Jul 212021
 


René Magritte Mysteries of the horizon (a.k.a. The Masterpiece) 1955

 

Debate Erupts Between Trusted Medical Doctor And Dr. Fauci (Bbee)
Fauci Loses It With Sen. Rand Paul Over Wuhan Lab Funding Accusations (RT)
Pfizer Granted Priority Review for FDA Vaccine Approval (Claus)
Over Half Of Australia’s Population Now Under Stay-at-Home Orders (RT)
NSW Health Official Tells Australians To Refrain From Talking To People (RT)
More Than 200 Facebook Groups Actively Circulating Vaccine Misinformation (F.)
World Champion Boxer To Retire Due To Introduction Of Covid Passports (Mir.)
Statins for Cancer and COVID; Beyond Ivermectin
Biden Regime Jails a ‘Domestic Terrorist’ (Julie Kelly)
The Most Splendid Housing Bubbles in Canada (WS)
Lawmakers Sound Alarm Over China Purchases Of US Farmland (ZH)
Oliver Stone’s New JFK Assassination Doc Is Being Ignored By The MSM (RT)

 

 

 

 

Unvaxxed

 

 

Might as well give it a Babylon Bee overdo. Fauci hides behind semantics.

Debate Erupts Between Trusted Medical Doctor And Dr. Fauci (Bbee)

During an explosive Senate hearing this week, Senator and trusted medical doctor Rand Paul argued with Anthony Fauci—a dangerous conspiracy theorist who thinks vaccines don’t work and that the government is not funding the creation of medical abominations in secret labs. “You are a LIAR!” said Rand Paul, pointing gravely at Dr. Fauci. “You are a LYING LIAR who LIES!” Fauci, who was initially taken aback by the accusation, immediately recovered and said: “NO! It is YOU who is the LIAR, you LIAR!” Fauci then bobbed his head back and forth in a very sassy way and snapped his fingers in a zig-zag pattern.


“OOOOooo! Rand Paul got OWNED!” said CNN. “OOOOooo! Fauci got DESTROYED!” said Fox News. The C-SPAN segment immediately went viral, leading to more requests for the two men to face off in another confrontation. C-SPAN then announced they would be organizing a pay-per-view rematch, in which the trusted medical doctor and Dr. Fauci would call each other liars in an octagon-shaped cage. Unfortunately, Fauci backed out at the last minute after C-SPAN instituted a strict “no bioweapons” policy for the face-off.

Full exchange between Sen. Rand Paul and Dr. Fauci.

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“You take an animal virus and you increase its transmissibility to humans, you’re saying that’s not gain-of-function?” Paul asked. “That is correct..”

Fauci Loses It With Sen. Rand Paul Over Wuhan Lab Funding Accusations (RT)

White House coronavirus adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci has told Kentucky Senator Rand Paul “You don’t know what you’re talking about,” after Paul accused him of lying about his alleged role in controversial virus research in China. Questioning Fauci during a Senate Health Committee hearing on Tuesday about the government’s coronavirus response, Sen. Paul (R) implied that Fauci lied to Congress in May when he said that the National Institute of Health (NIH) did not fund so-called ‘gain-of-function’ research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China, believed by many to be the source of the coronavirus pandemic. “I have never lied before the Congress, and I do not retract that statement,” Fauci replied. Paul presented a 2015 academic paper that asserts such research did take place at the Wuhan lab, and was partly funded by the NIH.


One US scientist has reviewed the paper and concluded that the research within “seemed to meet the definition of gain-of-function,” — but that it did not lead to the creation of the novel coronavirus. The term ‘gain-of-function’ refers to modifying and increasing the transmissibility of animal viruses to better study their effect on humans. “This paper that you’re referring to was judged … up and down the chain as not being gain-of-function,” Fauci responded, before Paul interjected. “You take an animal virus and you increase its transmissibility to humans, you’re saying that’s not gain-of-function?” Paul asked. “That is correct, and Senator Paul, you do not know what you are talking about, quite frankly, and I want to say that officially,” Fauci snapped back.

Despite the paper’s own definition of gain-of-function research seemingly being the same as Paul’s, the White House scientist still insisted that the research outlined in the 2015 paper “is not” the same thing. The paper itself does not prove that the Covid-19 coronavirus was created in the Wuhan lab, but it does imply that similar research on bat-borne coronaviruses was carried out there, with the NIH’s financial support. Such research used to be done in the US, but was paused by the Obama administration in 2014 and subsequently outsourced to China. Between 2015 and 2019, the Wuhan lab received, albeit indirectly, more than $800,000 in grants from the NIH. $600,000 in grant payments were given to the institute via EcoHealth Alliance, a private research firm, and $216,000 via the University of California, Irvine.

Fauci GoF
https://twitter.com/i/status/1401891543322185728

Letter to Do: criminal referral

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As the vaccines are very clearly failing, now is of course the time to speed up the process, because that is what people are not yet allowed to know.

Pfizer Granted Priority Review for FDA Vaccine Approval (Claus)

Last Friday, the US Food and Drug Administration granted pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and BioNTech priority review designation for their coronavirus vaccine for those who are age 16 and older. This step marks the last hurdle that must be cleared in order for the vaccine — the very first to come onto the world scene, being approved for emergency use back in December of 2020 — to be distributed and marketed like any other inoculation. Until now, the products, like the other two coronavirus vaccines used in the US, have had emergency use authorization (EUA) only — a legal sticking point that has led to some questioning their efficacy and safety and adding to the vaccine hesitancy that continues to plague some areas of the country and the world.

Anti-vaccine proponents argue that they refuse to accept a product that has not been fully cleared by the FDA, and many corporate entities along with the federal government, will not require coronavirus inoculations while they are still under EUA-only status. This status allows for vaccine doses to be shipped to hospitals, clinics, pharmacies and other organizations to be administered to the general public — but not distributed and marketed. Although the vaccine came out in a little more than 300 days since the genome of the virus was determined — an amazing feat of modern medical technology — the perceived delay in the granting of full authorization has led many to speculate that this feeds into an anti-vaccination narrative which may be partly responsible for the spike in infections in the last month worldwide.

As the Delta variant, first detected in India, continues to sweep across the world, the lack of formal approval of the vaccines has sparked concern that a window of opportunity may have been lost, as people for the most part are allowed to gather together without restrictions across the US while sizable pockets of vaccine resistance remain. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Friday that the number of new coronavirus cases were up by nearly 70% in just one week, while hospitalizations are up by nearly 36%, after weeks of steeply declining numbers all over the US. The Delta variant appears to be approximately 225% more transmissible than the original strains of the coronavirus. NPR reports that one recent study from China found that those who are infected with Delta have on average about 1,000 times more copies of the virus in their respiratory tracts than those who were infected with the original strain.

