Anti-me’ – Fauci (RT)
Mass Vaccination Drives A Rapid Evolutionary Response Of SARS-CoV-2 (VDBossche)
Ivermectin: The Forbidden Treatment (APL)
Oxford University Explores Ivermectin As Covid-19 Treatment (R.)
Nearly 4,000 Fully Vaccinated People in MA Positive for COVID-19 (ET)
3rd COVID Wave Will Kill Or Hospitalize 60 To 70% of Fully Vaccinated (GGI)
Daszak Leaves UN-backed COVID Origins Probe (NYP)
Media Allowed Itself To Be Duped By One Man On Covid-19 (Bloom)
Gabon Paid For Protecting Forests, In African First (Y!)
A Court Ruled Rachel Maddow’s Viewers Know She Doesn’t Offer Facts (Greenwald)
EU Opens Antitrust Probe Into Google’s Online Ad Tech Business (F.)
Millions Become Millionaires During Covid Pandemic (BBC)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Craig Kelly MP
https://twitter.com/i/status/1407280779055419394

 

 

All America has had to say for a year and a half. Poor. Can’t disagree with Tony, because that makes you far-right.

‘It’s Anti-science, And It’s Anti-me’ – Fauci (RT)

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the president’s chief medical adviser, has dismissed controversy surrounding numerous past emails being published as “anti-science” nonsense from the “far-right.” Fauci has found himself facing new waves of criticism since thousands of his emails were released via Freedom of Information Act requests through Buzzfeed and the Washington Post. Critics have timed what Fauci has said in some of the emails during the pandemic to what he was saying publicly and accused the infectious disease expert of hypocrisy on issues such as masking and theories about the origin of Covid-19. In an interview with the New York Times published on Monday, Fauci dismissed his “far-right” critics as being “politically motivated” and pushing “nonsense” to discredit him.


“It’s clear. It’s anti-science, and it’s anti-me,” Fauci declared. He went on to say that every piece of correspondence is “perfectly normal, perfectly innocent, and completely above board.” Fauci has long been accused of flip-flopping on key guidances in short periods of time during the pandemic, something he has denied, explaining that his opinion has changed as the “science” has, an argument he doubled-down on in his most recent defense. “So the people who are giving the ad hominems are saying, ‘Fauci misled us,'” he said. “‘First, he said no masks, then he said masks.’ Well, let me give you a flash. That’s the way science works. You work with the data you have at the time. It is essential as a scientist that you evolve your opinion and your recommendations based on the data as it evolves.”

Read more …

Spike proteins all the way.

Mass Vaccination Drives A Rapid Evolutionary Response Of SARS-CoV-2 (VDBossche)

We do know about the outcome of a natural pandemic but don’t know at all about the outcome of the ongoing pandemic, as the latter has now become a ‘pandemic of variants’. From what follows below (and which is basically a summary of findings made by molecular/ genomic epidemiologists that I put into a broader context), there is however, one certainty, which is that Sars-CoV-2 variants are rapidly evolving in response to the natural immune selection pressure they are experiencing. Phylogenetics-based natural selection analysis indicates that a substantial amount of the immune selection pressure exerted during this pandemic is directed at the Sars-CoV-2 spike (S) protein, which is targeted by the vaccines.

On their journey to adapting to the host(ile) environment of neutralizing antibodies (nAbs), variants further exploit their evolutionary capacity to overcome this S-directed, population-level immune pressure. Hence, in a given vaccination setting and stage of the ongoing pandemic, the success of mass vaccination campaigns will to a large extent depend on the evolving prevalence of increasingly problematic variants. Alternatively, S-directed immune interventions that seem effective in one vaccination setting and stage of this pandemic may not work as well when applied to another vaccination setting or when implemented at another stage of the ongoing pandemic.

The observation that the effectiveness of mass vaccination campaigns, as assessed during a pandemic of immune escape variants, oftentimes evolves very differently between countries or regions is, therefore, not surprising. It is only when the population-level selective immune pressure will culminate that variants and, therefore, the effects of these campaigns will start to globally converge to the same endpoint, which is ‘resistance’ to the vaccines. It is only at that very endpoint that all assessments of the alleged ‘effectiveness’ of this experiment will be unanimous and consistent. [..] as the immune selection pressure in the global population is now ‘massively’ rising and the set of naturally selected, S-directed mutations together with the plasticity thereof dramatically expanding, one can reasonably expect that the edition of a super variant capable of resisting S-specific Abs will be precipitated such as to emerge within the next few months.

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“Please may we start saving lives now.” She heard nothing back.”

Ivermectin: The Forbidden Treatment (APL)

On Dec. 8 2020, FLCCC member Dr. Pierre Kory gave nine minutes of testimony to the U.S. Homeland Security Committee Meeting on the potent anti-viral, anti-inflammatory benefits of ivermectin. Nine million people viewed the video on YouTube before it was taken down by YouTube’s owner, Google. Capuzzo said mainstream and social media have gone to extraordinary lengths to keep people in the dark about ivermectin. Three days after Kory’s testimony, an Associated Press “fact-check reporter” interviewed Kory. Then she wrote: “AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. There’s no evidence Ivermectin has been proven a safe or effective treatment against COVID-19.” Like many critics, she didn’t explore the Ivermectin data or evidence in any detail, but merely dismissed its “insufficient evidence,” quoting instead the lack of a recommendation by the NIH or WHO.

On Jan. 12, 2021, the Brazilian Ministry of Health tweeted to its 1.2 million followers not to wait with COVID-19 until it’s too late but “go to a Health Unit and request early treatment,” (Ivermectin) only to have Twitter take down the official public health tweet for “spreading misleading and potentially harmful information.” On Jan. 31, the Slovak Ministry of Health announced its decision on Facebook to allow use of Ivermectin. Facebook took down the post and removed the entire page it was on, the Ivermectin for MDs Team, with 10,200 members from more than 100 countries. In Argentina, Professor and doctor Hector Carvallo, whose prophylactic studies are renowned by other researchers, says all his scientific documentation for Ivermectin is quickly scrubbed from the Internet. “I am afraid,” he wrote to Marik and his colleagues, “we have affected the most sensitive organ on humans: the wallet…”

As Kory’s testimony was climbing toward nine million views, YouTube, owned by Google, erased his official Senate testimony, saying it endangered the community. Undeterred, many front-line doctors have tried to persuade their health regulators of the efficacy and safety of ivermectin as a covid treatment. They include Dr. Tess Lawrie, a prominent independent medical researcher who, as Capuzzo reports, evaluates the safety and efficacy of drugs for the WHO and the National Health Service to set international clinical practice guidelines: “She read all 27 of the Ivermectin studies Kory cited. The resulting evidence is consistent and unequivocal, she said, and sent a rapid meta-analysis, an epidemiolocal statistical multi-study review considered the highest form of medical evidence, to the director of the NHS, members of parliament, and a video to Prime Minister Boris Johnson with “the good news… that we now have solid evidence of an effective treatment for COVID-19…” and Ivermectin should immediately “be adopted globally and systematically for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19.”

