Jun 122021
 


René Magritte The therapeutist 1937

 

Should You Get Vaccinated? (Kirsch)
Historians Will See Lockdowns As Most Catastrophic Event Of All Human History (SN)
Lockdowns Major Factor in Doubling of Australia’s Attempted Youth Suidices (SN)
How Fanatics Took Over The World (DR)
EU Batches Of J&J Covid-19 Vaccine Withheld As ‘Precaution’ (RT)
Pakistan Province To Block Phones Of The Unvaccinated (Y!)
The NHS Just Changed How They Count Covid “Cases” (OffG)
US Health Agency Gives Lateral Flow Covid Tests Scathing Report (G.)
Covid Passports Will Be Discriminatory And Must Be Scrapped – UK MPs (G.)
Struggle Session (Kunstler)

 

 

 

 

Idiots run the world

 

 

“..early treatment with an effective protocols reduce your risk of dying by more than 100X ..”

Should You Get Vaccinated? (Kirsch)

  1. At least 6,000 deaths from the vaccine. The OpenVAERS team think it is over 20,000 due to under reporting.
  2. Biodistribution data shows massive accumulation in ovaries of the LNP (which instructs cells in ovaries to sprout toxic spike protein). Whoops. That was never supposed to be leaked out. We obtained it via FOIA request. The CDC never told you about that one, did they? Of course not!
  3. 82% miscarriage rate in first 20 weeks (10% is the normal rate). It is baffling that the CDC says the vaccine is safe for pregnant women when it is so clear that this is not the case. For example, one our family friends is a victim of this. She miscarried at 25 weeks and is having an abortion on 6/9/21. She had her first shot 7 weeks ago, and her second shot 4 weeks ago. The baby had severe bleeding of the brain and other disfigurements. Her gynecologist had never seen anything like that before in her life. They called in a specialist who said it was probably a genetic defect (because everyone buys into the narrative that the vaccine is safe it is always ruled out as a possible cause). No VAERS report. No CDC report. Yet the doctors I’ve talked to say that it is over 99% certain it was the vaccine. The family doesn’t want an autopsy for fear that their daughter will find out it was the vaccine. This is a perfect example of how these horrible side effects just never get reported anywhere.
  4. 25X the possibility of myocarditis for teen boys (can lead to heart failure and death)
  5. Kids already have natural immunity (Science Magazine article), so there is no benefit to vaccination, only risk. Have you ever seen the risk / benefit analysis by the CDC?? Ask for it before you consent.
  6. No point vaccinating those who’ve had COVID-19: Findings of Cleveland Clinic study. No benefit, only risk.
  7. Doctors who attribute adverse events to the vaccine are punished (such as Dr. Hoffe). So under reporting is incentivized.
  8. The CDC refuses to say how many people have died and is “still investigating” heart damage in kids even though it is obvious why (free spike protein causing clotting and inflammation). A 25X increase when the only “new” thing is the vaccine isn’t hard to figure out. Ask the CDC for their current top 5 hypotheses for the cause. It will be more than amusing to see what they say. If it isn’t the vaccine, heads should roll.
  9. The CDC is deliberately misleading the American people. Check out the side effects page. Death, disability, excessive miscarriage rates, heart attacks, stroke, inability to walk, talk, or see, Bell’s Palsy, persistent pain, Parkinson’s like symptoms, re-activation of shingles, blood clots, etc. are all missing.
  10. >500X more deadly than the flu vaccine
  11. COVID vaccines have generated more adverse reports in the last 6 months than all 70 vaccines over the past 30 years combined. They missed that one.
  12. Defective virus design (s1 was never supposed to be free, inclusion of PEG was unnecessary and allows LNP to be widely distributed)
  13. Strong opposition to vaccination by extremely credible voices like Malone, Geert Vanden Bossche, others
  14. NIAID (Cliff Lane) is improperly manipulating the COVID Treatment Guidelines to make it appear these drugs do not work, thus giving the world the false impression that the vaccine, even if imperfect, is the only way out. Ivermectin and fluvoxamine have been confirmed in Phase 3 trials. Ivermectin has a very high quality systematic review, the highest possible level in Evidence Based Medicine. Repurposed drugs are safer and more effective than the current vaccines. In general, early treatment with an effective protocols reduce your risk of dying by more than 100X so instead of 600,000 deaths, we’d have fewer than 6,000 deaths. NOTE: The vaccine has already killed over 6,000 people and that’s from the vaccine alone (and doesn’t count any breakthrough deaths).
  15. Vaccines skipped proper toxicology studies in order to bring to market faster. We don’t know what we don’t know.
  16. The unpredictable and horrifying side effects of this vaccine on heathy kids, such as the 16 year old girl who was unable to speak and see just 48 hours after being vaccinated
  17. Debilitating side effects can happen at any time because vaccine victims are very similar to COVID long haulers (Dr. Bruce Patterson has discovered this) and we all know that long haul can start at anytime (even when the disease is asymptomatic) and could be incurable.
  18. Because the vaccine is not perfectly safe, the government is required by law to warn people of the death and disability risks caused by the vaccine and to obtain informed consent. Always be sure to ask for the 50 most serious side effects and how often they happen. And find out whether they will compensate you if you are disabled for life from the vaccine. This is important because the blood clots can form anywhere with this very unsafe [vaccine] .

McCullough PROPAGANDIZED BIOTERRORISM BY INJECTION

Read more …

“We will be counting the catastrophic health and psychological harms, imposed on nearly every poor person on the face of the earth, for a generation.”

Historians Will See Lockdowns As Most Catastrophic Event Of All Human History (SN)

Stanford University professor of medicine Jay Bhattacharya says that in years to come lockdowns will be looked back upon as the most catastrophically harmful policy in “all of history”. Speaking on The London Telegraph podcast ‘Planet Normal’, Bhattacharya noted that government scientific advisors “remain attached” to the policy of lockdown in spite of the total “failure of this strategy”. “I do think that future historians will look back on this and say this was the single biggest public health mistake, possibly of all history, in terms of the scope of the harm that it’s caused,” said Bhattacharya. The epidemiologist added “Every single poor person on the face of the earth has faced some harm, sometimes catastrophic harm, from this lockdown policy.”

“Almost from the very beginning, lockdown was going to have enormous collateral consequences, things that are sometimes hard to see but are nevertheless real,” Bhattacharya added. He further noted that serious mental and physical illnesses have been basically ignored and “we closed our eyes to them because we were so scared about the virus and so enamoured with this idea that the lockdown could stop the virus.” The professor previously told Newsweek that COVID-19 lockdowns are “the single worst public health mistake in the last 100 years,” adding that “We will be counting the catastrophic health and psychological harms, imposed on nearly every poor person on the face of the earth, for a generation.”

Bhattacharya is one of the co-authors of the Great Barrington Declaration, which has received thousands of signatures from medical and public health scientists. The declaration states that “lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health,” citing “worsening cardiovascular disease outcomes, fewer cancer screenings and deteriorating mental health – leading to greater excess mortality in years to come.”

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“From December 2020 to May 2021, interventions spiked nationally by a whopping 99 per cent compared to the same period a year ago.”

Lockdowns Major Factor in Doubling of Australia’s Attempted Youth Suidices (SN)

COVID-19 lockdowns were found to have been a major contributing factor to a doubling in attempted suicides of those aged between 5-25 in Australia. Over the past 6 months, the Kids Helpline organization revealed that there have been 862 attempted suicides in young people, meaning that interventions have doubled in the space of a year. The group noted that severe depression caused by COVID-19 lockdowns were a major driving factor in the increase. From December 2020 to May 2021, interventions spiked nationally by a whopping 99 per cent compared to the same period a year ago. “We feared an increase in child vulnerability as a result of the pandemic and ensuing lockdowns, however the current spike in emergency interventions on behalf of children and young people across Australia is very disturbing,” said YourTown CEO Tracy Adams.

“It is very clear that the pandemic is taking a toll on the lives of children and young people, however, thankfully by young people seeking help Kids Helpline has supported 862 suicide prevention interventions nationally in the past six months,” she added. Earlier this year, experts in the UK warned that isolation and depression caused by lockdowns had created a “mental health pandemic.” In America, psychiatrists wrote 86% more prescriptions for psychotropic drugs, including antidepressants, during the lockdown months of March and April 2020 compared to January and February.

As we highlighted yesterday, Stanford University professor of medicine Jay Bhattacharya says that in the future, lockdowns will be looked back upon as the most catastrophically harmful policy in “all of history.” “Every single poor person on the face of the earth has faced some harm, sometimes catastrophic harm, from this lockdown policy,” said Bhattacharya. “Almost from the very beginning, lockdown was going to have enormous collateral consequences, things that are sometimes hard to see but are nevertheless real,” he added.

Read more …

There is history. There is a plan.

How Fanatics Took Over The World (DR)

Early in the pandemic, I had been furiously writing articles about lockdowns. My phone rang with a call from a man named Dr. Rajeev Venkayya. He is the head of a vaccine company but introduced himself as former head of pandemic policy for the Gates Foundation. Now I was listening. I did not know it then, but I’ve since learned from Michael Lewis’s (mostly terrible) book The Premonition that Venkayya was, in fact, the founding father of lockdowns. While working for George W. Bush’s White House in 2005, he headed a bioterrorism study group. From his perch of influence – serving an apocalyptic president — he was the driving force for a dramatic change in U.S. policy during pandemics. He literally unleashed hell.

That was 15 years ago. At the time, I wrote about the changes I was witnessing, worrying that new White House guidelines (never voted on by Congress) allowed the government to put Americans in quarantine while closing their schools, businesses, and churches shuttered, all in the name of disease containment. I never believed it would happen in real life; surely there would be public revolt. Little did I know, we were in for a wild ride… Last year, Venkayya and I had a 30-minute conversation; actually, it was mostly an argument. He was convinced that lockdown was the only way to deal with a virus. I countered that it was wrecking rights, destroying businesses, and disturbing public health. He said it was our only choice because we had to wait for a vaccine. I spoke about natural immunity, which he called brutal. So on it went.

The more interesting question I had at the time was why this certified Big Shot was wasting his time trying to convince a poor scribbler like me. What possible reason could there be? The answer, I now realized, is that from February to April 2020, I was one of the few people (along with a team of researchers) who openly and aggressively opposed what was happening. There was a hint of insecurity and even fear in Venkayya’s voice. He saw the awesome thing he had unleashed all over the world and was anxious to tamp down any hint of opposition. He was trying to silence me. He and others were determined to crush all dissent. This is how it has been for the better part of the last 15 months, with social media and YouTube deleting videos that dissent from lockdowns. It’s been censorship from the beginning.

For all the problems with Lewis’s book, and there are plenty, he gets this whole backstory right. Bush came to his bioterrorism people and demanded some huge plan to deal with some imagined calamity. When Bush saw the conventional plan — make a threat assessment, distribute therapeutics, work toward a vaccine — he was furious. “This is bulls**t,” the president yelled. “We need a whole-of-society plan. What are you going to do about foreign borders? And travel? And commerce?” Hey, if the president wants a plan, he’ll get a plan. “We want to use all instruments of national power to confront this threat,” Venkayya reports having told colleagues. “We were going to invent pandemic planning.” This was October 2005, the birth of the lockdown idea.

Tucker HCQ

Read more …

Confidence booster.

EU Batches Of J&J Covid-19 Vaccine Withheld As ‘Precaution’ (RT)

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has said it is aware of a contaminated batch of the active substance used to make Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine and that they’re taking precautionary action to prevent possible harm. In a press release on Friday, the EMA said contamination had occurred at a manufacturing site for the active substance in Maryland, US. While the contaminated batch was not intended for the EU market, other batches of the active substance made in the same facilities were intended for the 27-nation bloc. The EU drugs regulator said precautionary measures are being taken “to safeguard the quality of vaccines” and that the relevant authorities have “recommended not releasing vaccine batches containing the active substance made at around the same time that the contamination occurred.”


The EMA statement adds that the authorities will do everything possible to ensure the precautionary measures do not delay the delivery of vaccines. In March, it emerged that Emergent BioSolutions’s manufacturing plant in Maryland had mistakenly used the wrong ingredients in millions of Johnson & Johnson shots, although none of the 15 million jabs left the factory. The New York Times reported that US officials suggested the incident was a result of human error. In April, the US Food and Drug Administration deemed, after an investigation, that the plant was dirty and had procedural problems. It later emerged that as many as 100 million doses would need to be checked for contamination and Emergent BioSolutions CEO Robert Kramer announced that the company would suspend its 24/7 operations.

Spike proteins

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“It will be hard for me if I can’t use my phone, but I am very scared about the vaccine..”

Pakistan Province To Block Phones Of The Unvaccinated (Y!)

A Pakistan province said Friday it will block the mobile phones of people refusing to get Covid-19 jabs, in the latest move to penalise the unvaccinated in a country where only a fraction of the population have been inoculated. It comes after Sindh province said civil servants who refuse to be vaccinated will not be paid from July. A third wave of infections has begun to stabilise in Pakistan after weeks of tough restrictions, and in Punjab — the country’s most populous province which includes the megacity of Lahore — demand for jabs has slowed. “At first this was only a proposal, but people have been very hesitant in getting vaccinated so the decision was made,” said Hammad Raza, spokesman for the Punjab Primary Health department.

He said the state telecoms agency will decide how to implement the measure. Pakistan’s nationwide vaccination rollout has ramped up in recent weeks with more than 200,000 doses administered most days, but it adds up to only a fraction of the 220 million population. Almost 10.5 million doses have been administered, with China supplying most of the vaccines. But concerns about the side effects of the jab, coupled with misinformation that it causes infertility or death within two years, have sparked vaccine hesitancy. “Pakistan’s education level is low. People are also spreading rumours and misinformation about the vaccines,” Salman Haseeb, the head of Pakistan’s Young Doctor’s Association, told AFP. “So information campaigns by the government won’t work for the short-term. They will have to make use of the law to ensure everyone gets vaccinated.”

“It will be hard for me if I can’t use my phone, but I am very scared about the vaccine,” said Saima Bibi, a domestic worker in Lahore. “You can’t force someone to get vaccinated,” added Farwa Hussain, a teacher in Rawalpindi, who has already received a shot. “It makes me a little suspicious.”

Tucker vaccines

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“..it’s the first time any healthcare service has endeavoured to actually catalogue them differently.”

The NHS Just Changed How They Count Covid “Cases” (OffG)

The UK’s National Health Service has received new instructions from the government on how it should record Covid19 “cases”, separating those who are actually sick from those who just test positive. From the beginning of the “pandemic” last spring, the NHS (and other countries all over the world) have defined a “case” as anyone who tests positive for the Sars-Cov-2 virus, regardless of whether or not they have symptoms. Given that as many as 80% of those who have been infected have no symptoms, and the propensity for the flawed PCR tests to return false-positive results, this lead to likely massively inflated numbers of “cases”. Now, though, the NHS is going to attempt to differentiate between patients who actually have the alleged disease “Covid19”, and those who are in hospital for other reasons and only “incidentally” tested positive for the virus.

According to a report in the Independent: “NHS England has instructed hospitals to make the change to the daily flow of data sent by NHS trusts […] Hospitals have been told to change the way they collect data on patients infected with coronavirus to differentiate between those actually sick with symptoms and those who test positive while seeking treatment for something else.” The distinction between “with” and “from” in Covid deaths – and “with” and “for” in hospitalisations – has been one Covid sceptics all over the world have been keen to make for over a year, but this is the first time any institution has really recognised the difference. And, certainly, it’s the first time any healthcare service has endeavoured to actually catalogue them differently.

So what does the NHS expect the impact of this change to be? Again, from the Independent: “One NHS source said the new data would be “more realistic” as not all patients were sick with the virus, adding: “But it will make figures look better as there have always been some, for example stroke [patients], who also had Covid as an incidental finding”. “That’s a frank admission, and an important one. For the last eighteen months, voices all over the alternate media have been saying the Covid numbers are unrealistic, specifically because they include people who were never actually sick. We have been called “deniers” and “conspiracy theorists” for our trouble. But now an NHS source has actually said, going forward, the Covid data will be “more realistic” as it will discount all the patients where Covid was only “an incidental finding”.

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“..the rapid Covid test on which the UK government has based its multibillion-pound mass-testing programme..”

US Health Agency Gives Lateral Flow Covid Tests Scathing Report (G.)

The US Food and Drug Agency (FDA) has raised significant concerns about the rapid Covid test on which the UK government has based its multibillion-pound mass-testing programme. In a scathing review, the US health agency suggested the performance of the test had not been established, presenting a risk to health, and that the tests should be thrown in the bin or returned to its California-based manufacturer Innova. In the UK, these lateral flow Innova tests form the cornerstone of Operation Moonshot, the mass-testing scheme championed by the prime minister’s former chief adviser. The idea was that the ability to deliver results within 30 minutes – that need not be processed in a laboratory, provides a cheap, pragmatic and efficient way to identify people who have caught the virus but not fallen ill.

But critics have raised concerns about accuracy. Given the tests have been offered free to millions in England, for use at home or at test centres, workplaces and schools, with the aim of detecting more cases, breaking chains of transmission and saving lives since April – the FDA announcement is particularly damning. The US agency has not authorised the use of the Innova test in the US, although the manufacturer has submitted a request for authorisation. But when the FDA discovered the Innova test was being distributed for US use regardless, it conducted an inspection of Innova’s medical device operations between March and April 2021.

In its report, the agency accused the company of “false or misleading” estimates of the test’s clinical performance, saying the estimates did not accurately reflect the performance of the diagnostic devices during clinical studies. The FDA also highlighted that the clinical study data submitted by Innova as part of its request for US authorisation was identical to data previously provided by other manufacturers in separate requests.

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What? Reasonable people?

Covid Passports Will Be Discriminatory And Must Be Scrapped – UK MPs (G.)

Covid passports, which will be used by sports fans for the first time at England’s Euro 2020 match on Sunday, will “disproportionately discriminate” based on race, religion, age and socio-economic background, a cross-party committee has concluded. MPs on the public administration and constitutional affairs committee (PACAC) said that the decision to allow certification, giving people access to events and venues if they test negative for coronavirus or have had the vaccine, could be seen as contempt of parliament. The damning conclusions come as England football fans prepare to use the NHS app to show they have received two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine and are therefore at low risk of transmitting the disease before being allowed to enter Wembley stadium.

William Wragg, the Tory chair of the committee, said: “We are entirely unconvinced by the case for their introduction. “As vaccine uptake statistics indicate, any Covid certification system will be a discriminator along the lines of race, religion and age. Frankly, the government needs to scrap any idea of introducing Covid passports.” A report released on Saturday by the committee concludes that any certification system would discriminate and should be halted. “The evidence of vaccine uptake is a clear indication that such a system would likely disproportionately discriminate against people on the basis of race, religion and socioeconomic background, as well as on the basis of age due to the sequencing of the vaccine rollout,” the committee found.

In late April, the transport secretary, Grant Shapps, announced that the NHS app would be used as a Covid passport to give holidaymakers the freedom to go abroad to specific “green list” countries. The committee criticised the government’s decision to make an announcement that pre-empted inquiries of the PACAC and the government itself “without notifying or consulting parliament”. The decision to push ahead with passports could, MPs concluded, be seen as contempt of parliament. “The policy should have been set out in advance of any decision being taken to enable scrutiny, and the House should have been given the opportunity to vote on the proposals,” the report said.

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“I wonder if he’s heard the new caution from the CDC that people who have been “vaccinated” should not fly in airplanes for more than four hours at a time due to the possibility of developing harmful blood clots (deep vein thrombosis) at altitude. “Joe Biden” suffered a cranial aneurysm, 1988, requiring a 13-hour brain surgery.”

Struggle Session (Kunstler)

In late 2020, big pharma companies start releasing mRNA compounds they call “vaccines.” They are not egg-zackly vaccines in the standard sense of what vaccines have been since the British doctor Edward Jenner first inoculated humans for smallpox in 1796 using a weaker cowpox live virus. The Covid-19 “vaccines” are miracles of genetic engineering. They deliver instructions via a lipid nano-particle for the body to manufacture spike proteins of the kind that form the corona of Covid-19, which, in turn prompts the immune system to fight the virus. Sweet! Except they have not gone through the years-long trials usually required by the FDA. By spring of 2021, evidence emerges that the spike protein may have some toxic properties of its own. Uh-oh.

It seems to interfere with women’s reproductive functions; it attacks the epithelial lining of blood vessels; it appears to induce blood clotting that can lead to strokes and infarctions; it can produce neurological disorders; it gets into other organs and messes with them…. Yikes! Ordinarily, vaccines that produce a very few cases of dangerous side-effects are held back from distribution. But under the emergency declaration for Covid-19, the mRNA “vaccines” are proffered even more aggressively. Through May, 2021, The Science (Dr. Fauci) presses to “vaccinate” as many Americans as can possibly be rounded up, including people who have recovered from Covid-19 and have developed their own natural antibodies.

Lately, The Science (Dr. Fauci) has militated for children and teenagers to get “vaccinated.” Only, now it turns out that scores of “vaccinated” young people are showing up with inflammation of the heart muscle (myocarditis), otherwise extremely rare in that demographic. Say what, plus huh, plus WTF? Does it not seem as if The Science (Dr. Fauci) has lurched from one blunder to the next, while also withholding the truth from the public, lying about the origin of the disease, and its (his) role in the development of the “vaccines,” and now rather desperately, it seems, trying to cover its (his) ass? What does “Joe Biden” & Co. do about The Science (Dr. Fauci) now? More and more, it (he) looks like an albatross the size of Rodan the Flying Reptile around Mr. B’s withered neck.

But if they throw it (him) to the wolves, they can no longer use Mr. Trump as the whipping boy for all the damage wreaked by Covid-19 and the government’s response to it (not to mention its role in creating the goshdarn thing.) I guess we’ll have to stand by on all that. For the moment, “Joe Biden” is overseas, dazzling the leaders of foreign lands with his charm and perspicacity. I wonder if he’s heard the new caution from the CDC that people who have been “vaccinated” should not fly in airplanes for more than four hours at a time due to the possibility of developing harmful blood clots (deep vein thrombosis) at altitude. “Joe Biden” suffered a cranial aneurysm, 1988, requiring a 13-hour brain surgery. “Joe Biden” has been vaccinated. Just sayin’.

Read more …

 

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Composite image of Milky Way Galactic Center. Courtesy of NASA/CXC/UMass/Q.D. Wang; Radio: NRF/SARAO/MeerKAT./CXC/UMass/Q.D. Wang; Radio: NRF/SARAO/MeerKAT.

 

 

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May 122021
 


Francesco Hayez The Death of the Doge Marin Faliero 1867

 

Flaw In Many Models Used For COVID-19 Lockdown Policies (ET)
French Parliament Wakes Up And Says No To The Health Pass (FS)
NHS App Ready To Become Vaccine Passport Next Week (BBC)
World’s Most Vaccinated Nation Sees Active COVID Cases Double In A Week (ZH)
mRNA Covid-19 Vaccine Safety in Pregnant Persons (NEJM)
Sinovac Shot Causes ‘Drastic Drop’ In Deaths, Infections (SCMP)
Rand Paul Clashes With Fauci Over Coronavirus Origins (Hill)
The Raptures of Hyper-Complexity (Kunstler)
Stop The Crap On Colonial (Denninger)
US States Declare Emergency Over Gas Shortage Fears (DW)
If Everyone Sees It, Is It Still A Bubble? (RIA)
Whistleblower Craig Murray Sentenced To 8 Months In Prison (Elmaazi)

 

 

 

 

We’re ruled by fear. There’s simply painfully little common sense left. But here’s some…

“..lockdown measures have caused 282 times more harm than benefit to Canadian society over the long term ..”

Flaw In Many Models Used For COVID-19 Lockdown Policies (ET)

Economics professor Doug Allen wanted to know why so many early models used to create COVID-19 lockdown policies turned out to be highly incorrect. What he found was that a great majority were based on false assumptions and “tended to over-estimate the benefits and under-estimate the costs.” He found it troubling that policies such as total lockdowns were based on those models. “They were built on a set of assumptions. Those assumptions turned out to be really important, and the models are very sensitive to them, and they turn out to be false,” said Allen, the Burnaby Mountain Professor of Economics at Simon Fraser University, in an interview.

Allen says most of the early cost-benefit studies that he reviewed didn’t try to distinguish between mandated and voluntary changes in people’s behaviour in the face of a pandemic. Rather, they just assumed an exponential growth of cases of infection day after day until herd immunity is reached. In a paper he published in April, in which he compiled his findings based on a review of over 80 papers on the effects of lockdowns around the world, Allen concluded that lockdowns may be one of “the greatest peacetime policy failures in Canada’s history.” He says many of the studies early in the pandemic assumed that human behaviour changes only as a result of state-mandated intervention, such as the closing of schools and non-essential businesses, mask and social distancing orders, and restrictions on private social gatherings.

However, they didn’t take into consideration people’s voluntary behavioural changes in response to the virus threat, which have a major impact on evaluating the merits of a lockdown policy. “Human beings make choices, and we respond to the environment that we’re in, [but] these early models did not take this into account,” Allen said. “If there’s a virus around, I don’t go to stores often. If I go to a store, I go to a store that doesn’t have me meeting so many people. If I do meet people, I tend to still stand my distance from them. You don’t need lockdowns to induce people to behave that way.”

Allen’s own cost-benefit analysis is based on the calculation of “life-years saved,” which determines “how many years of lost life will have been caused by the various harms of lockdowns versus how many years of lost life were saved by lockdowns.” Based on his lost-life calculation, lockdown measures have caused 282 times more harm than benefit to Canadian society over the long term, or 282 times more life years lost than saved.

