Dec 042022

Paul Gauguin Road in Tahiti 1891


How’s the War on Truth Going? (Jim Kunstler)
The Trumpification of Elon Musk (RCP)
“A Cautionary Tale for Everyone”: The Media Mob Turns on Taibbi (Turley)
‘Twitter Files’ Make It Impossible For Democrats To Deny Their Censorship (RT)
“Damning”: The Twitter Files And The FBI (Techno Fog)
New Zealand Admits It Has Direct Access To Facebook Takedown Portal (RTN)
Apple and China Want to Delete Apps on Your Phone (Flynn)
Macron Talks Security Guarantees For Russia (RT)
Russia Forms ‘Shadow Fleet’ To Bypass Oil Sanctions (RT)
Germany ‘Sleepwalking’ Into New Migration Crisis – Top EU MP (RT)
UN Ignores Abuse Of Ukrainian Women In Sweden – Moscow (RT)
In The End The $ Goes To Zero And The US Defaults (Von Greyerz)
Not Even N95 Masks Work To Stop Covid (Miller)



“In past 30d, Europe experienced a Dunkelflaute, a period of little wind or sunlight. During that period, 4GW installed nuclear produced as much power as 125GW installed wind & solar. Coal kept lights on. Both sources are scheduled to be turned off. Vorsprung durch Technik.”



The Big Biden Circus





Kyoto University Professor Fukushima Vax Truth Bombs “We need to stop The Vax rollout and investigate all the Cases” “You have Vaxxed so many people. Yet, less than 10% of the Ministry of Health who are leading the vax campaign have been vaxxed.”








“..human nature has not changed so much in ten thousand years, despite the discoveries of Prozac and plant-based meat..”

How’s the War on Truth Going? (Jim Kunstler)

Barreling down to Christmas and the bitter butt end of a bad year, a primal fear of the deepening darkness makes people desperate — another reminder that human nature has not changed so much in ten thousand years, despite the discoveries of Prozac and plant-based meat. Yet Freud was right: death has its attractions for tormented minds. Thus, our nation appears to hasten to its own funeral. Can anyone actually grok how “progressive” thinking works these days? This faction now in charge of so many things has decided in the starkest terms that freedom of speech has got to go. For some years, the Party of Chaos had achieved such exquisite control of all national debate by seizing the dials and toggles of social media that they made reality itself their hostage. The truth was only what they said it was, and anyone who said otherwise got banished, cancelled, and even destroyed. There seemed to be no way to overcome this death grip on the process of consensus, the formation of a coherent collective idea about what is going on in the world. And so, any number of scams could be run on the people of this land.

The Woke-Jacobins could rig elections in plain sight. They could surreptitiously suspend due process of law when it suited them. They could send national police thugs to your door at five-o’clock in the morning with riot guns, body armor, flash bangs, and bogus warrants. They could take your livelihoods, your freedom to move about, your childrens’ minds and bodies, and your dignity. Finally, they could take your life with false vaccines — and, unlike the Nazis in 1944, get the private sector to dispose of the corpses. And now a struggle ensues over the relationship between the truth and the making of a consensus. Elon Musk bought Twitter — the horror! — and methodically set about to liberate this new digital “public square” from insidious and nefarious manipulation.

It’s not a trifling matter, of course, but it’s amusing to watch Elon play with our nation’s overlords; and even more entertaining to see these tyrants strain and bluster to justify their war against free speech. How did the cognitive elite, America’s thinking class — the law professors, the editors and pundits, the public intellectuals, the managers of most everything — ever find themselves so self-owned in idiocy? [..] So now, one big truth has come nakedly into the open: the Left is at war with the First Amendment to the Constitution. Free speech, they say repeatedly now, makes our democracy unsafe. It can’t be allowed. They say that because they don’t have a better argument. The safety talking-point is a shopworn cliché from their grab-bag of Woke shibboleths that the public is sick of hearing. Anyone with half a brain can see how transparently dishonest and stupid it is. It’s not going over well, even among a people so sorely gaslighted as the USA in late 2022.

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“This was a soft coup, a nonviolent version of Jan. 6 that was far more dangerous than the Capitol riot.”