Ignored by British leaders and media, Lawrie convened the day-long streaming BIRD conference—British Ivermectin Recommendation Development—with more than 60 researchers and doctors from the U.S., Canada, Mexico, England, Ireland, Belgium, Argentina, South Africa, Botswana, Nigeria, Australia, and Japan. They evaluated the drug using the full “evidence-to-decision framework” that is “the gold standard tool for developing clinical practice guidelines” used by the WHO, and reached the conclusion that Ivermectin should blanket the world. “Most of all you can trust me because I am also a medical doctor, first and foremost,” Lawrie told the prime minster, “with a moral duty to help people, to do no harm, and to save lives. Please may we start saving lives now.” She heard nothing back.

Read more …

Oxford is AstraZeneca. They should never lead a study like this. And they know it.

Oxford University Explores Ivermectin As Covid-19 Treatment (R.)

The University of Oxford said on Wednesday it was testing anti-parasitic drug ivermectin as a possible treatment for COVID-19, as part of a British government-backed study that aims to aid recoveries in non-hospital settings. Ivermectin resulted in a reduction of virus replication in laboratory studies, the university said, adding that a small pilot showed giving the drug early could reduce viral load and the duration of symptoms in some patients with mild COVID-19. Dubbed PRINCIPLE, the British study in January showed that antibiotics azithromycin and doxycycline were generally ineffective against early-stage COVID-19.


While the World Health Organization, and European and U.S. regulators have recommended against using ivermectin in COVID-19 patients, it is being used to treat the illness in some countries, including India. “By including ivermectin in a large-scale trial like PRINCIPLE, we hope to generate robust evidence to determine how effective the treatment is against COVID-19, and whether there are benefits or harms associated with its use,” co-lead investigator of the trial Chris Butler said. People with severe liver conditions, who are on blood-thinning medication warfarin, or taking other treatments known to interact with ivermectin, will be excluded from the trial, the university added. Ivermectin is the seventh treatment to be investigated in the trial, and is currently being evaluated alongside antiviral drug favipiravir, the university said.

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How it started and how it’s going is the same. No progress:

“The health agency added, “There is some evidence that vaccination may make illness less severe.”

Nearly 4,000 Fully Vaccinated People in MA Positive for COVID-19 (ET)

Nearly 4,000 people in Massachusetts who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 have contracted the virus, adding to the growing number of breakthrough cases nationwide. According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, as of June 12, there were 3,791 people who tested positive for COVID-19 among the 3.7 million fully vaccinated people in the state, accounting for roughly one in 1,000 vaccinated individuals. “We’re learning that many of the breakthrough infections are asymptomatic or they’re very mild and brief in duration,” said Boston University infectious diseases specialist Davidson Hamer, the Boston Herald reported. “The viral load is not very high.”

“Breakthroughs are expected, and we need to better understand who’s at risk and whether people who have a breakthrough can transmit the virus to others,” Hamer added. “In some cases, they’ll be shedding such low levels of the virus and won’t be transmitting to others.” So-called breakthrough cases refer to cases appearing two or more weeks after a person’s final shot. That’s primarily the second Pfizer or Moderna dose, but can be the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. “Vaccine breakthrough cases are expected,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states on its website. “COVID-19 vaccines are effective and are a critical tool to bring the pandemic under control. However, no vaccines are 100 percent effective at preventing illness. There will be a small percentage of people who are fully vaccinated who still get sick, are hospitalized, or die from COVID-19.”

The health agency added, “There is some evidence that vaccination may make illness less severe.”

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From April, but a keeper.

3rd COVID Wave Will Kill Or Hospitalize 60 To 70% of Fully Vaccinated (GGI)

According to projections by UK’s top modelling agency the third wave of COVID-19 spike will hospitalize and kill 60 to 70% of those people who took both the vaccine doses. The paper suggests that the resurgence in both hospitalisations and deaths will dominated by those who have received two doses of the vaccine, comprising around 60% and 70% of the wave respectively. The modelling (read below in full) was presented to the UK’s top scientific advisory body Sage by one of its sub groups, the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling, Operational (SPI-M-O). This committee of academics has done modelling work throughout the pandemic and has looked at the impact vaccination will have on hospital admissions, infections and deaths.

Its findings suggest that a third wave is inevitable but that the size of the spike in cases depends on the effectiveness of vaccines, the speed at which restrictions are eased and the impact new variants have on transmission and illness. It suggests that the resurgence in both hospitalisations and deaths will be “dominated by those that have received two doses of the vaccine”. “Maintaining a large reduction in transmission from such measures after Step 4 [England’s plans to remove all restrictions from June 21] is taken is almost certain to reduce the size of the subsequent resurgence. This latest modelling reinforces this finding, as lower adherence to baseline measures and the resulting increased transmission could lead to a peak close in scale to that seen in January 2021.” The paper looks at a range of possibilities what we can expect from Covid as we ease restrictions going into the summer. It takes into account a range of difference sources including modelling from the University of Warwick, Imperial College London and London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

“Scenarios with little transmission reduction after step 4 [full lifting of restrictions planned for June in England] or with pessimistic but plausible vaccine efficacy assumptions can result in resurgences in hospitalisations of a similar scale to January 2021.” The paper suggests that the resurgence in both hospitalisations and deaths will dominated by those who have received two doses of the vaccine, comprising around 60% and 70% of the wave respectively. “The resurgence in both hospitalisations and deaths is dominated by those that have received two doses of the vaccine, comprising around 60% and 70% of the wave respectively. This can be attributed to the high levels of uptake in the most at-risk age groups, such that immunisation failures account for more serious illness than unvaccinated individuals.”

Read more …

Where there’s Daszak, there’s Fauci.

Daszak Leaves UN-backed COVID Origins Probe (NYP)

The head of a New York City-based nonprofit that directed hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal grant money to the Wuhan Institute of Virology is no longer part of a UN-backed commission examining the origins of the coronavirus pandemic. EcoHealth Alliance president Peter Daszak’s profile on the website of The Lancet COVID-19 Commission has been updated to include the parenthetical quote “recused from Commission work on the origins of the pandemic.” Earlier this month, Vanity Fair reported that Dazsak helped organize a statement signed by 27 leading scientists that appeared in The Lancet — a prestigious British medical journal — in February 2020. The statement condemned what it called “conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin” and proclaimed “solidarity with all scientists and health professionals in China.”