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More common sense. Google translate from France Soir.

French Parliament Wakes Up And Says No To The Health Pass (FS)

Article 1 of the bill proposed by the government on the issue of ending the health crisis was rejected by the National Assembly. It was the one that specified the operating methods of the health pass. On April 28, the government proposed its bill relating to the management of the exit from the health crisis. Article 1 of this project made the famous “sanitary pass” appear in black and white, which was to be implemented little by little over the summer, in particular for events welcoming more than 1,000 people. First, this bill went through the committee, then was admitted at first reading in the National Assembly yesterday, Monday, May 10, with 234 amendments to be studied. During more than six hours of debate, these amendments were swept away one by one, whether they were a deletion of an article, a rewrite or even a simple clarification.

As a result, this Tuesday morning, the newspapers overwhelmingly headlined that the “green light for the health pass” had been given by the National Assembly. That was indeed how things were shaping up. Roland Lescure, LREM deputy, to describe these measures as “a condition of regained freedoms”. Only, as Philippe Gosselin, LR deputy rightly and ardently pointed out, the opposition and the majority converged yesterday, in places, to say that the project had errors and inconsistencies. Martine Wonner, MP for Freedom and Territories, asked the question even more clearly: “In peacetime, the Republic has never known such restriction of freedoms. So who is the government at war with?”

Yesterday evening, the deputies were only 143 to be present in the hemicycle. Today, there were 213. Finally, at the end of the study of the amendments to article 1, the vote proved the opposition right! As a result, article 1, on which the majority of the bill is based, is not adopted: 211 voters: 103 FOR / 108 AGAINST For good reason, while it has been four years since it happened, the MoDem has dissociated itself from the majority. They who quoted Victor Hugo yesterday: “in the storm and the noise, clarity reappears, increased”. Philippe Latombe thus underlined the will of the people, namely to have a “coherent and clear political voice”. In fact, the MoDem deputies were demanding regarding the adoption of this bill and the characteristics of the health pass. While for 14 months the power of Parliament had at least been reduced, the deputies were able to be heard this evening.

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The opposite of common sense.

NHS App Ready To Become Vaccine Passport Next Week (BBC)

England’s NHS app will be available to use as a vaccine passport from Monday, the government has said – but only for those who have had both doses of the jab. A paper version will also be available – by calling 119 but not through a GP. Both will be available from Monday, 17 May, when the ban on foreign travel is eased. The NHS app is separate to the NHS Covid-19 app, which is used for contact tracing. People can already use the NHS app to: • request repeat prescriptions • arrange appointments to see their doctor • view medical records • It can also show vaccine statuses, including for coronavirus, but currently this feature must be enabled by a GP before it appears on the app.

The new update will contain a separate feature to display coronavirus vaccine records, so the government said there should be no need to contact GPs. The app will not show coronavirus test results, but the NHS plans to incorporate this in the future, the government website said. It advised people to register to use the app at least two weeks before travelling. A paper letter can be requested only at least five days after a second vaccine dose and can take five days to arrive. “There are not many countries that currently accept proof of vaccination,” the government advice warns. “So for the time being, most people will still need to follow other rules when travelling abroad – like getting a negative pre-departure test.”

The government has announced 12 countries people in England can travel to, without having to quarantine when they return. But not all of these destinations allow UK tourists. For example, travel to mainland Portugal and the Azores is currently for essential purposes only. The list will be reviewed every three weeks. Countries can be added or removed at short notice.

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Will we see this in more places?

World’s Most Vaccinated Nation Sees Active COVID Cases Double In A Week (ZH)

The situation in the Seychelles, an island nation that has suffered from a recent surge in COVID-19 cases despite boasting the world’s highest vaccination rate, is going from bad to worse. Since we last reported on the Seychelles one week ago, the island nation has faced a fresh surge in COVID cases. The vaccine failure cannot be determined without a detailed assessment, said the WHO. The hike in coronavirus cases has stoked concerns that the jabs might not be helping to suppress the island nation’s COVID-19 outbreak. A vaccine failure can’t be determined without a detailed study by the WHO, however. Presently, the health body is in direct communication with Seychelles and working on evaluating the situation, said Kate O’Brien, director of the WHO’s department of immunization, vaccines and biologicals at a briefing on May 10.


The Indian Ocean archipelago nation started vaccinations in January when it introduced the Chinese-developed Sinopharm vaccine. It administered Chinese vaccine shots to 57% of those who were fully inoculated and the rest received vaccines that were made in India. Since last week, the number of active coronavirus cases has more than doubled to 2,486 people. Of these, 37 percent of the population have received both the vaccine doses, as per the report. Due to the surge in COVID-19 cases, Seychelles re-imposed curbs last week, including closing schools, canceling sports events and banning mingling of households.

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Imagine taking an mRNA injection when you’re pregnant. “Pregnant Persons” sounds like a sign of our times. I will not get used to it.

mRNA Covid-19 Vaccine Safety in Pregnant Persons (NEJM)

BACKGROUND Many pregnant persons in the United States are receiving messenger RNA (mRNA) coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines, but data are limited on their safety in pregnancy.

METHODS From December 14, 2020, to February 28, 2021, we used data from the “v-safe after vaccination health checker” surveillance system, the v-safe pregnancy registry, and the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) to characterize the initial safety of mRNA Covid-19 vaccines in pregnant persons.

RESULTS A total of 35,691 v-safe participants 16 to 54 years of age identified as pregnant. Injection-site pain was reported more frequently among pregnant persons than among nonpregnant women, whereas headache, myalgia, chills, and fever were reported less frequently. Among 3958 participants enrolled in the v-safe pregnancy registry, 827 had a completed pregnancy, of which 115 (13.9%) resulted in a pregnancy loss and 712 (86.1%) resulted in a live birth (mostly among participants with vaccination in the third trimester). Adverse neonatal outcomes included preterm birth (in 9.4%) and small size for gestational age (in 3.2%); no neonatal deaths were reported. Although not directly comparable, calculated proportions of adverse pregnancy and neonatal outcomes in persons vaccinated against Covid-19 who had a completed pregnancy were similar to incidences reported in studies involving pregnant women that were conducted before the Covid-19 pandemic. Among 221 pregnancy-related adverse events reported to the VAERS, the most frequently reported event was spontaneous abortion (46 cases).

CONCLUSIONS Preliminary findings did not show obvious safety signals among pregnant persons who received mRNA Covid-19 vaccines. However, more longitudinal follow-up, including follow-up of large numbers of women vaccinated earlier in pregnancy, is necessary to inform maternal, pregnancy, and infant outcomes.

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Bit of PR from SCMP. What it depicts mostly is the difficulty in having the “poor” vacccinated.

Sinovac Shot Causes ‘Drastic Drop’ In Deaths, Infections (SCMP)

Sinovac Biotech Ltd’s vaccine is wiping out Covid-19 among health workers in Indonesia, an encouraging sign for the dozens of developing countries reliant on the controversial Chinese shot, which performed far worse than Western vaccines in clinical trials. Indonesia tracked 25,374 health workers in capital city Jakarta for 28 days after they received their second dose and found that the vaccine protected 100 per cent of them from death and 96 per cent from hospitalisation as soon as seven days after, said Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin in an interview on Tuesday. The workers were tracked until late February.

Sadikin also said that 94 per cent of the workers had been protected against infection – an extraordinary result that goes beyond what was measured in the shot’s numerous clinical trials – though it is unclear if the workers were uniformly screened to detect asymptomatic carriers. “We see a very, very drastic drop,” in hospitalisation and deaths among medical workers, Sadikin said. It is not known what strain of the coronavirus Sinovac’s shot worked against in Indonesia, but the country has not flagged any major outbreaks driven by variants of concern. The data adds to signs out of Brazil that the Sinovac shot is more effective than it proved in the testing phase, which was beset by divergent efficacy rates and questions over data transparency. Results from its biggest Phase III trial in Brazil put the shot known as CoronaVac’s efficacy at just above 50 per cent, the lowest among all first-generation Covid-19 vaccines.

In a separate interview with Bloomberg on Tuesday, Sinovac’s CEO Yin Weidong defended the disparity in clinical data around the shot, and said there was growing evidence CoronaVac is performing better when applied in the real world. But the real-world examples also show that the Sinovac shot’s ability to quell outbreaks requires the vast majority of people to be vaccinated, a scenario that developing countries with poor health infrastructure and limited access to shots cannot reach quickly. In the Indonesian health worker study, and another in a Brazilian town of 45,000 people called Serrana, nearly 100 per cent of people studied were fully vaccinated, with serious illness and deaths dropping after they were inoculated.

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Time for the NIH to come clean.

Rand Paul Clashes With Fauci Over Coronavirus Origins (Hill)

Anthony Fauci on Tuesday clashed with Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) over the role of the Wuhan, China, virology lab in the origins of COVID-19. During a Senate hearing on the pandemic response, Paul alleged that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) had been sending funding to the Wuhan lab, which then “juiced up” a virus that was originally found in bats to create a supervirus that can infect human cells. Paul pressed Fauci on the theory that the novel coronavirus was created in the Wuhan lab, and then somehow escaped, either because of an accident or because it was deliberately released. “Sen. Paul, with all due respect, you are entirely, entirely and completely incorrect,” Fauci said. “The NIH has not ever, and does not now, fund ‘gain of function research’ in the Wuhan Institute.”

Paul continued to argue with Fauci, who is the director of the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), accusing him of cooperating with the Chinese government, and supporting the laboratory that bioengineered a deadly virus. Fauci noted that although the NIH did fund a project at the Wuhan lab, it was not meant for “gain of function” research into human-made superviruses. The NIH gave a grant to a group called EcoHealth Alliance, which hired the virology lab in Wuhan to conduct genetic analyses of bat coronaviruses and examine how they spread to humans. The Trump administration last year forced the NIH to terminate the grant. The false link between Fauci, the NIH and the Wuhan lab has been circulating among right-wing media and politicians like Paul and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) for months.

“Let me explain to you why that was done, the SARS COV-1 originated in bats in China. It would have been irresponsible of us if we did not investigate the bat viruses and the serology to see who might have been infected,” Fauci said. Gain of function research is a controversial form of study that involves boosting the infectivity and lethality of a pathogen. Fauci has advocated for the research in the past, but he denied that the NIH was funding it in China. But Paul interrupted him, and hinted that not only was the virus introduced to the world because of a lab accident, it was also biologically engineered. “Government scientists like yourself who favor gain function … ” Paul said. “I don’t favor gain of function research in China and you are saying things that are not correct,” Fauci interrupted.

Fauci Rand Paul
https://twitter.com/i/status/1392137203925622790

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“Taking down the grid would be, effectively, the end of civilization, at least for a while, maybe a long while, maybe for good.”

The Raptures of Hyper-Complexity (Kunstler)

I think you get the picture. That whole kit of industrial production is long gone, and we’re left in an economic slum of Chinese product “welfare” (stuff for treasury bonds) juiced on computer-driven hyper-complexity, decorated with junk enterprise like social media, streaming pornography, crypto-currency mining, and chicken nuggets — with a lot of deceptive and useless motion in the form of mass motoring to provide the illusion that this country is actually going somewhere… all with a poison Chinese Covid-19 cherry-on-top. This is the outfit that Joe Biden is ostensibly the president of. Now along comes the curious case of the Colonial Pipeline shutdown. It’s especially interesting because the pipeline itself, while big (5,500 miles long, from refineries in Texas clear up to gas stations in New York), is itself not that complicated.

It’s a tube that a few volatile liquids move through: gasoline, aviation fuel, diesel oil. It has a bunch of valves to regulate the flows of these liquids. Plus, some storage tank-farms. The valves are computerized. That seems to be the problem. There was no physical damage to the pipeline and its components. The software that runs it got hacked, reportedly a “ransom-ware” sting, where unknown actors get control of the software and won’t relinquish it unless a whole lot of cash gets forked over by some non-traceable electronic means of transfer. I imagine it’s this last point that Colonial and its hackers are haggling over now, which explains the failure to restart the otherwise undamaged pipeline. I also imagine, meanwhile, all kinds of private and government computer savants are trying like hell to hack the hack behind the scenes.

The Colonial Pipeline is easy-peasy compared to the financial system and the electric grid. If the first one gets hacked, the nation’s nominal wealth might disappear (yours included), and, anyway, the financial system itself is not just enormous and hyper-complex, but much of its complexity conceals the massive misrepresentation of vaporous entities for “money” and any stoppage of the flows of that “money,” and things purporting to derive from it, will reveal the black hole at the center of all that activity. Hear that giant sucking sound? That was your livelihood, your pension, and your legacy rushing by en route to zero.

The electric grid is sometimes referred to as “the biggest machine in the world.” Unlike the financial system, it’s not largely stoked on hyper-complex dishonesty, it’s just really old, and jerry-rigged, and held together with duct-tape and baling wire. Probably a few kids in a basement somewhere — not even enemies of the republic, necessarily — could initiate a software attack that causes a whole lot of damage to transformers and other vital components and starts a process that wrecks the whole darn thing. Taking down the grid would be, effectively, the end of civilization, at least for a while, maybe a long while, maybe for good.

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The mega Colonial spill last year would seem to be connected to this.

Stop The Crap On Colonial (Denninger)

Let’s start with the stupid: Yes, what they did, assuming the reports are accurate, was stupid. You do not connect anything that has access to SCADA, that is, control systems, to the Internet. Period. I don’t care how. I don’t why. I don’t care what. You don’t do it. End of discussion. Oh, but that means the employees can’t work from home! Correct. Sit in office, work on machine, machine has zero external connectivity, no USB ports or instantly alarms if you plug something into one, etc. Connections between facilities are encrypted over centrally-controlled infrastructure with regular audits. Nothing beyond the orbit of those devices connects to the sane and sanitary systems. Period, end of discussion, no exceptions. Next, there are rumors that Colonial had a leak in their line and it was spewing fuel into the environment.

It was allegedly supposed to be fixed by a given date. More than one million gallons of gas spewed out of it. Eight months later it was still not corrected. That was on April 19th of this year. So what’s going on here? I get it. Things break. We rely on “things” for our daily lives. A certain amount of human error and trouble is expected. I’m ok with this; many are not, but I am because I like to have fuel in my car and groceries on the shelves, and without said technology, which comes with risk, we won’t have those things. There are people who think we can avoid all that. They’re wrong.

But how many articles have I written over the last 13 years talking about cybersecurity and proper control over one’s infrastructure when it comes to critical items. You know, like pipeline pressures, delivery quantities, etc? How is it that this sort of volume of gasoline managed to get out? Is there not a set of flow meters on the inlet and outlet, and do they not match? Are there not pressure transducers that detect a violation of the pipe’s integrity? Is not the characterization of the flow known; the pipe is “X” length, the pressure is “Y”, the flow is “Z” and we know what it’s made of so we should be able to reasonably compute what the frictional loss is over a given distance. Further, as should be obvious, if 1,000 gallons go in one end then exactly 1,000 gallons have to come out the other end, right? This isn’t a damned garden spray-nozzle!

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“Granholm said that there was not a supply shortage, but rather a “crunch”..”

US States Declare Emergency Over Gas Shortage Fears (DW)

Several east coast US states declared a state of emergency on Tuesday as gas stations began to run out of gasoline, five days after a cyberattack brought down the key Colonial pipeline. Despite assurances from President Joe Biden’s administration that the pipeline, which provides almost half the gas to the eastern seaboard, would be up and running within days, panicked drivers continued to top up their tanks. “We are asking people not to hoard,” US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told reporters at the White House. “Things will be back to normal soon.” State governors in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia implemented states of emergency to deal with the growing number of gas stations that were running out of fuel.


Declaring a state of emergency allows state governments to activate the National Guard as needed, and helps streamline cooperation between state and local officials. In the Georgia metropolis of Atlanta, some 30% of gas stations had run dry, with a similar number in Raleigh, North Carolina, according to the tracking firm GasBuddy. By 4 p.m. EST (20:00 UTC) almost 8% of gas stations throughout the state of Virginia had run out of gas, while in Florida close to 3% were empty, CNN reported. Granholm said that there was not a supply shortage, but rather a “crunch” in some states that are particularly reliant on the Colonial pipeline. Georgia lifted sales tax on gas until Saturday to help consumers while the federal government temporarily loosened certain environmental and working hours regulations to smooth out the problems.

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End the Fed.

If Everyone Sees It, Is It Still A Bubble? (RIA)

“If everyone sees it, is it still a bubble?” That was a great question I got over the weekend. As a “contrarian” investor, it is usually when “everyone” is talking about an event; it doesn’t happen. As Mark Hulbert noted recently, “everyone” is worrying about a “bubble” in the stock market. To wit: “To appreciate how widespread current concern about a bubble is, consider the accompanying chart of data from Google Trends. It plots the relative frequency of Google searches based on the term ‘stock market bubble.’ Notice that this frequency has recently jumped to a far-higher level than at any other point over the last five years.”

What Is A Bubble? “My confidence is rising quite rapidly that this is, in fact, becoming the fourth ‘real McCoy’ bubble of my investment career. The great bubbles can go on a long time and inflict a lot of pain, but at least I think we know now that we’re in one.” – Jeremy Grantham What is the definition of a bubble? According to Investopedia: “A bubble is a market cycle that is characterized by the rapid escalation of market value, particularly in the price of assets. Typically, what creates a bubble is a surge in asset prices driven by exuberant market behavior. During a bubble, assets typically trade at a price that greatly exceeds the asset’s intrinsic value. Rather, the price does not align with the fundamentals of the asset.“


This definition is suitable for our discussion; there are three components of a “bubble.” The first two, price and valuation, are readily dismissed during the inflation phase. Jeremy Grantham once produced the following chart of 40-years of price bubbles in the markets. During the inflation phase, each was readily dismissed under the guise “this time is different.” As Howard Marks previously noted: “It’s the swings of psychology that get people into the biggest trouble. Especially since investors’ emotions invariably swing in the wrong direction at the wrong time. When things are going well people become greedy and enthusiastic. When times are troubled, people become fearful and reticent. That’s just the wrong thing to do. It’s important to control fear and greed.”

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He was sentenced because of “jigsaw identification”, but no-one was identified.

“..the women who are meant to be threatened with jigsaw ID all remained anonymous, Alex Salmond’s life was destroyed, and Craig Murray’s life is about to be destroyed too.”

Whistleblower Craig Murray Sentenced To 8 Months In Prison (Elmaazi)

Former UK diplomat-turned whistleblower Craig Murray was sentenced to eight months in prison at the High Court in Edinburgh for contempt of court resulting from his coverage of the trial of former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond. A three-judge panel determined on March 25, 2021—following a two-hour trial in January—that information published by Murray in a number of his blog posts was likely to lead indirectly to people being able to identify witnesses in Salmond’s sexual assault trial. This process, known as “jigsaw identification,” refers to the possibility that a person may piece together information from various sources to arrive at the identification of a protected witness.

In doing so, the judge ruled that Murray violated a court order prohibiting the publication of information that could likely lead to the identification of the alleged victims in Salmond’s case. Murray is a broadcaster, human rights advocate and journalist, who has extensively covered the prosecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and is known to support other whistleblowers. He also strongly supported Salmond and the Scottish campaign for independence. He denied the charges, arguing he went to great pains to cover the prosecution without identifying the witnesses. The trial and eight-month prison sentence was heavily criticized by a number of veteran Scottish journalists and lawyers.

Hugh Kerr, a former vice chair of the National Union of Journalists who was once a Labour Party Member of the European Parliament before he joined the SNP, told The Dissenter that he considered both the verdict and the sentence in Murray’s case to be “disgraceful.” “[This decision represents] a real threat to civil liberties,” Kerr argued. “A key point, of course, the women who are meant to be threatened with jigsaw ID all remained anonymous, Alex Salmond’s life was destroyed, and Craig Murray’s life is about to be destroyed too.” “I know that Craig shall appeal not only to the Supreme Court but also to the European Court of Human Rights. He will do so with the support of many people in Scotland and many people around the world,” Kerr added.

“It is believed to be the first instance in Scottish legal history where ‘jigsaw identification’ has led to an individual being imprisoned,” a statement released on behalf of Murray’s family declared. Award-winning investigative journalist John Pilger said, “In these dark times, Craig Murray’s truth-telling is a beacon. He is owed our debt of gratitude, not the travesty of a prison sentence which, like the prosecution of Julian Assange, is a universal warning.” “Craig Murray has compiled a remarkable record of courage and integrity in exposing crimes of state and working to bring them to an end,” Professor Noam Chomsky stated, contending Murray “fully merits our deep respect and support for his achievements.”

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On this day in 330, Constantine The Great dedicated the ancient Greek city of Byzantium as the new capital of the Eastern Roman Empire and renamed it Constantinople.

 

 

 

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May 052021
 


Edgar Degas The laundress 1873

 

India Latest Country to Approve Use of Ivermectin to Treat Covid-19 (NC)
Do Stupid Things, Win Stupid Prizes (Denninger)
Pfizer Will File For Full FDA Approval By End Of May (F.)
Pfizer Sees Covid-19 As ‘Durable’ Revenue Stream As Profits Rise (Y!)
‘Obscene’ Bonus Hike For AstraZeneca Boss Prompts Investor Anger (G.)
Fauci Tells CNN We’re ‘At Least Halfway Through’ The Covid-19 Pandemic (RT)
US Birth Rate Sees Biggest Fall For Nearly 50 Years (G.)
The Liberals Who Can’t Quit Lockdown (Atl.)
The Dynamics Behind the Ugly Amount of Empty Office Space (WS)
Don’t Be Fooled By Joe Biden (Chris Hedges)
CNN Turns To Disgraced FBI Official For Legal Analysis On Rudy Giuliani (TP)
The Instagram Ads Facebook Won’t Show You (Signal)
Facebook’s New Campaign Should Have Free Speech Advocates Nervous (Turley)

 

 

Some memes are stronger than others.

 

 

 

And this time for real. Until now it was only 2 states.

India Latest Country to Approve Use of Ivermectin to Treat Covid-19 (NC)

[..] the huge uncontrolled wave of infections hitting India is having all sorts of implications for the Modi government. In its desperation to regain control of the virus, India’s government quietly changed its treatment guidelines last week. The new guidelines include the option of prescribing two repurposed medicines for mild Covid patients: budesonid and ivermectin. The former is an inhaled steroid that has been shown to reduce the time to recovery and need for urgent medical care. The latter is an off-patent anti-parasitic that has been discovered to have powerful anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties. India is no stranger to ivermectin. The medicine has been used as an anti-parasitic for decades. It has also been used in the fight against malaria.

Two of its regions, Uttar Pradesh (population: 230 million) and Bihar, have been using the medicine since August, to dramatic effect. By the end of 2020, Uttar Pradesh (UP) — which distributed free ivermectin for home care — had the second-lowest fatality rate in India at 0.26 per 100,000 residents. Only the state of Bihar, with 128 million residents, had less. But Uttar Pradesh (UP) did more than treat 300,000 mild cases at home through 2020; it also opted to use ivermectin to prevent infection. COVID response teams began taking the drug and they did not catch the illness. The same thing was reported in a study of frontline critical care workers in Argentina. U.P. then had contacts of COVID patients take it, with similar success. “Recognizing the sense of urgency,” Amit Mohan Prasad, a U.P. health official, wrote in a Dec. 30 article, “we decided to go ahead.”


Yet UP’s remarkable success at controlling the virus did not inform national policy — at least not until now. The Indian Council of Medical Research declined in October to recommend ivermectin nationwide, citing, like so many health regulators, the need for more data. But all that changed last week as India became the biggest country on the planet to adopt nationwide use of ivermectin against Covid-19. More than 20 countries are now using ivermectin to treat Covid-19 to one degree or another, with promising results, despite the fact the World Health Organization has not approved its use. They include Mexico, Guatemala, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Portugal, Nigeria, South Africa and Egypt.

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”..the shot is one hundred times more dangerous than the disease..”

Do Stupid Things, Win Stupid Prizes (Denninger)

It’s ok folks, it’s very “rare”. Uh huh, sure it is. High school senior Emma Burkey received her “one and done” Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine on March 20, and within two weeks was in an induced coma following seizures and clotting in her brain. “She’s making a slow recovery, having recently been transfered from the hospital to a rehabilitation center, and the first round of bills totaled $513,000. The 18-year-old’s family friends in the Las Vegas area started a GoFundMe account to help with medical expenses from the very rare vaccine reaction.” An 18 year old, according to the CDC, has a roughly 1/50,000 risk of being killed by Covid-19 assuming the FDA’s and CDC’s “standard of care” which prohibits the use of budesonide, ivermectin, monoclonal antibodies and a whole host o other drugs which we know work.

One of them, budesonide, has a roughly 90% efficacy in preventing hospitalization (and of course death usually is preceded by that if you get Covid); the others also have some efficacy. Stacking just those three likely winds up around 95-99% effective, so your actual risk, if you’re not a dumb-ass and are both young and get Covid-19 is more like 1/500,000. And that’s if you get Covid. The CDC says about 1/10 people have over a year’s time, so your risk as a healthy 18 year old is approximately 1/5,000,000 since to be exposed to the risk of death you first must get the disease and that is not certain. Remember, according to the CDC if you die while Covid-19 positive then your death was caused by Covid-19, even though this is not scientifically proved. This is the same standard that VAERS uses for vaccine death; you died associated with receiving the shot; it is not proved it was caused, but if that’s good enough for the CDC to claim the Coof killed you then it sure as hell is good enough to claim the vaccine killed you.

