Nov 122020
 
 November 12, 2020  Posted by at 7:28 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  7 Responses »


Pablo Picasso Dans l’atelier 1954

 

 

“There is nothing in Afghanistan worth the life of a single American soldier.”

– Douglas Macgregor

 

I’m having a bit of a problem finding the right format for this essay. I want to highlight a whole number of quotes, but I also would like you to read the original setting they came from. Please bear with me.

CNN: “A Pentagon spokesman confirmed Wednesday that retired Army Col. Douglas Macgregor “will be serving as a Senior Advisor to the Acting Secretary of Defense. Mr. MacGregor’s decades of military experience will be used to assist in the continued implementation of the President’s national security priorities.”

Also CNN: “Macgregor once advocated for the use of lethal force against unarmed migrants [..] and has made a litany of racist comments.”

I must admit even my encyclopedic brain had never heard of Macgregor, and I’m sure most of you hadn’t either, but I’m taking a liking to the man. “The use of lethal force against unarmed migrants” sounds bogus off the bat, that’s “Putin eats babies” territory, and accusing someone of “a litany of racist comments” without naming even one, doesn’t do it for me either.

And even then. The man wants to bring US troops home. Oh wait, but that’s why you accuse him of all these unsubstantiated “facts”. Gotcha. What I do know is for instance this Nov 6 2019 interview Macgregor did with Tucker Carlson, in which he sounds like a reasonable yet worried man. And while opinions may differ on how big of a threat drug cartels may be to the US, his view appears to have its merit.

 

 

Macgregor Nov 6 2019 interview with Tucker Carlson

 

 

But then the press come in. We can’t have troop withdrawals (though a vast majority of Americans wants to bring the troops home). So let’s start by labeling Macgregor “divisive”. What does that mean? That he doesn’t agree with “official” military policy. What is that policy? Warmongering. Keeping troops in Afghanistan for 18 years. If Biden ever becomes president, will he bow to that policy and start sending US troops back in?

This here is from Axios. And all I can think is: what ever happened to journalism? My comments below.

Divisive Pentagon Hire May Rush Troop Withdrawals Before Trump’s Exit

President Trump’s newly installed acting Pentagon chief is bringing on a senior adviser in a sign the administration wants to accelerate the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the Middle East before the end of his presidency in January, three people familiar with the move told Axios. A senior administration official says a wave of firings at the Pentagon and the hiring of Ret. Army Col. Douglas Macgregor is in part a settling of Trump’s personal scores — but senior White House officials also have made clear “they want them more publicly to talk about getting out of Afghanistan by the end of the year.” Trump, who ran in 2016 on a promise to bring U.S. troops home, is frustrated with the slow pace of withdrawing troops from the Middle East, another senior administration official said.

The president has told advisers on numerous occasions he wants troops home from Afghanistan by Christmas.In a 2019 interview with Fox’s Tucker Carlson, Macgregor said he would advise the president to get out of Afghanistan “as soon as possible,” including removing the U.S. embassy from Kabul, and that talking to the Taliban was unnecessary. Macgregor also said the U.S. needs to pull its troops out of Syria immediately and America had no national interest there. He said, “We need to listen very carefully to the Iranians … find out what their interests are and look for areas where we can cooperate” and that the U.S. needs to “turn the operational control of the [Korean] Peninsula militarily over to President Moon and the Koreans.”

The Pentagon, in a statement to Axios, confirmed Macgregor has been hired as a senior adviser to acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller. It said Macgregor’s “decades of military experience will be used to assist in the continued implementation of the President’s national security priorities.” Since Joe Biden became president-elect, Trump has refused to concede the race — but he’s also moved rapidly this week to fire top officials in the Pentagon’s civilian leadership. That includes Mark Esper, as well as the former Defense secretary’s chief of staff and other high-level officials in charge of intelligence and policy. He is replacing them with those perceived as loyal to him.

Macgregor, a decorated combat veteran, is a Trump loyalist and regular Fox News commentator. He’s known for his questioning of conventional Army leadership and decision-making , including strategies in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as his extreme rhetoric about Muslims and undocumented immigrants. He was passed over earlier this year for the Pentagon’s top policy job amid reports Esper had concerns about him.

 

 

Let’s see:

the hiring of Ret. Army Col. Douglas Macgregor is in part a settling of Trump’s personal scores

Personal scores as in how and what? As in not wanting to accept his own failed effort to bring the troops home, the effort that’s been frustrated for four years running now? And that he may be trying to correct as we speak?

Trump, who ran in 2016 on a promise to bring U.S. troops home, is frustrated with the slow pace of withdrawing troops from the Middle East

Of being frustrated by being frustrated with the pace at which his orders and wishes as commander in chief have been executed?