“Conspiracy theories do nothing but create fear, rumours [sic], and prejudice that jeopardise [sic] our global collaboration in the fight against this virus,” the statement added. Though the statement initially claimed that the signatories had “no competing interests,” The Lancet issued a statement Monday saying it had invited all 27 signatories (at least one of whom has walked back his support of the natural, or zoonotic, theory) to “re-evaluate their competing interests.” The statement included an updated disclosure from Daszak attached to the February 2020 statement and two other pieces he co-authored or contributed to. In his expanded disclosure, Daszak stated that EcoHealth’s work in China — including at the Wuhan lab — was funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID). Daszak also denied that he or EcoHealth received money directly from the Chinese government.

“EcoHealth Alliance’s work in China … includes the production of a small number of recombinant bat coronaviruses to analyse [sic] cell entry and other characteristics of bat coronaviruses for which only the genetic sequences are available,” he wrote. “NIH reviewed the planned recombinant virus work and deemed it does not meet the criteria that would warrant further specific review by its Potential Pandemic Pathogen Care and Oversight (P3CO) committee.” The belated disclosure from The Lancet comes months after the nonprofit group US Right to Know reported that four of the statement’s co-authors had direct ties to EcoHealth Alliance. The Vanity Fair report stated that six signatories had either worked at EcoHealth Alliance or received funding from it.

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“What does it say about the state of our media and social media that one man can so wrongly shape a narrative?”

Media Allowed Itself To Be Duped By One Man On Covid-19 (Bloom)

The more we learn about Peter Daszak, one of the main villains of the COVID epidemic, the worse it gets. Daszak is president of EcoHealth Alliance, a nongovernmental organization mostly funded by the US government. EcoHealth passed some of that money on to the lab in Wuhan, China. It was Daszak who organized the letter in The Lancet from February 2020 dismissing as “misinformation” claims that the virus may have originated from the Wuhan Virology Lab. The letter created the illusion of consensus, which Internet companies proceeded to enforce through censorship, and the media reinforced by constantly interviewing Daszak himself. There might be journalistic value in hearing from the Chernobyl plant director about all those clouds floating over Ukraine.

But if he suggests the rash of mysterious sores and cancers were due to a faulty shipment of microwaves recently arrived in Pripyat, you’d probably think he was engaged in a bit of “motivated reasoning.” Apparently not the World Health Organization, which invited Daszak to join their microwave hunt in Wuhan. In the last two days, Daszak has been removed from The Lancet’s own UN-backed commission investigating COVID’s origins, though whether he removed himself or was fired remains unclear. It appears Daszak collaborated with Anthony Fauci as well, based on a recently released e-mail in which he thanks the NIAID director for “publicly standing up and stating that the scientific evidence supports a natural origin for COVID-19 from a bat-to-human spillover, not a lab release.”

To top it all off, the Trump administration canceled the EcoHealth grant in early 2020, a move that was characterized by “60 Minutes” and NPR as jeopardizing a possible COVID-19 cure. Both stories featured — guess who — Daszak. Now we learn that Google’s charitable arm may have also funded EcoHealth. Steve Hilton suggested Monday on Fox that the Google funding might have something to do with why information about COVID was so ruthlessly policed on social media platforms and search engines. We’ll be sorting through the many failures of the COVID pandemic for years, failures by the most important institutions of society, from big tech to scientific research to public health to the media, but whatever blame rests on them, we can say Daszak helped break them all. What does it say about the state of our media and social media that one man can so wrongly shape a narrative?

Read more …

Wonder where the loot ends up.

Gabon Paid For Protecting Forests, In African First (Y!)

Gabon has become the first African nation to receive a financial reward for protecting its forests as part of international efforts to fight climate change, the government announced Tuesday. Gabon has received $17 million in recompense for successfully cutting its carbon emissions by reducing deforestation and forest degradation, the environment ministry said in a statement. The payment came “after independent experts verified Gabon’s results” showing that the country’s carbon emissions in 2016-17 had dropped compared with the annual figures for 2006-15.

The funds were delivered by the Central African Forest Initiative (CAFI), an organisation launched in 2015 by the United Nations and backed by international donors. The scheme provides financial incentives to Central African governments to pursue economic growth without harming the vast forests that cover much of the region. The world’s rainforests are seen as a vital weapon in the fight against climate change by sucking out carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Gabon, where forests cover 90 percent of the territory, is home to some 18 percent of the Congo Basin forest, known as “the second lung of the planet” after the Amazon.

Under a 10-year deal signed with CAFI in 2019, Gabon is set to receive a total of $150 million if it meets its carbon-cutting targets. The small tropical country has pledged to cut its carbon emissions in half by 2025 from 2005 levels. The forests in Gabon alone “absorb a total of 140 million tonnes of CO2 each year, which is equivalent to removing 30 million cars from circulation throughout the world,” the environment ministry said. Gabon has been a leader in Central Africa in preserving its rainforests, creating 13 national parks since 2000 that cover around 11 percent of the country.

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For entertainment purposes only. Such an odd defense that Tucker can use it too.

A Court Ruled Rachel Maddow’s Viewers Know She Doesn’t Offer Facts (Greenwald)

In sum, ruled the court, Rachel Maddow is among those “speakers whose statements cannot reasonably be interpreted as allegations of fact.” Despite Maddow’s use of the word “literally” to accuse OAN of being a “paid Russian propaganda” outlet, the court dismissed the lawsuit on the ground that, given Maddow’s conduct and her audience’s awareness of who she is and what she does, “the Court finds that the contested statement is an opinion that cannot serve as the basis for a defamation claim.” What makes this particularly notable and ironic is that a similar argument was made a year later by lawyers for Fox News when defending a segment that appeared on the program of its highest-rated program, Tucker Carlson Tonight.

That was part of a lawsuit brought by the former model Karen McDougal, who claimed Carlson slandered her by saying she “extorted” former President Trump by demanding payments in exchange for her silence about an extramarital affair she claimed to have with him. McDougal’s lawsuit was dismissed in September, 2020, by Trump-appointed judge Mary Kay Vyskocil, based on arguments made by Fox’s lawyers that were virtually identical to those made by MSNBC’s lawyers when defending Maddow. In particular, the court accepted Fox’s arguments that when Carlson used the word “extortion,” he meant it in a colloquial and dramatic sense, and that his viewers would have understood that he was not literally accusing her of a crime but rather offering his own subjective characterizations and opinions, particularly since viewers understand that Carlson offers political commentary:

“Fox News first argues that, viewed in context, Mr. Carlson cannot be understood to have been stating facts, but instead that he was delivering an opinion using hyperbole for effect. See Def. Br. at 12-15. Fox News cites to a litany of cases which hold that accusing a person of “extortion” or “blackmail” simply is “rhetorical hyperbole,” incapable of being defamatory. . . .