By the CDCs VAERS numbers and the number of delivered shots into arms the risk of the shot killing you is approximately 1/45,000 and if you take the shot the hazard is 100% probable to be undertaken, obviously. So if you’re not specifically morbid the shot is one hundred times more dangerous than the disease. Oh, and we know the VAERS reports are wildly understated. Why? Because it’s a voluntary system; there is no mandate on any person or health provider to report potential adverse connected effects. While you (as the impacted individual) can report to the system obvious doing that if you’re dead is somewhat difficult. Were this a mandatory system where any death within “X” time of an inoculation had to be reported, with a criminal penalty for not doing so by health providers, we might have a more-full picture. But unlike death certificates which must be issued, and the CDC rules for Covid-19 that say if you were positive any time in the last 28 days, or at death, your death is ruled Covid-related there is no such mandate for VAERS.

Maybe health insurance will pay Emma’s bill, at least in part. What’s Emma’s deductible, if she has insurance? Will she be eating that deductible every year for the rest of her life with a continuing care requirement? Will her insurer refuse to pay entirely, since these were experimental shots? What happens if Emma wants to start a family and tries to get life insurance down the road? Will it be available at any reasonable price? Has her ability to bear a child been damaged or destroyed? What about her ability to enjoy all the things she used to enjoy; will she, for example, still be able to go for a nice jog? Can she hold a driver license? What about a CDL or pilot’s license? What about something as simple as driving a forklift in a warehouse? Have the seizures permanently destroyed those options for Emma?

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Not supposed to be completed until 2023. Nothing matters anymore. All those carefully crafted procedures are just a hindrance.

Pfizer Will File For Full FDA Approval By End Of May (F.)

Pfizer and BioNTech, the manufacturers of one of the three authorized Covid-19 vaccines in the U.S., plan to file for full approval from the Food and Drug Administration by the end of May as they expect the vaccine to generate about $26 billion in revenue this year. Pfizer and German drug manufacturer BioNTech announced their plan to ask the FDA for full approval of its vaccine in its quarterly earnings report. The vaccine, the first Covid-19 jab to be authorized for emergency use in the U.S., was given its emergency use authorization in December, and is currently authorized to be administered to Americans over the age of 16. The vaccine brought it $3.5 billion in revenue in the first three months of 2021. The FDA is expected to expand eligibility for the Pfizer vaccine to adolescents between the ages of 12 and 15 as soon as this week.

Full FDA approval would allow Pfizer to market its vaccine directly to consumers, and could help make Pfizer Covid-19 booster shots–something Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla has said will be necessary–available to the public without needing another emergency use authorization from the FDA. The FDA grants emergency use authorizations when the Secretary of Health and Human Services deems it “appropriate” for the FDA to “authorize unapproved medical products or unapproved uses of approved medical products” when there are few or no alternatives. Vaccination EUA proposals must include “safety data accumulated from phase 1 and 2 studies” and “with an expectation that phase 3 data” will include follow up information on trial subjects. The FDA can then grant an EUA when an FDA panel determines the “known and potential benefits outweigh the known and potential risks.”

It’s likely that all Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers with EUAs will go on to file for full FDA approval because emergency use authorizations can be revoked once a public health crisis subsides. Both Pfizer and Moderna have released phase 3 trial information for their vaccines that showed high levels of protection against Covid-19, which allow them to move forward with filing for full FDA approval. Some health experts hope that full FDA approval for Covid-19 vaccines will help lessen vaccine hesitancy in the U.S. Former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams wrote in The Washington Post: “Many people who are lower risk understandably ask if the benefits justify taking a medication that has not received the full and traditional FDA stamp of approval,” and wrote “further studies” will “help show skeptics that the authorized COVID vaccines are safe.”

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Surprising they don’t use “sustainable”.

Pfizer Sees Covid-19 As ‘Durable’ Revenue Stream As Profits Rise (Y!)

Pfizer sharply increased its 2021 profit projections on Tuesday, citing much higher Covid-19 vaccine sales which are on track to provide a “durable” revenue stream in the wake of the pandemic. The drugmaker reported a jump in first-quarter profits based on surging revenues, with nearly one-fourth of sales coming from Covid-19 vaccines. With German partner BioNTech, the pharma giant is ramping up vaccine production and now estimates 2021 revenues of $26 billion from the vaccine, up from the $15 billion projected in February. But the surging profits have drawn criticism as governments face pressure to step in to ensure vaccines are provided to underserved countries.

Pfizer, which says it is on the cusp of winning US approval for individuals 12 to 15 years old to receive its vaccine, is holding talks with “basically all governments of the world” about providing booster shots through 2024, Chief Executive Albert Bourla told analysts on a conference call Tuesday. The company is studying the efficacy of giving the jabs six or more months after the second vaccine dose, and developing doses that could be stored at standard refrigerated temperature for up to 10 weeks. Bourla expects “durable demand” for Covid-19 vaccines, similar to that of the flu vaccine. “It is our hope that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will continue to have a global impact by helping to get the devastating pandemic under control and helping economies around the world not only open, but stay open,” Bourla said in prepared remarks.

That would create “a scenario in which Pfizer can continue to be both a leader and a beneficiary,” he said. Pfizer has won wide praise for its technological prowess in developing a game-changing vaccine in record time. However, critics called the profits troubling given the divide in vaccine availability between rich and poor countries. World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus last month decried a “shocking imbalance in the global distribution of vaccines” and called for efforts to fortify the WHO’s Covax programs, which aims to ensure that poorer nations can access the shots. India and South Africa are leading an effort in the World Trade Organization to waive intellectual property and patent rules, at least temporarily, which would open the door to broader production of vaccines at a time when the virus is causing mass misery in India and some other countries.

President Joe Biden said Tuesday he had not made a decision on whether to support a vaccine waiver, but that the United States was moving “as quickly as we can” to export doses. Biden also said he was ready to “immediately” begin vaccinations for 12 to 15-year-olds as soon as Pfizer’s Covid shot is approved by regulators for the age group. Pfizer reported net income of $4.9 billion, up 45 percent from the same period of the prior year. Revenues also jumped 45 percent to $14.6 billion, including $3.5 billion in Covid-19 vaccine sales.

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You mean the investors who make obscene profits?

‘Obscene’ Bonus Hike For AstraZeneca Boss Prompts Investor Anger (G.)

AstraZeneca is facing mounting opposition over its plans to award its chief executive, Pascal Soriot, a big increase in bonuses, with three investor advisory groups calling on shareholders to vote against the policy. Pirc, Glass Lewis and Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) have all flagged concerns over moves to raise the maximum share bonus Soriot can receive under a long-term plan from 550% of his £1.3m base salary to 650%. AZ also plans to hoist Soriot’s maximum annual bonus to 250% of salary from 200%, depending on performance targets being hit. The advisory groups recommended investors vote against the pay policy at next Tuesday’s annual meeting.


Neville White, the head of responsible investment policy and research at EdenTree Investment Management, which holds AstraZeneca shares, described the proposed bonus increases as “obscene” and said he would vote against them. He added: “It is obviously tricky, because Pascal is both a hero and an antihero at the moment.” The pay vote comes at a sensitive time, as AstraZeneca has faced a barrage of criticism over its coronavirus vaccine after supply shortages and, in rare cases, a potential link to blood clots. It has, however, pledged to supply the vaccine on a not-for-profit basis during the pandemic, and lost money making it in the first quarter of the year. Soriot has been paid more than £15m in each of the last two years, after overseeing a turnaround as he rebuilt AstraZeneca’s drug portfolio. The firm has faced down several shareholder pay revolts over the years.

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“Podcast host Dave Rubin suggested headlining the Blitzer-Fauci interview, “Drunk on power, highest-paid person in government egomaniac talks to synthetic humanoid news anchor on fake news channel using sports imagery.“

Fauci Tells CNN We’re ‘At Least Halfway Through’ The Covid-19 Pandemic (RT)

White House health expert Anthony Fauci may have quite some time remaining to rule as “master” of all things Covid-19 as he told CNN that Americans are “at least halfway through” the pandemic. “We’ve really got to not declare victory prematurely,” Fauci told CNN host Wolf Blitzer on Tuesday. “So we’re in the late innings, but it’s not over. That’s the thing we’ve got to get people to appreciate.” Pressed by Blitzer to be more specific, in baseball terms, how soon the pandemic will end for Americans, Fauci said, “the bottom of the sixth.” That would mean the battle is more than 60% completed – unless the game can somehow be extended into extra innings. Critics of Fauci, who is chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, found no encouragement in the doctor’s comments.

“Time to pull Dr. Fauci off the mound,” US Representative Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said on Twitter, continuing with the baseball analogy. Fauci has a history of flip-flopping on his Covid-19 advice and moving the goalposts at various stages of the pandemic. What started as “15 days to slow the spread” has turned into a 14-month battle, with the doctor calculating another nine to 14 months to go. He admitted last December to purposely deceiving the public about vaccine herd-immunity projections to manipulate opinions. Biden on Tuesday set a new goal of having 70 percent of adults vaccinated with at least one Covid-19 jab by July 4. Earlier in 2020, Fauci said the US could achieve herd immunity once 60-70 percent of the population was fully vaccinated. But he repeatedly moved that target back as the year wore on, going to as high as 85 percent in December.

“We’re going in the right direction,” Fauci said in Tuesday’s CNN interview. “We’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, but now’s not a time to declare victory. It’s a time to get more and more people vaccinated.” Fauci has enjoyed rock-star status during the pandemic, being showered with awards and mainstream-media adulation. A children’s book that’s scheduled for release in June bestows him the title “America’s doctor.” His 80th birthday was celebrated as Dr. Anthony Fauci in Washington, DC, and he was serenaded with the birthday song by Biden, then president-elect, and future First Lady Jill Biden. Podcast host Dave Rubin suggested headlining the Blitzer-Fauci interview, “Drunk on power, highest-paid person in government egomaniac talks to synthetic humanoid news anchor on fake news channel using sports imagery.”

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“..the rate has been sliding for more than 10 years and last year dropped to about 1.6, the lowest rate on record..”

US Birth Rate Sees Biggest Fall For Nearly 50 Years (G.)

The US birth rate has fallen 4% in the largest single-year drop in nearly 50 years, according to a government report. The rate dropped for mothers of every major race and ethnicity, and in nearly all age groups, falling to the lowest point since federal health officials started tracking it more than a century ago, the report due to be published on Wednesday said. Births have been declining in younger women for years, as many postponed motherhood and had smaller families. Birth rates for women in their late 30s and in their 40s have been inching up. But not last year. The US once was among only a few developed countries with a fertility rate above the 2.1 children per woman that ensured each generation had enough children to replace itself.


But the rate has been sliding for more than 10 years and last year dropped to about 1.6, the lowest rate on record. “The fact that you saw declines in births even for older moms is quite striking,” said lead author of the report, Brady Hamilton, of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The figures suggest that the current generation will not have enough children to replace itself. The CDC report is based on a review of more than 99% of birth certificates issued last year. The findings echo a recent Associated Press analysis of 2020 data from 25 states showing that births had fallen during the coronavirus outbreak. The pandemic contribute to last year’s big decline, experts said. Anxiety about Covid-19 and its impact on the economy likely caused many couples to think that it was not the right time to have a baby.

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It’s a symbiosis. The MSM only caters to the “left”, which demands ever scarier stories. Happy to provide.

The Liberals Who Can’t Quit Lockdown (Atl.)

Lurking among the jubilant americans venturing back out to bars and planning their summer-wedding travel is a different group: liberals who aren’t quite ready to let go of pandemic restrictions. For this subset, diligence against COVID-19 remains an expression of political identity—even when that means overestimating the disease’s risks or setting limits far more strict than what public-health guidelines permit. In surveys, Democrats express more worry about the pandemic than Republicans do. People who describe themselves as “very liberal” are distinctly anxious. This spring, after the vaccine rollout had started, a third of very liberal people were “very concerned” about becoming seriously ill from COVID-19, compared with a quarter of both liberals and moderates, according to a study conducted by the University of North Carolina political scientist Marc Hetherington.

And 43 percent of very liberal respondents believed that getting the coronavirus would have a “very bad” effect on their life, compared with a third of liberals and moderates. Last year, when the pandemic was raging and scientists and public-health officials were still trying to understand how the virus spread, extreme care was warranted. People all over the country made enormous sacrifices—rescheduling weddings, missing funerals, canceling graduations, avoiding the family members they love—to protect others. Some conservatives refused to wear masks or stay home, because of skepticism about the severity of the disease or a refusal to give up their freedoms. But this is a different story, about progressives who stressed the scientific evidence, and then veered away from it.

For many progressives, extreme vigilance was in part about opposing Donald Trump. Some of this reaction was born of deeply felt frustration with how he handled the pandemic. It could also be knee-jerk. “If he said, ‘Keep schools open,’ then, well, we’re going to do everything in our power to keep schools closed,” Monica Gandhi, a professor of medicine at UC San Francisco, told me. Gandhi describes herself as “left of left,” but has alienated some of her ideological peers because she has advocated for policies such as reopening schools and establishing a clear timeline for the end of mask mandates. “We went the other way, in an extreme way, against Trump’s politicization,” Gandhi said. Geography and personality may have also contributed to progressives’ caution: Some of the most liberal parts of the country are places where the pandemic hit especially hard, and Hetherington found that the very liberal participants in his survey tended to be the most neurotic.

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Some things have changed for good.

The Dynamics Behind the Ugly Amount of Empty Office Space (WS)

Companies are not massively defaulting on their office leases, and that’s the good thing. But they have put a historic amount of vacant office space on the sublease market, while continuing to pay rent to the landlord. They decided they no longer need that much space, now that some form of flexible work, or hybrid work-from-home, or even permanent work-from-anywhere is being integrated into office real estate plans, cost cutting efforts, and footprint-reduction strategies. Now, 14 months into the Pandemic, office occupancy – workers actually showing up at the office – is still dreadfully low. As of the end of April, office occupancy in the 10 largest metros averaged only 26.5% of where it had been just before the Pandemic, according to Kastle Systems today, whose electronic access systems secure thousands of office buildings around the country. In other words, the number of people entering these offices was still down by 73.5% from pre-pandemic levels and has barely made headway in recent months:

The epicenters of work-from-home show the biggest drops in office occupancy rates, according to Kastle’s “Back to Work Barometer” at the end of April: in San Francisco, the occupancy rate was at 14.8% of the pre-Pandemic level, in New York City at 16.2%, and in San Jose at 18.0%. Among tech companies, 95% expect remote work for at least a few days a week; 9% said that they will never return to the office at all; another 47% said that they will need less office space; only 13% said they would need more office space, according to a survey by Savills.A survey of Californian residents found that 82% of the employees who now work at home want to continue working at home at least some of the time. Only 18% don’t want to work at home at all. But even at the top end of office occupancy, working remotely is still king. In Dallas, office occupancy is at 41.2% of where it was pre-Pandemic, and in Austin at 40.2% :

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“Biden is the epitome of the empty, amoral creature produced by our system of legalized bribery.”

Don’t Be Fooled By Joe Biden (Chris Hedges)

Don’t be fooled by Joe Biden. He knows his infrastructure and education bills have as much chance at becoming law as the $15-dollar minimum wage or the $2,000 stimulus checks he promised us as a candidate. He knows his American Jobs Plan will never create “millions of good paying jobs – jobs Americans can raise their families on” any more than NAFTA, which he supported, would, as was also promised, create millions of good paying jobs. His mantra of “buy American” is worthless. He knows the vast majority of our consumer electronics, apparel, furniture and industrial supplies are made in China by workers who earn an average of one or two dollars an hour and lack unions and basic labor rights.

He knows his call to lower deductibles and prescription drug costs in the Affordable Care Act will never be permitted by the corporations that profit from health care. He knows the corporate donors that fund the Democratic Party will ensure their lobbyists will continue to write the laws that guarantee they pay little or no taxes. He knows the corporate subsidies and tax incentives he proposes as a solution to the climate crisis will do nothing to halt oil and gas fracking, shut down coal-fired plants or halt the construction of new pipelines for gas-fired power plants. His promises of reform have no more weight than those peddled by Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, who Biden slavishly served and who also promised social equality while betraying working men and women.

Biden is the epitome of the empty, amoral creature produced by our system of legalized bribery. His long political career in Congress was defined by representing the interests of big business, especially the credit card companies based in Delaware. He was nicknamed Senator Credit Card. He has always glibly told the public what it wants to hear and then sold them out. He was a prominent promoter and architect of a generation of federal “tough on crime” laws that helped militarize the nation’s police and more than doubled the population of the world’s largest prison system with harsh mandatory sentencing guidelines and laws that put people in prison for life for nonviolent drug crimes, even as his son struggled with addiction. He was a principal author of the Patriot Act, which began the stripping away of our most basic civil liberties. And there has never been a weapons system, or a war, he did not support.

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What a dynamic this is. Lying to the FBI doesn’t matter anymore. Not at CNN.

CNN Turns To Disgraced FBI Official For Legal Analysis On Rudy Giuliani (TP)

Disgraced former FBI official Andrew McCabe provided legal analysis on CNN Friday morning of ongoing investigations into former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz. Unmentioned in McCabe’s “New Day” segment was that he was fired by the FBI in 2018 for lying to government officials about his authorization of leaks to the media. Federal prosecutors also opened a grand jury investigation into whether McCabe made false statements to FBI and Justice Department officials about the leaks. The FBI raided Giuliani’s apartment in New York City this week as part of an investigation into whether he violated foreign agent laws through his Ukraine-related work in 2019 and 2020. Federal prosecutors are reportedly looking into whether Gaetz had a sexual relationship with an underage girl.


Both Giuliani and Gaetz have denied any wrongdoing and have both said they are being targeted for political reasons. McCabe addressed reports that the FBI gave so-called defensive briefings to Giuliani and Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson in late 2019 about Russia’s efforts to sow disinformation about Joe Biden. McCabe called the briefing “a big deal,” saying that it shows that the FBI had “a significant amount of information” that Russia was using Giuliani to disseminate information about Biden. McCabe said that the FBI often observes the recipients of the defensive briefing to see how they respond to the information. “If you cut off your interactions with them, that’s a good sign. If you continue to interact with them, which we know Rudy Giuliani did here, that’s a very bad sign,” McCabe said.

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They don’t really want you to know what they know about you.

The Instagram Ads Facebook Won’t Show You (Signal)

Companies like Facebook aren’t building technology for you, they’re building technology for your data. They collect everything they can from FB, Instagram, and WhatsApp in order to sell visibility into people and their lives. This isn’t exactly a secret, but the full picture is hazy to most – dimly concealed within complex, opaquely-rendered systems and fine print designed to be scrolled past. The way most of the internet works today would be considered intolerable if translated into comprehensible real world analogs, but it endures because it is invisible. However, Facebook’s own tools have the potential to divulge what is otherwise unseen. It’s already possible to catch fragments of these truths in the ads you’re shown; they are glimmers that reflect the world of a surveilling stranger who knows you. We wanted to use those same tools to directly highlight how most technology works. We wanted to buy some Instagram ads.

We created a multi-variant targeted ad designed to show you the personal data that Facebook collects about you and sells access to. The ad would simply display some of the information collected about the viewer which the advertising platform uses. Facebook was not into that idea. Ad account disabled. This ad account, its ads and some of its advertising assets are disabled. You can’t use it to run ads. Facebook is more than willing to sell visibility into people’s lives, unless it’s to tell people about how their data is being used. Being transparent about how ads use people’s data is apparently enough to get banned; in Facebook’s world, the only acceptable usage is to hide what you’re doing from your audience. So, here are some examples of the targeted ads that you’ll never see on Instagram. Yours would have been so you.

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By no means only Free Speech Advocates either.

Facebook’s New Campaign Should Have Free Speech Advocates Nervous (Turley)

In 1964, Stanley Kubrick released a dark comedy classic titled “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.” The title captured the absurdity of getting people to embrace the concept of weapons of mass destruction. The movie came to mind recently with the public campaign of Facebook calling for people to change her attitudes about the Internet and rethink issues like “content modification” – the new Orwellian term for censorship. The commercials show people like “Joshan” who says that he was born in 1996 and grew up with the internet.” Joshan mocks how much computers have changed and then asks why our regulations on privacy and censorship cannot evolve as much as our technology.

The ads are clearly directed at younger users who may be more willing to accept censorship than their parents who hopelessly cling to old-fashioned notions of free speech. Facebook knows that it cannot exercise more control over content unless it can get people to stop worrying and love the censor. There was a time when this would have been viewed as chilling: a corporate giant running commercials to get people to support new regulations impacting basic values like free speech and privacy. After all, Joshan shows of his first computer was a “giant behemoth of a machine” but that was before he understood “the blending of the real world and the internet world.”

The Facebook campaign is chilling in its reference to “privacy” and “content modification” given the current controversies surrounding Big Tech. On one level, the commercial simply calls for rethinking regulatory controls after 25 years. However, the source of the campaign is a company which has been widely accused of rolling back on core values like free speech. Big Tech corporations are exercising increasing levels of control over what people write or read on the Internet. While these companies enjoy immunity from many lawsuits based on the notion of being neutral communication platforms (akin to telephone companies), they now censor ideas deemed misleading or dangerous on subjects ranging from climate denial to transgender criticism to election fraud.

Moreover, Facebook knows that there is ample support for increasing censorship and speech regulation in Congress and around the world. Free speech is under attack and losing ground — and Facebook knows it. The rise of the corporate censor has challenged long-standing assumptions of the free speech community. Our Constitution and much of free speech writings are focused on the classic model of government censorship and state media. What we have seen in the last few years is that corporations have far greater ability to curtail speech and that you can have a type of state media without the state.

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Apr 302021
 


James McNeill Whistler Morning Glories 1869

 

Mental Health Experts Ask Media Not To Create Panic Around Covid-19 (OpIndia)
Stanford Prof: CDC Paved Way For ‘Institutionalization of Hypochondria’ (JTN)
One In Seven Shops Lie Empty After Lockdown (BBC)
EU Disunity Over Vaccine Certificate (K.)
Two Greek Hospitals To Host Clinical Trials Of Israeli Covid-19 Treatment (K.)
Associations Between Body-Mass Index And Covid-19 Severity (Lancet)
Covid-19 Could Cause Strokes Among Young & Healthy People (RT)
Biden’s Address To The Nation Was Little More Than A Magic Carpet Ride (Ritter)
Biden DOJ “Actively Considering” Domestic Terrorism Law (ZH)
Admitting Defeat in Afghanistan: American “State-Building” Fails Again (Clamp)
Hillary Clinton, Condi Rice Concerned About Afghan Troop Withdrawal (Axios)
Giuliani Says FBI Agents Declined To Take Hunter Biden’s Hard Drives (JTN)
Lavrov Calls Out Perfidious Albion in EU Diplomat Spat (SCF)
Lavrov: US-Russia Relations Now Worse Than Cold War (ZH)
Geoengineering: ‘Plan B’ For The Planet (Phys.Org)

 

 

LFD=Lateral Flow Antigen test
John Deeks: The 1st 2 weeks of school testing did find MORE FALSE POSITIVES than TRUE POSITIVES – data are finally public. Proportion false were 62% and 55% in these 2 weeks. Of 2304 positive tests, 1353 were likely false, with 1 positive per 6900 tests done.

 

 

Informed disconsent: Incentivize connection and hugs and sunshine

John Day: Guys, you need MORE transmission in the SUMMER, when everybody tolerates viral illness so much better.

 

 

“The fact that a huge number of people who are infected by COVID-19 recover becomes immaterial. Only images and emotions stay with them.”

Mental Health Experts Ask Media Not To Create Panic Around Covid-19 (OpIndia)

Senior Professor of Psychiatry and the current Director of NIMHANS, Dr. BN Gangadhar along with other esteemed mental health professionals called upon the media to avoid “panic-inducing coverage” through an open letter. The health experts issued an open letter criticising the media for reporting Covid-19 deaths from crematoriums and creating hysteria and panic among the people. The letter goes into detail regarding the various mental health problems a person encounters when bombarded with overtly negative and pessimistic media coverage around the clock. “Mass media has the power to communicate to millions at the same time. When the reach is so huge, every word, every image, and every nuance matters.

However, what we are seeing on our TV screens, mobile screens and newspapers is disconcerting, to put it very mildly.” the letter reads, establishing the responsibility of the mainstream media. The letter criticized the mainstream media’s overtly negative, dower and opportunistic coverage of the Coronavirus pandemic. “Images of bodies burning in cremation grounds, relatives of the deceased wailing inconsolably, emotional outbursts, and hysterical reporters with cameramen swarming over the bereaved who are going through deeply emotional moments – this may help garner eyeballs. But there is a steep price to be paid for such coverage.” the letter goes on. In order to demonstrate their point, the health professionals put forth an illustration in the letter. “Imagine someone has just tested positive for COVID-19.

If they have witnessed the panic-inducing coverage from cremation grounds, it keeps weighing on their minds and their loved ones. The fact that a huge number of people who are infected by COVID-19 recover becomes immaterial. Only images and emotions stay with them.” The mental health doctors emphasized the need for a positive mindset and requested the media to avoid “panic-inducing” coverage. “Yet again, we are not saying that the facts should not be reported. We are saying that hysteria and panic-inducing coverage should be avoided,” the letter makes clear. “As mental health professionals, we can tell you that specific information empowers people and prepares them to face any challenge. But panic weakens them”.

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“It’s not taking care of your kids. It’s not practicing your faith. It’s not doing doing as well as you can in your profession. None of that is as important as avoiding disease.”