Not only that but they also become infectious earlier in the course of their illness, leading to much more transmission since many do not realize they have become infected. The emergency use authorization vaccines that are currently on the market, however, are strikingly effective against the Delta variant. [..] At this point, experts say the picture looks fairly rosy. “The level of antibodies seem to be holding up pretty well, so we have to watch and see what happens over the course of the coming months,” stated National Institutes of Health’s Francis Collins, in an interview with NPR. The New York-based pharma giant must now go through a rigorous review process that experts believe will be completed in January of 2022. Even with expedited handling of the approval process, speeded up from its usual 10 months, the lightning-fast spread of the Delta variant, which is so many more times as transmissible as the original coronavirus, is rushing past that timeline.

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Australia is done. Pull the plug and let it pour down the drain. The only things people there think are “wrong” in their isolation campaign are in not building quarantine accomodation, and in not ordering vaccines fast enough. Blind as bats.

Over Half Of Australia’s Population Now Under Stay-at-Home Orders (RT)

South Australia has entered a snap lockdown of seven days, joining neighboring Victoria and New South Wales as the third state to implement stay-at-home orders, with half of the country’s population now under restrictions. South Australia entered a week-long lockdown to quell a spike in coronavirus cases at 6pm local time on Tuesday. Premier Steven Marshall defended the decision to impose harsh measures, stating that “we hate to put these restrictions in place, but we have just one chance to get this right” to avoid an extended lockdown period and cases spiraling out of control. Under the new rules, all South Australian citizens are required to stay at home unless they are essential workers or need to purchase necessary produce or attend medical appointments.


They are allowed outside to exercise for a maximum of 90 minutes and within a 2.5km (1.5 mile) radius of their home. All educational institutions will be shut and transition to online learning. The decision to impose a strict snap lockdown comes after five coronavirus cases were reported, with the fifth being an isolated incident from the other four cases. All of the cases have been confirmed to be the Delta variant, which is 60% more transmissible than other variants, according to Public Health England. As of Tuesday, some 13 million Australians, over half of the country’s population, are under a stay-at-home mandate. Neighboring Victoria extended its lockdown until July 27. It was intended to last only five days, however, new Covid-19 cases are still being recorded there.

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How crazy can one get and still be taken serious? “She was named New South Wales ‘Woman of the Year’ for 2021..”

NSW Health Official Tells Australians To Refrain From Talking To People (RT)

With Sydney still in lockdown amid a handful of new Covid-19 cases, the top health official for New South Wales has called for a new level of social-distancing inhumanity: not having conversations with other people. After reporting a whopping 78 new Covid-19 cases and one death in the state, Chief Health Officer Dr. Kerry Chant told reporters on Tuesday that Australians shouldn’t engage in conversations, even if both parties were wearing masks, and regardless of vaccination status. “Whilst it’s human nature to engage in conversation with others, to be friendly, unfortunately, this is not the time to do that,” Chant said. So, even if you run into your next-door neighbor in the shopping center … don’t start up a conversation. Now is the time for minimizing your interactions with others.

Masks don’t afford “total protection,” Chant added, so residents must avoid talking to each other and “be absolutely sure that, as we go about our daily lives, we do not come into contact with anyone else that would pose a risk.” Since the pandemic began, Australia has repeatedly staved off the spread of Covid-19 with some of the world’s most draconian lockdown measures, in pursuit of driving new cases down to zero even at the expense of civil liberties. Lockdowns have been reimposed recently, as infections flared up again. In Melbourne, for instance, just about everything other than grocery stores and hospitals was shuttered for nearly four months, and the city entered its fifth lockdown last week. Alice Springs ordered a new lockdown in June after just one new infection was reported.

Much like the White House’s chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, in the US, Chant has been championed by mainstream media outlets as a pandemic-fighting hero. The Guardian referred to the doctor as “unflappable” and a “secret weapon.” She was named New South Wales ‘Woman of the Year’ for 2021. Social media critics weren’t charmed by her advice against having conversations, however. “Unbelievable,” TV presenter and author Tonia Buxton said. “Don’t behave like a human, forget humanity, just do as you are told.”

DON’T ACT LIKE A HUMAN. DON’T TALK TO YOUR FRIENDS

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Start reading, hoping to find what this misinformation is. Nothing until the last paragraph -apparently you’re supposed to know(?!) but I don’t, where someone says “I truly believe that they are out to kill people with this shot..” Now I still don’t know what misinformation they talk about. Pretty sure that’s on purpose.

More Than 200 Facebook Groups Actively Circulating Vaccine Misinformation (F.)

After President Biden came down hard on Facebook last week over coronavirus vaccine misinformation, the company responded with almost equal force, insisting in no uncertain terms that it wasn’t responsible for how that type of content has spread on the web. But new research released Tuesday suggests Facebook does indeed remain a place where such misinformation is circulating: Media Matters for America, a liberal tech watchdog organization, says it has found 284 active private and public Facebook Groups currently distributing vaccine misinformation, more than double the amount the researchers found in April. Over a half million users belong to these groups. Media Matters identified six groups with more than 15,000 members, and most of those half-dozen groups are private, underscoring an on-going problem for the social network.

These groups are invite only, making them harder to track and a more fertile ground for misinformation to spread than public ones, which invite more immediate scrutiny. The discussion around Facebook’s role in handling vaccine misinformation was heightened on Friday when President Biden made stark comments about his views on the company’s culpability. “They’re killing people,” he said. The White House has since tried to soften its stance on the matter, and Facebook raced to point to efforts to combat vaccine misinformation. In a blog post released a day after President Biden’s comments, Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vice president of intregrity, said the platform had removed more than 18 million pieces of Covid-19 information since the pandemic started and limited the spread of 167 million pieces its fact checkers judged as inaccurate.

More broadly, Facebook has introduced new tools for users who control Groups, though those features are only as effective as those group leaders want them to be. Groups represent an enormous avenue of growth for Facebook—and an unending source of problems for it. Over the last few years, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has clearly emphasized Groups’ place within the app, and the company launched a redesign in 2019 to encourage their use. Even public Groups tend to encourage more intimate and more engaged conversations than on Facebook’s core Newsfeed, exactly what the company has sought to foster. But Groups have proven to be problematic hotbeds, used to do things such as spread Qanon content and white supremacy posts.