In particular, accusations of “extortion,” “blackmail,” and related crimes, such as the statements Mr. Carlson made here, are often construed as merely rhetorical hyperbole when they are not accompanied by additional specifics of the actions purportedly constituting the crime. . . . Such accusations of crimes also are unlikely to be defamatory when, as here, they are made in connection with debates on a matter of public or political importance. . . . The context in which the offending statements were made here make it abundantly clear that Mr. Carlson was not accusing Ms. McDougal of actually committing a crime. As a result, his statements are not actionable.”

Read more …

Google’s monopoly is glaringly obvious. No probe needed.

EU Opens Antitrust Probe Into Google’s Online Ad Tech Business (F.)

The European Union on Tuesday opened a formal antitrust probe into Google to inspect whether the company violated the bloc’s competition rules by favoring its own online advertising technology over competing providers, in a move that follows a similar probe against Facebook earlier this month. The investigation will examine whether Google is distorting competition by restricting third parties from accessing user data for advertising purposes while using such data for its own service, according to a statement released by the European Commission. European Commission’s executive vice-president in charge of competition policy, Margrethe Vestager, said regulators are concerned that Google has made it harder for rival online ad services to compete.

Vestager also noted that the investigation will look into Google’s policies on user tracking to make sure they are in line with fair competition. The investigation will also look into the obligation to use Google’s ad manager when serving ads on YouTube, its plan to block third party cookies on Chrome and its plans to restrict access of advertising identifier information to third parties on Android devices where a user has chosen to opt-out of personalized advertising. The commission says it will take into account the need to protect user privacy under the EU’s data protection law but noted that it must ensure that all advertising market participants operate on a level playing field when it comes to protecting user privacy.

In a statement shared with Forbes, Google said their services are used by thousands of European businesses “because they’re competitive and effective” and it plans to answer the European Commission’s questions and demonstrate the benefits of its products. “Online advertising services are at the heart of how Google and publishers monetise their online services,” Vestager said. “Google is present at almost all levels of the supply chain for online display advertising. We are concerned that Google has made it harder for rival online advertising services to compete in the so-called ad tech stack.”

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“..if asset price increases, such as house price rises, were removed from the analysis, “then global household wealth may well have fallen..”

Millions Become Millionaires During Covid Pandemic (BBC)

More than five million people became millionaires across the world in 2020 despite economic damage from the Covid-19 pandemic. While many poor people became poorer, the number of millionaires increased by 5.2 million to 56.1 million globally, Credit Suisse research found. In 2020 more than 1% of adults worldwide were millionaires for the first time. Recovering stock markets and soaring house prices helped boost their wealth. Wealth creation appeared to be “completely detached” from the economic woes of the pandemic, the researchers said. Anthony Shorrocks, economist and author of the Global Wealth Report, said the pandemic had an “acute short term impact on global markets”, but added this was “largely reversed by the end of June 2020”.


“Global wealth not only held steady in the face of such turmoil but in fact rapidly increased in the second half of the year,” he said. However, wealth differences between adults widened in 2020, and Mr Shorrocks said if asset price increases, such as house price rises, were removed from the analysis, “then global household wealth may well have fallen”. “In the lower wealth bands where financial assets are less prevalent, wealth has tended to stand still, or, in many cases, regressed,” he said. “Some of the underlying factors may self correct over time. For example, interest rates will begin to rise again at some point, and this will dampen asset prices.” Total global wealth grew by 7.4%, the report said. Since the start of the 21st century, the number of people with wealth between $10,000 and $100,000 had more than tripled in size from 507 million in 2000 to 1.7 billion in mid-2020.

Read more …

 

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Jun 162021
 
 June 16, 2021  Posted by at 12:54 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  11 Responses »


Nikolay Dubovsky Became Silent 1890

 

 

Ivan Illich (1926-2002) was a Austrian priest and philosopher who used the term “institutionalization” to describe what happens in several fields of knowledge, when these fields are monopolized by a subset of that knowledge. For instance, he saw schools and universities claim a monopoly on education, and doctors and hospitals (medicine) claim a monopoly on health care.

This is both utter nonsense and at the same time widely accepted. In reality, your education comes from everywhere around you, family, friends etc., and schools can merely add a layer to it. While medicine is sick care, not health care: it fails almost entirely in preventing your health from deteriorating (see the food most people eat) and focuses only on “curing” you once you’re already sick. Case in point: covid patients are left to their own “devices”, and no prophylactics are used until it’s time for a respirator. It’s a dangerous monopoly. But people accept it as some god-given truth.

Someone linked to a 2020 piece on Illich recently by David Cayley -see below-, and though it’s good -albeit very long- I think we can do better than that, in light of what Illich’s words mean in our current predicament. Illich said the monopoly claims in various fields would lead to “counterproductivity”, aka diminishing returns, indicating that at some point not only do additional steps no longer lead to progress, they cause regression.

This is very much what we see today when people like Anthony Fauci, politicians across the globe, Big Pharma, the MSM, talk about “The Science”, and don’t you dare question it, because they have the monopoly on it. There is one truth only, and it consists of facemasks, lockdowns and very poorly tested vaccines, and anyone questioning that is a danger to the entirety of mankind.

The reality is we can’t afford not to ask questions, and we can’t afford to stifle questions and dissent. We need every voice. The efficacy of masks and lockdowns is shaky at best, look around you, and so is the efficacy of the vaccines, while the latter raise many new questions about blood clots, heart inflammation, spike proteins accumulating in ovaries and testes etc etc. We’d be crazy not to ask questions.

 

In terms of Illich terminology, the concept of “The Science”, which cannot be questioned, means we have reached institutionalization on steroids, runaway institutionalization. And given the variety of severe adverse reactions to the vaccines, including 1000s of deaths, we also appear to have reached diminishing returns on steroids; in children, for instance, the vaccines appear much more dangerous than the virus they are supposed to fight.

While at the same time, “The Science” monopoly rejects any and all other approaches, vitamin D, ivermectin, HCQ etc. They do that because there are still laws and protocols in place that date from before “The Science”, and spell out procedures that have to be followed to get a novel approach, or drug, approved or even authorized. One of which is that if there is any other effective method for the purpose the vaccines are developed for, there can be no approval.

And that leads to regression in medicine. It also leads to media bans, scientists who are “cancelled”, the works. There is no logical reason to ban certain medicines, and use only certain -new- others. Well, other than money, that is. It would better for mankind to try everything we can, but not for The Science, which revels in its monopoly. And Ivan Illich saw all that coming.

 

Meanwhile, the list of very competent medical professionals who are getting banned, deleted, ostracized, keeps growing. There’s Kary Mullis, the inventor of the PCR test, who said before his death in 2019 that it was unfit for the purpose it’s presently used for. There’s Robert Malone, one of the inventors of mRNA vaccines, who’s very critical of how these are used today and recently said: “What happens to confidence in public health and USG if ivermectin turns out to be safe and effective for COVID, and the genetic vaccines turn out to have significant safety issues? This looks like a very plausible scenario from where I sit.”