Stanford Prof: CDC Paved Way For ‘Institutionalization of Hypochondria’ (JTN)

On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revised its guidance on mask-wearing, advising that Americans who are fully vaccinated may now exercise and attend small outdoor gatherings without a mask. It’s too little, too late, argues Stanford University Professor of Medicine Jay Bhattacharya. The public health agency’s hypervigilant coronavirus response over the past 12-14 months has paved the way for what he calls “the institutionalization of hypochondria” among the American public “This sort of order should have come long ago,” said Bhattacharya during an interview on “Just the News AM.” “I think they’re being entirely too cautious by saying, ‘Okay, only if you’re vaccinated … People who have had the disease before are also immune. Why shouldn’t they be ‘allowed’ to not wear masks?”

There has been “very little evidence of outdoor transmission of the disease to begin with,” added Bhattacharya, coauthor of the Great Barrington Declaration, a manifesto that urges an alternative COVID-19 strategy focused on protecting those at greatest risk while minimizing disruption and damage to the larger society. The statement has been signed by close to 14,000 medical and public health scientists. “[P]ublic health authorities, including the CDC have generated an enormous amount of fear and panic around the disease,” says Bhattacharya. On Tuesday, President Biden, who has been fully vaccinated for many months, wore a mask outside as he walked to the podium to address the press regarding the CDC’s newest guidance. Last week, Biden wore a mask during a virtual climate summit with other world leaders.

Calling masks “a palpable symbol of panic and fear,” Bhattacharya said Biden’s use of a mask in public “even though he has been vaccinated and is immune, sends the entirely wrong signal about the efficacy of vaccination and a whole host of other things.” “We basically have said, look at disease avoidance as the central problem in your life, no matter who you are,” he explained. “It’s not taking care of your kids. It’s not practicing your faith. It’s not doing doing as well as you can in your profession. None of that is as important as avoiding disease. And I think it’s going to be very difficult to undo that.”

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Coming to a town near you. Just wait till stimulus is withdrawn.

One In Seven Shops Lie Empty After Lockdown (BBC)

The number of empty shops has risen again, with one in seven across Britain now vacant, according to new research. All areas saw a rise but the North of England suffered the biggest hit, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) said. “After a third national lockdown, it is no surprise that the vacancy rate has continued to soar,” BRC chief Helen Dickinson said. Restrictions came on top of already difficult High Street conditions and further closures are likely, she said. The BRC’s quarterly report, compiled with the Local Data Company, found that in the first three months of 2021, the overall vacancy rate increased to 14.1%, from 13.7% in the previous quarter.


This was 1.9 percentage points higher than in the same point in 2020, and marks three years of increasing vacancy rates, the report said. Shopping centres, whose landlords have been hit hard during lockdown and by the shift to online, saw vacancies increase to 18.4% in the January-March period, from 17.1% in the previous three months. The report said 12% of shopping centre units have been empty for a year or more. Ms Dickinson said: “The forced closure of thousands of shops during the first quarter of 2021 has exacerbated already difficult conditions for the retail industry. We estimate there are around 5,000 fewer stores since the start of the pandemic.”

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“If approved, this provision would exclude Hungary and Slovakia, both of which have used Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine.”

EU Disunity Over Vaccine Certificate (K.)

The European Parliament has approved the issuing of a “green passport” for those inoculated against the coronavirus, but its position differs significantly from the Commission’s and the European Council’s. All sides will have to work at full speed if they want the certificate issued before the end of June. The European Parliament’s main demand is that the certificate – which it wants to be renamed “Covid-19 certificate” from the Commission’s “Green Passport” – apply only to people inoculated with the vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). If approved, this provision would exclude Hungary and Slovakia, both of which have used Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine. Hungary has also used China’s Sinopharm vaccine, widely considered of dubious effectiveness. The EMA has not approved either vaccine, so far.

The European Council’s common position is that member-states must have the option to use vaccines not approved by the EMA and adopting the Parliament’s decision could spark a serious clash. The MEPs also want people who carry such a certificate to be exempted from quarantine rules, taking away the decision from the member-states. While the document will primarily be used for travel within the EU, it will be up to each member-state to require it domestically, for example, to admit people in restaurants or cinemas. The MEPs consider lifting the quarantine for certificate holders a crucial issue for the free movement of people within the Schengen Area, a movement guaranteed by the Lisbon Treaty of 2007.

Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar, the Socialist rapporteur of the certificate proposition, said the Schengen Area is in a very bad state because of the unilateral restrictions of all sorts on cross-border movement imposed by individual member-states. The Parliament also wants the coronavirus diagnostic tests that allow cross-border movement issued for free.

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“..a new method of transferring a new medicine, based on exosomes, nanoparticles that participate in intracellular activities..”

Two Greek Hospitals To Host Clinical Trials Of Israeli Covid-19 Treatment (K.)

Infectious disease expert and chief scientific adviser on the pandemic, Sotiris Tsiodras, discussed on Thursday the start of the clinical trials in Greece of an Israeli coronavirus treatment in two hospitals. “We are participating in these new trials with great enthusiasm. The study utilizes a new method of transferring a new medicine, based on exosomes, nanoparticles that participate in intracellular activities,” said Tsiodras during a meeting in Athens with Israeli Professor of Medicine Nadir Arber who is responsible for the new drug against Covid-19 developed at the Medical Centre Ichilov in Tel Aviv.


“It is a very promising method according to the data from the clinical trials in Israel. We are moving forward by conducting Phase II trials here in Greece, in which we will evaluate parameters like safety, dosology, and efficacy,” he stated. On his side, Arber said, “we should remain humble and modest – but we are really excited. In fact, I want to point out that I came here in person as I wanted to see the people first and then the facilities. We are talking about great doctors and people who have inspired my confidence.”

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Difficult way to describe a very obvious phenomenon.

Associations Between Body-Mass Index And Covid-19 Severity (Lancet)

Obesity is a major risk factor for adverse outcomes after infection with SARS-CoV-2. We aimed to examine this association, including interactions with demographic and behavioural characteristics, type 2 diabetes, and other health conditions. [..] In this prospective, community-based, cohort study, we used de-identified patient-level data from the QResearch database of general practices in England, UK. We extracted data for patients aged 20 years and older who were registered at a practice eligible for inclusion in the QResearch database between Jan 24, 2020 (date of the first recorded infection in the UK) and April 30, 2020, and with available data on BMI. Data extracted included demographic, clinical, clinical values linked with Public Health England’s database of positive SARS-CoV-2 test results, and death certificates from the Office of National Statistics.


Outcomes, as a proxy measure of severe COVID-19, were admission to hospital, admission to an intensive care unit (ICU), and death due to COVID-19. We used Cox proportional hazard models to estimate the risk of severe COVID-19, sequentially adjusting for demographic characteristics, behavioural factors, and comorbidities. [..] At a BMI of more than 23 kg/m2, we found a linear increase in risk of severe COVID-19 leading to admission to hospital and death, and a linear increase in admission to an ICU across the whole BMI range, which is not attributable to excess risks of related diseases. The relative risk due to increasing BMI is particularly notable people younger than 40 years and of Black ethnicity.

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“..38% of those who had a stroke soon after recovering from Covid-19 did not even know they had the disease”

Covid-19 Could Cause Strokes Among Young & Healthy People (RT)

Scientists from more than 30 countries say they have detected an “unusually high” percentage of young people among patients that were hospitalized with a stroke after having Covid-19, including in asymptomatic form. One in four post-Covid stroke patients is younger than 55, according to the comprehensive international study published in the peer-reviewed journal Stroke. This is considered unusually high, given that normally only between 10% and 15% of stroke patients are aged between 18 and 50. More alarmingly, the researchers say that Covid-19 could trigger a stroke in people who would normally be extremely low risk for having one. “Many patients, especially the younger ones, did not present any traditional risk factor for strokes, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart problems and so on,” said Hebrew University Professor Ronen Leker, one of almost 90 co-authors of the study.

The data show a “connection between the coronavirus and strokes in younger patients, as a result of blockages in larger blood vessels,” Leker told Israeli media. Even patients who had Covid-19 in a mild or asymptomatic form are not shielded from potentially dire consequences, researchers say. In fact, the study, published on April 21, showed that almost 38% of those who had a stroke soon after recovering from Covid-19 did not even know they had the disease. They had no recognizable symptoms of the novel coronavirus, such as cough, fever or shortness of breath. The fact that they had Covid-19 only came to light after they were tested in hospitals, where they were admitted with a stroke. In total, the study’s authors analyzed data on 432 patients provided by 136 different medical centers in 32 countries.

Patients in the study experienced acute ischemic stroke, intracranial hemorrhage, and cerebral venous or sinus thrombosis. At least 71 medical centers also reported that they had at least one patient who had a stroke during Covid-19 hospitalization or soon after it. The phenomenon can be explained by the fact that Covid-19 targets various organs in the body, disrupting their normal function and causing blood clots and other complications, Leker said. “The brain is one of the organs that the coronavirus targets, as well as blood vessels in the brain,” he explained, adding that the disease could also lead to an irregular heart rhythm and the migration of blood clots to the brain.

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“Biden’s presentation was, both literally and figuratively, to an audience of one: Senator Joe Manchin, the conservative Democrat from West Virginia.”

Biden’s Address To The Nation Was Little More Than A Magic Carpet Ride (Ritter)

Roosevelt, however, had the support of Congress firmly under the control of his party, had been elected with overwhelming majorities, and the nation was united in its belief that its president represented their shared values when it came to pulling the country out of the depths of the Great Depression. Biden, on the other hand, is wrestling with a 50-50 Senate and a House where the Democrats have a razor-thin margin that many expect to evaporate come mid-term elections in 2022. Moreover, Biden helms a nation where nearly 50% of the voting public cast their ballots against him. In short, they view Biden as the problem, not the solution, and are more inclined to oppose the kind of changes Biden is seeking for two years, at which time they believe the Republican Party will be able to regain full control of at least one, and possibly both, houses of Congress.

Given the tight political margins that Biden is dealing with (a quick CNN poll of viewers who watched the speech found that only 51% had a favorable opinion of the speech), it comes as no surprise that at the end of the day, Biden’s presentation was, both literally and figuratively, to an audience of one: Senator Joe Manchin, the conservative Democrat from West Virginia. Biden needs Manchin’s support if any of his legislative proposals are to have a chance of becoming law. Unfortunately for Biden, Manchin’s vision of where West Virginia needs to go and how it should get there does not mesh well with Biden’s. The American Families Plan, Biden’s ambitious successor to Roosevelt’s New Deal, is, as presented in the speech, dead on arrival when it comes to Manchin.

To get it to pass the Senate, Biden will need to water it down to such an extent that he may lose others in his own party. The kind of political compromise necessary to pass the kind of sweeping legislation Biden has proposed may have been possible at one time in America’s history, but not today. Biden spoke of “We the People” as a unifying mantra that united him with his audience. But many of “the people” do not support him, and indeed never will. America is a fundamentally divided nation, and nothing in Biden’s speech altered that unfortunate reality. Manchin is but the political manifestation of this divide. In the end, Biden’s address was little more than a reflection of America as it is today, and not the vision of America he sought to project.

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But only white supremacists.

Biden DOJ “Actively Considering” Domestic Terrorism Law (ZH)

“One of the things we’re looking at is would we need new authorities,” said deputy assistant attorney general for the department’s national security division, Brad Wiegmann, during a Thursday House hearing. Weigmann added that while the department has been successful using existing laws to fight domestic terrorism – including bringing charges for offenses involving weapons or explosives violations, hate crimes and arson, there have been more than 430 arrests made in connection with the Jan. 6 assault on the US Capitol “carried out by extremist supporters of then-President Donald Trump” (as Bloomberg puts it). The FBI has warned that domestic violent extremists pose a heightened threat for carrying out attacks in the U.S. in the near future, with white supremacists being the most lethal threat.

Currently, no U.S. law lets the government designate domestic extremists as terrorists or bring specific charges for domestic terrorism. That contrasts with laws to combat international terrorism, which allow the government to designate groups and bring charges for providing those groups with material support. -Bloomberg “The question we’re really wrestling with is, are there gaps,” Weigman told a House Appropriations subcommittee. “Is there some type of conduct that we can envision that we can’t cover or would it be an otherwise benefit in having something else other than what we’re having now?”

Democratic Rep. Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania – chairman of the subcommittee, said that: “Right-wing extremist attacks and plots have greatly outnumbered those from all other groups combined and caused more deaths as well,” adding “This is a cancer on our country.” Which is weird, because at least 4 members of the Proud Boys were FBI informants who gave the agency information prior to the Jan. 6 ‘insurrection.’ That said, several groups have voiced their opposition to a specific domestic terrorism law – from civil liberties advocates to conservatives – who say that a new law is unnecessary, and could be used to violate the Constitutional rights of US citizens.

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“In Afghanistan, almost 40 million people survive, and manage to navigate through the carnage. They live today as they did in 2001 and 1981, in a state shorn of security, pulverized and cratered.”

Admitting Defeat in Afghanistan: American “State-Building” Fails Again (Clamp)

So Rudyard Kipling’s arithmetic came to pass after all. ‘Strike hard who cares—shoot straight who can/ The odds are on the cheaper man.’ The U.S. has thrown in the towel. Another ‘superpower’ is set to depart Afghanistan. The symbolic date of September 11 is meant to have a ring of finality to it. It should: a trillion dollars later, the United States has failed in all its war aims. Eschewing historical and scholarly knowledge, the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan was their first mistake. However impelled you feel to invade the fulcrum state, you should always count to ten. Some units entering the country will have passed Gandamak, where a British army was massacred in 1842. Few American soldiers will have noted the landmark.


U.S. withdrawals tend to be attended by even worse conditions than those they found on invading. In Afghanistan, almost 40 million people survive, and manage to navigate through the carnage. They live today as they did in 2001 and 1981, in a state shorn of security, pulverized and cratered. George W. Bush’s stated aims were the destruction of al-Qaeda and the removal of the Taliban from power. That was in 2001, two decades ago. Today, the situation is arguably worse. The Taliban have control of, or are contesting, the majority of the country. al-Qaeda affiliated personnel are still embedded in their ranks. The Kabul government controls perhaps a third of the country’s 407 municipal districts.

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Different parties, same mind.

Hillary Clinton, Condi Rice Concerned About Afghan Troop Withdrawal (Axios)

Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice told members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee they’re worried about President Biden’s plan to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan, with Rice suggesting the U.S. may need to go back, Axios has learned. The position puts two former secretaries of State — from the Obama and Bush administrations — at odds with one of Biden’s most significant foreign policy moves to date. The new president has vowed to complete the withdrawal by Sept. 11, the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attack. U.S. forces were sent to Afghanistan by Rice’s then-boss, former President George W. Bush, to destroy havens used by the attack’s organizers. Clinton and Rice offered their reactions during a members-only Zoom call Wednesday, two attendees told Axios.

“We had Secretaries Clinton and Condi Rice Zoom today with the committee,” one committee member told Axios. “A little disagreement on Afghanistan, but they both agreed we’re going to need to sustain a counterterrorism mission somehow outside of that country.” “Condi Rice is like, ‘You know, we’re probably gonna have to go back,'” amid a potential surge in terrorism, the member said. Rep. Mike McCaul (R-Texas), the top Republican on the committee, told Axios: “With the potential for an Islamic State, coupled with what they’re going to do to our contractors in Yemen and Afghanistan is, sadly, it’s going to be tragic there and we all see it coming.” Another member of the committee confirmed both Clinton and Rice raised concerns about the potential fallout from a quick removal of all U.S. troops.

Both also expressed concerns about protecting U.S. diplomats on the ground following the withdrawal and what the move will mean for the global war on terrorism. Both Rice and Clinton supported military intervention in the Middle East following the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Rice, who was Bush’s national security adviser at the time, helped craft the administration’s wartime response. Then-senator Clinton — considered by many as a military hawk — voted in 2002 to give Bush the authority to go to war, a vote she later said she regretted while on the presidential campaign trail. Clinton also supported surging additional troops to Afghanistan in 2009.

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Hunter could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not be charged.

Giuliani Says FBI Agents Declined To Take Hunter Biden’s Hard Drives (JTN)

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani during an interview on Thursday said that FBI agents who searched his home this week declined to take Hunter Biden’s hard drives. Giuliani said that seven FBI agents showed up early Wednesday morning with a warrant for electronics. He said when he asked them if they wanted to take Hunter Biden’s hard drives, they declined. “Hunter Biden’s hard drives fall within the scope of the subpoena. The subpoena required them to take all electronics, but they decided to leave that behind. And they also were completely content to rely on my word that these were Hunter Biden’s hard drives,” the former mayor told conservative commentator Tucker Carlson during an interview on the Fox News Channel.


Giuliani described the warrant as “completely illegal,” saying that the only way authorities can obtain a search warrant is if they can demonstrate that the individual will destroy or abscond with the evidence. “Well I’ve had it for two years and I haven’t destroyed it. And they also got it from the iCloud,” he said, adding that the warrant was unjustified, unlawful and unconstitutional. Giuliani said that he has “never, ever represented a foreign national.” “The search warrant is purportedly based on one single failure to file for representing a Ukrainian national or official that I never represented,” he said. Giuliani stated that he “never represented a Ukrainian national or official before the United States government. I’ve declined it several times. I’ve had contracts in countries like Ukraine. In the contract is a clause that says I will not engage in lobbying or foreign representation. I don’t do it because I felt it would be too compromising,” he said.

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”..stirring the escalating row between the European Union and Russia in which diplomats are being expelled pell-mell..”

Lavrov Calls Out Perfidious Albion in EU Diplomat Spat (SCF)

The British establishment likes to boast that they “punch above their weight” in terms of influence beyond their territorial size. It’s not hard to see how they manage such a feat. It’s called duplicity, intrigue, lies, and dividing and ruling. Britain is fomenting a diplomatic crisis between the European Union and Russia, according to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Evidence and precedent indicate Lavrov has his sight well-trained. The British establishment’s notorious ability for machination and intrigue – hence the ancient moniker Perfidious Albion – can be seen as stirring the escalating row between the European Union and Russia in which diplomats are being expelled pell-mell.

This week, Russia ordered the withdrawal of representatives from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Slovakia. That came in response to the expulsion of Russian diplomats from those countries. Russia has also ordered home more diplomats from the Czech Republic. Poland and Italy have also been caught up in diplomatic antagonism with Moscow. The row blew up last week when the Czech Republic accused Russian state agents of being responsible for twin explosions on its territory back in 2104. The blasts caused the deaths of two workers at an ammunition depot near the village of Vrbetice close to the border with Slovakia. Until recently, the Czech authorities had concluded that the explosions were an industrial accident. What prompted the Czechs to revise their ideas and to now blame Russia for sabotage is the interpolation of Britain in providing “new information”.

Specifically, it was the MI6-sponsored media group Bellingcat (a so-called private investigatory agency) which appears to have furnished the disinformation which purports to show the involvement of Russian military intelligence (GRU). Incredibly, the British claim their “evidence” shows that two of the GRU agents were also the same individuals who were alleged to have been involved in poisoning the Russian traitor-spy Sergei Skripal in England in 2018. The British claim to have passport information to support their claims, but such methodology is rife with forgery – a black art that the British are all-too skilled at. On leveling the accusation against Russia, the Czech Republic then ordered the expulsion of 18 Russian diplomats. Moscow responded angrily, saying that the claims of sabotage were a “dirty fabrication” and pointing out that Prague did not provide any information for verification.

Russia took swift reciprocal action by banishing 20 Czech diplomats from its territory. However, the row continues to flare with the Baltic states entering the fray by banning Russian officials in “solidarity” with the Czech Republic. The move by the Baltic states is predictable as they are supercharged by anti-Russian political sentiment. It’s a case of any excuse for them to inflame relations. The dispute comes at a fraught time when the European Union is discussing imposing more sanctions on Russia over wider concerns about the conflict in Ukraine, the imprisonment of blogger Alexei Navalny and a Russian security crackdown on Navalny’s shadowy Western-backed “opposition” network.

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The US might wish they had a Lavrov.

Lavrov: US-Russia Relations Now Worse Than Cold War (ZH)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned that the state of US-Russia relations is now even worse than during the Cold War. His Wednesday comments during a televised interview might be easily dismissed as hyperbole, given there’s not something that’s quite equivalent to the Cuban missile crisis happening right now, but it does accurately convey things in terms of lack of simple communications at a diplomatic level. He said it was the “lack of respect” in the current climate that makes things worse. Lavrov explained Moscow has a desire to normalize ties with Washington but that should the Biden administration refuse respectful dialogue, “we would live in conditions of a ‘Cold War’ or worse.”


“During the Cold War, the tensions were flying high and risky crisis situations often emerged, but there was also a mutual respect,” he said as cited in The Associated Press. “It seems to me there is a deficit of it now.” Whether or not this dangerous trajectory in lack of “respect” and communications will continue is likely to be determined on whether the proposed Biden-Putin summit actually takes place this summer. In the past days there’s been multiple reports from both sides signaling the meeting is in preparation for a European country for mid-June. The latest on Russia’s view on summit progress comes via the AP as follows: “Speaking in an interview with Russian state television, Lavrov noted that Moscow has had a “positive” attitude to U.S. President Joe Biden’s proposal to hold a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, but added that Russia still needs to analyze all aspects of the initiative.”

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What cann we do to stop these complete idiots?

Geoengineering: ‘Plan B’ For The Planet (Phys.Org)

Dismissed a decade ago as far-fetched and dangerous, schemes to tame the effects of global warming by engineering the climate have migrated from the margins of policy debates towards centre stage. “Plan A” remains tackling the problem at its source. But the UN’s top climate science body has made it clear that slashing carbon pollution won’t be enough to keep Earth from overheating. That has opened the door to a host of geoengineering schemes, from building underwater walls to shore up an Antarctic glacier the size of Britain to injecting a giant sunscreen into the stratosphere. Here is a menu of “Plan B” geoengineering solutions, along with their potential drawbacks:

Direct CO2 capture Experiments have shown it is possible to suck planet-warming carbon dioxide directly from the air, converting it into fuel pellets or storing it underground. A company backed by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates launched a pilot facility in Canada in 2015, and another company operates one in Iceland. DRAWBACK: The technology is currently prohibitively expensive and might take decades to operate at scale.

Solar radiation management Unlike other strategies, solar radiation management does not target CO2. The goal is simple: prevent some of the sun’s rays from hitting the planet’s surface, forcing them back up into space. One idea is to inject or spray tiny reflective particles into the stratosphere—possibly with balloons, aircraft or through giant tubes. Nature sometimes does the same: Debris from the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines lowered the planet’s average surface temperature for a year or two afterwards. Sixty-six million years ago, a ten-kilometre wide asteroid strike threw up so much debris that it wiped out land-based dinosaurs built for steamy tropical climes.

In April, a balloon test flight in Sweden for the Harvard-led project SCoPEx, short for “Stratospheric Controlled Perturbation Experiment”, was postponed amid concerns over the implications for the environment and people in the country. DRAWBACKS: Even if it works as intended, solar radiation management would do nothing to reduce atmospheric CO2, which is making oceans too acidic. There is also the danger of knock-on consequences, including changes in rainfall patterns, and what scientists call “termination shock”—a sudden warming if the system were to fail.

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Apr 272021
 
 April 27, 2021  Posted by at 9:25 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  46 Responses »


Hieronymous Bosch The Haywain Triptych c.1516

 

India’s “Covid Crisis” Has Been Hijacked (DE)
China To Mobilise Its Private Companies To Help India Fight Covid-19 (SCMP)
US To Export AZ Vaccine As India Battles ‘Heartbreaking’ Covid Surge (Y!)
Bill Gates Says No To Sharing Vaccine Formulas With Global Poor (Salon)
Isreali Health Body Report On COVID Vax ‘Deadly’ Impacts (PSI)
Pakistan Deploys Troops To Help Authorities Cope With Covid-19 Infections (RT)
Germany’s New Lockdown Law Sparks Constitutional Court Complaints (RT)
The United States: Hardly A Recovery (Lacalle)
Biden Sees Majority Approval After 100 Days, But The Numbers Don’t Add Up (RT)
Biden’s Stimulus Checks “Wreck Labor Pool” As People Get Paid To Stay Home (ZH)
Joe Biden Declares War on Tax Havens – in Europe, Too (Spiegel)
US Pledges $300mn To Fund Massive Global Anti-China Media Machine (Fowdy)
US Deploying 650 Additional Troops to Afghanistan (Antiwar)
Chinese Experts To Join Fukushima Wastewater Working Group (RT)

 

 

Gun sales rise 35% in Q1 to a record 12,452,319

 

 

Yes, the media inevitably makes a spectacle out of it, fear sells. But even if “on the record breaking day for new infections in India just 0.02% of the population tested positive for Covid-19”, that’s still a lot of people. Who in many places live more closely together than westerners would be comfortable with, an ideal breeding ground for a virus. They wouldn’t be comfortable with a health-care system like India’s either. There are many sides to this story.

India’s “Covid Crisis” Has Been Hijacked (DE)

The Sun newspaper even released a video back at the end of January 2020 which was a compilation of people collapsing on the streets of Wuhan. The headline was ‘DISASTER ZONE – Coronavirus leaves Wuhan a ‘zombieland”. It is only with the benefit of hindsight that we can now be 100% certain this was done to deceive the public and whip up fear. The Guardian newspaper also released an article at the end of January 2020 of which the headline was ‘A man lies dead in the street: the image that captures the Wuhan coronavirus crisis’. How many people have you seen drop dead in your street due to having the alleged Covid-19 disease? We bet the answer is zero. So isn’t it curious to find that after over a year of nobody dropping dead in the street throughout the world, suddenly the public are being told it is happening again in India.