The largest group identified by Media Matters is one called “Canadian Deaths and Adverse Reaction,” which numbers almost 95,000 users. The researchers unearthed a number of posts containing conspiracy theories, including one falsely stating that the vaccines are part of a secret ongoing experimental trial. One user in another large group, Covid19 Vaccine Victims & Families, which has 46,4000 members, wrote this: “I truly believe that they are out to kill people with this shot…I think it causes people who have health issues to have [sic] make it worse and those with no health issues I think this jab is also giving people illnesses they never had. People need to wake up and say no to the jab.”

Tucker VAERS

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He won’t be alone.

World Champion Boxer To Retire Due To Introduction Of Covid Passports (Mir.)

World champion boxer Sunny Edwards has vowed to retire if Covid-19 vaccine passports are introduced in September. Boris Johnson announced yesterday that Covid-19 passports will be required for nightclubs and venues with large crowds, which could signal a passport being required at sporting events such as boxing later on in the year. And newly crowned British world champion Edwards has claimed he could hang up his gloves in protest. “Looks like I’m retiring from the game in September.” Edwards posted on Twitter in response to the announcement. The announcement could signal an increase in the uptake of vaccinations across the UK, in particular amongst sports stars who could be required to take the vaccine in order to compete in the future unless they are given immunity from the policy that will be introduced.

Several boxing stars have been caught up with vaccine debates during the pandemic, including undisputed super-lightweight champion Josh Taylor who recently defeated Jose Ramirez in Las Vegas to claim the belts and remain undefeated. He has also posted on Twitter against the idea of vaccine passports, slamming the rules as a ‘dictatorship’ which could signal his stance to any future rules that are introduced into boxing. “Do as [sic] your told or be excluded from society! #Dictatorship ” Taylor posted on his Twitter page today after the announcement. He also responded to a fan who questioned his stance on the passport and whether his choice to do so was an example of freedom.

“The fact you’re being told to take something in order to live life, simply isn’t freedom! It’s oppression.” Taylor said. The pandemic has had a damaging effect on boxing in recent weeks with Tyson Fury’s outbreak in camp causing the third face-off in the ring against Deontay Wilder to be rescheduled for October 9. Despite reports of the ‘Gypsy King’ testing positive himself for the virus, he was pictured greeting fans in Las Vegas amid rumours that he may soon be returning to the UK after the trilogy fight broke down. The lineal heavyweight champion also refused his second vaccine ahead of the fight, after he relayed fears to his team of suffering with ill-effects ahead of his attempt to defeat Wilder for the second time in two years.

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Interesting, but statins?

Statins for Cancer and COVID; Beyond Ivermectin

When my friend contracted Glioblastoma, I reacted by researching what else could be done for him – scientifically. I went through PubMed, and I read the latest studies. I read accounts of medical professionals who survived their terminal cancers. And I found patterns. One concept that arose was the use of repurposed drugs IN ADDITION to the standard of care. Another was that Cancer Stem Cells, CSCs, were very real and could reseed cancer. These roots of cancer were stimulated to spread and regrow with cutting into the tumor [Surgery], poisoning it [Chemotherapy], and radiating it [Radiation Therapy]. I realized, to my horror, our own best treatment was making cancers resistant and causing them to return, often fatally. So why was this information hidden? Everyone should know this.

When I found that Dr. Ben Williams, a Harvard-educated professor, had cured his Glioblastoma using a cocktail of repurposed drugs, I knew my friend had a chance to do the same. And it was up to me to get him this information. I found that a combination of four common drugs, Atorvastatin, Mebendazole, Metformin, and Doxycycline, could almost double the expected GBM survival time when added to the standard of care based upon a study by Dr. Agrawal published in a peer-reviewed medical journal. In addition, these four drugs had been used safely, for decades, to treat other diseases. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6610246/ As I dug deeper, I realized that instead of using this cocktail as a last-ditch effort to save a person from cancer after it has already developed, WHAT IF ONE USED IT TO PREVENT CANCER from ever developing?

I searched Amazon. I found no physicians had written about this to the general public except for Dr. Raymond Chang in 2014. He wrote a book, “Beyond the Magic Bullet.” Dr. Ben Williams, a PhD, had written about his personal experience in beating his GBM with repurposed drugs in “Surviving Terminal Cancer.” These books, unfortunately, had very thin readerships. Finally, a magnificent documentary was made that interviews both of these men, “Surviving Terminal Cancer.” However, very few people have watched this. Most who do, have Glioblastoma, a disease which afflicts about 10,000 Americans each year – people like Beau Biden, people like John McCain, and now my friend Evan.

Only 25 % survive longer than one year. Less than 5% make it past five years. And Ben Williams has now survived 26 years. His friend Professor Richard Gerber has now survived 13 years and uses repurposed drugs. Richard followed Ben Williams’ strategy.

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“And therein lies the real crime: Paul Hodgkins, a working-class American who took a bus on the 900-mile journey to the nation’s capital to support his president and protest a clearly rigged election, defiled the ruling class’ palace with a Trump flag.”

Biden Regime Jails a ‘Domestic Terrorist’ (Julie Kelly)

“Paul Hodgkins is not my enemy.” Fighting back tears, Patrick Leduc, an attorney representing a man charged in connection with the January 6 protest at the Capitol, made that statement in a dramatic court hearing Monday morning. Leduc, by the way, is no snowflake. On Tuesday, the 33-year-old U.S. Army reservist will be deployed to the Middle East for his third tour. Leduc cited his military oath—to protect the country from “against all enemies, foreign and domestic”—to refute the government’s accusation that Paul Hodgkins, 38, is a domestic terrorist. “Words have meaning,” Leduc told U.S. District Court Judge Randoph Moss. “I have been shot at by real terrorists. If we’re going to label this as domestic terrorism, where do we draw that line?”

Sadly, after listening to Monday’s proceedings, I must conclude there is no line. Americans on the political Right are considered an enemy no less lethal than al-Qaeda and minus the civil libertarians to defend them. It’s clear the Biden regime, in cooperation with federal judges, will stop at nothing to destroy the lives of people who protested the 2020 presidential election. This includes people like Paul Hodgkins, who was sentenced to eight months in prison for denouncing what his government was about to do on January 6—certify a rigged, corrupt presidential election—and for supporting Donald Trump. Hodgkins, who lives in a working-class neighborhood in Tampa, took a bus alone from his home in central Florida to Washington, D.C. to attend Donald Trump’s January 6 speech.