The president has told advisers on numerous occasions he wants troops home from Afghanistan by Christmas.

How, pray tell, is that not a good thing? Why on earth would you want to present it as such? Asking for 320 million friends.

Since Joe Biden became president-elect, Trump has refused to concede the race

Biden is not the president-elect. Not one single state has so far certified its election results. It is bogus and you know it. Cut the nonsense. You have no clothes on.

He’s known for his questioning of conventional Army leadership and decision-making

Isn’t that part of a healthy process, that you question “official” policies which put the lives of young Americans at risk, that you do that every single moment of every single day, because those lives are precious and valuable? In my book, this is a big plus for the man. As it should be for every single American.

He was passed over earlier this year for the Pentagon’s top policy job amid reports Esper had concerns about him.

And that’s why Esper is gone. He was one more wrong choice Trump was led into. And yeah, Trump shares the blame for that.

 

 

Moving on to CNN’s comment on the Macgregor nomination. Mostly the same as that from Axios, with some added BS. Again, my comments below:

Trump Administration Installs Advocate For Quick Afghanistan Withdrawal At Pentagon

An ardent opponent of the US military’s presence in Afghanistan who once called for the use of lethal force against illegal immigrants and has made a litany of racist comments has been made a senior adviser at the Pentagon. A Pentagon spokesman confirmed Wednesday that retired Army Col. Douglas Macgregor “will be serving as a Senior Advisor to the Acting Secretary of Defense. Mr. MacGregor’s decades of military experience will be used to assist in the continued implementation of the President’s national security priorities.” Macgregor’s appointment is the latest in a series of sweeping changes at the Pentagon that has put defense officials on edge and fueled a growing sense of alarm among military and civilian officials, who are concerned about what could come next.

Four senior Pentagon officials have been fired or have resigned since Monday, including Defense Secretary Mark Esper who was fired in a tweet by President Donald Trump, Esper’s chief of staff and the top officials overseeing policy and intelligence. The moves will likely only add to the sense of chaos within the Pentagon following Trump’s firing of Esper, which came two days after his Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, was projected as the winner of the presidential election — a conclusion that Trump has refused to accept. Esper was replaced by Christopher Miller, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center.

Those who assumed new roles included controversial retired Brig. Gen. Anthony Tata, who moved into the Pentagon’s top policy role, taking over the duties of James Anderson, who resigned Tuesday, according to another US defense official. Macgregor has been a vocal opponent of the US military’s mission in Afghanistan and has called for a total withdrawal of US troops and the American Embassy despite the continued presence of terrorist groups there.

Knowledgeable sources told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Tuesday that the White House-directed purge at the Defense Department may have been motivated by the fact Esper and his team were pushing back on a premature withdrawal from Afghanistan that would be carried out before the required conditions on the ground were met, and other pending security issues.

US military officials have long stressed that the US withdrawal from Afghanistan is conditions based, with those conditions including the Taliban’s breaking its ties to al Qaeda and making progress in peace talks with the Afghan government, two conditions that have yet to be met. But despite the lack of progress, the Trump administration has already substantially reduced US troops in the country by more than 50%, bringing the number of US military personnel there down to about 4,500, the lowest levels since the earliest days of the post 9/11 campaign.

Trump’s national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, has advocated for a more accelerated withdrawal from Afghanistan irrespective of conditions on the ground, something made more feasible by the installation of White House loyalists in senior defense posts. He has also called for an immediate end to the US military effort in Syria, where a small number of US troops back the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces in their fight against ISIS.

Macgregor once advocated for the use of lethal force against unarmed migrants to deter illegal immigration from Mexico and Central America. He was nominated by Trump this summer to be the ambassador to Germany but faced fierce opposition for his remarks uncovered by CNN’s KFILE. KFILE reviewed dozens of radio and television interviews with Macgregor and found he often demonized immigrants and refugees. He warned Mexican cartels were “driving millions of Mexicans with no education, no skills and the wrong culture into the United States, placing them essentially as wards of the American people.” He repeatedly advocated instituting martial law at the US-Mexico border and to “shoot people” if necessary.

He has also called for an immediate end to the US military effort in Syria, where a small number of US troops back the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces in their fight against ISIS. He also said that Eastern Ukrainians are “Russians” on the Russian state-controlled TV network RT in 2014 after Russia tried to annex Crimea and began an ongoing war with Ukraine over the territory — positions not supported by the European Union and United States.


He lamented that the US government intervened against Serbian forces, who engaged in ethnic cleansing and war crimes, during the Kosovo War in the 1990s to “put, essentially, a Muslim drug mafia in charge of that country.”