Curious because according to official figures the pandemic is no longer raging throughout the United Kingdom. Curious because according to official figures excess deaths in the UK have now dropped below the five-year average. Curious because authorities will still not grant the British people their former rights and freedoms even though it is no longer justified. So what better way to justify the continuation of medical tyranny than ramping up the fear of a new variant hitting the shores of the United Kingdom. Because make no mistake that is exactly what the authorities and mainstream media are doing right now with the constant propaganda on the “dire” situation in India and the potential threat of the new Indian variant. ‘Why India’s worsening Covid crisis is a dire problem for the world’ – this is another headline to an article released by ‘The Guardian’ newspaper.

Here’s the opening paragraph of the article – “The catastrophe unfolding in India appears to be the worst-case scenario that many feared from the Covid-19 pandemic: unable to find sufficient hospital beds, access to tests, medicines or oxygen, the country of 1.4 billion is sinking beneath the weight of infections.” That very paragraph alone is enough for us to uncover the barefaced lies within the current narrative that is being portrayed in the mainstream media. Let’s start with the fact that India has a population of 1.4 billion people. If we look at the number of daily positive tests for SARS-CoV-2 we can see that on the 24th April 2021, India recorded 349,691 positive tests. This equates to just 0.02% of the entire population of India testing positive for Covid on the 24th April 2021.

The 24th April has also been the highest day on record in India for the number of positive test results for SARS-CoV-2. Yet the mainstream media have said that “the country of 1.4 billion is sinking beneath the weight of infections”. They’re lying. The second thing to take into account is that India, for some strange reason has decided to ramp up its testing, and not just of people with symptoms either. They’re carrying out asymptomatic testing. Which test are they using? The PCR test of course. PCR tests look for genetic matter from the new coronavirus using amplification cycles. However, the number of amplification cycles that was needed to detect genetic matter from the virus, which is referred to as the cycle threshold, typically isn’t included in test results sent to doctors and patients.

Many coronavirus tests have fairly high cycle thresholds, with most set at 40 and some set at 37. That means a number of people who aren’t carrying much of the new coronavirus are still testing positive, even though they may not be contagious. You can read our full breakdown on the PCR test here. This means that there will be a huge number of false positives across India, even despite the fact more tests equals more cases. But we’ll say it again, on the record breaking day for new infections in India just 0.02% of the population tested positive for Covid-19.

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“Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government announced on Saturday that it was waiving import duties on vaccines, oxygen and related equipment.”

Say what?

China To Mobilise Its Private Companies To Help India Fight Covid-19 (SCMP)

China has vowed to encourage its private companies to help India in its battle against a drastic surge in Covid-19 cases which has seen repeated daily global records of new infections and local media reports that patients are dying because of a lack of oxygen supplies. Wang Xiaojian, a spokesman for the Chinese embassy in India, said the country had the firm support of China’s government and its people in the fight against the pandemic. “We will encourage and guide Chinese companies to actively cooperate with India to facilitate acquiring medical supplies, and provide support and help according to India’s need,” he said, in an embassy statement on Monday night.

In separate remarks, foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said China and India were in communication over the pandemic response, and that Beijing would provide materials, if requested by New Delhi. He also called on India’s fellow members of the Quad security alliance – Australia, the US and Japan – to provide assistance to the stricken country. “I hope these nations can jointly provide India and related countries with support and assistance within their capacity to fight the epidemic, and fulfil their due international responsibilities and obligations,” he said. Zhu Yongbiao, a professor of international relations at Lanzhou University, said China’s assistance was likely to include medical equipment, vaccine, prevention and treatment plans, depending on the Indian government’s request and the pandemic situation.

“China may also encourage and support Chinese-funded companies in India to provide assistance through non-governmental ways.” Chinese diplomatic missions to Sri Lanka and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific announced on Twitter that some 800 oxygen concentrators were delivered from Hong Kong to Delhi, with 10,000 more to be delivered in a week, following a statement from the Indian cargo airline SpiceXpress which airlifted the consignment. In a bid to boost supplies, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government announced on Saturday that it was waiving import duties on vaccines, oxygen and related equipment.

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Did the FDA approve authorize it yet?

US To Export AZ Vaccine As India Battles ‘Heartbreaking’ Covid Surge (Y!)

The United States committed Monday to releasing up to 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, as India grapples with a catastrophic new surge in infections and severe medical shortages, with hospitals overwhelmed and crematoriums at capacity. The South Asian giant of 1.3 billion people recorded 352,991 new infections and 2,812 deaths on Monday – its highest levels since the pandemic began – as its Hindu-nationalist government comes under fire for allowing mass gatherings such as religious festivals and political rallies in recent weeks. But with its health system completely overwhelmed, Western countries are rushing to India’s aid – including the United States, which has come under fire for hoarding supplies including of the AstraZeneca vaccine, as other countries battle sprawling outbreaks.


“U.S. to release 60 million Astra Zeneca doses to other countries as they become available,” tweeted Andy Slavitt, senior advisor to the White House on Covid response. It was not immediately clear how many doses are ready to be shipped or where they will go, with Slavitt adding “at this time there are still very few available.” But President Joe Biden held a telephone call with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday, pledging his country’s “steadfast support for the people of India who have been impacted by the recent surge in Covid-19 cases.” The United States “is providing a range of emergency assistance, including oxygen-related supplies, vaccine materials and therapeutics,” Biden told Modi, according to a statement.

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“It’s not like there’s some idle vaccine factory, with regulatory approval, that makes magically safe vaccines.”

Uh, yes, there are many such facilities. The WHO has entire lists of them.

Bill Gates Says No To Sharing Vaccine Formulas With Global Poor (Salon)

Bill Gates, one of the world’s richest men and most powerful philanthropists, was the target of criticism from social justice campaigners on Sunday after arguing that lifting patent protections on COVID-19 vaccine technology and sharing recipes with the world to foster a massive ramp up in manufacturing and distribution — despite a growing international call to do exactly that — is a bad idea. Directly asked during an interview with Sky News if he thought it “would be helpful” to have vaccine recipes be shared, Gates quickly answered: “No.” Asked to explain why not, Gates — whose massive fortune as founder of Microsoft relies largely on intellectual property laws that turned his software innovations into tens of billions of dollars in personal wealth — said: “Well, there’s only so many vaccine factories in the world and people are very serious about the safety of vaccines.

“And so moving something that had never been done — moving a vaccine, say, from a [Johnson & Johnson] factory into a factory in India — it’s novel — it’s only because of our grants and expertise that that can happen at all.” The reference is to the Serum factory in India, the largest such institute in the country, which has contracts with AstraZeneca to manufacture their COVID-19 vaccine, known internationally as Covishield. The thing that’s holding “things back” in terms of the global vaccine rollout, continued Gates, “is not intellectual property. It’s not like there’s some idle vaccine factory, with regulatory approval, that makes magically safe vaccines. You know, you’ve got to do the trial on these things. Every manufacturing process needs to be looked at in a very careful way.”

Critical advocates for robust and immediate change to intellectual property protections at the World Trade Organization when it comes to the COVID-19 vaccines, however, issued scathing indictments of Gates’ defense of the status quo. Nick Dearden, executive director of Global Justice Now, one of the lead partner groups in an international coalition calling for WTO patent waivers at a crucial meeting of the world body next month, characterized Gates’ remarks — and the ideological framework behind them — as “disgusting.” “Who appointed this billionaire head of global health?” asked Dearden. “Oh yeah, he did.”

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“..a high rate of massive vaginal bleeding, neurological damage, and damage to the skeletal and skin systems [..] Hypercoagulability (infarction), Myocardial infarction, stroke, miscarriages, impaired blood flow to the limbs, pulmonary embolism.”

Isreali Health Body Report On COVID Vax ‘Deadly’ Impacts (PSI)

The Israeli People Committee (IPC), a civilian body made of leading Israeli health experts, has published its April report into the Pfizer vaccine’s side effects.* The findings are catastrophic on every possible level. Their verdict is that “there has never been a vaccine that has harmed as many people.” The report is long and detailed. I will outline just some of the most devastating findings presented in the report. “We received 288 death reports in proximity to vaccination (90% up to 10 days after the vaccination), 64% of those were men.” Yet the report states, “according to data provided by the Ministry of Health, only 45 deaths in Israel were vaccine related.” If the numbers above are sincere then Israel, which claimed to conduct a world experiment, failed to genuinely report on its experiment’s results.

We often hear about blood clots caused by the AstraZeneca vaccine. For instance, we learned this morning about 300 cases of blood clots in of Europe. However, if the IPC’s findings are genuine, then in Israel alone the Pfizer vaccine may be associated with more deaths than AstraZeneca’s in the whole of Europe. “According to Central Bureau of Statistics data during January-February 2021, at the peak of the Israeli mass vaccination campaign, there was a 22% increase in overall mortality in Israel compared with the previous year. In fact, January-February 2021 have been the deadliest months in the last decade, with the highest overall mortality rates compared to corresponding months in the last 10 years.”

The IPC finds that “amongst the 20-29 age group the increase in overall mortality has been most dramatic. In this age group, we detect an increase of 32% in overall mortality in comparison with previous year.” “Statistical analysis of information from the Central Bureau of Statistics, combined with information from the Ministry of Health, leads to the conclusion that the mortality rate amongst the vaccinated is estimated at about 1: 5000 (1: 13000 at ages 20-49, 1: 6000 at ages 50-69, 1: 1600 at ages 70+). According to this estimate, it is possible to estimate the number of deaths in Israel in proximity of the vaccine, as of today, at about 1000-1100 people.” Again, if this statistical analysis is correct then the numbers reported by the Israeli health authorities are misleading by more than 22-fold.

[..] “There is a high correlation between the number of people vaccinated per day and the number of deaths per day, in the range of up to 10 days, in all age groups. Ages 20-49 – a range of 9 days from the date of vaccination to mortality, ages 50-69 – 5 days from the date of vaccination to mortality, ages 70 and up – 3 days from the date of vaccination to mortality.” The IPC also reveals that the “the risk of mortality after the second vaccine is higher than the risk of mortality after the first vaccine.” But death isn’t the only risk to do with vaccination. The IPC reveals that “as of the date of publication of the report, 2066 reports of side effects have accumulated in the Civil Investigation Committee and the data continue to come in.

These reports indicate damage to almost every system in the human body.…Our analysis found a relatively high rate of heart-related injuries, 26% of all cardiac events occurred in young people up to the age of 40, with the most common diagnosis in these cases being Myositis or Pericarditis.” “Also, a high rate of massive vaginal bleeding, neurological damage, and damage to the skeletal and skin systems has been observed. It should be noted that a significant number of reports of side effects are related, directly or indirectly, to Hypercoagulability (infarction), Myocardial infarction, stroke, miscarriages, impaired blood flow to the limbs, pulmonary embolism.”

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Pakistan is like India in many ways.

Pakistan Deploys Troops To Help Authorities Cope With Covid-19 Infections (RT)

As rising Covid-19 infections threaten to collapse Pakistan’s healthcare system, Islamabad has deployed troops across the country, with particular attention to 16 major cities, in an effort to stop the spread of the virus. Soldiers “will go to every corner of Pakistan to ensure the protection of citizens,” military spokesman Major General Babar Iftikhar told reporters on Monday, adding that the primary purpose of the deployment “is to help civil institutions and law enforcement agencies.” “In this testing time, the Pakistan Army will use all its capabilities to take every possible step for the protection of citizens and their lives.”

According to General Iftikhar, there are presently around 90,000 cases of Covid-19 in the country, with 4,300 people in critical condition, including 570 people on ventilators. Pakistan has been registering around 5,500 cases and 130 deaths per day, similar to the figures during the peak of the first wave in June 2020. Pakistan has around 220 million residents. The rate of positive tests has risen to “dangerous levels” of more than 5% in 51 cities, and even higher in 16 cities that will receive “enhanced deployment” of troops. Among these is the capital Islamabad, as well as Rawalpindi, Lahore, Faisalabad, Multan, Bahawalpur and Gujranwala in Punjab; Karachi and Hyderabad in Sindh; Peshawar, Mardan, Nowshera, Charsadda and Swabi in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa; Quetta in Balochistan; and Muzaffarabad in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

Doctors across the country hailed the move, with some even going so far as demanding arrests for those who fail to follow the prescribed measures. “Presently, we need strict enforcement of the precautionary measures as the hospitals, it seems, would soon be overwhelmed by patients,” said Dr. Javid Ali of the Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar, who called the army deployment the “right step at the right time.”

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Hard to understand why not much more of this is happening globally.

Germany’s New Lockdown Law Sparks Constitutional Court Complaints (RT)

Germany’s new law granting Berlin sweeping powers when it comes to imposing harsh Covid-19 restrictions has sparked a wave of indignation and prompted dozens of complaints filed with the Constitutional Court. A total of 65 complaints have been filed against the so-called Infection Protection Act to date, the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe confirmed to the German media. A court spokesman also admitted that the real number of lawsuits could be higher since new ones are filed “all the time” and the court is not always able to process them in time. Some complainants also filed urgent motions asking the court to suspend the law, which came into force just two days ago, until a final decision is made.

Some suits were directed against the entire package of measures envisaged by the new law, while others focused on specific restrictions like the nighttime curfew that many Germans apparently see as unconstitutional. Most claims were reportedly filed by individual complainants, including several German MPs. One of them is Florian Post, a member of the Social Democratic Party – a junior member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government coalition. Others include a Green MP, Canan Bayram, and a member of the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, whose identity was not revealed. The Liberal Free Democrats also lodged a complaint against the law with the Constitutional Court on Monday afternoon.

The usually business-friendly party argued that the measures imposed by the law, such as the curfew and “other encroachments on fundamental rights,” are disproportionate and sometimes ineffective. It is not known when the court will pass its judgement on the issue. It is also unclear whether the claimants should first reach out to some lower-ranking courts before filing the lawsuits directly in Karlsruhe. The controversial law imposes binding restrictions on all German states and even individual communities as soon as they exceed a seven-day average infection rate of 100 cases per 100,000 people. The rules once again put severe limitations on private and public gatherings, as well as demanding that Germans stay home between 10pm and 5am [..]

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“It seems that governments want to convince us that they have saved the world when the reality is that the misguided lockdowns were the cause of the economic debacle and lifting them is the main cause of the recovery.”

The United States: Hardly A Recovery (Lacalle)

There is an overly optimistic consensus view about the speed and strength of the United States’ recovery that is contradicted by facts. It is true that the United States recovery is stronger than the European or Japanese one, but the macrodata shows that the euphoric messages about aggregate GDP growth are wildly exaggerated. Of course GDP is going to rise fast, with estimates of 6 percent for 2021. It would be alarming if it did not after a massive chain of stimuli of more than 12 percent of GDP in fiscal spending and $7 trillion in Federal Reserve balance sheet expansion. This is a combined stimulus that is almost three times larger than the 2008 crisis one, according to McKinsey. The question is, What is the quality of this recovery?

The answer is: extremely poor. The United States real growth excluding the increase in debt will continue to be exceedingly small. No one can talk about a strong recovery when industry capacity utilization is at 74 percent, massively below the level of 80 percent at which it was before the pandemic. Furthermore, labor force participation rate stands at 61.5 percent, significantly below the precovid level and stalling after bouncing to 62 percent in September. Unemployment may be at 6 percent, but it is still almost twice as large as it was before the pandemic. Continuing jobless claims remain above 3.7 million in April. Weekly jobless claims remain above 500,000 and the total number of people claiming benefits in all programs—state and federal combined—for the week ending March 27 decreased by 1.2 million to 16.9 million.

These figures must be put in the context of the unprecedented spending spree and the monetary stimulus. Yes, the recovery is better than the eurozone’s thanks to a fast and efficient vaccination rollout and the dynamism of the United States business fabric, but the figures show that a relevant amount of the subsequent stimulus plans have simply perpetuated overcapacity, kept zombie firms that had financial issues before covid-19 alive, and bloated the government structural deficit and mandatory spending.

Would the United States economy have recovered as fast as it has without the deficit-spending stimulus plans? Maybe. I believe so because the entire recovery, both in markets and the economy, has been driven by the vaccine news and the process of inoculation. Most of the programs that have been implemented have had a small impact compared to the reopening of the hospitality sector and the vaccinations. The entire economic crisis came from the lockdowns and the virus and the entire recovery is the reopening and the vaccinations.

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“Only Trump, with 42% approval, and Gerald Ford, with 48%, scored lower.”

Biden Sees Majority Approval After 100 Days, But The Numbers Don’t Add Up (RT)

A majority of Americans approve of Joe Biden’s first 100 days in office, and the president has been treated to glowing media coverage. But behind the poll numbers might be a different story. Biden’s first 100 days in office have been busy. A slew of executive orders did away with nearly all of Donald Trump’s policies as the Democratic president opened up the country’s Mexican border, launched a bid for gun control and banned key fossil fuel projects. The coronavirus vaccine rollout continues at home, while internationally, Biden has hit Russia with economic sanctions and strained relations with Turkey by recognizing the Armenian genocide.

A majority of Americans agree with his progress thus far, according to an ABC/Washington Post poll published on Sunday, which found that 52% of adults say they approve of the job Biden is doing, while 42% disapprove, a near reversal of Trump’s ratings after his first 100 days. Biden scored highly – 63% – on his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, and averagely – 52% – on his management of the US economy. However, 53% of respondents disapproved of his performance on immigration, as unprecedented numbers of illegal immigrants pour across the Mexican border. With the public apparently onside, some mainstream media outlets have taken to celebration. AP, for example, cheered on his efforts to “wrestle the country away from the legacy and agitations of President Donald Trump,” and praised his “unabashedly liberal” agenda.

Biden’s personality was celebrated too. “The temperature is lower. The drama is less. And the persona is fundamentally different,” AP wrote. Behind the media’s praise and the apparently positive poll figures, however, is a different story. Biden’s approval rating may be 10 points above Trump’s at this time in 2017, but it’s the third-lowest since Gallup began tracking approvals during the Harry S. Truman administration. Only Trump, with 42% approval, and Gerald Ford, with 48%, scored lower. [..] the poll oversampled Democrats by nine points. Some 33% of respondents identified as Democrats, 24% as Republicans, and 35% as independents. The remainder were either unsure or identified with minor parties. Previous research has found that political independents generally favor Democrats by four points, so with all of this taken into account, Biden’s true approval rating could be several points lower.

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Maybe the problem is that “entry-level pay” continues for many years in many fields.

Biden’s Stimulus Checks “Wreck Labor Pool” As People Get Paid To Stay Home (ZH)

There are new concerns that President Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus package is already harming the labor market recovery. While job openings and postings are increasing, there is an issue with the number of applications as labor participation currently stands at 61.4%, with an unemployment rate of 6.2%. People are not applying for jobs as they should be as they collect stimulus checks and enjoy a work-free lifestyle, all on the backs of taxpayers. There are many jobs available in manufacturing, trade and transportation, logistics, and the professional sector. But employers have difficulty sourcing workers. The latest comments from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City provide a chilling insight this month into the labor shortage developing at manufacturing firms across Denver, Oklahoma City, and Omaha:

“Stimulus and increased unemployment money are wrecking the labor pool. Lower-level employees are quitting to make just as much not working.” So, lower-level employees are making more money collecting stimulus checks and other handouts under the Biden administration. This was very similar when former President Trump dished out helicopter money during the early days of the pandemic. What this creates are more bottlenecks for the supply chain as labor becomes scarce. “It is very difficult to handle the increased business with supply chain issues across all materials and finding anyone who wants to work. The federal government has incentivized people to stay home and not be productive.”

Other employers report: “Unemployed workers have no incentive to return to work given the COVID bonus payments.” What this means is that entry-level pay will have to increase to get low-level workers off the couch. This will create more cost pressures for companies that will either be absorbed or pass onto the consumer. The Biden administration effectively destroys the labor market, resulting in significant repercussions for the real economy, such as a labor shortage that could stall the recovery.

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How can Joe avoid hurting his sposors?

Joe Biden Declares War on Tax Havens – in Europe, Too (Spiegel)

If you want to know why a company should have its headquarters in Ireland these days, the best place to ask is IDA Ireland, the government’s foreign direct investment agency based in Dublin. The Emerald Isle, their lobbyists rave, has a “great density of data centers.” It advertises the country’s large pool of young talent with above-average qualifications as well as international and innovative companies, ranging from Microsoft and Facebook to German corporations such as Allianz, Zalando and SAP. But when asked if perhaps the real attraction for investors is the extremely low corporate tax rate of 12.5 percent, the IDA declines to answer. For that, the agency says, it is best to contact Paschal Donohoe, the Irish finance minister and chair of the Eurogroup.

The man currently finds himself facing a problem that has become a concern for all of Europe. Since U.S. President Joe Biden presented his groundbreaking proposal for a global minimum tax on corporate profits, old rifts have ripped open again on the Continent. Whereas large member states such as Germany approve of the move, it would hit smaller EU members like Ireland, the Netherlands and Slovakia hard. For years, they have lured international corporations into their countries with the promise that they will be largely spared from the grasp of the domestic tax authorities. If the U.S. gets its way, that could be the end of it. Numerous EU countries would not only have to reckon with revenue losses in the billions, but also with the loss of corporate headquarters and thousands of jobs.

Countries like France or Italy, on the other hand, would feel vindicated. Out of anger with corporations like Amazon that have barely paid any taxes at all in Europe in recent years, they enacted their own digital taxes – and drew the ire of Donald Trump by doing so. The former U.S. president even threatened retaliatory tariffs on German cars, Italian cheese and French handbags. Now, the U.S. has performed a spectacular about-face – and raised difficult questions for the Europeans: How seriously must pledges from Brussels to fight tax evasion be taken? Would it just be the tax havens that have to reckon with losses or would they also be painful for large exporting countries like Germany? And, more importantly: Will the Europeans manage to find a common line with the U.S. in the tax negotiations that have been going on for years in the OECD club of industrialized nations?

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United States of Propaganda.

US Pledges $300mn To Fund Massive Global Anti-China Media Machine (Fowdy)

Chinese- and Russian-funded journalism is ‘disinformation,’ but when Washington spends millions on ‘independent’ news outlets and buying journalists to get favourable coverage of its policies, it’s called ‘spreading information.’ The US Senate last week passed a bumper anti-China bill titled the “Strategic Competition Act”. Backed by Chuck Schumer (Dem – New York) as one of his biggest priorities since becoming the Majority leader, the 270+ page document contains scores of recommendations and provisions on formalizing America’s “geopolitical competition” against Beijing, including in the fields of military, diplomacy, technology, trade and more. There’s little question it will be passed into law, having already cleared the Senate and with the anti-Chinese sentiment in Washington being routinely bipartisan.

The bill also notably pledged hundreds of millions of dollars in various capacities for media focused initiatives against China. This includes up to $300 million in an openly described effort to spread information on the “negative impact” of China’s $1 trillion-plus Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in participating countries, “anti-Chinese influence” programs, a scheme to “train journalists” with the goal of countering Beijing, and millions more in funding for Radio Free Asia to expand its coverage in the specified languages of Mandarin, Cantonese, Tibetan and Uighur. In short, it’s a mammoth propaganda push.

All the time, we hear so much about “Chinese/Russian propaganda,” “disinformation,” etc, and often its impact is depicted in highly threatening or sensational ways, yet rarely, if ever, is it reported how the west actively and openly engages in psychological warfare with the goal of changing politics and governments in targeted countries, all the while playing the perpetual victim. Here it is in the new US bill in black and white, as clear as crystal, yet few will balk or take notice at the explicitly ambitious effort to attempt to destabilize various regions of China, to promote unrest and, ideally, to “balkanize” the country. This, of course, is not new; it’s what America has always done.

[..] The US has a long history of such psychological warfare, both explicit and implicit. One of the most famous instances is what was revealed as Operation Mockingbird, where the CIA secretly infiltrated the mainstream media at home and abroad, collaborating with journalists to push US foreign-policy interests. Many journalists – including Pulitzer Prize winners – joined the CIA’s payroll, writing fake stories to disseminate the agency’s agitprop, and many were given falsified or fabricated information in support of the CIA’s mission. This was during the Cold War, but the program has never been officially discontinued, and why would it stop today in the wake of a new Cold War with China? The Strategic Competition bill clearly illustrates that Washington places primary importance on dominating the “global discourse” in accordance with its interests, and it is arguably very good at doing this through a multitude of methods.

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“US military leaders also want to maintain the ability to bomb Afghanistan and are eyeing repositioning forces in neighboring countries.”

US Deploying 650 Additional Troops to Afghanistan (Antiwar)

The US is deploying additional forces to Afghanistan over fears of Taliban attacks during the withdrawal process. Pentagon officials told CNN that the US is preparing to send about 650 troops to Afghanistan as part of the extra forces. The officials said the ground troops will mainly come from the US Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment and will be deployed with transport planes and aircraft that can provide air support such as AC-130 gunships. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin approved sending the Rangers last week along with the deployment of long-range B-52 bombers, two of which have already arrived in Afghanistan. He also ordered the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower to stay in the Gulf region.

President Biden put US troops at risk of getting attacked by extending the May 1st deadline that was set by the US-Taliban peace deal. February 8th marked the first full year that no US troops died in combat in Afghanistan since the war started. Last week, the Taliban said it was “too early” to know if they will start attacking US and NATO forces after May 1st. Biden said he will withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by September 11th. On Sunday, Gen. Scott Miller, the commander of US forces in Afghanistan, said “local action” to prepare for the withdrawal has started and said the US will gradually hand over military bases to the Afghan government.