After the speech, he walked to Capitol Hill. He later said he had no intention of going inside the building but got caught up in the moment. Like many pro-Trump protesters, Hodgkins did not bring a weapon. He did not assault a police officer or damage any property. He was inside the building for roughly 22 minutes, entered the Senate chamber, hoisted a “Trump 2020” flag, took some selfies, and left. Nonetheless, law enforcement arrested Hodgkins in Tampa on February 16 and charged him with four misdemeanors and one felony count of obstruction of an official proceeding. Joe Biden’s Justice Department has added the obstruction charge to roughly 200 misdemeanor cases so federal prosecutors can get jail time for Capitol defendants.

[..] Paul Hodgkins, who had nothing much to start with, will now lose everything. He will live the rest of his life as a convicted felon. A broken man railroaded by a broken country. But it was clear on social media that the bloodlust of the Left still is unsatiated. Destroying him isn’t enough; they want heads to roll. “We are a country ruled by cancel culture now,” Leduc told me. “There is no compassion or grace.”

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You better look good than feel good.

The Most Splendid Housing Bubbles in Canada (WS)

At least the Bank of Canada is officially acknowledging the craziness of the Canadian housing market, which has been deemed to be the second biggest housing bubble in the world, behind New Zealand, whose central bank also officially acknowledged its housing bubble, and stopped QE cold turkey, unlike the Fed, which has refused to officially acknowledge anything. Starting last October, the Bank of Canada began the process of ending its asset purchases. Since then, it stopped buying mortgage-backed securities, unwound its holdings of repos and Treasury bills, and cut the amount of its weekly purchases of Government of Canada bonds for the third time, from C$5 billion per week last year to C$2 billion per week now. The assets on its balance sheet dropped from C$575 billion in March to C$487 billion as of last week. And in its pronouncements, the housing bubble looms large.

[..] The Teranet-National Bank House Price Index tracks prices of single-family houses through “sales pairs,” similar to the Case-Shiller Home Price Index in the US, comparing the price of a house that sold in the current month to the price of the same house when it sold previously. Since it tracks how many more Canadian dollars it takes to buy the same house over time, it is a measure of house price inflation. In the Greater Toronto Area, the house price spike “decelerated”: In June, the index jumped by 2.7% from May, but that crazy increase (annualized 32%!) was the slowest increase since March. Year-over-year, the index jumped by 15.9%. Note the decline in house prices in 2017, and the wavering that followed, until the BoC opened its vault:

All charts here are on the same scale as the chart for Vancouver, with more white space appearing at the top as we go down the list, indicating the slower price increases over the past 20 years, compared to Vancouver. In Hamilton, Ontario, house prices spiked by 3.8% in June from May, and by a mind-boggling 28.0% year-over-year, thank you Bank of Canada hallelujah. But now the BoC, with an eye on this exponential increase in house price inflation, is pulling back its radical monetary policies. Here too, the housing market had started to decline and waver in 2017, and it was the BoC’s pandemic policies that triggered this spike:

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1/3 for China, 1/3 for Bill Gates, 1/3 for Monsanto.

Lawmakers Sound Alarm Over China Purchases Of US Farmland (ZH)

A group of bipartisan lawmakers are sounding the alarm over foreign purchases of prime US agricultural real estate, in an effort to lessen China’s influence on the US economy. Recent legislation advanced by House lawmakers warns that China’s presence in the American food supply poses a national security risk, while key Senators have expressed interest in keeping American farms in American hands, according to Politico. The debate over farm ownership comes amid broader efforts by Congress and the Biden administration to curb the nation’s economic reliance on China, especially in key industries like food, semiconductors and minerals deemed crucial to the supply chain. The call for tighter limits on who owns America’s farms has come from a wide range of political leaders, from former Vice President Mike Pence to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), after gaining momentum seeded in farm states.

“America cannot allow China to control our food supply,” said Pence during a Wednesday speech at the Heritage Foundation in which he urged President Biden and Congress to “end all farm subsidies for land owned by foreign nationals.” By the beginning of 2020, Chinese owners controlled approximately 192,000 agricultural acres in the US, worth around $1.9 billion – including land used for farming, ranching and forestry, according to the Department of Agriculture. It’s a small but growing percentage of the nearly 900 million acres of total US farmland – with the USDA reporting in 2018 that China’s agricultural investments have grown more than tenfold since 2009.

“The Communist Party has actively supported investments in foreign agriculture as part of its “One Belt One Road” economic development plans, aiming to control a greater piece of China’s food supply chain. “The current trend in the U.S. is leading us toward the creation of a Chinese-owned agricultural land monopoly,” Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.) warned during a recent House Appropriations hearing.= The committee unexpectedly adopted Newhouse’s amendment to the Agriculture-FDA spending bill (H.R. 4356 (117)) that would block any new agricultural purchases by companies that are wholly or partly controlled by the Chinese government and bar Chinese-owned farms from tapping federal support programs. -Politico

Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) warned that the new law would “perpetuate already rising anti-Asian hate,” however she and committee leaders have indicated a willingness to find a solution as the legislation works its way through Congress, according to the report. It’s expected to reach the House floor before the end of this month as part of a broader appropriations package, however the Senate has yet to draft their own version of the spending bill.

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Nobody cares who shot JFK anymore. We now have the Insurrection. Much bigger threat.

Oliver Stone’s New JFK Assassination Doc Is Being Ignored By The MSM (RT)

When ‘JFK: Revisited’ premiered on Monday, July 12, the mainstream media didn’t praise it or pan it. They pretended it didn’t exist. The New York Times’ vast coverage of Cannes consisted of 11 articles, most focusing on the more salacious content, such as ‘Benedetta’, a steamy story about lesbian nuns, ‘Annette’, a musical where Adam Driver sings while performing oral sex on Marion Cotillard, and ‘Titane’, where a woman has sex with a car and lactates oil. But not once has ‘JFK Revisited’ been mentioned in the supposed ‘paper of record’. The same is true of the Washington Post, Boston Globe, LA Times, Chicago Tribune, the Guardian, the Atlantic, the New Yorker and every mainstream outlet I searched, as none of them acknowledge ‘JFK Revisited’exists at all.

The only media mentions I found were in trade papers likeVariety and the Hollywood Reporter, and in the British press, in the Times and Daily Telegraph. Their reaction to the film was split, with Variety and The Times giving negative reviews and THR and the Daily Telegraph praising it. Considering that Cuba, intelligence agency nefariousness, and conspiracy theories are making headlines, and that the small critical assessment of the documentary is split, it’s curious that the media is maintaining the status quo by endorsing sexual depravity at Cannes instead of pursuing truth by debating ‘JFK Revisited’. I’m kidding, of course. It’s no surprise that the American myth-making media who bequeath to us the official narrative from which ‘respectable’ people will never deviate, are tossing ‘JFK Revisited’ down the memory hole and lavishing praise on horny nuns and coital Cadillacs.