Yeah, Bill Clinton’s intervention in former Yugoslavia was a highlight of US politics and intervention for the good of all mankind.

 

 

Again, let’s see:

An ardent opponent of the US military’s presence in Afghanistan who once called for the use of lethal force against illegal immigrants and has made a litany of racist comments

Pretty sure he was talking about the cartels, not unarmed people. But yeah, prove me wrong. And let’s see some of those racist comments.

Macgregor has been a vocal opponent of the US military’s mission in Afghanistan and has called for a total withdrawal of US troops and the American Embassy despite the continued presence of terrorist groups there.

Oh, get a life. It’s been 18 years and dick all has been accomplished. The country has always only ever been the CIA’s opium factory, providing the funds for its most secretive operations. You will find it in the thesaurus under “bottomless pit”.

the White House-directed purge at the Defense Department may have been motivated by the fact Esper and his team were pushing back on a premature withdrawal from Afghanistan

Again, yes, exactly. Why would a president leave someone in place whose policies contradict his own, who refuses to follow his orders?

US military officials have long stressed that the US withdrawal from Afghanistan is conditions based

Yeah, sure, and who decides what those conditions are? They themselves do. But there is still only one commander in chief.

despite the lack of progress, the Trump administration has already substantially reduced US troops in the country by more than 50%

That is, the progress towards the military’s “conditions”, not the progress towards their commander-in-chief’s goal of bringing the troops home.

Trump’s national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, has advocated for a more accelerated withdrawal from Afghanistan irrespective of conditions on the ground

Like him already.

Macgregor once advocated for the use of lethal force against unarmed migrants to deter illegal immigration from Mexico and Central America.

That’s quite a slanderous accusation if you have no examples. All I’ve seen is his comments on drug cartels who push people into the US.

He also said that Eastern Ukrainians are “Russians”

Oh, now we’re getting into Russiagate. How convenient. Why don’t we ask the Eastern Ukrainians themselves how they feel, or, you know, look at their history?

He lamented that the US government intervened against Serbian forces, who engaged in ethnic cleansing and war crimes, during the Kosovo War in the 1990s to “put, essentially, a Muslim drug mafia in charge of that country.”

And just like that, he’s right again. Coincidence, or you think maybe he understands more than you do, and has more knowledge of the whole shebang? You know, being a 30-year veteran an all that? Or would you rather put your faith into a “journalist” at Axios or CNN?

Me, personally, I think about the families of the US troops stationed in the Middle East, and who want nothing more than to have their young loved ones home for Christmas. Alive and in one piece. Douglas Macgregor and Donald Trump may yet make that happen. But you have bigger interests and vistas in mind, you want to say?

 

 

 

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Tucker Macgregor Afghanistan

Macgregor Tucker May 1 2018

 

 

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Nov 122020
 


Mondriaan Amaryllis 1910

 

Divisive Pentagon Hire May Rush Troop Withdrawals Before Trump’s Exit (Axios)
Maricopa County GOP Chair Resigns Following Failure to Check Voting Machines
Russia Accused Of Undermining US By Not Recognizing Its Election Results (RT)
Nevada Whistleblower Describes Biden Van Vote Factory In Sworn Affidavit (WE)
Russian COVID19 Vaccine Sputnik V 92% Effective, No Serious Side Effects (RT)
Rural Hospitals Can’t Afford Ultra-Cold Freezers To Store COVID Vaccine (STAT)
Pfizer CEO Sold Millions In Stock On Same Day Of Vaccine Reveal (NYP)
Surge In Covid Cases Tests Sweden’s Go-it-alone Approach (FT)
Banks Around World In Joint Pledge On ‘Green Recovery’ After Covid (G.)
Gas Denied ‘Transition’ Fuel Status In Draft EU Green Finance Rules (EurActiv)
“Own Nothing and Be Happy”: The Great Reset’s Vision of the Future (OffG)
Left-Wing Jewish Labour Member Under Investigation For Antisemitism (LE)
School Bans Parents From Throwing Children Over 6ft Fence When Late (DM)

 

 

Joe promised not to declare victory until the election results were independently certified. And then, this being Joe, he forgot.

 

 

Yeah, we can’t have troop withdrawals. Let’s start by labeling him “divisive”. And then we heap praise on Biden’s prospective chief of staff Ronald Klain, who’s not at all divisive (Ronald Klain was Joe Biden’s White House chief of staff from 2009-2011):

Divisive Pentagon Hire May Rush Troop Withdrawals Before Trump’s Exit (Axios)

President Trump’s newly installed acting Pentagon chief is bringing on a senior adviser in a sign the administration wants to accelerate the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the Middle East before the end of his presidency in January, three people familiar with the move told Axios. A senior administration official says a wave of firings at the Pentagon and the hiring of Ret. Army Col. Douglas Macgregor is in part a settling of Trump’s personal scores — but senior White House officials also have made clear “they want them more publicly to talk about getting out of Afghanistan by the end of the year.” Trump, who ran in 2016 on a promise to bring U.S. troops home, is frustrated with the slow pace of withdrawing troops from the Middle East, another senior administration official said.