While Biden says he plans to leave, the US seems keen to maintain some sort of military presence in Afghanistan. It’s still not clear if contractors working for the Pentagon will leave with US combat troops. The US plans to continue supporting the Afghan military, which is almost entirely reliant on Pentagon contractors to maintain their equipment. US military leaders also want to maintain the ability to bomb Afghanistan and are eyeing repositioning forces in neighboring countries.

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“..the supposedly treated water still contains “dangerous levels of carbon-14,” a radioactive substance that has the “potential to damage human DNA.” The water is also known to contain radioactive tritium.”

Chinese Experts To Join Fukushima Wastewater Working Group (RT)

The Chinese foreign ministry has said that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has confirmed to Beijing that it will be inviting its experts to join a working group on Japan’s disposal of nuclear waste into the ocean.
Speaking on Monday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said Beijing would continue to urge Japan to engage with the international community before dumping more than a million tons of nuclear wastewater from the defunct Fukushima power plant. “China will fully support the organization’s follow-up work, and Japan should earnestly meet the concerns of China and other stakeholders and the international community before launching the discharge of nuclear contaminated water,” Wang stated.


The spokesman said that the IAEA had confirmed to Beijing that it would be inviting Chinese experts to take part in a technical working group on the disposal of the supposedly treated wastewater. “China maintains close communication and coordination with the IAEA in this regard, and the agency is actively preparing for the establishment of related technical working groups,” he added. China and its neighbors have been highly critical of Tokyo after it was announced that wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear plant would be dumped into the ocean within a couple of years. The safety of the water has been questioned on many occasions despite years of treatment. Last year, Greenpeace reported that the wastewater from the plant was more dangerous than the Japanese government had suggested. The organization’s publication claims the supposedly treated water still contains “dangerous levels of carbon-14,” a radioactive substance that has the “potential to damage human DNA.” The water is also known to contain radioactive tritium.

Read more …

 

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Apr 162021
 


Edvard Munch Spring in Johan Karl Street 1944

 

Blood Clots As Prevalent With Pfizer, Moderna Vaccine As Astrazeneca (MW)
Risk Of Rare Blood Clotting Higher For Covid-19 Than For Vaccines (Oxford)
EU Commission To End AstraZeneca and J&J Vaccine Contracts At Expiry (R.)
India’s COVID-Vaccine Woes — By The Numbers (Nature)
Brazil’s P1 Coronavirus Variant Mutating, May Become More Dangerous (R.)
Norwegian Experts Recommend Stopping Further Use Of AstraZeneca Vaccine (RT)
Ireland May Delay 2nd Vaccine Doses Amid J&J Delays, AstraZeneca Age Limits (RT)
Poland Starts J&J Covid Vaccine Rollout Amid Objections, Health Concerns (RT)
37 People In Denmark Seek Compensation Over Covid Vaccine Side Effects (RT)
Rapid Covid Testing In England May Be Scaled Back Over False Positives (G.)
Is Boris Lauding Lockdowns Because He’s Planning Another For October? (Clark)
‘Vaccine Passports’ Can’t Be Requirement For Travel, Says EU (F.)

 

 

Another one of those days where there’s just too much news. So I split it up in this Covid Rattle and a Debt Rattle that will follow imminently.

 

 

Despite all the bad news, here’s what I think will happen in much of the northern hemipshere, following this graph from Daniel J. Wilson at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco (see Debt Rattle April 13)

 

 

Around June 1, in many countries the viral load will have fallen off a cliff. Summer will be much less dangerous than winter. Makes sense. Whether Covid will return in autumn will depend largely on what we do to make people’s immune systems stronger. Vitamin D plays a large role in that, but so do exercise and healthy food.

 

 

Just as everyone starts banning AstraZeneca, turns out mRNA “vaccines” are just as bad. And just as poorly tested.

Blood Clots As Prevalent With Pfizer, Moderna Vaccine As Astrazeneca (MW)

A study by Oxford University found the number of people who receive blood clots after getting vaccinated with a coronavirus vaccine are about the same for those who get Pfizer and Moderna vaccines as they are for the AstraZeneca vaccine that was produced with the university’s help. According to the study, 4 in 1 million people experience cerebral venous thrombosis after getting the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, versus 5 in 1 million people for the AstraZeneca vaccine. The risk of getting CVT is much higher for those who get COVID-19 — 39 in a million patients — than it is for those for get vaccinated. AstraZeneca’s vaccine use has been halted or limited in many countries on blood clot concerns.

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But the report this is based on comes from Oxford, one of the makers of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Risk Of Rare Blood Clotting Higher For Covid-19 Than For Vaccines (Oxford)

Researchers at the University of Oxford have today reported that the risk of the rare blood clotting known as cerebral venous thrombosis (CVT) following COVID-19 infection is around 100 times greater than normal, several times higher than it is post-vaccination or following influenza. The study authors, led by Professor Paul Harrison and Dr Maxime Taquet from Oxford University’s Department of Psychiatry and the NIHR Oxford Health Biomedical Research Centre, counted the number of CVT cases diagnosed in the two weeks following diagnosis of COVID-19, or after the first dose of a vaccine. The then compared these to calculated incidences of CVT following influenza, and the background level in the general population.

They report that CVT is more common after COVID-19 than in any of the comparison groups, with 30% of these cases occurring in the under 30s. Compared to the current COVID-19 vaccines, this risk is between 8-10 times higher, and compared to the baseline, approximately 100 times higher. The breakdown comparison for reported cases of CVT in COVID-19 patients in comparison to CVT cases in those who received a COVID-19 vaccine is:

• In this study of over 500,000 COVID-19 patients, CVT occurred in 39 in a million patients.
• In over 480,000 people receiving a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna), CVT occurred in 4 in a million.
• CVT has been reported to occur in about 5 in a million people after first dose of the AZ-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine.
• Compared to the mRNA vaccines, the risk of a CVT from COVID-19 is about 10 times greater.
• Compared to the AZ-Oxford vaccine, the risk of a CVT from COVID-19 is about 8 times greater.

However, all comparisons must be interpreted cautiously since data are still accruing. Paul Harrison, Professor of Psychiatry and Head of the Translational Neurobiology Group at the University of Oxford, said: ‘There are concerns about possible associations between vaccines, and CVT, causing governments and regulators to restrict the use of certain vaccines. Yet, one key question remained unknown: ‘What is the risk of CVT following a diagnosis of COVID-19?’. ‘We’ve reached two important conclusions. Firstly, COVID-19 markedly increases the risk of CVT, adding to the list of blood clotting problems this infection causes. Secondly, the COVID-19 risk is higher than we see with the current vaccines, even for those under 30; something that should be taken into account when considering the balances between risks and benefits for vaccination.’

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Pfizer is winning.

EU Commission To End AstraZeneca and J&J Vaccine Contracts At Expiry (R.)

The EU Commission has decided not to renew COVID-19 vaccine contracts next year with AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson (J&J), Italian daily La Stampa reported on Wednesday, citing a source from the Italian health ministry. “The European Commission, in agreement with the leaders of many (EU) countries, has decided that the contracts with the companies that produce (viral vector) vaccines that are valid for the current year will not be renewed at their expiry,” the newspaper reported. It added that Brussels would rather focus on COVID-19 vaccines using messenger RNA (mRNA) technology, such as Pfizer’s and Moderna’s.


A spokesman for the EU Commission said it was keeping all options open to be prepared for the next stages of the pandemic, for 2022 and beyond. “We cannot, however, comment on contractual issues,” the spokesman added. Later on Wednesday the President of the European Commission said the EU was in talks with Pfizer and BionTech for a new contract for 1.8 billion doses, confirming a Reuters report from last week. “We need to focus on technologies that have proven their worth. mRNA vaccines are a clear case in point,” she added.

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India is not winning. Wonder what went wrong there. Note: 1.4 billion is a lot of people.

India’s COVID-Vaccine Woes — By The Numbers (Nature)

India, one of the world’s biggest suppliers of vaccines, is facing a COVID-19 vaccine crunch, partly due to an explosion of cases linked to new variants. This spells trouble for many countries relying on Indian-made vaccines supplied through the World Health Organization’s COVAX initiative for equitable access to vaccines. On 12 April, India reported 168,912 new COVID-19 cases, its highest daily total yet. It has now had more than 13.5 million confirmed cases in total, overtaking Brazil as the world’s second-worst hit country, behind the United States. “While new variants are surfacing in India, a decline in COVID-appropriate behaviour such as wearing masks and social distancing is adding to their faster spread,” says Randeep Guleria, director of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi.

By 14 April, more than 111 million people had been vaccinated in the country (see ‘The race to vaccinate’). But in March, fears of vaccine shortages led to the government temporarily halting exports of a version of the University of Oxford–AstraZeneca vaccine known as Covishield, which is produced by the Serum Institute of India (SII), based in Pune. The SII, the world’s largest manufacturer of vaccine components, was expected to provide many of the doses for COVAX. But a fire at a facility in January is part of the reason that it hasn’t yet been able to live up to its production target of 100 million doses per month. Currently it produces between 60 million and 65 million per month.

Last June, AstraZeneca, which is based in Cambridge, UK, announced that it had licensed the SII to supply a total of one billion doses of Covishield for low- and middle-income countries. But only 64 million had been exported before the halt in exports last month, 28 million of which went to COVAX. Earlier this year, chief executive Adar Poonawala said on Twitter that the SII had been directed by the Indian government “to prioritise the huge needs of India and along with that balance the needs of the rest of the world”. India’s battle with a surge in cases could delay planned deliveries of Covishield to 64 lower-income countries through COVAX, according to a 25 March statement by initiative member Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, a health partnership based in Geneva, Switzerland.

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Note: this article says: “Studies have shown the P1 variant to be as much as 2.5 times more contagious than the original coronavirus ..”

That makes much more sense than the recent piece that claimed the B117 variant was 67 times more contagious than the original.

Brazil’s P1 Coronavirus Variant Mutating, May Become More Dangerous (R.)

Brazil’s P1 coronavirus variant, behind a deadly COVID-19 surge in the Latin American country that has raised international alarm, is mutating in ways that could make it better able to evade antibodies, according to scientists studying the virus. Research conducted by the public health institute Fiocruz into the variants circulating in Brazil found mutations in the spike region of the virus that is used to enter and infect cells. Those changes, the scientists said, could make the virus more resistant to vaccines – which target the spike protein – with potentially grave implications for the severity of the outbreak in Latin America’s most populous nation.


“We believe it’s another escape mechanism the virus is creating to evade the response of antibodies,” said Felipe Naveca, one of the authors of the study and part of Fiocruz in the Amazon city of Manaus, where the P1 variant is believed to have originated. Naveca said the changes appeared to be similar to the mutations seen in the even more aggressive South African variant, against which studies have shown some vaccines have substantially reduced efficacy. “This is particularly worrying because the virus is continuing to accelerate in its evolution,” he added. Studies have shown the P1 variant to be as much as 2.5 times more contagious than the original coronavirus and more resistant to antibodies.

Read more …

Can you still follow it?

Norwegian Experts Recommend Stopping Further Use Of AstraZeneca Vaccine (RT)

The Institute of Public Health in Norway has recommended that the government stop using the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine after a lengthy review of the jab. Oslo suspended its use on March 11.
In a press release on Thursday, the agency said that after considering, in collaboration with external experts, the continued use of the heavily-scrutinized Covid-19 jab, that it would no longer recommend its use. It said more evidence has emerged to suggest there is a link between the jab and very rare cases of potentially fatal blood clots. “Based on this knowledge, we have arrived at a recommendation that the AstraZeneca vaccine be removed from the coronavirus vaccination program in Norway,” Geir Bukholm, director of infection control at the National Institute of Public Health, said in the statement.


The institute noted that Norway has made great strides in vaccinating its elderly and those most at risk of Covid. Therefore, those who are yet to be vaccinated are younger and less at risk from the virus – but are also potentially more prone to thrombotic events linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine. Those who have already received their first dose of the Anglo-Swedish jab will get a second shot from another vaccine manufacturer, the body stated. Also on Thursday, Health Minister Bent Hoeie said the government would not be drawn into a decision yet. “The government believes that we do not have a good enough basis for drawing a final conclusion that the AstraZeneca vaccine should be removed from the Norwegian vaccination program at this point,” Hoeie told a news conference.

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They must have found a different science.

Ireland May Delay 2nd Vaccine Doses Amid J&J Delays, AstraZeneca Age Limits (RT)

The Irish government has said it is considering whether to space out the administering of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine in order to reach more people with a first dose as the country looks to open up from tough restrictions.
Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland on Thursday, the Irish deputy prime minister, Leo Varadkar, said it would make sense to space out the administering of the Pfizer shots, like in the UK, for those under 60 years old and in good health. The current interval between the administration of the two shots is 28 days, but some other countries have extended that to 12 weeks, allowing more people to be partially immunized against coronavirus in a shorter period of time. Research from the UK, before the country approved the Moderna jab, showed that the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines greatly reduced the risk of hospitalization from Covid-19 after just one shot.


On Wednesday, Irish Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said a decision on whether to spread the vaccines out would be made within the week. The possible move comes as the EU’s medicines regulator reviews the use of the single-shot J&J vaccine and after Ireland limited the AstraZeneca vaccine to those aged 60 and over. On Tuesday, J&J said it would be delaying shipments to Europe while the vaccine is being reviewed following its suspension in the US; its rollout is yet to start in the EU. Similar technology was used in the development of their vaccines, which have been linked to very rare cases of blood clotting. Meanwhile, the EU announced on Wednesday that the bloc would be receiving an additional 25% of vaccines doses in quarter two from Pfizer.

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It’s just lovely that every country’s experts reach different conclusions. Great for confidence.

Poland Starts J&J Covid Vaccine Rollout Amid Objections, Health Concerns (RT)

Polish health authorities began rolling out doses of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine on Thursday, rejecting the concerns of the majority-Catholic country’s religious community and fears about the side effects of the jab. The government’s vaccine chief, Michal Dworczyk, confirmed the state’s vaccine rollout now included the Johnson & Johnson jab, stating health experts felt the benefits outweighed the side effects and they “have not received signals that there are problems or that patients are refusing [to take it].” Some 120,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have arrived in the country, with the first jabs from the consignment administered on Thursday.


On Wednesday, a senior official in Poland’s Catholic Church called on its members to reject both the Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca vaccines over the use of abortion-derived cells in their manufacturing processes. Bishop Jozef Wrobel declared that the church has a “serious moral objection” to the use of vaccines that include cells “derived from aborted foetuses” in the manufacturing process despite the jabs not containing any abortion-related cells in their ingredients. The comments from Poland’s religious authority contradict earlier remarks from Pope Francis, who declared that it is “morally acceptable” to be vaccinated with jabs developed using the aborted cell-linked manufacturing process. Addressing similar concerns to the Polish Catholic Church, the Pope said that having the vaccine does “not constitute formal cooperation” with or support of abortion.

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“..if you have had a serious side effect and there is a temporal connection with the vaccination, then I would encourage you to seeks compensation from us..”

37 People In Denmark Seek Compensation Over Covid Vaccine Side Effects (RT)

Some 37 people in Denmark are requesting compensation over adverse effects they say were suffered after getting a Covid-19 jab. Most of the cases are related to AstraZeneca’s vaccine, which the country has stopped using. A total of 29 people have applied for compensation for side effects believed to be linked to the Swedish-British jab – which was renamed Vaxzevria last month – the Danish Patient Compensation Association said in a statement on Thursday. A further eight people applied for compensation in connection with the coronavirus jab made by Pfizer. The side effects cited in the applications range from mild fever and discomfort to such extreme conditions as paralysis, blood clots, miscarriage, and even death.

In Denmark, patients are eligible for state-sponsored compensations if they suffer rare or severe adverse effects of any medicines. The relatives of patients who have died can also receive compensation. “There are almost no drugs without side effects. That is why we have a safety net in Denmark that picks up the patients who are so unfortunate as to be affected by rare and serious side effects,” the director of Patient Compensation, Karen-Inger Bast, stated. The director also urged other people who might have suffered side effects to come forward with their complaints as well. She warned, though, that the health troubles must be serious in order to receive compensation.

“It is important to say that you do not receive compensation for mild and transient symptoms such as a little fever or pain in the arm. But if you have had a serious side effect and there is a temporal connection with the vaccination, then I would encourage you to seeks compensation from us,” Bast stated. The association’s announcement comes a day after Denmark became the first European country to completely discontinue use of AstraZeneca vaccine, citing “a possible link between very rare cases of unusual blood clots, bleeding, low blood platelets counts” and the shot by the drug maker. “Our overall assessment is there is a real risk of severe side effects associated with using the Covid-19 vaccine from AstraZeneca,” Danish Health Authority Director General Soeren Brostroem said.

Read more …

Painting rapid tests in a bad light? PCR is crap too, so no testing left?

Rapid Covid Testing In England May Be Scaled Back Over False Positives (G.)

Senior government officials have raised “urgent” concerns about the mass expansion of rapid coronavirus testing, estimating that as few as 2% to 10% of positive results may be accurate in places with low Covid rates, such as London. Boris Johnson last week urged everyone in England to take two rapid-turnaround tests a week in the biggest expansion of the multibillion-pound testing programme to date. However, leaked emails seen by the Guardian show that senior officials are now considering scaling back the widespread testing of people without symptoms, due to a growing number of false positives.

In one email, Ben Dyson, an executive director of strategy at the health department and one of health secretary Matt Hancock’s advisers, stressed the “fairly urgent need for decisions” on “the point at which we stop offering asymptomatic testing”. On 9 April, the day everyone in England was able to order twice-weekly lateral flow device (LFD) tests, Dyson wrote: “As of today, someone who gets a positive LFD result in (say) London has at best a 25% chance of it being a true positive, but if it is a self-reported test potentially as low as 10% (on an optimistic assumption about specificity) or as low as 2% (on a more pessimistic assumption).”

He added that the department’s executive committee, which includes Hancock and the NHS test and trace chief, Dido Harding, would soon need to decide whether requiring people to self-isolate before a confirmatory PCR test “ceases to be reasonable” in low infection areas where there is a high likelihood of a positive result being wrong. The accuracy of rapid coronavirus tests and how they should be deployed have been the focus of months of debate in the UK. The proportion of false positives – people incorrectly told they have the virus – increases when the prevalence of the disease falls. This happens because although the number of true positives is falling, the tests produce roughly the same number of false positives – meaning the proportion of incorrect results becomes greater.

Read more …

Is it lockdowns, vaccines or 50% of under-25s already carrying antibodies because the virus was so widespread? Fried of a friend in London says everyone he knows has “already had it”.

Is Boris Lauding Lockdowns Because He’s Planning Another For October? (Clark)

The prime minister’s claim that it was lockdown, and not the vaccine or seasonal factors, which led to the rapid fall in Covid cases and deaths in the UK should set alarm bells ringing very loudly. The Man in Black wanted us to be in no doubt during his interview this week with Sky News: it was the lockdown whatdunit. “It is very, very important for everybody to understand,” Johnson said, “that the reduction in these numbers, in hospitalisations, in deaths, in infections, has not been achieved because of the vaccination programme. “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. And 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.”

Repeat after Me: “The bulk of the work in reducing the disease has been done by the lockdown.. The bulk of the work…” Why is Johnson so keen to downplay the government’s roll-out of a mass vaccination programme and instead big-up lockdown? Some have said it’s because he fears legal challenges for locking us down again in early January and wants to get his defence statement in before the writ. But I think BoJo is looking forwards, not backwards. By stressing ’lockdowns work’ now, he is ‘nudging’ us towards accepting another shutdown of the non-virtual economy in autumn. There are already some pretty strong clues about what might lie ahead. As I’ve noted in previous articles, the extension of furlough has been an excellent guide over the last twelve months for what is going to happen – far better than the smug ‘inside the tent’ pundits who have assured us since last March that things would soon be getting back to normal.

In December, Chancellor Sunak’s extension of furlough until April was the giveaway – no pun intended – that we’d be locked down again in the New Year, and so it proved. On December 18, I correctly predicted the exact date (January 4) that Johnson would announce the new 2021 lockdown. In early March, furlough was extended again, until the end of September, despite the government assuring us all restrictions would be lifted on June 21. This suggests it’s odds-on that some form of restrictions will remain well past that date, because what happens in October? Why, the autumn/winter flu season starts. It would be so easy for Johnson at that point to say “We need another lockdown” to “protect the NHS” from another wave (the ‘third’ or ‘fourth’) or from a “variant of concern” of coronavirus.

Read more …

They call it the “Digital Green Certificate” instead. Same difference.

‘Vaccine Passports’ Can’t Be Requirement For Travel, Says EU (F.)

Travel is on the up and up. CBS News Travel Editor, Peter Greenberg reported that U.S. domestic airfares are rapidly increasing, as are hotel rates (not to 2019 levels yet, but certainly rising). Cruise liners are not waiting for CDC permission to set sail from U.S. ports and are instead repositioning cruises to leave from and visit non-U.S. ports (in the Caribbean, for instance). One cruise liner started selling tickets for its 2021/2022 world cruise, at $40,o00 a cabin, and the ship sold out in one day. And of course, there needs to be a way to verify that people are traveling safely without transmitting the virus to one place from another. In the EU, all 27 countries have agreed that coordination is necessary and that this will take the form of a Digital Green Certificate.

Crucially, however, the EU has agreed that people who don’t have this certificate shouldn’t be discriminated against–that’s why it isn’t called a passport or doesn’t have anything called vaccine near the title. Firstly, it’s to be called a Digital Green Certificate, able to be downloaded onto your phones. It’s not called a vaccination passport, because–the EU said Thursday–you don’t need to be vaccinated to get it. You can also get a certificate if you have had Covid-19 (and recovered) and if you have had a negative Covid-19 test before departure. That way, it doesn’t discriminate between those that have been vaccinated and those who haven’t. As reported by The Local, the EU plans to roll it out by mid-June, initially across the 27 EU bloc to citizens and residents, but also eventually to be compatible with non-EU countries.

Eduardo Santander, chief executive officer of the European Travel Commission, an association of national tourism organizations based in Brussels said: “Finally, we have a tangible solution to coordinating and harmonizing travel measures. I think other countries like the U.S. will also come up with their own technological solutions that will be compatible, and after a period of trials this summer, a global standard will be established.” Individual countries will also have a way of setting individual rules within the certificate. For example, Hungary uses Russia’s Sputnik vaccine, which most of the other EU countries do not, and so–under the certificate–they would be able to incorporate the vaccines they each want to use.

Read more …

 

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Mar 262021
 


Filothei Skitzi Strapping girl 2021

 

 

Yesterday was Greece’s version of Independence Day, in their case the day the War of Independence from the Ottoman empire started in 1821. Unfortunately, it was so brutally cold -for Greece, that is, at 0ºC- that festivities were “dampened”. Moreover, due to Covid restrictions, people were barred from attending the traditional military parade (due to 1821, and having Turkey as a neighbor, many Greeks still love having an army) in the streets of Athens.

The only ones “allowed” to watch the parade were now the likes of Prince Charles and his horse wife, plus some ambassadors etc. While after almost 5 months of severe lockdown, and spring on the horizon, people really needed some relief in the form of a party. And a national party works best for that. Oh well, spring will come soon, and then soon after that, 39.9ºC. That’s where the weather service always seems to stop counting. It’s like the Y2K bug. A running gag.

I was re-reading the last things I wrote about the Monastiraki kitchen, November and December 2020, just to get back in the spirit, and to find things that I have already talked about, so as not to repeat myself. Cooking food is not the most exciting activity in the world by itself, to write about, or to film, as I always notice when I happenstance upon some TV cooking show.

 

What’s interesting about the social kitchen we run here is all the stories around it, not the cooking itself. I -and you, my readers- have been supporting this initiative for almost 6 years already, imagine that!. Many things have happened, many things have changed along the way, and wouldn’t you know, in the hardest time of all, the lockdowns that take everyone’s breath and life away, being involved in “the kitchen” -as we call it- feels better than ever.

It’s not just that the homeless need us more than ever before, though that is undoubtedly true, it’s also that the volunteers who work in the kitchen get even more of a sense of pride and self-worth from doing something that really changes human lives. Don’t underestimate the loss of pride, of having a goal in life, there are so many facets to this, of not being able to do your job for 5 months. And then to be able to contribute to helping the neediest people in your society, it gains a whole new meaning.

After a year of lockdowns, off and on, societies that have lived through them will irreparably change, even if the people that live in them, will not recognize that now. Most people still think of a return to “normal”. There will be no such thing. Once governments stop propping up businesses and workers financially, which they will have to, there will be a flood of unemployment and business closures. We will need a new “paradigm”, but that will take time.

Greece depends on tourism and hospitality to a much larger extent than most economies. And tourism won’t come back to former heights, this year or next. The virus is not gone, and vaccinating everyone will not solve the issue. Not that politicians and “experts” won’t pretend it will. Greece will win back some part of its tourism industry, but that risks bringing more virus into the country. And tourists, like the British, will be told not to come, by their own governments. Some “repair”, but far short of full.

So once the bars and restaurants open here, they are going to start firing people. The government is well aware of this, and talks about 100s of 1000s of job losses. This will happen everywhere, but in an economy so dependent on hospitality, much more. Summer will feel sort of okay, but after that, we will have many more clients in the Monastiraki kitchen. It’s as clear as day.

 

 

 

Filothei and I went to purchase €1,000 more in supermarket checks, from your donations, on Tuesday. She managed to spread the first €1,000 worth out over 3 months. Me, I like that she is aware of value, respect etc., but I also say sometimes that it’s alright to spend some money. For her, it‘s about every penny, every comma. But that has disadvantages as well: she spends so much time trying to get the best deal on everything that at some point I am sure that her time could be spent in a better way. And that people will understand that.