Then we have former Pfizer Chief Scientific Officer Michael Yeadon, who said about mRNA vaccines: “There is something very, very bad happening and if you don’t pay attention, you will soon lose any chance to do anything about it. And don’t say you weren’t warned.” as well as “I’d pay a vaccinated person to shop for me before getting vaccinated myself.” We have Nobel Prize virologist Luc Montagnier, we have Roger Hodkinson, and of course FLCCC member Pierre Kory, a fierce advocate for ivermectin. And Peter McCullough:

https://twitter.com/i/status/1404716387247996928

Take all of them together, and I’m sure I forget a few, and you start to realize how insane it is that these people are banned from the discussions and policy decisions. All that expertise that is discarded in favor of a few opinions, it can not be a positive thing. And it’s not science, either: science requires constant questioning and discussion. Yeadon: “There is something very, very bad happening and if you don’t pay attention, you will soon lose any chance to do anything about it.”

 

Here’s from David Cayley’s April 2020 piece on Ivan Illich:

Questions About the Current Pandemic From the Point of View of Ivan Illich

At the beginning of his 1973 book Tools of Conviviality, Illich described what he thought was the typical course of development followed by contemporary institutions, using medicine as his example. Medicine, he said, had gone through “two watersheds.” The first had been crossed in the early years of the 20th century when medical treatments became demonstrably effective and benefits generally began to exceed harms. For many medical historians this is the only relevant marker – from this point on progress will proceed indefinitely, and, though there may be diminishing returns, there will be no point, in principle, at which progress will stop. This was not the case for Illich. He hypothesized a second watershed, which he thought was already being crossed and even exceeded around the time he was writing.

Beyond this second watershed, he supposed, what he called counterproductivity would set in – medical intervention would begin to defeat its own objects, generating more harm than good. This, he argued, was characteristic of any institution, good or service – a point could be identified at which there was enough of it and, after which, there would be too much. Tools for Conviviality, was an attempt to identify these “natural scales” – the only such general and programmatic search for a philosophy of technology that Illich undertook.

Two years later in Medical Nemesis – later renamed, in its final and most comprehensive edition, Limits to Medicine – Illich tried to lay out in detail the goods and the harms that medicine does. He was generally favourable to the large-scale innovations in public health that have given us good food, safe water, clean air, sewage disposal etc. He also praised efforts then underway in China and Chile to establish a basic medical toolkit and pharmacopeia that would be available and affordable for all citizens, rather than allowing medicine to develop luxury goods that would remain forever out of reach of the majority.

But the main point of his book was to identify and describe the counterproductive effects that he felt were becoming evident as medicine crossed its second watershed. He spoke of these fall-outs from too much medicine as iatrogenesis, and addressed them under three headings: clinical, social and cultural. The first everyone, by now, understands – you get the wrong diagnosis, the wrong drug, the wrong operation, you get sick in hospital etc. This collateral damage is not trivial. An article in the Canadian magazine The Walrus – Rachel Giese, “The Errors of Their Ways, April 2012 – estimated 7.5% of the Canadians admitted to hospitals every year suffer at least one “adverse event” and 24,000 die as a result of medical mistakes. Around the same time, Ralph Nader, writing in Harper’s Magazine, suggested that the number of people in the United States who die annually as a result of preventable medical errors is around 400,000. This is an impressive number, even if exaggerated – Nader’s estimate is twice as high per capita as The Walrus’s – but this accidental harm was not, by any means, Illich’s focus.

What really concerned him was the way in which excessive medical treatment weakens basic social and cultural aptitudes. An instance of what he called social iatrogenesis is the way in which the art of medicine, in which the physician acts as healer, witness, and counsellor, tends to give way to the science of medicine, in which the doctor, as a scientist, must, by definition, treat his or her patient as an experimental subject and not as a unique case. And, finally, there was the ultimate injury that medicine inflicts: cultural iatrogenesis. This occurs, Illich said, when cultural abilities, built up and passed on over many generations, are first undermined and then, gradually, replaced altogether. These abilities include, above all, the willingness to suffer and bear one’s own reality, and the capacity to die one’s own death.

The art of suffering was being overshadowed, he argued, by the expectation that all suffering can and should be immediately relieved – an attitude which doesn’t, in fact, end suffering but rather renders it meaningless, making it merely an anomaly or technical miscarriage. And death, finally, was being transformed from an intimate, personal act – something each one can do – into a meaningless defeat – a mere cessation of treatment or “pulling the plug,” as is sometimes heartlessly said. Behind Illich’s arguments lay a traditional Christian attitude. He affirmed that suffering and death are inherent in the human condition – they are part of what defines this condition. And he argued that the loss of this condition would involve a catastrophic rupture both with our past and with our own creatureliness. To mitigate and ameliorate the human condition was good, he said. To lose it altogether was a catastrophe because we can only know God as creatures – i.e. created or given beings – not as gods who have taken charge of our own destiny.

Medical Nemesis is a book about professional power – a point on which it’s worth dwelling for a moment in view of the extraordinary powers that are currently being asserted in the name of public health. According to Illich, contemporary medicine, at all times, exercises political power, though this character may be hidden by the claim that all that is being asserted is care. In the province of Ontario where I live, “health care” currently gobbles up more than 40% of the government’s budget, which should make the point clearly enough. But this everyday power, great as it is, can be further expanded by what Illich calls “the ritualization of crisis.” This confers on medicine “a license that usually only the military can claim.” He continues:

Under the stress of crisis, the professional who is believed to be in command can easily presume immunity from the ordinary rules of justice and decency. He who is assigned control over death ceases to be an ordinary human…Because they form a charmed borderland not quite of this world, the time-span and the community space claimed by the medical enterprise are as sacred as their religious and military counterparts. In a footnote to this passage Illich adds that “he who successfully claims power in an emergency suspends and can destroy rational evaluation. The insistence of the physician on his exclusive capacity to evaluate and solve individual crises moves him symbolically into the neighborhood of the White House.” There is a striking parallel here with the German jurist Carl Schmitt’s claim in his Political Theology that the hallmark of true sovereignty is the power to “decide on the exception.”

Schmitt’s point is that sovereignty stands above law because in an emergency the sovereign can suspend the law – declare an exception – and rule in its place as the very source of law. This is precisely the power that Illich says the physician “claims…in an emergency.” Exceptional circumstances make him/her “immune” to the “ordinary rules” and able to make new ones as the case dictates. But there is an interesting and, to me, telling difference between Schmitt and Illich. Schmitt is transfixed by what he calls “the political.” Illich notices that much of what Schmitt calls sovereignty has escaped, or been usurped from the political realm and reinvested in various professional hegemonies.