You see, the establishment loves to distract the masses and hate conspiracies – except for the ones they love. JFK assassination conspiracies are rejected outright as unserious, despite a plethora of damning evidence, because they indict the establishment itself. Half of the talking heads on cable news are former (wink-wink) intelligence community members, and the vast majority of journalists are lapdogs for the intel agencies, so they’re not going to bite the hand that feeds them in service to the truth about the JFK assassination. This same anti-conspiratorial press spent four years breathlessly belching up every half-assed Russia conspiracy story they could conjure – including Russiagate, claims of Russia using microwave weapons or hacking into power grids and voting machines – and shouted them from the rooftops 24/7 until they become presumed true despite a complete lack of evidence.

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“The past was erased, the erasure was forgotten, the lie became the truth.”
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Jul 192021
 


Giuseppe Leone Ragusa Sicily 1953

 

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

 

 

 

 

Heparin

 

 

 

 

We have a trend.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Response to Dr. Bhakdi (VanDen Bossche)

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

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

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

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

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

Israel Bans Entry To Vaccinated Tourists (JPost)

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


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

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

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

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


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

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Because our users are not terribly smart people…

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

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

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

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

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

The Panic Pandemic (Tierney)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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It’s personal.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Good.

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

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

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

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

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

Read more …

 

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Mar 212021
 


Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179) German artist, philosopher, composer, mystic Cosmic Tree

 

Europe’s Covid-19 Setbacks Risk Another Summer Travel Washout (R.)
Massive Anti-Lockdown Protests Rage Worldwide (ZH)
How Chicago Avoided A Second Wave Of Spanish Flu (Orla Hegarty)
Printing Money in Times of Corona (AC)
FBI Investigating If Cuomo, Aides Lied To DOJ About Nursing Deaths (SAC)
UK Prepares Antitrust Probe Into Facebook (ZH)
Liberals Blame Rightwing ‘Misinformation’ For Our Problems. Get Real (Frank)
How The Censors Won (Michael Tracey)
Federal Judge Alleges Democrats Control Almost All Major News Outlets (ZH)
NYT Used ‘Deceptive Disinformation’ To Smear Project Veritas – Judge (RT)
The IRS Is Letting Rich People Fleece Everyone Else (DP)
Russia Set For Showdown With International Law Over Yukos & Navalny (RT)

 

 

 

 

Germany Deaths
https://twitter.com/i/status/1373207960420253697

 

 

UK has already said: forget about summer travel abroad.

Europe’s Covid-19 Setbacks Risk Another Summer Travel Washout (R.)

Europe’s airlines and travel sector are bracing for a second lost summer, with rebound hopes increasingly challenged by a hobbled Covid-19 vaccine rollout, resurgent infections and new lockdowns. Airline and travel stocks fell on Friday after Paris and much of northern France shut down for a month, days after Italy introduced stiff business and movement curbs for most of the country including Rome and Milan. The setbacks hit recovery prospects for the crucial peak season, whose profits typically tide airlines through winter, when most carriers lose money even in good times. “If there’s no confidence there, demand just doesn’t come back,” said Dublin-based Alton Aviation consultant Leah Ryan, who expects the bad news on vaccines and lockdowns to hurt already weak bookings.

The summer outlook also has been dented by rising infections in Greece and elsewhere, and a suspension of AstraZeneca’s vaccine by a number of European countries over health fears. Several countries announced resumption of use of the AstraZeneca shot this week after the European Medicines Agency said the benefits clearly outweigh its risks. Airlines that have already racked up billions in debt face further strain that some may not survive without fresh funds. British Airways owner IAG raised 1.2 billion euros ($1.43 billion) in a bond issue on Thursday, saying the cushion would protect it from a drawn-out slump. A patchy stop-start summer may pose fewer difficulties for low-cost airlines such as Ryanair and Wizz Air, which can redeploy planes quickly between routes.

But Ryanair’s home market expects to keep strict travel curbs in place at least throughout June, Irish health official Ronan Glynn said on Thursday, citing the “deteriorating situation internationally” and emerging more contagious virus variants. Ryanair shares traded 4.2% lower on Friday, with IAG down 4% and easyJet and Wizz both down 3.5%. Rebound hopes had driven travel stocks higher over the past month, led by IAG’s 25% gain. While ultra-low cost carriers can take the pain of another summer washout, analysts say, rivals such as easyJet and Virgin Atlantic could face renewed balance-sheet pressures. Air France-KLM is also seeking to raise capital and reduce debt from last year’s 10.4 billion-euro bailout. The Franco-Dutch airline group aims to fly more than 50% of pre-crisis capacity this year, compared with 40%-50% for Lufthansa – targets that could still prove ambitious.

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Much of this stuff is brutal. Police state material.

Massive Anti-Lockdown Protests Rage Worldwide (ZH)

Thousands, and possibly tens-of-thousands of protesters across Europe marched on Saturday against continued government lockdowns and other pandemic restrictions based on questionable science – which have resulted in mass unemployment, destroyed small businesses, stoked widespread depression and mental illness, and cost taxpayers trillions to keep the whole ship from sinking. Protesters in London, Germany, France, Sweden, The Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Japan, Vienna and elsewhere came out for the Worldwide Rally for Freedom. In central London, thousands of anti-lockdown activists were seen walking through Hyde Park, chanting “stand up, take our freedom back!”


In Germany, police used pepper spray on protesters in the city of Kassel, where 15,000 – 20,000 demonstrators showed up, according to the Daily Mail. Some 1,800 officers were placed on standby in Berlin. “Several thousand people gathered at the main protest site on a square in Kessel’s city centre, packed closely together without wearing face masks, an AFP reporter saw. Scuffles erupted when a group of demonstrators tried to break through a police cordon to join up with other protesters, resulting in shoving and prompting officers to use pepper spray.” -Daily Mail.

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Fascinating. Orla Hegarty in Ireland focuses on cleaning the air inside buildings to prevent transmission. Chicago, after a massive campaign, in 1918 re-opened in 6 weeks, no vaccine. Lots of pics from that time here.

Where is the focus on clean air these days?