The president has told advisers on numerous occasions he wants troops home from Afghanistan by Christmas. In a 2019 interview with Fox’s Tucker Carlson, Macgregor said he would advise the president to get out of Afghanistan “as soon as possible,” including removing the U.S. embassy from Kabul, and that talking to the Taliban was unnecessary. Macgregor also said the U.S. needs to pull its troops out of Syria immediately and America had no national interest there. He said, “We need to listen very carefully to the Iranians … find out what their interests are and look for areas where we can cooperate” and that the U.S. needs to “turn the operational control of the [Korean] Peninsula militarily over to President Moon and the Koreans.”

The Pentagon, in a statement to Axios, confirmed Macgregor has been hired as a senior adviser to acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller. It said Macgregor’s “decades of military experience will be used to assist in the continued implementation of the President’s national security priorities.” Since Joe Biden became president-elect, Trump has refused to concede the race — but he’s also moved rapidly this week to fire top officials in the Pentagon’s civilian leadership. That includes Mark Esper, as well as the former Defense secretary’s chief of staff and other high-level officials in charge of intelligence and policy. He is replacing them with those perceived as loyal to him.

Macgregor, a decorated combat veteran, is a Trump loyalist and regular Fox News commentator. He’s known for his questioning of conventional Army leadership and decision-making, including strategies in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as his extreme rhetoric about Muslims and undocumented immigrants. He was passed over earlier this year for the Pentagon’s top policy job amid reports Esper had concerns about him.

Tucker MacGregor Afghanistan

MacGregor Tucker May 1 2018

MacGregor Tucker Mexico Nov 6 2019

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Dominion.

Maricopa County GOP Chair Resigns Following Failure to Check Voting Machines

Rae Chornenky, the Maricopa County GOP Chair, has been forced to resign following her failure to sign the Certificate of Accuracy for the voting machines. Maricopa County in Arizona, which contains the state capitol Phoenix, has been at the center of attention following the election, being judged as crucial to President Trump’s chances of winning the state. At the time of writing, Arizona is still counting its votes, and a winner has not been declared by most media organizations, bar Fox and the AP. A number of allegations of voter irregularities have also arisen in Arizona. However, the Certificate of Accuracy, that should be signed by representatives of both parties, ensuring no fraud can occur, was not signed by any Republican.

Maricopa County GOP Chairman Rae Chornenky failed to show up to verify the document, leaving only Democrats and representatives from the Secretary of State to sign it. Arizona State Representative, and now State Senator-elect, Kelly Townsend, called on Chornenky to resign, along with her 1st Vice Chair Linda Brickman. “This is 100% unacceptable and has contributed to the collapse of Arizona voter confidence,” Townsend tweeted. As of Wednesday, Chornenky stepped down as Maricopa County GOP Chair. “I wish to thank Rae Chornenky for doing the right thing,” Townsend tweeted. “I place my full support behind the wishes/decisions of the full membership of the MCRC on how they decide to move forward.”

Before a photograph of the document had been released, Chornenky appeared to deny the claims on Twitter on Monday. “I’ll resign when you sprout even an ounce of integrity and obtain the intelligence to check your facts before spreading filth about a person whom you don’t know on a topic about which you have not the slightest clue,” Chornenky tweeted. The voting machines, which Chornenky failed to verify, have come under scrutiny themselves. Dominion, the company behind the machines used in Arizona and other states, not only have ties to the Clinton Global Initiative, but also continue to sell decade-old machines that have “known vulnerabilites” that make them susceptible to hacking.

Giuliani Dominion

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“The entire media coverage of Russia’s lack of congratulations is indeed intended to do the exact opposite – to heighten the legitimacy of Biden as the opponent of authoritarians.”

Russia Accused Of Undermining US By Not Recognizing Its Election Results (RT)

The same people who spent four years accusing Russia of interfering in America’s internal affairs are now attacking Moscow for not meddling. It’s another curious case of something previously described as ‘Russophrenia’. Russia has explained that it will hold off congratulations to Biden until the US election has been officially called, or his rival Donald Trump concedes. You may think this is a reasonable approach to demonstrate respect for the democratic process amid a contested election. But you would be wrong according to the Western mainstream media, which explains this is an effort by authoritarian leaders to keep their man in Washington. It is also apparently evidence of Moscow supposedly still supporting Trump and Putin fearing that the morally righteous Biden will hold the evil Russians accountable yet again.