 

 

 

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May 262021
 
 May 26, 2021  Posted by at 9:08 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  65 Responses »


Théodore Géricault Prancing Grey Horse 1812

 

I Don’t Know Of A Bigger Story In The World (NC)
The Drug That Cracked Covid (Michael Capuzzo)
Finnish Firm Earns US Patent For Covid Drug Containing Ivermectin, HCQ (Yle)
Mild COVID-19 Induces Lasting Antibody Protection (wustl)
Rand Paul Says Dr. Anthony Fauci Should ‘Be Immediately Fired’ (JTN)
Inside India’s “Hunger Games” (Bhandari)
More Bombshells On Covid And Wuhan Lab Connection Should Come Soon (JTN)
The Ghost of Arthur Burns (Stephen S. Roach)
America’s Nuclear Spending Spree (DP)

 

 

19 reasons

 

 

Michael Capuzzo, famous journalist and writer, started looking into ivermectin when his daughter fell ill with Covid. But even Capuzzo couldn’t get his paper published. It’s time to start talking about the untold number of deaths caused by the ban, by politics, media, medical field, social media, of mentioning anything related to ivermectin. This has gone too far.

When my daughter Grace, a vice president at a New York advertising agency, came down with COVID-19 recently, she was quarantined in a “COVID hotel” in Times Square with homeless people and quarantining travelers. The locks on her room door were removed. Nurses prowled the halls to keep her in her room and wake her up every night to check her vitals—not to treat her, because there is no approved treatment for COVID-19; only, if her oxygen plummeted, to move her to the hospital, where there is only a single effective approved treatment for COVID-19, steroids that may keep the lungs from failing.

I Don’t Know Of A Bigger Story In The World (NC)

Michael Capuzzo, a New York Times best-selling author , has just published an article titled “The Drug That Cracked Covid”. The 15-page article chronicles the gargantuan struggle being waged by frontline doctors on all continents to get ivermectin approved as a Covid-19 treatment, as well as the tireless efforts by reporters, media outlets and social media companies to thwart them. Because of ivermectin, Capuzzo says, there are “hundreds of thousands, actually millions, of people around the world, from Uttar Pradesh in India to Peru to Brazil, who are living and not dying.” Yet media outlets have done all they can to “debunk” the notion that ivermectin may serve as an effective, easily accessible and affordable treatment for Covid-19. They have parroted the arguments laid out by health regulators around the world that there just isn’t enough evidence to justify its use.

For his part, Capuzzo, as a reporter, “saw with [his] own eyes the other side [of the story]” that has gone unreported, of the many patients in the US whose lives have been saved by ivermectin and of five of the doctors that have led the battle to save lives around the world, Paul Marik, Umberto Meduri, José Iglesias, Pierre Kory and Joe Varon. These are all highly decorated doctors. Through their leadership of the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care (FLCCC) Alliance, they have already enhanced our treatment of Covid-19 by discovering and promoting the use of Corticoid steroids against the virus. But their calls for ivermectin to also be used have met with a wall of resistance from healthcare regulators and a wall of silence from media outlets.

“I really wish the world could see both sides,” Capuzzo laments. But unfortunately most reporters are not interested in telling the other side of the story. Even if they were, their publishers would probably refuse to publish it. That may explain why Capuzzo, a six-time Pulitzer-nominated journalist best known for his New York Times-bestselling nonfiction books Close to Shore and Murder Room, ended up publishing his article on ivermectin in Mountain Home, a monthly local magazine for the of the Pennsylvania mountains and New York Finger Lakes region, of which Capuzzo’s wife is the editor. It’s also the reason why I decided to dedicate today’s post to Capuzzo’s article. Put simply, as many people as possible –particularly journalists — need to read his story. As Capuzzo himself says, “I don’t know of a bigger story in the world.”

Read more …

“A news blackout by the world’s leading media came down on Ivermectin like an iron curtain.”

The Drug That Cracked Covid (Michael Capuzzo)

Marik had been keeping tabs on Ivermectin but hadn’t included it in his protocols. He knew the drug as a core medicine on the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines, and it is wellestablished in the literature as a “wonder drug” that won the 2015 Nobel Prize for its discoverer, Japanese microbiologist Satoshi Omura, for nearly eradicating two of the “most dis guring and devastating diseases” in history, river blindness and elephantiasis, that had plagued millions of people in Africa countries, one of the great achievements in the history of medicine. The drug was also well known as a standard treatment for scabies and lice, from nurseries to nursing homes. A veterinary version keeps millions of family dogs and cats, farm animals, and cattle safe from worms and parasitic diseases.

An over-the-counter medicine in France, Ivermectin is safer than Tylenol and “one of the safest drugs ever given to humanity,” Dr. Marik said, with “3.7 billion doses administered in forty years, that’s B for billion, and only extremely rare serious side e ects.” An earlier Australian study, reported in the journal Antiviral Research, showed that Ivermectin, which blocked other RNA viruses like Dengue virus, yellow fever virus, Zika virus, West Nile virus, influenza, the Avian fu, and HIV1/AIDS in vitro, decimated the coronavirus in vitro, wiping out “essentially all viral material by 48 hours.” But more research was needed in human beings. But by October Marik’s concerns were answered. ¬e studies were well-designed university trials that showed amazing anti-COVID-19 activity at the normal doses used to treat parasites.

Though small and endlessly diverse by large, Western big pharma “one-size-fits all” random control trials, the Ivermectin studies were a mosaic of hundreds of scientists and many thousands of patients in trials all over the world, all showing the same remarkable efficacy against all phases of COVID-19 no matter what dose or age or severity of the patient. “Penicillin never was randomized,” Marik says. “It just obviously worked. Ivermectin obviously works.” Marik was astonished. “If you were to say, tell me the characteristics of a perfect drug to treat COVID-19, what would you ask for?” he said. “I think you would ask rstly for something that’s safe, that’s cheap, that’s readily available, and has anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties. People would say, “That’s ridiculous. There could not possibly be a drug that has all of those characteristics. That’s just unreasonable. But we do have such a drug. The drug is called Ivermectin.”

———––

A news blackout by the world’s leading media came down on Ivermectin like an iron curtain. Reporters who trumpeted the COVID-19 terror in India and Brazil didn’t report that Ivermectin was crushing the P-1 variant in the Brazilian rain forest and killing COVID-19 and all variants in India. That Ivermectin was saving tens of thousands of lives in South America wasn’t news, but mocking the continent’s peasants for taking horse paste was. Journalists denied the world knowledge of the most effective life-saving therapies in the pandemic, Kory said, especially among the elderly, people of color, and the poor, while wringing their hands at the tragedy of their disparate rates of death.