Example: the kitchen needs plates. We had a donation, 2 years ago, from a company that makes them, of 21,000 plates (they were misprints). We want, in industry terms, “bio-boxes”. As in, not plastic, but paper/cardboard. Those plates are now gone, and we need more. But these things are expensive, and Filothei thinks all donations should go to buying food. I agree, but at the same time, a social kitchen must do what it should do. I personally think some company should donate them to us, and they can put their logo on it, and feel good about supporting us, but in lockdown, no companies make any money. And we still need the plates.

We will buy maybe 6,000 of them soon, and pay maybe €600 for that, and yes, it’s not food, but it’s necessary. In these times, you can look at these companies’ websites, and their products, but most “bio-boxes” are for sandwiches, not hot meals. Yeah, entirely new issues for me too 😉 And all the companies are closed too, so it’s very hard to go check them out. That’s when you realize how crazy these times really are.

 

Other things we did this winter: we bought an umbrella. I told you the place where the cooking takes place is a little stone yard, with no roof. I also said we would pay the €200 for the umbrella with €100 from donations and I would pay the rest. And then it took 40 days, 30 phone calls, and people from the kitchen going there themselves, to finally get it. Welcome to the lockdown economy .

 

 

But isn’t it beautiful? It covers almost the entire yard. Yeah, again, it’s money not spent on food, but it’s needed nonetheless. It has been on several occasions already, and it will be there for years to come. Money well spent.

 

 

Another thing I bought is more facemasks, I paid for those myself, not from your donations. I don’t like the mandates for them much, with people wearing masks outside in the street, that doesn’t make much sense. But for the kitchen, with people working close together, and later handing out the food to the homeless, it does. Risk assessment. Only, wear the best ones then, why wouldn’t you? Why wear a sock on your face when you can get actual protection? These are FFP3 masks, in US terms that would be N95+, they have extra strips inside to connect them to your face, and their active ingredient is activated carbon, not salt. Why not do it well if you do it anyway?

 

 

Oh wait, that’s true, Filothei last week made 60 kilos (!) of lemon marmalade (which probably took 70 kilos of sugar) to hand out, because “the homeless need sugar and salt when it’s cold outside”.

 

 

We are up to 2 cookings a week at Monastiraki now, plus another one at Piraeus that depends on our staples to a large extent. And we’re not going to stop, or halt, or pause. Yes, the summer weather will relieve the pressure somewhat on the “immediate front”, but we need to look ahead too. The economic troubles won’t go away, and neither will the virus. And the people to be first hurt by that are always the same, the poorest, and their legions are growing. And that’s why we do what we do. This team is unbeatable. Despite all the police threats of fines and prison and what not, people always show up for “work”, and the food always gets delivered.

And we do it with love. Lots of it.

 

I’ll leave you with the same last paragraphs I’ve used the past few times when I wrote about the Monastiraki kitchen. You know how this works.

 

 

Most of you will know the drill of this by now: any Paypal donations ending in $0.99 or $0.37 go straight to the Monastiraki kitchen, while other donations go to the Automatic Earth -which also badly needs them. (Note: a lot of Automatic Earth donations also went to the kitchen this winter).

I dislike few things more than asking people for money, even though the Automatic Earth now runs primarily on donations, and there’s some sweet justice in that as well, in depending on people’s appreciation of what we do, instead of ad revenues.

But I cannot do this on my own right now. The Monastiraki kitchen will realistically need about €1,500 per month. I don’t have that to spare. So I’m calling on you. Unashamedly, because I know there is no reason to be ashamed of the cause.

I love all you people, and I’m sorry I can’t thank you all individually who have supported -and still do- the Monastiraki kitchen and the Automatic Earth all this time, and I ask you to keep on doing just that. The details for donations on Paypal and Patreon, for both causes, are in the top of the two sidebars of this site. Could not be much easier. If you’d rather send a check, go to our Store and Donations page. Bitcoin: 1HYLLUR2JFs24X1zTS4XbNJidGo2XNHiTT.

Love you. Thank you. This kitchen would not exist without you, these people would not get fed.

 

 

 

We try to run the Automatic Earth on donations. Since ad revenue has collapsed, you are now not just a reader, but an integral part of the process that builds this site. Thank you for your support.

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in virustime. Click at the top of the sidebars to donate with Paypal and Patreon.

 

Mar 262021
 


Vincent van Gogh Scène de rue à Montmartre 1887

 

Biden’s Press Conference: Get Ready For President Kamala Harris (Malic)
Better Not Vaccinate Everyone: The Virus Will Not Disappear Anyway (G.nl)
Herd Immunity Is Near, Despite Fauci’s Denial (WSJ)
US Lockdowns Didn’t Stop Covid – But That Doesn’t Mean They’re Pointless (F>)
CNN’s Defense of Cuomo’s Special COVID Privileges is Grotesque (Greenwald)
Secret Service Inserted Itself Into Case Of Hunter Biden’s Gun (Pol.)
Tesla & Bitcoin Are Perfect Bedfellows (Mitch Feierstein)
US Imports Record Volumes Of Russian Oil Amid Growing Political Tensions (RT)
The Impending Saudi Defeat in Yemen (MPN)
‘It Might Take Weeks’ To Free ‘Beached Whale’ Ship Stuck In Suez Canal (RT)
Free Us From The Roving Cavaliers of Credit (Steve Keen)

 

 

Boris Johnson, 2004

“If I am ever asked to produce my ID card as evidence that I am who I say I am, when I have done nothing wrong then I will take that card out of my wallet and physically eat it in the presence of whatever emanation of the state has demanded that I produce it”

 

 

Dana Carvey does Joe Biden

 

 

Actual Washington Post headline: “Biden Excels At His First News Conference. The Media Embarrass Themselves.”

Biden’s Press Conference: Get Ready For President Kamala Harris (Malic)

Well, now we know why Democrat strategists were more than happy to let Joe Biden sit in his basement during the campaign, and kept him away from the press for the first 64 days in office – and it’s definitely not the coronavirus. Biden was almost 15 minutes late to his own very first “formal press conference” since taking office. He dodged questions, spouted platitudes and talking points, went off on tangents at times while getting angry and uttering what may have sounded like threats at others. No doubt some of that could be down to his advanced age, but let’s assume for lack of another explanation that the words were indeed his and that he truly meant what he said. And, oh brother, is the US in trouble.

In Thursday’s presser, Biden actually repeated – twice – the previous day’s talking points, down to the description of someone “sitting at their kitchen table” in Central America, about why tens of thousands of migrants are coming to the US. He knows why, better than they do. Never mind that the tide began the day he was announced winner of the 2020 election, or the migrants who literally told reporters they decided to come because Biden got elected, or wear T-shirts with his campaign logo and the words “please let us in.” Nope, you’re supposed to ignore your lying eyes and believe Uncle Joe, because his great-grandfather had no choice but to leave Ireland in a “coffin ship.” What are you, a lying dog-faced pony soldier? Come on, man!

This sort of emotionally manipulative imagery is nothing new for Biden; he did it in the pandemic speech earlier this month, as well as his inaugural and his convention address. The press keeps falling for it, though, every single time. No wonder Dana Carvey was catching flak this week; his impersonation of Biden – not just his voice, but his mannerism and verbal tics – was spot on.

Tucker

Read more …

Google translate

These people must have read VadenBossche. We need much more discussion like this.

Also in Holland: GPs will now be fined for prescribing HCQ or ivermectin. As infection numbers are soaring back up to where they were early January.

Better Not Vaccinate Everyone: The Virus Will Not Disappear Anyway (G.nl)

Vaccinating children and young, healthy people against corona does not help. Group immunity is unfeasible, the corona virus will no longer disappear and will continue to appear in new variants. This is the opinion of Jona Walk, who recently obtained his PhD in vaccine immunology, and medical microbiologist Bert Mulder today in the magazine Medisch Contact. Both doctors of the Nijmegen Canisius-Wilhelmina Hospital therefore question the policy of the cabinet and health institute to vaccinate the entire population in order to return to “normal”. They are supported by a recent article “Five reasons why COVID herd immunity is probably impossible” in the leading scientific medical journal Nature.

Vaccinations can prevent people from becoming seriously ill and ending up in hospital, but it is an illusion to think that they also stop the virus from spreading. “Research done in Oxford shows that people can also be virus carriers after they have been vaccinated,” says Walk. More research needs to be done on this, but it is already clear that current vaccines do not work against all new variants of the virus. South Africa, for example, has already stopped using AstraZeneca because that vaccine does not work against the variant that is dominant there. “The effectiveness against that specific variant appears to be really zero,” says Mulder. The constant emergence of new variants therefore means that the vaccinations will be less effective in the future than appears at the moment.

“In fact, if a vaccine against a particular variant doesn’t work, only that version of the virus will continue to spread among people, and that refractory variant may eventually become dominant in the vaccinated population,” says Walk.“This happens especially if you vaccinate while a lot of virus is circulating, you create an ideal environment for new mutations,” Mulder adds. Walk: “The unnecessary vaccination is also against our medical principles. If you cannot become seriously ill from the virus and do not protect anyone with it when you get vaccinated, why would you run the risk of side effects that we are certainly not aware of in the long term? “” She points to the fact that for the time being there are only data on safety during the first two months after vaccination. Longer studies are needed to get a full picture of the benefits and risks.

“Another problem is that we do not yet know whether once someone has been vaccinated, they will later make good antibodies against other corona variants.” “A new vaccination against a new variant may therefore be less effective. “There is still a lot of research to be done in this area,” the researchers emphasize. But they are now coming up with their analysis because the vaccination policy is still aimed at vaccinating as many people as possible against corona by July. Mulder: ,, But we cannot eradicate corona. So you should rethink that policy: vaccinating only if someone benefits from it on an individual level, you should first focus on the elderly and at-risk groups and then look at who wants to be vaccinated further. “”

Ron Paul Testing

Read more …

Natural immunity.

Herd Immunity Is Near, Despite Fauci’s Denial (WSJ)

Anthony Fauci has been saying that the country needs to vaccinate 70% to 85% of the population to reach herd immunity from Covid-19. But he inexplicably ignores natural immunity. If you account for previous infections, herd immunity is likely close at hand. Data from the California Department of Public Health, released earlier this month, show that while only 8.7% of the state’s population has ever tested positive for Covid-19, at least 38.5% of the population has antibodies against the novel coronavirus. Those numbers are from Jan. 30 to Feb. 20. Adjusting for cases between now and then, and accounting for the amount of time it takes for the body to make antibodies, we can estimate that as many as half of Californians have natural immunity today.


The same report found that 45% of people in Los Angeles had Covid-19 antibodies. Again, the number can only be higher today. Between “half and two-thirds of our population has antibodies in it now,” due to Covid exposure or vaccination, Mayor Eric Garcetti said Sunday on “Face the Nation.” That would explain why cases in Los Angeles are down 95% in the past 11 weeks and the positivity rate among those tested is now 1.7%. Undercounting or removing the many Americans with natural immunity from any tally of herd immunity is a scientific error of omission. When people wonder why President Biden talks about limiting Fourth of July gatherings, it’s because his most prominent medical adviser has dismissed the contribution of natural immunity, artificially extending the timeline.

Read more …

“The University of Chicago researchers said their study reached a different conclusion because of differing methodology.”

But what a warped logic. Destroying economies was useless, but not pointless.

US Lockdowns Didn’t Stop Covid – But That Doesn’t Mean They’re Pointless (F.)

U.S. states with shelter-in-place orders and other strict Covid-19 rules did not report fewer infections and deaths last year, a study released Thursday argues, disputing other recent research about the pandemic—but this doesn’t mean social distancing efforts were ineffective. A team of researchers from the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy found states that imposed shelter-in-place orders, mandatory business closures and other tight restrictions didn’t see a significant difference in the number of coronavirus infections or deaths during the virus’ first U.S. surge last spring. Shelter-in-place orders also appeared to have very little impact on people’s mobility, which researchers measured using cell phone data.

However, researchers did not cast this as proof that social distancing is unnecessary: Instead, it could mean scores of Americans changed their habits regardless of whether their state imposed restrictions, often because health officials encouraged them to. Meanwhile, the effectiveness of social distancing measures was likely reduced because some people—partly due to politics—refused to comply with these efforts even if they came with a government mandate, the researchers noted in their paper, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The team said their results “should not be taken to imply that the actions of government officials had little effect on the pandemic.”

“To be clear, our findings do not mean that sheltering in place and social distancing behaviors had no effect on the disease,” the study’s authors wrote. “Indeed, the health benefits of [shelter-in-place] orders were likely limited because many people were already social distancing before the introduction of SIP orders.” This study contradicts two papers from last year—published in Nature and by the National Bureau of Economic Research—that found shelter-in-place orders significantly reduced Covid-19 infections in the United States and other countries, especially if they were imposed early. The University of Chicago researchers said their study reached a different conclusion because of differing methodology.

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While there were no tests available.

CNN’s Defense of Cuomo’s Special COVID Privileges is Grotesque (Greenwald)

Ever since the COVID pandemic subsumed most countries on the planet, there have been numerous scandals and controversies relating to those who corruptly obtain medical privileges and other exemptions unavailable to ordinary citizens. These scandals typically arise when someone uses their wealth, power or connections to jump in front of others for access to potentially life-saving procedures or medications or grant themselves and their friends license to ignore what everyone else must endure. Right now in Brazil, for instance, there is a burgeoning scandal from reports that a group of businesspeople with ties to the government arranged to purchase their own private stash of vaccines for use for themselves, families and friends in violation of the law.

In the U.S., people were outraged when very young members of Congress were among the first to receive the vaccine (though the law permitted them to do so); those young Congressmembers justified their line-jumping on the ground that they were doing so selflessly to encourage others. Meanwhile, other members of Congress refused this privilege on the ground, as Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) put it, that it is “shameful” for young lawmakers to believe they “are more important” than workers. Repeatedly in the U.S., politicians were caught exempting themselves from lockdown orders they were imposing on everyone else. But those pale in comparison to the abuse of power by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) and his brother, CNN host Chris Cuomo, as reported on Wednesday by The Albany-Times Union and The Washington Post.

“High-level members of the state Department of Health were directed last year by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker to conduct prioritized coronavirus testing on the governor’s relatives as well as influential people with ties to the administration,” reported the Times-Union. “Members of Cuomo’s family including his brother, his mother and at least one of his sisters were also tested by top health department officials — some several times,” it added. In particular, Gov. Cuomo abused state resources to ensure that his then-49-year-old brother, Chris, received fast COVID testing at a time when tests were very scarce. “The CNN anchor was swabbed by a top New York Department of Health doctor, who visited his Hamptons home to collect samples from him and his family,” The Post reported. The article also contains these damning details:

“The same doctor who tested Chris Cuomo, Eleanor Adams, now a top adviser to the state health commissioner, also was enlisted to test multiple other Cuomo family members….The coronavirus test specimens were then rushed — at times driven by state police troopers — to the Wadsworth Center, a state public health lab in Albany, where they were processed immediately, the people said. At times, employees in the state health laboratory were kept past their shifts until late into the night to process results of those close to Cuomo, two people said.” All of this commandeering of state resources to provide the CNN host with very specialized medical attention occurred while “media reports were full of accounts from New Yorkers desperate to get tested — including some with symptoms and recent travel history who were turned away because of scarcity.”

Cuomo brothers

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Still no sign of Hunter.

Secret Service Inserted Itself Into Case Of Hunter Biden’s Gun (Pol.)

On Oct. 23, 2018, President Joe Biden’s son Hunter and daughter in law Hallie were involved in a bizarre incident in which Hallie took Hunter’s gun and threw it in a trash can behind a grocery store, only to return later to find it gone. Delaware police began investigating, concerned that the trash can was across from a high school and that the missing gun could be used in a crime, according to law enforcement officials and a copy of the police report obtained by POLITICO. But a curious thing happened at the time: Secret Service agents approached the owner of the store where Hunter bought the gun and asked to take the paperwork involving the sale, according to two people, one of whom has firsthand knowledge of the episode and the other was briefed by a Secret Service agent after the fact.

The gun store owner refused to supply the paperwork, suspecting that the Secret Service officers wanted to hide Hunter’s ownership of the missing gun in case it were to be involved in a crime, the two people said. The owner, Ron Palmieri, later turned over the papers to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, which oversees federal gun laws. The Secret Service says it has no record of its agents investigating the incident, and Joe Biden, who was not under protection at the time, said through a spokesperson he has no knowledge of any Secret Service involvement. Days later, the gun was returned by an older man who regularly rummages through the grocery’s store’s trash to collect recyclable items, according to people familiar with the situation.

[..] At the time of the gun incident, Hunter was in a romantic relationship with Hallie, the widow of his late brother, Beau. The incident began when Hallie searched Hunter’s pickup, which was parked at her home in Wilmington, because of unspecified “suspicions she had,” according to the Delaware State Police report. Inside the truck, she found a .38 revolver. Hallie took the gun to Janssen’s Market, a nearby high-end grocery store where the Bidens are longtime regular customers. There, she tossed the gun, wrapped in a black shopping bag, into a trash bin outside of the store. Later that day, Hallie informed Hunter of what she had done, and he instructed her to retrieve the gun, according to the police report. When Hallie returned to the grocery store, she found that the gun was missing from the garbage bin and reported the issue to the store.

Read more …

“Tesla’s valuation will one day be a Harvard Business School study on the irrationality of market manias.”

Tesla & Bitcoin Are Perfect Bedfellows (Mitch Feierstein)

In 2021, Tesla has made over one billion dollars by speculating in bitcoin. That bet made bigger profits for Musk’s Tesla than the firm made selling its electric vehicles in a similar time frame (though, given its poor sales record, that’s perhaps not surprising). Now the multi-billionaire has created new headlines by announcing that the cryptocurrency will soon be accepted as payment for his cars, a move that saw the price of bitcoin enjoy a short-lived jump of almost 5%. There are some who say that Tesla and Bitcoin make perfect bedfellows. Both are decidedly risky ventures where you’re just about guaranteed to lose your whole wardrobe, let alone a shirt or two. Bitcoin has exhibited extreme volatility and has seen a stratospheric rise in its price during the past few months, hitting new highs approaching $60,000 and prompting some to claim it will go up by a further 500%.

Its surge illustrates how reckless central banks worldwide have destroyed fiat (paper) currencies that are backed by nothing other than a promise to repay debt by insolvent governments with a printing press. It signals a mania that will eventually see an end to US dollar hegemony. Bitcoin is binary – it can go to a million or zero – so no one speculating on it should risk what they cannot afford to lose. And as I’ve warned many times before: NEVER listen to the Musk-rat hype. It’s not the first time Musk has used Tesla’s balance sheet to speculate. In 2016, Tesla spent $2.6 billion bailing out one of his other companies, SolarCity, which was, according to Ernst & Young, completely insolvent.

Additionally, as chairman, CEO, CTO and majority shareholder of SpaceX, Musk used his position to leverage that company’s balance sheet by buying around $300 million of SolarCity bonds in 2015-16. In 2017, Tesla shareholders filed a lawsuit against the company’s directors and Musk. The basis of the lawsuit, according to Reuters, was: “Tesla shareholders have alleged Musk breached his fiduciary duties, squandered Tesla’s assets and unjustly enriched himself by pushing to buy the money-losing solar company in which he was the biggest investor.”

[..] Musk’s track record on autonomous driving, vehicle production numbers and Tesla profits has been abysmal. For example, Musk has said “Full Self Driving” hardware would be capable of a “coast-to-coast” autonomous trip by the end of 2017. In February of 2019, Musk promised, “Full self-driving would be available in 2020.” Tesla’s valuation builds in earnings from a non-existent robot taxi model. The point: Musk makes new bold claims nearly every quarter yet consistently fails to deliver. In fact, if it were not for the money Tesla has enjoyed from government subsidies and the selling of carbon-emission credits, the business would be profitless. Tesla’s valuation will one day be a Harvard Business School study on the irrationality of market manias.

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Ha ha ha.

US Imports Record Volumes Of Russian Oil Amid Growing Political Tensions (RT)

Tough talk on energy issues doesn’t stop the US from purchasing a record share of Russian crude in 2020. American refineries reportedly loaded 538,000 barrels of Russian crude and oil products daily, breaking a decade-old record. According to the data tracked by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), the US has bought the most Russian crude since 2011, when the import volumes or Russian oil totaled 624,000 barrels per day (bpd). In 2020, Russia became the third-largest oil supplier to the US, outpacing Saudi Arabia, world’s biggest exporter, according to Bloomberg calculations based on customs and EIA data. Russia’s share of American oil exports currently stands at a record-high seven percent.


Meanwhile, Canada and Mexico were the leading exporters of crude to the US last year. Canada shipped 4.1 million bpd, while Mexico sold about 750,000 bpd. The average imports of oil from Saudi Arabia reportedly totaled just 522,000 bpd in 2020. The growth of oil exports from Russia was reportedly caused by the lack of access to Venezuelan crude, targeted by US sanctions. Moreover, shipments of crude from OPEC nations were significantly reduced amid the cartel’s pact on cutting output. US energy majors, including Exxon Mobil, Chevron and Valero Energy were among the key buyers of oil and petroleum products from Russian producers.

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Boeing and Raytheon will find another country to destroy.

The Impending Saudi Defeat in Yemen (MPN)

Major advances by Houthi forces on the strategically vital oil and gas hub of Marib last week have forced Saudi Arabia to offer a ceasefire agreement to the rebels. The offer came on Monday, after the rebel army seized Mount Hilan, threatening the Yemeni military’s first line of defense and causing a disruption in global energy prices. The ceasefire proposal includes collecting “taxes, customs and other fees generated” by oil imports in the Red Sea port of Hodeida in a joint account that would be accessible to the Houthis. Further evidence that the Saudi-led coalition finds itself with their backs against the wall is the partial loosening of the oil blockade, as four fuel ships were given the go-ahead to dock at Hodeida on Wednesday.

The bid for a truce came two days after Saudi Coalition-manned American warplanes carried out airstrikes against Houthi targets in Marib, with Saudi media claiming heavy losses on the side of the rebel forces. But the partial lifting of the blockade by the Saudi Coalition and the UN-backed Yemeni government indicates that it is the Houthis who are making headway. The fall of Marib would mean Houthi control of one of the key production centers of natural gas in Yemen — one that supplies the entire country — as well as oil fields owned by Saudi Arabia’s Aramco. Given that the Houthis already control most of Yemen’s urban centers, taking Marib would likely tilt the momentum irreversibly in the Houthis’ favor.

In light of the Houthis’ bolstered position in the conflict, Biden’s decision to remove them from the list of global terrorist organizations, while overtly maintaining continued U.S. support for Saudi Arabia’s “security” needs could very well be a signal that Washington has tacitly admitted that their proxy war in Yemen is not yielding the desired results. Meanwhile, in a joint statement, last week as preparations for Friday’s major attack on Marib were in the offing, Western governments attempted to make a show of strength in the press in lieu of actual results on the battlefield. “We, the governments of France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America,” said the statement, “condemn the sustained Houthi offensive on the Yemeni city of Marib and the major escalation of attacks the Houthis have conducted and claimed against Saudi Arabia.”

UNHCR Yemen

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March 25 11 AM EST: QUEUE OF SHIPS WAITING AT SUEZ CANAL NOW STANDS AT 237

‘It Might Take Weeks’ To Free ‘Beached Whale’ Ship Stuck In Suez Canal (RT)

The firm working to dislodge the container ship that’s blocking traffic in the Suez Canal has warned that “it might take weeks” to free the tanker, comparing it to trying to remove “an enormous beached whale.” The vessel, ‘Ever Given’, operated by Taiwan-based firm Evergreen, became lodged diagonally in the canal on Tuesday morning after losing control and running aground amid high winds, bringing traffic through one of the world’s busiest shipping channels to a halt. The CEO of Boskalis, a dredging firm that is working to try and free the ship, warned on Thursday that it “can’t exclude [that] it might take weeks,” as they may have to reduce the weight of the vessel, removing containers, oil and water, as well as using tug boats and clearing sand and mud from around it.


“It is like an enormous beached whale. It’s an enormous weight on the sand.” The 220,000-ton vessel was partially refloated on Wednesday, as tug boats worked to reopen the canal, which can see as many as 50 ships pass through it a day. However, the ship remains wedged on the sand, with its GPS tracking data showing that it has only experienced minor changes in its position in the past 24 hours. The incident has created a significant shipping backlog and some firms have warned that if the canal is not fully reopened in the next 24-48 hours, they will have to find a new route for their vessels, adding a week to their journey time and delaying the arrival of goods that rely on the Suez Canal.

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In honour of David Graeber

Free Us From The Roving Cavaliers of Credit (Steve Keen)

As Graeber pointed out in Debt: The First 5000 Years, the assumption that money originated in barter is an enduring myth in economics: “First comes barter, then money; credit only develops later” (Graeber 2011, Chapter 2). This myth permeates the discipline, from Adam Smith’s assertion in 1776 that “the propensity to truck, barter, and exchange one thing for another” (Smith 1776, Chapter 2) was an innate characteristic of humans, to modern economics textbooks, like Gregory Mankiw’s Macroeconomics, that argue that an economy without money would be “a barter economy” (Mankiw 2016, p. 82). Armed with this myth, economists have constructed a fantasy model of capitalism in which money plays no significant role: it is a mere trifle that sensible economists look through, to see the real face of barter lying behind the veil of money.