How Chicago Avoided A Second Wave Of Spanish Flu (Orla Hegarty)

[Thread] Chicago didn’t have a second wave of Spanish Flu.. so what did they do, & how did the city re-open when there was no vaccine? #Ventilation #COVID19 1/ ..here are the public health measures that Chicago took on the autumn of 1918 ‘open window ventilation in all school rooms.. pupils warmly dressed.. daily check on pupils & absentees in schools.. use of masks.. landlords required to heat homes.. ’ 2/ documentcloud.adobe.com/link/track?uri… ..’isolation & quarantine.. home nursing provided (see my thread on home nursing).. churches required to improve ventilation.. 150 city health officers on full time service’ 3/ ..’closure of dance halls, theatres, restaurants in order to keep schools open .. ventilation of public transport.. public health doctors & nurses’ 4/

& then by late October/early November (just 6 weeks into the outbreak) theatres were allowed to reopen, social functions & public meetings resumed 5/ So what was happening to make this re-opening possible? The Chicago Bureau of Sanitation (1911-18 report) 6/ ..who understood airborne disease & spread in buildings ‘the most important factor in prevention is the air that we breath’ ‘buildings merit earnest study & attention in a program of real & effective work in preventing the spread of disease’ 7/ they had boots on the ground, ‘one man for every 100,000 of population’ & a regime of regulating, inspecting, investigating & enforcing ventilation standards in buildings for public health 8/ ..they had very detailed ventilation standards & buildings were inspected.. including measuring air temperature, humidity, velocity, dust particles &.. CO2 (carbon dioxide) monitoring was used to catch inadequate ventilation 9/

& Chicago had a head start on other cities, having been the first to regulate in 1911, & then having targeted improvements every year in picture-houses, street-cars, restaurants, garages etc .. then in September 1918 the Spanish Flu epidemic arrived /10 Chicago had 1,700 street-cars, so ventilation on public transport received a lot of attention.. there were concerns about the cost of improving poor ventilation /11 but The Chicago Bureau of Sanitation prevailed.. 12/ so the Spanish Flu epidemic in Chicago pandemic was fought on the ground with building inspectors.. who measured, targeted & eliminated actual public health risks in actual buildings ‘while the work involved was enormous, the results obtained outweighed the difficulties’ /13

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“Just as there are epidemiological factors to consider in this crisis, there are also economic, social, cultural, political and other health factors at play.”

Printing Money in Times of Corona (AC)

The coronavirus has dominated all of our lives in recent months. Radical paths were taken by politicians in the form of lockdowns to contain the pandemic. But we should recognize that even if the coronavirus is a (major) challenge for us, we always have to keep a holistic view of world events. Just as there are epidemiological factors to consider in this crisis, there are also economic, social, cultural, political and other health factors at play. It is precisely these other factors that are so often forgotten in the panicky reporting, in the constant, manic tracking of the current infection numbers, that we want to take a look at in our series “The Costs of Coronavirus Lockdowns” in the coming weeks.

Monetary policy is the second primary tool, alongside fiscal policy, used by governments to influence economic activity. When a crisis hits, an economy is stimulated either by the state budget – which arises from the taxpayers – or silently through monetary expansion. By either lowering interest rates, issuing government-backed securities, or even purchasing corporate bonds the central banks increase the money supply in the economy. Ever since the beginning of the crisis, the U.S. Federal Reserve has done all of the above. One of the most popular measures of the money supply used by economists is M1. It consists of the most highly liquid assets. In other words, the most easily exchangeable assets are used as payment for goods and services.

As Trading Economics data shows, the Fed has created 39% of all the “dollars” in the economy in 2020. To put it on its head, in 2020 the Fed has created more money than in almost a hundred years of its existence. Monetary policy effectiveness has its boundaries. As good as it might seem at first glance, creating money “out of thin air” doesn’t bring prosperity. It is true, inflation still hasn’t start banging on our doors. But looking no further than the asset prices, we can see that the low inflation rate is masked by the asset price inflation. Even with the sharp drop of the GDP and an unemployment rate that stands more than double the rate before the crisis started, the S&P 500 is more than 10% higher than on the day the pandemic rolled around. This also shows who profits from the economic response to the COVID-19 crisis: those with assets, i.e. those already wealthy anyway.

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We know they did. His aid literally said so.

FBI Investigating If Cuomo, Aides Lied To DOJ About Nursing Deaths (SAC)

The FBI is investigating whether Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his aides gave false numbers to the DOJ on nursing home deaths in New York state. Lawyers for the aides have been contacted by the FBI and his office has been subpoenaed, as first reported in the New York Times. According to the Times, interviews with aides have included questions on the reporting of COVID deaths in the state. The FBI traveled to some aides’ homes and interviewed others over the phone. A lawyer for Cuomo’s office said the original numbers submitted to the FBI months ago are factual.


“The submission in response to D.O.J.’s August request was truthful and accurate and any suggestion otherwise is demonstrably false,” lawyer Elkan Abramowitz said. The news comes as Cuomo’s first accuser, Lindsey Boylan, told the New Yorker former secretary of state Hillary Clinton is no longer her “hero” because of her reaction to the Cuomo accusations. “These stories are difficult to read,” the former secretary of state said in a March 1 statement, “and the allegations brought forth raise serious questions that the women who have come forward and all New Yorkers deserve answers to.”

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Lots of lawsuits, but…

UK Prepares Antitrust Probe Into Facebook (ZH)

Earlier this week, Rep. Ken Buck, the top Republican on the House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee, said during an antitrust hearing that “Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon have reached monopoly status, and their behavior won’t change until Congress acts, the enforcement agencies do their job, and the courts move quickly to rein in their predatory conduct.” On Friday, sources told FT that the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is preparing an antitrust investigation into Facebook within the coming months, which is the latest crackdown on Silicon Valley’s big tech dominance. Similar probes were launched into Apple and Google earlier this year. Sources said CMA “would take a sweeping look at the way Facebook allegedly uses customer data to squash rivals in social media and online advertising.”

CMA’s potential investigation into Facebook comes as the government agency recently announced inquiries into Apple’s App Store fees and Google’s privacy settings. CMA expects to follow European Union’s antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager’s investigation into Facebook, launched in December. She told lawmakers in Brussels how big tech is increasingly facing more stringent scrutiny around the world. “It’s a sign that the debate on tech dominance has been shifting over the last couple of years,” Vestager said of the US antitrust move. A person close to the CMA said the focus of the upcoming investigation would be on the social media platform’s digital advertising.