Three days after Kory’s testimony, an Associated Press “fact-check reporter” interviewed Kory “for twenty minutes in which I recounted all of the existing trials evidence (over fifteen randomized and multiple observational trials) all showing dramatic benefits of Ivermectin,” he said. Then she wrote: “AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. There’s no evidence Ivermectin has been proven a safe or effective treatment against COVID-19.” Like many critics, she didn’t explore the Ivermectin data or evidence in any detail, but merely dismissed its “insufficient evidence,” quoting instead the lack of a recommendation by the NIH or WHO. To describe the real evidence in any detail would put the AP and public health agencies in the difficult position of explaining how the lives of thousands of poor people in developing countries don’t count in these matters.

Not just in media but in social media, Ivermectin has inspired a strange new form of Western and pharmaceutical imperialism. On January 12, 2021, the Brazilian Ministry of Health tweeted to its 1.2 million followers not to wait with COVID-19 until it’s too late but “go to a Health Unit and request early treatment,” only to have Twitter take down the official public health pronouncement of the sovereign fifth largest nation in the world for “spreading misleading and potentially harmful information.” (Early treatment is code for Ivermectin.) On January 31, the Slovak Ministry of Health announced its decision on Facebook to allow use of Ivermectin, causing Facebook to take down that post and removed the entire page it was on, the Ivermectin for MDs Team, with 10,200 members from more than 100 countries.

In Argentina, Professor and doctor Hector Carvallo, whose prophylactic studies are renowned by other researchers, says all his scientific documentation for Ivermectin is quickly scrubbed from the Internet. “I am afraid,” he wrote to Marik and his colleagues, “we have affected the most sensitive organ on humans: the wallet…” As Kory’s testimony was climbing toward nine million views, YouTube, owned by Google, erased his official Senate testimony, saying it endangered the community. Kory’s biggest voice was silenced.

Read more …

Nasal spray.

Finnish Firm Earns US Patent For Covid Drug Containing Ivermectin, HCQ (Yle)

A coronavirus drug developed by Therapeutica Borealis, a pharmaceutical firm in Turku, has been granted a patent by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The nasal spray contains hydroxychloroquine, among other ingredients. Earlier in May, the company said it had received approval for a patent application, based on which it expected a final patent this month. “The final patent is an important milestone for us on our way to the market. Our next goal is to find an established pharmaceutical industry company with an international business scale,” says Professor Kalervo Väänänen, one of the three inventors and founders of Therapeutica Borealis, in a press release on Monday. Väänänen is a cell biologist and former rector of the University of Turku.

The co-inventors of the drug and co-founders of Therapeutica Borealis are Lauri Kangas, an adjunct professor of science at the University of Turku, and Matti Rihko, a psychologist, and board chair of the Turku Chamber of Commerce and of the University of Turku. He is also a former CEO of the Raisio food corporation, known for its cholesterol-lowering Benecol products. According to the company, the nasal spray acts on cell function in nasal mucous in three ways, impairing the ability of the virus to penetrate the body and multiply, thus reducing the risk of serious illness. [..] The firm said that the drug’s active ingredients – aprotinin, hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin – are well-known and widely used drugs, but in this product are used in a new, targeted manner on the upper respiratory mucous membrane.

All the drug molecules covered by the patent are approved for the treatment of other diseases, but if used systemically, for instance as pills or infusions swallowed by patients, the amounts of drugs would be high and potentially harmful. For topical use, as in a nasal spray, the concentrations of the active ingredients throughout the body remain very low but are sufficient locally to prevent the passage and replication of the virus, making the drug safer and more effective, says Therapeutica Borealis.

Read more …

No vaccines needed.

Mild COVID-19 Induces Lasting Antibody Protection (wustl)

Months after recovering from mild cases of COVID-19, people still have immune cells in their body pumping out antibodies against the virus that causes COVID-19, according to a study from researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Such cells could persist for a lifetime, churning out antibodies all the while. The findings, published May 24 in the journal Nature, suggest that mild cases of COVID-19 leave those infected with lasting antibody protection and that repeated bouts of illness are likely to be uncommon. “Last fall, there were reports that antibodies wane quickly after infection with the virus that causes COVID-19, and mainstream media interpreted that to mean that immunity was not long-lived,” said senior author Ali Ellebedy, PhD, an associate professor of pathology & immunology, of medicine and of molecular microbiology.


“But that’s a misinterpretation of the data. It’s normal for antibody levels to go down after acute infection, but they don’t go down to zero; they plateau. Here, we found antibody-producing cells in people 11 months after first symptoms. These cells will live and produce antibodies for the rest of people’s lives. That’s strong evidence for long-lasting immunity.” During a viral infection, antibody-producing immune cells rapidly multiply and circulate in the blood, driving antibody levels sky-high. Once the infection is resolved, most such cells die off, and blood antibody levels drop. A small population of antibody-producing cells, called long-lived plasma cells, migrate to the bone marrow and settle in, where they continually secrete low levels of antibodies into the bloodstream to help guard against another encounter with the virus. The key to figuring out whether COVID-19 leads to long-lasting antibody protection, Ellebedy realized, lies in the bone marrow.

Read more …

Won’t happen. Not now.

Rand Paul Says Dr. Anthony Fauci Should ‘Be Immediately Fired’ (JTN)

Sen. Rand Paul said Tuesday that National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci has repeatedly lied and should be fired. Paul said on Just the News’ “Water Cooler” show that Fauci lied to Congress when he said the National Institutes of Health did not fund gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. “He oughta be immediately fired,” said Paul, who has repeatedly clashed with Fauci over numerous COVID-19 issues. “He’s been lying to us since the very beginning. He first said no masks work, which wasn’t true. Then he said all masks work and that wasn’t true either. The N95 masks work, the rest of them don’t. But he’s been dishonest from the very beginning.” The Kentucky Republican Paul also said Fauci has lied “so-called with good intentions, noble lies, but he has been dishonest and he should be dismissed.”

Read more …

And you thought your health care was a mess..

Inside India’s “Hunger Games” (Bhandari)

I have just returned from a visit to my family in India. It was hard to escape. To get to the US from India, I needed a COVID test. The Indian government has seriously restricted who can provide COVID testing, treatment, and vaccination. Private doctors and hospitals that are not approved face brutal legal consequences if they provide COVID treatment. Emergency powers were centralized early last year in the hands of the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. He gave himself direct control over the bureaucrats of the states, making local governments largely impotent and dependent on him. In their supreme wisdom, government bureaucrats concluded that because the prefix “COVID-” exists in treatment, vaccination, and testing, they must all be performed at the same place.