No matter that the US State Department, long America’s primary ‘democracy promotion’ vehicle, has reminded foreign leaders that the count has yet to be completed. The narrative of Russiagaters in the media immediately collapses once you factor in how China and Mexico have also indicated they will wait for the official election results. Trump started a trade war and a Cold War against China and his principal foreign policy objective has been to curb the rise of China. [..] What is Moscow achieving by not recognizing Biden? After four years of checking under the bed for Russians, these accusations only need to rest on innuendos, and they collapse once articulated. One can make a reasonable argument that Russia would benefit from a divided America.

Much like the West attempting to sow divisions within Russia, it could be beneficial for Moscow to have divisions in an America that casts Russia as the principal enemy that must be confronted. However, how do delayed congratulations sow divisions in the US? The failure to obtain Russia’s blessing and support is presented by the liberal political-media class as a badge of honor that proves the anti-Russian credentials of Biden. The Republicans are for the same reason not using Russia’s delayed congratulations to advance the legitimacy of their efforts to investigate alleged election fraud. The entire media coverage of Russia’s lack of congratulations is indeed intended to do the exact opposite – to heighten the legitimacy of Biden as the opponent of authoritarians.

Read more …

A sworn affidavit is no joke.

Nevada Whistleblower Describes Biden Van Vote Factory In Sworn Affidavit (WE)

A second sworn affidavit from a whistleblower who was an election worker in Clark County, Nevada, claims mail-in ballots were improperly filled out in a Biden-Harris van outside a polling place. A redacted copy of the affidavit signed on Nov. 8 and obtained by the Washington Examiner puts weight behind some of the claims first detailed by American Conservative Union President Matt Schlapp, who is helping lead the charge for the president’s legal efforts in Nevada. In a Sunday press conference, Schlapp said that an election worker saw a van “marked Biden-Harris” with open ballots inside.

The whistleblower, who worked as a poll worker from Oct. 17-30, complained about a Biden-Harris bus or van that was often stationed outside the polling place that would often have “speakers, dancers, music and other festivities going on” and whose organizers had to be told “several times a day” to “stay 100 feet from the polling location.” He also said that voters without proper identification were permitted to cast provisional ballots. The biggest shock claim, though, dealt with improperly filled out ballots in the van belonging to supporters of presumptive President-elect Joe Biden, whom he saw while on a lunch break walk on Oct. 28 or 29.

“I personally witnessed two people handing multiple unopened mail in ballot envelopes to two other people who then opened and filled out the ballots against the side of the Biden/Harris van,” the affidavit said. “The same two people who marked the ballots then put the marked ballots in official pink and white envelopes. These people were not poll workers.” he affidavit continued: “By my final walking lap, there were 5 or 6 additional people who formed a human wall, which moved as I walked by, apparently in an attempt to block my view of the four people who were opening envelopes, marking ballots, and placing those ballots in the pink and white return envelopes.”

The whistleblower recalled reporting the incident to a supervisor, who then called the Clark County Elections Office, to no avail. “Someone there told her nothing could be done about the ballots or envelopes being handled outside at the Biden/Harris area,” the whistleblower said in the affidavit. The elections office added that “ballot harvesting is legal in Nevada,” according to the affidavit, but that practice is not what the whistleblower detailed.

Tucker Dead people vote

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“The researchers say six months will be necessary to make sure that participants of the study do not develop dangerous side effects.”

So much for Russia rushing its vaccine.

Russian COVID19 Vaccine Sputnik V 92% Effective, No Serious Side Effects (RT)

The developers of Russia’s pioneering Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine say their formula appears to show 92 percent efficacy and no serious side effects, based on the preliminary results of a large-scale Phase III clinical trial. The vaccine is being tested in a large-scale double-blind survey involving 40,000 volunteers. Preliminary results based on the observation of 16,000 participants indicate that the drug does a good job of protecting people from the coronavirus, the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology said on Wednesday. According to the statement, there were 20 confirmed Covid-19 cases among the group, which consisted of volunteers who were injected either with the vaccine or a placebo.

The effectiveness of Sputnik V is estimated at 92 percent, meaning it boosts the immune system enough to fend off the coronavirus in just over nine out of ten people. The subjects of the Phase III testing were not the only ones to receive the jab. Russia registered the vaccine in August after it was proven safe in a smaller Phase II survey and made it available to volunteers from high-risk groups, like doctors in Covid-19 wards. The developers observed 10,000 of those people and now say the results showed a similar efficacy rate of over 90 percent. The report said that, as of Wednesday, “no unexpected adverse events were identified as part of the research.” Some of the vaccinated people reported flu-like symptoms such as fever, fatigue and headache, or pain at the injection site, but those were all short-term.