Andrea Coscelli, the CMA’s chief executive, vowed to take on Facebook and other big tech companies with a series of antitrust cases. He’ll be working with lawmakers in Brussels to combat big tech. Meanwhile, in the US, Facebook requested a federal judge earlier this month to dismiss landmark antitrust suits against it, claiming that its “innovative free products deliver value” is helpful to users, adding there’s no evidence whatsoever of anti-competitively. The Federal Trade Commission and almost every state have filed lawsuits against the social media platform for its market power abuse after acquiring Instagram and WhatsApp.

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Thomas Frank.

Liberals Blame Rightwing ‘Misinformation’ For Our Problems. Get Real (Frank)

The Republicans didn’t suffer the landslide defeat they deserved last November; the right is still as potent as ever; therefore Trumpist untruth is responsible for the malfunctioning public mind. Under no circumstances was it the result of the Democrats’ own lackluster performance, their refusal to reach out to the alienated millions with some kind of FDR-style vision of social solidarity. Or perhaps this new taste for censorship is an indication of Democratic healthiness. This is a party that has courted professional-managerial elites for decades, and now they have succeeded in winning them over, along with most of the wealthy areas where such people live. Liberals scold and supervise like an offended ruling class because to a certain extent that’s who they are.

More and more, they represent the well-credentialed people who monitor us in the workplace, and more and more do they act like it. What all this censorship talk really is, though, is a declaration of defeat – defeat before the Biden administration has really begun. To give up on free speech is to despair of reason itself. (Misinformation, we read in the New York Times, is impervious to critical thinking.) The people simply cannot be persuaded; something more forceful is in order; they must be guided by we, the enlightened; and the first step in such a program is to shut off America’s many burbling fountains of bad takes.

Let me confess: every time I read one of these stories calling on us to get over free speech or calling on Mark Zuckerberg to press that big red “mute” button on our political opponents, I feel a wave of incredulity sweep over me. Liberals believe in liberty, I tell myself. This can’t really be happening here in the USA. But, folks, it is happening. And the folly of it all is beyond belief. To say that this will give the right an issue to campaign on is almost too obvious. To point out that it will play straight into the right’s class-based grievance-fantasies requires only a little more sophistication. To say that it is a betrayal of everything we were taught liberalism stood for – a betrayal that we will spend years living down – may be too complex a thought for our punditburo to consider, but it is nevertheless true.

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“..journalism which unduly inflames domestic divisions and/or undermines confidence in institutions ipso facto helps Russia..”

How The Censors Won (Michael Tracey)

[..] The star witness in that 2017 hearing, appearing right alongside former National Security Agency chief Keith Alexander, was Thomas Rid. Impressively presented by C-SPAN as a “War Studies Professor” at King’s College London, Rid made a passionate case that the US body politic had been woefully unprepared to contend with an onslaught of what he called “the dark art of disinformation.” [..] the three entities that Rid singled out for condemnation in the testimony — WikiLeaks, Twitter, and “over-eager journalists” — either capitulated to varying degrees in the ensuing years to his demands, or were otherwise neutralized. The founder of WikiLeaks was prosecuted by the US government and currently languishes in UK prison, which removed one of the central threats that so troubled Rid.

Twitter, whose founder once espoused a relatively maximalist conception of free speech (at least compared to other social media companies) drastically changed its philosophy on such issues — embarking on repeat banning sprees, suppressing newsworthy materials falsely classified as “Russian disinformation” just weeks before the 2020 election, and eventually purging the sitting president from the platform. Even more excitingly for Rid, elite journalists’ attitude toward the alleged menace of “disinformation” became increasingly indistinguishable from his own. In the years since that 2017 testimony, it was more and more the journalists themselves who led the charge in demanding censorship to curtail supposed “disinformation,” especially if they could somehow speciously link such “disinformation” to “harassment” and/or “violence.”

And the “over-eagerness” of journalists to report newsworthy information that Rid had condemned was replaced by journalists instead harboring extreme paranoia about being accused of aiding scary foreign influence campaigns — and thereby turning into “unwitting agents” of those scary foreigners. That created a new industry-wide taboo against doing anything which may be perceived as assisting in the dissemination of unjustly “hacked” materials, even if those materials are authentic and expose the malfeasant conduct of powerful officials.

[..] The most telling part of the “Intelligence Community Assessment” was its contention that a key tactic of Russia is “exacerbating sociopolitical divisions in the US.” Variations on this Rid-adjacent theme have frequently percolated in elite discussions of the horrors of “Russian interference” since 2016: the idea that Russia seeks to gain world domination by inflaming domestic divisions in the US and undermining confidence in US institutions, and so journalism which unduly inflames domestic divisions and/or undermines confidence in institutions ipso facto helps Russia.

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“Nearly all television—network and cable—is a Democratic Party trumpet..”

Federal Judge Alleges Democrats Control Almost All Major News Outlets (ZH)

A federal judge this week said that the Democrat Party is close to controlling the press as he detailed what he described as shocking bias against Republicans. D.C. Circuit Court Judge Laurence Silberman outlined his opposition to the Supreme Court’s key decision in 1964 in New York Times v. Sullivan, which has since protected many media outlets from lawsuits. Silberman, a Reagan appointee, wrote that the ruling is “a threat to American Democracy” and must be overturned. “The increased power of the press is so dangerous today because we are very close to one-party control of these institutions. Our court was once concerned about the institutional consolidation of the press leading to a ‘bland and homogenous’ marketplace of ideas. It turns out that ideological consolidation of the press (helped along by economic consolidation) is the far greater threat,” he continued.


“Although the bias against the Republican Party—not just controversial individuals—is rather shocking today, this is not new; it is a long-term, secular trend going back at least to the ’70s. (I do not mean to defend or criticize the behavior of any particular politician). Two of the three most influential papers (at least historically), The New York Times and The Washington Post, are virtually Democratic Party broadsheets. And the news section of The Wall Street Journal leans in the same direction. The orientation of these three papers is followed by The Associated Press and most large papers across the country (such as the Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, and Boston Globe). Nearly all television—network and cable—is a Democratic Party trumpet. Even the government-supported National Public Radio follows along,” he added.

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Project Veritas hardly ever loses a suit.

NYT Used ‘Deceptive Disinformation’ To Smear Project Veritas – Judge (RT)

A defamation suit from Project Veritas against the New York Times is moving forward, as a judge has ruled the newspaper posed opinion as fact in their coverage of the conservative news outlet. A New York Supreme Court judge handed Veritas, known for its undercover and whistleblowing videos, a big “win” this week, allowing a defamation suit against the paper and two reporters to proceed forward. In the ruling denying a motion to dismiss the suit, the Times was accused of acting with “actual malice” and “reckless disregard” in multiple articles covering a 2020 video report from Veritas on alleged illegal voting practices taking place in Minnesota. It was not the only voter fraud allegation Veritas covered in 2020, with one video expose actually leading to the arrest of a Texas political consultant on charges of election fraud and illegal voting.