Consequently, mainstream economists ignore banks, debt and money, while credit plays no role in their mathematical models of the macroeconomy. This is why they not only didn’t see the 2007 Global Financial Crisis coming, but in fact expected 2008 to be a cracker of a year. The OECD’s Economic Outlook in June 2007 trumpeted that “sustained growth in OECD economies would be underpinned by strong job creation and falling unemployment” (Cotis 2007, p. 5). Yeah, right. Two months after this forecast was published, the biggest economic crisis before Covid-19 and since the Great Depression began. Why were they so wrong? Because they ignore Graeber’s central message that debt and credit drive the development, and sometimes the collapse, of economies.

Their logic rests, as usual, on a naïve assumption. They assume that banks are simply “intermediaries” between people who save money, and people who borrow money, and therefore that redistributing this money has little effect on economic activity. As ex-Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke put it, “Absent implausibly large differences in marginal spending propensities among the groups … pure redistributions should have no significant macroeconomic effects.” (Bernanke 2000, p. 24). What the hell does that jargon mean? It means that mainstream economists pretend that banks don’t create money when they lend—something that they can no longer do after The Bank of England categorically said that they do (McLeay, Radia et al. 2014)—or that this doesn’t really matter. A little arithmetic is enough to show they’re wrong, and David was right.

Read more …

 

 

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Jim Rickards – Great Reset
https://twitter.com/i/status/1375034375985901572

 

 

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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.

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… 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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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“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.”

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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.

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“..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.

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“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.”

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“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.”

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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.”

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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God Save the Queen

 

 

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Mar 232021
 


Emanuel Leutze Washington Crossing the Delaware 1851

 

World’s 1st Oral Covid-19 Vaccine Could Soon Begin Human Trials (RT)
Dexamethasone Hailed As Lifesaver For A Million Covid Patients Worldwide (G.)
Masks And Distancing Could Be Required For Several More Years – UK Expert (RT)
UK Faces ‘Covid Decade’ Due To Damage Done By Pandemic (G.)
Germany To Impose Its Harshest Covid-19 Lockdown Yet For Easter (RT)
6-Foot Social Distancing ‘Wasn’t Based On Clear Science’ – Gottlieb (JTN)
Care Home Workers In England Face Mandatory Covid Jabs Under Plans (G.)
Judge Rejects Third Bail Request By Epstein Confidante Ghislaine Maxwell (RT)
Sidney Powell: Election Fraud Claims Just ‘Political Rhetoric’ (RT)
Domestic Dark Money Dwarfs All Foreign Influence on 2020 Election (MPN)
ECB Invokes Banknote Paradox to Explain Cash in Contactless Age (BBG)
Yield Curve Control: Another Recipe for Stagnation (Lacalle)
Border Facility Photos Show Hundreds Of Children In “Terrible Conditions” (ZH)
In the Shadows of Shadowland (Jim Kunstler)

 

 

 

 

“we are more than 100% sure that the technology works and is promising.”

Hmmm. I still want to know what’s in it.

World’s 1st Oral Covid-19 Vaccine Could Soon Begin Human Trials (RT)

A coronavirus vaccine that can be swallowed like a pill and administered at home could begin clinical trials in the near future after its developers reported promising preliminary data. The trailblazing drug, called Oravax, is being developed by Israeli-American Oramed Pharmaceuticals and India-based Premas Biotech. The two companies have teamed up to create Oravax Medical Inc., which hopes to combine Oramed’s oral delivery technology with Premas’ vaccine expertise to create a new method of inoculation against Covid-19. A pilot study conducted on animals found that the oral vaccine helped produce antibodies that create immunity against the virus, the company claims.

The promising results were achieved by administering a single Oravax capsule, potentially setting the drug apart from some of the other vaccines which require two doses. Prabuddha Kundu, co-founder of Premas Biotech, told Indian media that administering the vaccine would be “like taking a vitamin pill” and that “we are more than 100% sure that the technology works and is promising.” Results from the preliminary animal tests would soon be published in a scientific journal, he added. Oramed CEO Nadav Kidron told the Jerusalem Post that the oral drug would eliminate logistical problems that have arisen from worldwide mass vaccination drives, and that the pill could even be taken by individuals from the comfort of their home.

The drug can be moved at refrigerator temperature and even stored at room temperature, alleviating some of the issues with some traditional vaccines, which must be kept extremely cold before use. Kidron also claimed that orally administering the vaccine could result in fewer side effects. The capsules would become particularly useful if Covid-19 vaccines are eventually “recommended annually like the standard flu shot,” he said. Oravax Medical is currently applying to conduct human trials in several countries, including the United States, Israel, Mexico, and Europe. Studies could begin as soon as July.

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Problem: it’s cheap and generic.

Dexamethasone Hailed As Lifesaver For A Million Covid Patients Worldwide (G.)

Dexamethasone – the inexpensive steroid that quickly emerged as a highly effective Covid therapy thanks to a large drug testing programme pioneered by UK scientists – has so far saved the lives of an estimated million people globally, including 22,000 in the UK, according to NHS England. Called Recovery, the world’s largest randomised Covid-19 drug trial commenced in March 2020 to evaluate the suitability of a suite of different drugs to help hospitalised Covid patients. The study has since been carried out by thousands of doctors and nurses on tens of thousands of patients in hospitals across Britain. As Covid-19 emerged in late 2019, Oxford University’s Peter Horby, an infectious disease specialist, had begun working on Covid drug trials in Wuhan.

But studies were shelved as fierce lockdown restrictions dried up infections in China. Meanwhile, cases began to pop up in Europe. Horby joined forces with Oxford colleague Martin Landray, a professor of medicine and epidemiology, to set up Recovery. It took them only nine days from drafting their first protocol to the enrolling of the first patient, a process that typically takes nine months. Less than 100 days after the programme kicked off, trial investigators produced a staggering result – the first medicine that demonstrably improved Covid-19 survival chances. Dexamethasone, a widely available and affordable generic steroid, was shown to cut the risk of death by a third for Covid patients on ventilators, and by nearly a fifth for those on oxygen therapy.

“It was hard to know how many lives would be saved because we didn’t know what the trajectory of the pandemic was going to be, or how well accepted the results would be,” said Horby. The results were celebrated – and embraced globally. Although Britain was criticised for its initial sluggish response to the pandemic and its bungled testing programmes, Recovery scientists were generously lauded for their heroic efforts to combat the disease. “It’s clear that dexamethasone has had a big impact,” noted Horby. “A million is a big number … It’s an estimate that could well be lower than that or higher than that. We don’t know.”

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Here’s a warning: this is not going to happen.

Masks And Distancing Could Be Required For Several More Years – UK Expert (RT)

The UK may be racing ahead of its European neighbours in getting its population vaccinated, but Brits might have to stay masked up for “several years” if public health experts get their way. New cases of Covid-19 in the UK have dropped tenfold since early January, and more than 27 million Britons – over half the adult population – have had their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine. Compared to rising cases on the continent and an EU average vaccination rate of around 10%, the UK appears to be winning its war against Covid-19. Brits looking for a total reprieve from the country’s punishing lockdown, however, shouldn’t hold their breath. That’s according to Mary Ramsay, the head of immunisation at Public Health England.


Ramsay told the BBC on Sunday that masks and social distancing could be required for “several years,” or “at least until other parts of the world are as well vaccinated as we are, and the numbers have come down everywhere.” With vaccines being distributed unequally around the world, and people in the poorest nations facing a years-long wait to get vaccinated, Ramsay’s prediction may be a realistic one, should the British government listen to her advice. As a government body, Public Health England certainly has a say in determining the UK’s Covid-19 response. Her view is not a minority one, either. As the government looks to relax restrictions from the end of March onwards, Prof. Chris Whitty, the UK government’s chief medical adviser, told MPs earlier this month that “simple interventions,” face masks among them, would be needed beyond the summer.

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One problem not mentioned here: tax hikes.

UK Faces ‘Covid Decade’ Due To Damage Done By Pandemic (G.)

Britain faces a “Covid decade” of social and cultural upheaval marked by growing inequality and deepening economic deprivation, a landmark review has concluded. Major changes to the way society is run in the wake of the pandemic are needed to mitigate the impact of the “long shadow” cast by the virus, including declining public trust and an explosion in mental illness, the British Academy report found. Published on the anniversary of the UK’s first lockdown, the report brings together more than 200 academic social science and humanities experts and hundreds of research projects. It was set up last year at the behest of the government’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance.

The British Academy warned that failure to understand the scale of the challenge ahead and deliver changes would result in a rapid slide towards poorer societal health, more extreme patterns of inequality and fragmenting national unity. Government-led intervention including major investment in public services is required to repair the “profound social damage” caused or exacerbated by coronavirus across areas including the economy, mental health, public trust and education, it said. “With the advent of vaccines and the imminent ending of lockdowns, we might think that the impact of Covid-19 is coming to an end. This would be wrong. We are in a Covid decade: the social, economic and cultural effects of the pandemic will cast a long shadow into the future – perhaps longer than a decade,” it said.

[..] Areas for action highlighted by the report include: • Declining public trust: after an initial surge in the first months of the pandemic, trust in UK government and feelings of national unity collapsed, with little sign that progress on vaccinations has halted the trend. Unless addressed, this will erode social cohesion and undermine future public health campaigns. • Widening inequalities: geographic, health, racial, gender, digital and economic inequalities have been exacerbated by Covid. If not tackled, they risk becoming permanently locked in, scarring the prospects of groups disproportionately affected by the social impact of the virus, such as young people. • Worsening mental health: soaring mental illness, especially among children, low-income households and black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, risks embedding long-term problems if the underlying causes are not tackled.

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Merkel lost too.

Germany To Impose Its Harshest Covid-19 Lockdown Yet For Easter (RT)

Germany is set to bring its tightest coronavirus lockdown yet, shuttering all but the most vital of services, including religious gatherings for Easter, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced following a meeting with regional leaders. Noting that the country is in a “race” to combat the pandemic, Merkel outlined the nationwide shutdown during a news conference early on Tuesday, saying that not only will existing restrictions be extended to April 18, but that most businesses will be made to close their doors for at least five days beginning on the first of the month, just before the Easter holiday. “We are now in a very serious situation,” the chancellor told reporters after a contentious marathon meeting with the leaders of Germany’s 16 federal states, which lasted nearly 12 hours.


During the five-day period, only shops that sell food, as well as coronavirus testing and vaccination sites, will be open across Germany, in what will likely be the country’s strictest lockdown since the pandemic kicked off in late 2019. Merkel said there should be “quiet days” and reduced social contacts in the time between April 1 and 5. In addition to the business closures, Germans will be barred from holding private gatherings of more than five adults from two different households, while all travel abroad will be strongly discouraged. Churches have also been asked to hold virtual services only during that time, even on Easter itself. Moreover, the new measures will make airlines responsible for testing all travelers and crew members heading back to Germany, but stopped short of mandating quarantine for anyone returning from abroad.

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“This 6-foot distancing requirement has probably been the single-costliest mitigation tactic that we’ve employed..”

6-Foot Social Distancing ‘Wasn’t Based On Clear Science’ – Gottlieb (JTN)

Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb says that 6-foot social distancing measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 “wasn’t based on clear science.” He also says the health-safety tactic – to help stop the virus spread through the air – isn’t as effective as medical experts thought when the pandemic started. “This 6-foot distancing requirement has probably been the single-costliest mitigation tactic that we’ve employed in response to COVID, and it really wasn’t based on clear science,” Gottlieb said in an interview for CNBC Friday. In the interview, it’s unclear what exact costs to which he was referring. Gottlieb said that in the beginning, the government and health organizations treated the spread of COVID-19 as though it were the flu, which he says is spread primarily through droplets.


“We’ve subsequently learned that COVID is spreading through aerosols, not just droplets, so probably six feet isn’t as effective as it would be if it was a purely droplet-based transmission,” Gottlieb said. “There’s nothing wrong with having followed that flu-based model and been wrong, but we should have been evaluating this along the way.” Gottlieb made the comment as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revised its recommendation on social distancing in schools – to three feet from six feet. Gottlieb said that “we need to see light at the end of the tunnel and have guidance that prescribes an environment where people can start doing things again,” as reported by The Epoch Times.

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Yeah, sinister indeed.

Care Home Workers In England Face Mandatory Covid Jabs Under Plans (G.)

Care home workers in England could be legally required to have a Covid-19 vaccination under plans being considered by the government. According to details of a paper submitted to the Covid-19 operations cabinet subcommittee last week and leaked to the Telegraph, the prime minister, Boris Johnson, and the health secretary, Matt Hancock, have agreed to the proposal in order to protect vulnerable residents. The move would prove highly controversial and could result in legal challenges. The cabinet subcommittee paper warned a large number of social care workers may quit if the change is made, and said that lawsuits on human rights grounds could be possible. A government spokesman insisted “no final decisions have been made” but did not rule out jabs being made compulsory for care workers.

The government is also reviewing the introduction of vaccination passports. If the change is approved it would affect most of the 1.5 million workers in England’s adult social care sector, who would be obliged by law to have a Covid jab. The paper also makes clear that a similar legal requirement is being considered for some frontline healthcare workers, including those on wards, but a decision on that has yet to be taken. One line is said to read: “The prime minister and the secretary of state [Hancock] have discussed on several occasions the progress that is being made to immunise social care workers against Covid-19 and have agreed – in order to reach a position of much greater safety for care recipients – to put in place legislation to require vaccinations among the workforce.”

Legally forcing workers to have a vaccine raises serious legal and ethical questions. Government ministers including Nadhim Zahawi, the vaccines minister, have previously called similar ideas mandating vaccination, including vaccine passports, “discriminatory”. A previous report of a government plan to force all NHS and care staff in England to get vaccinated was criticised as “sinister” by Unison. “Forced vaccinations are the wrong way to go, and send out a sinister and worrying message,” said Christina McAnea, the general secretary of Unison, which represents about 100,000 NHS staff.

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She can stop trying now.

Judge Rejects Third Bail Request By Epstein Confidante Ghislaine Maxwell (RT)

A US judge denied Ghislaine Maxwell’s third bail request even after the former girlfriend of pedophile Jeffrey Epstein tried to allay concern over potential flight risk by offering to renounce her citizenship in the UK and France. US District Court Judge Alison Nathan ruled on Monday that Maxwell will have to remain incarcerated, rather than being allowed to post bail and be released while awaiting her trial. Nathan said none of Maxwell’s new arguments and offers – which also included putting her and her spouse’s assets in a court-monitored account – changed her opinion that the socialite poses a flight risk. The judge also closed the door on prospects for bail being granted if Maxwell makes some other concessions, saying, “There are no combination of conditions that can reasonably assure her appearance” in court.


Maxwell’s lawyers had argued that by renouncing her British and French citizenships, she would ensure that she wouldn’t be able to seek the extradition protections that apply to citizens of the two countries. Putting assets in a monitored account would ensure that she wouldn’t use the money to flee from prosecution, her lawyers said. [..] Lawyers for Maxwell earlier this year filed a motion seeking dismissal of the charges against her based on any of a dozen claims, including an argument that the grand jury that indicted her didn’t have enough black and Hispanic people. The fact that Maxwell is white “does not deprive her of standing to raise this challenge,” her lawyers said.

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What a fall from grace.

Sidney Powell: Election Fraud Claims Just ‘Political Rhetoric’ (RT)

Former Trump campaign lawyer Sidney Powell has asked a judge to scrap a $1.3 billion defamation suit filed over her claims of election fraud, insisting her assertions were mere political rhetoric protected by the Constitution. Powell’s attorneys called for dismissal in a Monday court filing, arguing that the case brought by Dominion Voting Systems was filed in the wrong jurisdiction, and that Powell’s claims about the company and its alleged role in rigging the 2020 race were covered under the First Amendment. While the attorneys maintained that Powell continues to believe her allegations of fraud are true, they also argued that her claims were never meant to be taken as factual assertions, but rather as political rhetoric, and that “no reasonable person would conclude” they were “truly statements of fact.”


“All the allegedly defamatory statements attributed to [Powell] were made as part of the normal process of litigating issues of momentous significance and immense public interest,” the court filing reads. Powell’s lawyers cited previous cases which ruled that courts should “shelter strong, even outrageous political speech” on the grounds that “the ordinary reader or listener, in the context of political debate” will take those statements as “some form of political opinion neither demonstrably true nor demonstrably false.” They added that “reasonable people” understand the “language of the political arena… is often vituperative, abusive and inexact.”

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“More than $1 billion worth of secret donations were made during the 2020 election”

For sale.

“Given the relatively close race, it is entirely plausible that this massive cash injection swung the balance in favor of the 78-year-old Delawarean..”

Domestic Dark Money Dwarfs All Foreign Influence on 2020 Election (MPN)

More than $1 billion worth of secret donations were made during the 2020 election. This included around $660 million in contributions to big-money political groups, more than $300 million in advertising, and $88 million in FEC-reported spending. Few people, even political junkies, know the names of these organizations. But dark-money groups — organizations trying to influence politics that do not disclose the source of their funding, such as Duty & Honor and America Votes — have considerably more influence over who rules the United States than do any foreign leaders. The largest of these groups in terms of political spending is One Nation America, a Republican organization masterminded by former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove. The organization spent over $125 million during the last election cycle.

However, it was the Democrats who benefitted the most from dark money sourced from wealthy, shadowy donors. Democrats outraised the GOP by well over two-to-one, with Biden’s bid attracting more than six times the amount of money from anonymous sources than did Trump’s. Given the relatively close race, it is entirely plausible that this massive cash injection swung the balance in favor of the 78-year-old Delawarean and away from the incumbent. In 2016, the St. Petersburg-based “troll farm” the Internet Research Agency is said to have spent around $100,000 in online ads targeting American readers. But four years later, the Center for Responsive Politics calculates that opaque non-profits shelled out $132 million on the same thing — more than a thousand times as much.

In politics, money talks. Since 2000, the party spending the most cash has won between 85% and 98% of all House and 71% and 85% of all Senate races, depending on the year. Election 2020 was by far the costliest election in history, coming in at $14.4 billion. That figure is more than double the price of the 2016 election, which cost around $6.5 billion. The six most expensive Senate races of all time occurred in this cycle. Democrats comfortably outraised and outspent Republicans in 2020. The two Senate elections in Georgia — regular and special, which both went to runoffs that saw Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock elected — wound up with nearly $830 million spent on the two races alone. Democrats relied on hefty donations from tech companies like Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, and AT&T, while Republicans counted on support from financial firms like Goldman Sachs and Bank of America and from money from the Koch Brothers.

This disparity in coverage between the two reports suggests that, while unapproved foreign interference is a major scandal, corporations and the ultra-wealthy essentially buying elections is simply (big) business as usual.

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“..maybe as much as 50% by value, is physically stored by households, companies and banks.”

ECB Invokes Banknote Paradox to Explain Cash in Contactless Age (BBG)

Cash is alive and thriving in the euro zone despite the rise of debit cards and contactless payment, and the pandemic has even accelerated that trend, according to the European Central Bank. While notes and coins account for a shrinking share of daily transactions in the currency bloc, the value of cash in circulation almost doubled in the last decade, the ECB said in its economic bulletin. Once dubbed the “paradox of banknotes” by Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey, the phenomenon is mainly down to two reasons: demand for the currency outside the bloc, and Europeans hoarding cash to store their wealth, the ECB researchers wrote.

More than 1.4 trillion euros ($1.7 trillion) of banknotes were circulating at the end of 2020, up 11% from a year earlier. Yet the evidence suggests that only about a fifth of that is used for transactions within the currency area. Studies have shown that 30-50% by value is held outside the bloc, such as in developing economies with underdeveloped payment infrastructure and a lack of credible savings options. The rest, maybe as much as 50% by value, is physically stored by households, companies and banks. One survey showed that a third of euro-area households kept cash reserves at home in 2019 — mostly small amounts but in some cases over 10,000 euros.

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“Central banks don’t manage risk, they disguise it.”

Yield Curve Control: Another Recipe for Stagnation (Lacalle)

Central banks don’t manage risk, they disguise it. You know you live in a bubble when a small bounce in sovereign bond yields generates an immediate panic reaction from central banks trying to prevent those yields from rising further. It’s particularly evident when the alleged soar in yields comes after years of their having been artificially depressed with negative rates and asset purchases. It’s scary to read that the European Central Bank (ECB) will implement more asset purchases to control a small move in yields that still left sovereign issuers’ bonds with negative nominal and real interest rates. It’s even scarier to see that market participants hail the decision to disguise risk with even more liquidity. No one seemed to complain about the fact that sovereign issuers with alarming solvency problems were issuing bonds with negative yields.

No one seemed to be concerned about the fact that the ECB bought more than 100 percent of net issuances from eurozone states. The thing that shows what a bubble we live in is that market participants find it logical to see a central bank taking aggressive action to prevent bond yields from rising—to 0.3 percent in Spain or 0.6 percent in Italy. This is the evidence of a massive bubble. If the ECB wasn’t there to repurchase all eurozone sovereign issuances, what yield would investors demand for Spain, Italy, or Portugal? Three, four, five times the current level on the 10-year? Probably. That’s why developed central banks are trapped in their own policy. They can’t hint at normalizing even when the economy is recovering strongly, and inflation is rising.

Market participants may be happy thinking these actions will drive equities and risky assets higher, but they also make economic cycles weaker, shorter, and more abrupt. Central banks have exhausted tools such as repurchasing bonds and cutting rates; the diminishing returns are evident. Now they look to Japan, of all places, to look at yield curve control (YCC) policies. Many articles hail the Bank of Japan’s curve control strategy as a big success. It has managed to keep bond yields inside a narrow range around 0 percent since it adopted its YCC policy in 2016. However, all this has done is disguise risk and lead the economy to massively indebted stagnation.

Why? The central bank applies constant changes in its purchases of sovereign bonds with different maturities to prevent the yield curve from steepening and bond yields from rising above a certain level, which could cause an economic crisis as risk-off takes over. There’s a deeply flawed view of markets in this theory. YCC doesn’t reduce the risk of a crisis, it simply disguises it by manipulating the price of sovereign bonds, the alleged lowest risk asset. As such, market participants always take significantly more risk than they want to or should, because the price of risk and the shape of the curve is artificially managed by the central bank.

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What. A. Mess.

Border Facility Photos Show Hundreds Of Children In “Terrible Conditions” (ZH)

Photos from inside a US Customs and Border Protection overflow facility have leaked, revealing hundreds of children huddling on the floor of eight ‘pods’ – each of which are supposed to hold 260 people – yet one of which had over 400 unaccompanied male minors crammed together, according to Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX), who provided the photos to Axios to raise awareness about the situation. The photos, taken over the weekend by someone else, come amid a media embargo by the Biden administration, which has refused to allow press into the facilities to observe and document what’s going on.

Cueller, who toured the Donna, Texas facility but did not take the photos himself, described the setting as “terrible conditions for the children,” who he said need to quickly be moved into the care of the Department of Health and Human Services – which is currently at capacity due to a surge of migrants into the United States following President Biden’s pro-illegal policies.

More via Axios: “Border Patrol agents are “doing the best they can under the circumstances” but are “not equipped to care for kids” and “need help from the administration,” he said. “We have to stop kids and families from making the dangerous trek across Mexico to come to the United States. We have to work with Mexico and Central American countries to have them apply for asylum in their countries.” As of Saturday, there were 10,000 migrants in CBP custody overall. Nearly half were unaccompanied minors — thousands of whom had been waiting for more than 3 days in border patrol facilities, according to government data provided to Axios by another source.


“I have said repeatedly from the very outset a Border Patrol station is no place for a child,” said DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas in a Sunday interview on CNN – discussing the situation he helped to create. “That is why we are working around the clock to move these children out of the Border Patrol facilities into the care and custody of the Department of Health and Human Services that shelters them.”

Veritas Kids in Cages

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“I’d venture to suppose that Mr. Brennan continued to influence and even direct these agit-prop operations long after he was removed as CIA Director..”

In the Shadows of Shadowland (Jim Kunstler)

Who or what is this shadow government? I’d say it amounts to a small group around former president Obama and former attorney general Eric Holder, plus a coterie of Intel Community figures led by John Brennan, all awkwardly funneling instructions through Susan Rice to the hacks in the White House, who form a flimsy cocoon around the barely-pulsating organism within: Mr. Biden. I will boldly suggest that this cabal is actually controlling the executive branch of the government, and doing it with stunning incompetence. If it sounds like a conspiracy, that’s probably because it is a conspiracy.

What were those crimes of theirs? Mainly the actions they took the past four years to cover-up their intense and sedulous ongoing corruption of previous years, especially all the channels of moneygrubbing that ran from Wall Street and K Street through the halls of Congress, and secondarily their political agenda to destroy by any means necessary the opposition vested in a weak and ineffectual Republican Party at odds with its own elected leader, Mr. Trump. The “means” turned out to be one dishonest exploit after another aimed at disabling and eliminating the uncontrollable Mr. Trump: RussiaGate, the Flynn case, the Mueller Investigation, Ukraine Phone Call Gate (impeachment No. 1), Coronavirus hysteria, identity politics hysteria (including the 2020 summer riots), the social media companies’ censorship and “cancellation” initiative, and, finally, the engineered ballot fraud in the 2020 national election, with a re-play in the Georgia senatorial special election of January, 2021.

How did you miss all this? I think it worked this way: John Brennan’s CIA enlisted a desperately failing news media in an ideological campaign to propagandize and lie to the American public based on Brennan’s own past ideological disposition as a self-declared “communist.” Yes, he actually said that about himself, though his Marxism and that of his allies was a mash-up of foolish utopianisms used to cover a sheer wish to annihilate any opposition frustrating their will-to-power. I’d venture to suppose that Mr. Brennan continued to influence and even direct these agit-prop operations long after he was removed as CIA Director, even as he fought off accusations for his role in helping Hillary Clinton gin up RussiaGate.

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