The Gamaleya Institute promised to publish a report on its findings in a world-leading medical journal after an evaluation and to provide access to a full clinical trial report once the tests are fully complete. The researchers say six months will be necessary to make sure that participants of the study do not develop dangerous side effects. The vaccine is based on two types of human adenoviral vector, with two shots administered three weeks apart.

Read more …

Let alone the third world.

Rural Hospitals Can’t Afford Ultra-Cold Freezers To Store COVID Vaccine (STAT)

Large urban hospitals across the U.S. are rushing to buy expensive ultra-cold freezers to store what’s likely to be the first approved Covid-19 vaccine. But most rural hospitals can’t afford these high-end units, meaning health workers and residents in those communities may have difficulty getting the shots. The vaccine, developed by Pfizer and the German firm BioNTech, seems to provide 90% immunity according to early data released on Monday. But there’s a catch: The vaccine has to be stored at -70 degrees Celsius. Typical freezers don’t get that cold, making distribution of this vaccine a logistical nightmare.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised state health departments against purchasing ultra-cold freezers — which cost $10,000 to $15,000 each — saying other vaccines with less demanding storage requirements will be available soon. Hospitals with money to spare are flouting this guidance. Four major health care systems, from North Carolina to Ohio, North Dakota, and California, told STAT they had bought additional ultra-cold freezers, while Jefferson Health in Philadelphia said it has leased five units.

About 20% of the hospitals that work with Vizient, one of the largest group purchasers for U.S. hospitals, have bought -80 C freezers, said Azra Behlim, its senior director of pharmacy sourcing and program services. Vizient works with 60% of hospitals nationwide, suggesting that more than 10% of hospitals have shelled out for their own freezers. She couldn’t provide a breakdown, but another major group purchasing organization, Premier, said most of its clients buying ultra-cold freezers were academic medical centers.

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He must have had very little confidence in the vaccine.

Pfizer CEO Sold Millions In Stock On Same Day Of Vaccine Reveal (NYP)

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla cashed in on his company’s coronavirus vaccine breakthrough. The executive sold more than $5.5 million worth of Pfizer stock on Monday — the same day the drugmaker said its experimental COVID-19 shot was more than 90 percent effective, records show. The groundbreaking development sent Pfizer’s share price surging as high as $41.99 that day, its highest level in more than a year. Bourla dumped more than 132,000 shares for $41.94 apiece, just five cents shy of that peak, according to a Tuesday securities filing. Those shares amounted to more than 60 percent of Bourla’s Pfizer stock holdings, the filing shows. He still owns 78,273 shares directly plus another 3,539 that are held indirectly.


The filing says the sale had been arranged in advance under a so-called Rule 10b5-1 trading plan, which allows corporate executives to make predetermined stock transactions in compliance with insider trading laws. Bourla adopted the trading plan in August of this year, according to the document. Bourla — who got more than $15 million in total direct compensation from Pfizer last year, records show — wasn’t the only Pfizer honcho to make a well-timed trade on Monday. Sally Susman, the Manhattan-based company’s executive vice president and chief corporate affairs officer, dumped more than 43,000 shares to the tune of about $1.8 million, according to another securities filing. The sale was similarly made under a Rule 10b5-1 plan Susman adopted in November 2019, the filing says.

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Myth. Boom.

Surge In Covid Cases Tests Sweden’s Go-it-alone Approach (FT)

Do not judge Sweden until the autumn. That was the message from its state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell in May and through the summer as he argued that Sweden’s initial high death toll from Covid-19 would be followed in the second wave by “a high level of immunity and the number of cases will probably be quite low”. Now the autumn is here, and hospitalisations from Covid-19 are currently rising faster in Sweden than in any other country in Europe, while in Stockholm — the centre for both the first and second waves in the country — one in every five tests is positive, suggesting the virus is even more widespread than official figures suggest. “So far Sweden’s strategy has proven to be a dramatic failure,” said Lena Einhorn, a Swedish virologist and prominent critic of its strategy.

“Four days ago we had eight times higher cases per capita than Finland and three and a half times more than Norway. They were supposed to have it worse off than us in the autumn because we were going to have immunity.” Even Sweden’s public health agency admits its earlier prediction that the country’s Nordic neighbours such as Finland and Norway would suffer more in the autumn appears wrong. Sweden is currently faring worse than Denmark, Finland and Norway on cases, hospitalisations and deaths relative to the size of their population. “We also see that many other countries in Europe that had a big effect during the spring that had lockdowns and now again have lockdowns also see a big increase now.