In the Minnesota video, multiple people are seen taking part in or discussing ballot harvesting and linking the act to Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota). The report alleged ballots were being paid for and even filled out for voters to favor certain candidates. One ballot harvester featured in the video, Liban Osman, has since claimed footage of him was heavily edited and that he was offered money to connect the alleged fraud to Omar – an allegation Project Veritas denied. The five Times articles in question called Veritas’ Minnesota videos deceptive, but Justice Charles Wood determined this was not fact, but rather opinion from reporters Maggie Astor and Tiffany Hsu. “The Articles that are the subject of this action called the Video ‘deceptive,’ but the dictionary definitions of ‘disinformation’ and ‘deceptive’ provided by defendants’ counsel certainly apply to Astor’s and Hsu’s failure to note that they injected their opinions in news articles, as they now claim,” he wrote in his decision.

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“..a 72-percent drop in the number of audits of those making more than $1 million. In all, 98 percent of those making more than $1 million did not face an audit last year.”

The IRS Is Letting Rich People Fleece Everyone Else (DP)

By some estimates, the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans manage to avoid paying about a quarter trillion dollars of owed taxes every single year. Now, new government data show that audits of the super-rich and large corporations have hit a new low, leaving billions of dollars of uncollected taxes at precisely a moment when lawmakers say new revenue is needed to fund infrastructure and climate investments. In response, two progressive Democratic lawmakers have authored legislation cracking down on tax evasion. The new Internal Revenue Service figures compiled by Syracuse University researchers show that in the last eight years, there has been a 72-percent drop in the number of audits of those making more than $1 million. In all, 98 percent of those making more than $1 million did not face an audit last year.


Source: Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse

Similarly, there has also been a 55-percent drop in the number of audits of America’s largest corporations. In 2012, almost all corporate giants were audited. In 2020, however, almost two thirds of those corporations were not subjected to audits. Amid this decline in scrutiny of the rich, a letter to the Biden administration from 88 progressive groups pointed out: “Since 2011, audit rates for millionaires, who are disproportionately white, have dropped more than twice as much as for taxpayers claiming the (Earned Income Tax Credit), who are disproportionately people of color. Audit coverage is now the heaviest in many low-income majority-Black counties.” The sharp reduction in audits of the rich contributes to the tax gap between the amount of taxes owed and paid.


In 2012, audits of wealthy individuals and large corporations recovered roughly $29 billion of revenue. Eight years later, the far fewer audits recovered less than $7 billion. IRS referrals for criminal prosecution and Justice Department tax convictions have both hit an all-time low. “At a time when Americans face growing economic inequality and financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the IRS is letting billions of dollars in tax revenue slip through its fingers,” wrote Syracuse researchers. “As public attention focuses on how the country can restore faith in our democratic institutions, one area that should not be overlooked is how the nation can better ensure that our income tax laws are fairly and effectively administered.”

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“The requirements of international law and treaties, as well as decisions of international bodies, can act on the territory of Russia only to the extent that they do not entail restrictions on the rights and liberties of man and citizen, and do not contradict our constitution../”

Russia Set For Showdown With International Law Over Yukos & Navalny (RT)

What matters more: Rulings from overseas courts, or laws made by politicians back home? That’s the question Russian officials are weighing up, after a string of court orders they say are at odds with the country’s own principles. An international legal battle over the collapsed Yukos oil empire has been raging for more than a decade in courts across the world, most notably in the Netherlands and the US. A record-breaking $57 billion legal bill now hangs in the balance. Former shareholders in the now-defunct company accuse the Russian government, which regards them as oligarchs acting in bad faith, of “appropriating” its assets and causing it to go bankrupt. Appealing initial decisions by a Dutch tribunal in favor of the claimants, the country’s lawyers have said that judges had failed to take into account Russian laws against corruption and fraud.

According to Russian Justice Minister Konstantin Chuychenko, the case is part of a “legal war” being waged against the country in international courts. “The situation is very difficult and serious,” he said. “Russia must adequately defend itself, and sometimes even attack back.” Quite how the state might strike back became clear in December, when the Constitutional Court, one of its highest judicial bodies, ruled that Moscow should refuse to pay the colossal sum if it loses the latest ongoing appeal over Yukos. The case is being litigated under the terms of the Energy Charter Treaty, which Russia signed up to but never ratified, with foreign courts insisting they still have jurisdiction. The Russian judges claim that entering into the pact and supposedly agreeing to foreign mediation broke a fundamental provision of the country’s constitution.

Specifically, judges said, subjugating national laws to international rulings is against those principles, and therefore, when Boris Yeltsin’s government entered into the treaty in 1994, it did so on an invalid basis. No leader, the court claimed, has the right to trade away the sovereign right of self-determination, or to “challenge the competence” of Russian courts. If the judges in The Hague eventually uphold the decision to hand the multibillion-dollar sum to those who lost cash after the collapse of Yukos, stumping up the funds would therefore be optional, the ruling insists. This decision would effectively cut Moscow free from any obligations to foreign courts under the terms of treaties it might have signed, and acting on it would put the country on a collision course with the West, which could look to take unilateral action to enforce any settlement.

[..] Speaking ahead of a national vote on the constitution last year, President Vladimir Putin set out in no uncertain terms that he views domestic laws as more important than overseas rulings, a position that he shares at times with leaders in the US and China. “I believe that the time has come to make some changes,” he said, “which directly guarantees the priority of the Russian constitution in our legal environment.” “The requirements of international law and treaties, as well as decisions of international bodies, can act on the territory of Russia only to the extent that they do not entail restrictions on the rights and liberties of man and citizen, and do not contradict our constitution,” Putin added.

[..] Earlier this year, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ordered the country to release jailed opposition figure Alexey Navalny. The anti-corruption activist is serving time in prison after being found guilty of breaching the terms of a three-and-a-half-year suspended sentence for fraud. In a statement, the Strasbourg-based court said “a Chamber of Seven judges of the Court decided… to indicate to the Government of Russia… to release the applicant. This measure shall apply with immediate effect.” However, the country’s Justice Ministry rejected the calls outright, saying that they were “unenforceable” and unprecedented for a number of reasons. “Firstly, this is a clear and gross interference in the activities of the judiciary of a sovereign state. Secondly, this demand is unreasonable and unlawful, since… it does not include a single rule of law that would allow the court to make such a decision.”

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