For my test, I sat in a petri dish of COVID, with those coming out positive sitting right next to me. Desperate, vulnerable old people, who merely wanted to get their jabs, sat among us. Those who were sick for reasons other than COVID were among us too, for the government has required everyone who is sick to be tested for COVID first . A microcosm of how everything is done in India, the tests were given haphazardly, with samples getting mixed up, nurses spending most of their time fighting among themselves, and — lacking a lineup system — people crowded together, pushing and breathing into the mouths of one another. A few days earlier, the government had given notice of the rate of tests and further restricted where they could be performed.

A bribe-taking system would have been my preference to bypass government restrictions, but no such system has evolved yet. Nevertheless, corruption has exploded, and self-centeredness, apathy, a dog-eat-dog environment has come to the surface. You see this everywhere; the scavengers are out in full force. I went to a private COVID hospital. The situation in government hospitals is far worse, beyond my capacity to cope with it. Yet the story of COVID in India is hardly about COVID as such, which is nothing more than a trigger. More than twice as many people died of fairly easily treatable tuberculosis in 2020 than of COVID. Instead, this is a story of foolish rulers, completely hollowed out institutions, and a pathetically irrational and tribal society.

Read more …

Hope.

More Bombshells On Covid And Wuhan Lab Connection Should Come Soon (JTN)

Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) believes that intelligence on COVID-19 originating from the Wuhan Institute of Virology is forthcoming, and will be revealed by force of legislation if it is not released otherwise. Braun told the “John Solomon Reports” podcast about the COVID-19 Origin Act of 2021 that he introduced with Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.): “Something was afoot even a week to two weeks ago — we were just a little ahead of the game when we rolled that out — where I think we’re going to hear more information. “When you got somebody like Dr. Fauci that moves goalposts from one end zone to the other and then back again, and wherever it needs to kind of plop down, when you hear the head of the WHO, when you hear the Biden administration now saying that there needs to be an investigation — of course, they’re still saying WHO needs to do it itself.


“That’s like the fox in the henhouse metaphor. So something is happening. And that’s why, with our bill out there, it’s now very pertinent.” Braun is confident the truth will soon emerge. “I think we’re gonna get to the bottom of it,” he said. “It’s just a question of, will we need a bill to do it? I don’t even think we’re going to need that because I think there’s going to be stuff coming forward that might flush it out without having to force it legislatively. If not, we’re prepared to roll up the support. Sadly, we probably won’t get one Democrat on it, though.” Braun was asked where Congress could get information on COVID and Wuhan. “How about in our own DHS?” he replied. “How about in our own Director of National Intelligence? That’s the essence of declassifying this stuff. And when you’ve got such a political posture that has dominated the dynamic, we just need that — we need the Freedom of Information Act, in essence, to release all this stuff that’s been classified.”

Read more …

History of CPI.

The Ghost of Arthur Burns (Stephen S. Roach)

Memories can be tricky. I have long been haunted by the inflation of the 1970s. Fifty years ago, when I had just started my career as a professional economist at the Federal Reserve, I was witness to the birth of the Great Inflation as a Fed insider. That left me with the recurring nightmares of a financial post-traumatic stress disorder. The bad dreams are back.

They center on the Fed’s legendary chairman at the time, Arthur F. Burns, who brought a unique perspective to the US central bank as an expert on the business cycle. In 1946, he co-authored the definitive treatise on the seemingly rhythmic ups and downs of the US economy back to the mid-nineteenth century. Working for him was intimidating, especially for someone in my position. I had been tasked with formal weekly briefings on the very subjects Burns knew best. He used that knowledge to poke holes in staff presentations. I found quickly that you couldn’t tell him anything.

Yet Burns, who ruled the Fed with an iron fist, lacked an analytical framework to assess the interplay between the real economy and inflation, and how that relationship was connected to monetary policy. As a data junkie, he was prone to segment the problems he faced as a policymaker, especially the emergence of what would soon become the Great Inflation. Like business cycles, he believed price trends were heavily influenced by idiosyncratic, or exogenous, factors – “noise” that had nothing to do with monetary policy.

This was a blunder of epic proportions. When US oil prices quadrupled following the OPEC oil embargo in the aftermath of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Burns argued that, since this had nothing to do with monetary policy, the Fed should exclude oil and energy-related products (such as home heating oil and electricity) from the consumer price index. The staff protested, arguing that it made no sense to ignore such important items, especially because they had a weight of over 11% in the CPI. Burns was adamant: If we on the staff wouldn’t perform the calculation, he would have it done by “someone in New York” – an allusion to his prior affiliations at Columbia University and the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Then came surging food prices, which Burns surmised in 1973 were traceable to unusual weather – specifically, an El Niño event that had decimated Peruvian anchovies in 1972. He insisted that this was the source of rising fertilizer and feedstock prices, in turn driving up beef, poultry, and pork prices. Like good soldiers, we gulped and followed his order to take food – which had a weight of 25% – out of the CPI.

We didn’t know it at the time, but we had just created the first version of what is now fondly known as the core inflation rate – that purified portion of the CPI that purportedly is free of the volatile “special factors” of food and energy, where gyrations were traceable to distant wars and weather. Burns was pleased. Monetary policy needed to focus on more stable underlying inflation trends, he argued, and we had provided him with the perfect tool to sharpen his focus.

Read more …

Where the big profits are.

America’s Nuclear Spending Spree (DP)

As Capitol Hill lawmakers continue to insist that initiatives like Medicare for All are too expensive, a new congressional report shows that the United States government is on a path to spend more than a half-trillion dollars on nuclear weapons in just the next decade. The report emerges at the same time a separate analysis shows that a handful of top executives at defense contractors are being wildly enriched by a Pentagon spending spree. The first report from the Congressional Budget Office finds that the federal government is on track to spend $634 billion over the next decade to maintain its nuclear forces, according to a new Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Almost two-thirds of those costs are for the Department of Defense, mostly to maintain ballistic missile submarines and intercontinental ballistic missiles. About one-third is for the Department of Energy.

For comparison that is: • 1.5 times the cost of all of the $1,400 stimulus checks that were sent to people through the American Rescue Plan earlier this year • Nearly 14 times the $47 billion that Congress has spent so far this year helping Americans who are behind on rent. • Over one-third of the cost of cancelling the $1.7 trillion in student debt held by Americans, most of which is never going to be repaid. • More than 7 times the estimated $81 billion of outstanding medical debt in America, as of 2018. The new CBO estimate represents a 28-percent increase over the last 10-year estimate that the CBO made on U.S. nuclear forces two years ago.

The figures were released just a few weeks after a new analysis from the Center for International Policy, a foreign policy think tank in Washington, found that “In 2020 alone, the CEOs of the [Pentagon’s] top five contractors received a total of $105.4 million in compensation.” When accounting for all top corporate officials, these firms paid out more than a quarter billion dollars of total executive compensation in 2020 — and paid out more than $1 billion over the last four years.

Read more …

 

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