So it seems to follow this pattern that if you had a lot of cases during the spring you also see a lot of cases now,” Sara Byfors, a specialist at the health agency, said in response to a question from the Financial Times. She added: “We don’t know why this is.” Mr Tegnell himself told the FT’s Global Boardroom event on Wednesday that it was “a big mystery” who had immunity and who did not. But he insisted Covid-19 was a “long-term haul” and that having a sustainable strategy that could work for many months or even years was the most important thing. Sweden is persisting with its strategy of standing out from other European countries by not ordering a formal lockdown. Instead, the public health agency issues recommendations on social distancing, hand hygiene, and working from home. It is the only European country not to compel people to wear face masks outside hospitals.

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But of course. Want to save the planet? Ask the banks.

Banks Around World In Joint Pledge On ‘Green Recovery’ After Covid (G.)

The world’s publicly financed development banks have pledged to tie together their efforts to rescue the global economy from the Covid-19 crisis and the climate emergency, using their financial muscle to assist a green recovery for poor countries. But the banks stopped short of pledging an end to fossil fuel finance, and did not set out firm targets for how much funding they would devote to a green recovery in a declaration signed on Thursday by 450 development banks worldwide. Poverty and climate campaigners said publicly funded banks and rich country governments needed to do much more to address the shortfall in finance to poor countries to help them reduce greenhouse gas emissions and cope with the ravages of climate breakdown.

A report by the OECD group found that rich countries provided about $79bn in climate finance in 2018, an increase of about 11% on the previous year. However, the annual growth rate has halved: in 2016 climate finance was $59bn, which grew by 22% to $71bn in 2017. The total is also still well short of the target of $100bn a year of climate finance for developing countries from 2020, agreed under the UN more than a decade ago. The $100bn pledge is one of the cornerstones of the UN climate talks, as poor countries have agreed to curb their greenhouse gas emissions in return for receiving such help. The OECD also found that climate finance from private-sector sources was failing to grow at the levels needed to reach the $100bn target.

Developing countries received, in 2018, about $14.6bn in private-sector investment in climate-related activities, from green technology to increasing resilience to storms and floods. This figure was scarcely changed from the previous year, though was an increase of about $4.5bn from 2016. The average annual increase from 2016-2018 was $2.2bn. There are also wide disparities in how the investment is distributed. According to the report, only about 14% of climate finance is going to the world’s least developed countries, and only about 2% is going to the “small island developing states”, which are in danger of inundation from storms and sea level rises.

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How to power a complex society.

Gas Denied ‘Transition’ Fuel Status In Draft EU Green Finance Rules (EurActiv)

Power plants fuelled by natural gas will not be classed as “sustainable” or “transition” investments in Europe unless they meet emission limits which are so low that none are currently able to comply, according to draft EU rules seen by EURACTIV. The new standards will be tabled in the coming weeks under the EU’s sustainable finance taxonomy, which determines what type of investments make a substantial contribution to the EU’s fight against climate change. Failing to obtain the EU’s green label could deprive those power plants of billions of euros in funding as private investors seek shelter in investments seen as climate-friendly. To qualify as a “sustainable” investment, gas power plants must not emit more than 100 grams of CO2 equivalent per kilowatt hour, according to the draft rules, seen by EURACTIV.

But the 100g CO2 limit would also prevent gas plants from being labelled as a “transition” technology on the way to reaching net-zero emissions by 2050. According to the industry, this would hamper Poland’s efforts to replace its ageing fleet of polluting coal power stations with cleaner gas plants, which emit on average half the amount of CO2. Combined cycles gas plants “are currently at 350-300g today which means investors in countries like Poland may not be able to consider CCGT investments as a transition activity,” said James Watson, secretary-general of trade association Eurogas. “We fully expect natural gas to be classed as a ‘transition’ activity,” he said. “But the 100g threshold will unfortunately not allow this,” he told EURACTIV.

Environmentalists, for their part, hailed the draft EU rules for shutting the door to fossil gas investments being labelled “green”. “The gas lobby has had its core request conclusively rejected,” said Rebecca Vaughan, an analyst tracking industry lobbying for InfluenceMap cited by Reuters. In December last year, the European Investment Bank (EIB) decided to stop all unabated fossil project financing from end-2021, a move welcomed by green activists. “That’s the world we’re in now: fossil gas is not sustainable,” said Dave Jones from Ember, an independent climate think-tank focusing on the global electricity transition. “It’s perhaps disappointing even that the taxonomy didn’t set zero as the threshold,” Jones told EURACTIV.

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Dystopia 2.0.

“Own Nothing and Be Happy”: The Great Reset’s Vision of the Future (OffG)

The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) annual meeting at the end of January in Davos, Switzerland, brings together international business and political leaders, economists and other high-profile individuals to discuss global issues. Driven by the vision of its influential CEO Klaus Schwab, the WEF is the main driving force for the dystopian ‘great reset’, a tectonic shift that intends to change how we live, work and interact with each other. The great reset entails a transformation of society resulting in permanent restrictions on fundamental liberties and mass surveillance as entire sectors are sacrificed to boost the monopoly and hegemony of pharmaceuticals corporations, high-tech/big data giants, Amazon, Google, major global chains, the digital payments sector, biotech concerns, etc.

Using COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions to push through this transformation, the great reset is being rolled out under the guise of a ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ in which older enterprises are to be driven to bankruptcy or absorbed into monopolies, effectively shutting down huge sections of the pre-COVID economy. Economies are being ‘restructured’ and many jobs will be carried out by AI-driven machines. A happy smiling face is depicted while a drone delivers a product to a household, no doubt ordered online and packaged by a robot in a giant Amazon warehouse: ‘no humans were involved in manufacturing, packaging or delivering this product’; rest assured, it is virus- and bacteria-free – because even in 2030, they will need to keep the fear narrative alive and well to maintain full-spectrum dominance over the population.

The jobless (and there will be many) could be placed on some kind of universal basic income and have their debts (indebtedness and bankruptcy on a massive scale is the deliberate result of lockdowns and restrictions) written off in return for handing their assets to the state or more precisely the financial institutions helping to drive this great reset. The WEF says the public will ‘rent’ everything they require: stripping the right of ownership under the guise of ‘sustainable consumption’ and ‘saving the planet’. Of course, the tiny elite who rolled out this great reset will own everything.

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Jeremy Corbyn could have been Jewish himself, and it wouldn’t have made any difference.

Left-Wing Jewish Labour Member Under Investigation For Antisemitism (LE)

The Labour Party is understood to be investigating comments from a Wirral councillor which followed a report into how antisemitism was handled. Cllr Jo Bird, who represents Bromborough, spoke in a video published last week which discussed a report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) into anti-semitism within the Labour Party. The damning EHRC report detailed “specific examples of harassment, discrimination and political interference”, but also noted “a lack of leadership within the Labour Party on these issues”, which it said was “hard to reconcile with its stated commitment to a zero-tolerance approach to antisemitism”. The EHRC “uncovered serious failings” in the way complaints were handled, until at least 2018, during which Jeremy Corbyn was Labour leader.

Reacting to the report at the end of last month, Mr Corbyn said Jewish Labour members were right to expect the party to deal with anti-semitism “and I regret that it took longer to deliver that change than it should.” But he added: “The scale of the problem was also dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party”. He has since been suspended from the party over his reaction to the report. Cllr Bird, who is Jewish, responded to the report in the video, stating: “In Jeremy’s case, the evidence confirms what the twice elected leader of the Labour Party said, ‘One anti-semite is one too many, but the scale of the problem was also dramatically overstated for political reasons’. “The [EHRC’s report] also agrees with our human right to say this [in page 27].

The Labour leadership have commented publicly on the EHRC report and an individual case. If they can do it, then so can we! “Jeremy Corbyn should be reinstated, without further ado.” She added: “I’m speaking in a personal capacity. I am a Jewish woman. My Jewish great grandparents fled fascism in Europe and my grandad’s cousins perished in the Holocaust. “I have experienced warmth and welcome at almost all levels of the Labour party. 46,000 members voted for me in the NEC (National Executive Committee, Labour’s ruling body) by-elections earlier this year. Thank you very much!”

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Desperate times.

School Bans Parents From Throwing Children Over 6ft Fence When Late (DM)

A school in France has banned parents from throwing their children over its 6ft fence when they’re running late. Trillade primary school in Avignon, southern France, put up ‘no throwing’ signs outside the school entrance depicting an adult throwing a child. It comes after parents running late reportedly resorted to throwing their children over the fence after missing the 8.30am deadline. The notices include instructions to late parents to come back at 10am or 3pm when the gates are reopened. The school’s head teacher, Sanaa Meziane, said she’d had enough of ‘irresponsible’ parents.


‘Parents arriving after the bell were literally throwing their kids,’ she told The Times, adding that she believed it was only a matter of time before a child was injured. Following recent terror attacks in France, security measures at many schools in the country has been ramped up. Teachers in many schools are not allowed to leave classrooms once the gates are locked.


Trillade primary school in Avignon, southern France, put up ‘no throwing’ signs outside the school entrance depicting an adult throwing a child

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