The Trumpification of Elon Musk (RCP)

The relentless attacks on Elon Musk since he purchased Twitter should be familiar to most Americans. It’s exactly what Democrats and their media and corporate allies did to demonize Donald Trump. The McCarthyite formula is simple: Claim you are defending high-minded principles (Democracy! The rule of law! Civil discourse!) to justify efforts to delegitimize someone you’ve identified as a political opponent. Democrats denied Trump’s presidency from day one; Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden themselves declared for years that he had stolen the 2016 election. In the name of election integrity, Democrats turned a bogus conspiracy theory cooked up by Clinton’s campaign about Russian collusion into years of official investigations that undermined and tainted Trump.

When Special Counsel Robert Mueller proved that a lie, Democrats immediately seized on a few innocuous sentences in a Trump phone call with a foreign leader to launch just the third presidential impeachment in U.S. history. Those events are well-known, but ponder them for a moment. This was a soft coup, a nonviolent version of Jan. 6 that was far more dangerous than the Capitol riot. The effort to remove a lawfully elected president was planned and orchestrated by officials at the highest level of government and the media. While Jan. 6 was a one-off eruption of crazed anger, the false attacks on Trump edged our political discourse toward Orwellian Newspeak by presenting lies and smears as ringing defenses of sacred constitutional values.

The ongoing attacks against Musk are following the same playbook. The man once hailed by liberals as a genius for developing electric vehicles is now Public Enemy No. 1 because he says Twitter should allow more free speech. Ponder that as well: Musk’s enemies are casting him as a threat to the country because of his commitment to one of America’s most cherished freedoms. Progressives have abandoned their longstanding anti-corporate stance to argue that an unelected, unaccountable company must aggressively censor the vox populi. We saw the same dizzying turnabout in Russiagate, where the left abandoned its historic defense of Russia to cast dealings with that nation as un-American (making Joe McCarthy their new “Uncle Joe”).

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“America says go ahead and die, but just don’t die on my lawn.”

“A Cautionary Tale for Everyone”: The Media Mob Turns on Taibbi (Turley)

No one is suggesting that the New York Post should receive a Pulitzer Prize for its long fight to prove the truth about the Hunter Biden laptop. Despite an alliance of most of the media and political establishment arrayed against it, the New York Post fought censorship and unrelenting attacks to bring this massive influence peddling operation to light. (Of course, the New York Times and Washington Post can keep Pulitzer Prizes for reporting on debunked Russian collusion claims created and pushed by the Clinton campaign). In the case of journalist Matt Taibbi, his analysis of thousands of documents has met with the standard scorched earth campaign from liberal reporters and pundits.

As discussed in today’s Hill column, the document dump confirmed what had long been suspected: Biden and Democratic party officials succeeded in getting Twitter to block the New York Post story and suspend those who even tried to retweet or link to the story before the election. I will not repeat the content of those emails on how Twitter “handled” demands from the Biden campaign and the DNC for censorship. Musk gave the material to Taibbi to synthesize the voluminous record. That is when the familiar media flash mob formed. NBC Reporter Ben Collins attacked Taibbi on Twitter and said “Imagine throwing it all away to do PR work for the richest person in the world. Humiliating s***.” New York Times contributor Wajahat Ali also attacked Taibbi:

“Matt Taibbi…what sad, disgraceful downfall. I swear, kids, he did good work back in the day. Should be a cautionary tale for everyone. Selling your soul for the richest white nationalist on Earth. Well, he’ll eat well for the rest of his life I guess. But is it worth it?” So Taibbi’s reported downfall as a writer is due to his role in disclosing a massive censorship system operated at the direction or behest of one political party and one political family. He is “disgraceful” because he is suggesting that the media and social media companies should not have censored a story on a multimillion dollar influence peddling scheme run by the Biden family.

Taibbi is not alone in such disgrace, according to Ali. He has also attacked former New York Times writer Bari Weiss, including for her statement that she was tired of the pandemic as being somehow racist. (“It reflects America’s cruelty, right?…we have also had cruelty, White supremacy, misogyny. America says go ahead and die, but just don’t die on my lawn.”)

Tucker Twitter

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“Twitter acting by itself to suppress free speech is not a 1st amendment violation, but acting under orders from the government to suppress free speech, with no judicial review, is.”

‘Twitter Files’ Make It Impossible For Democrats To Deny Their Censorship (RT)

The refusal to report on the story was so blatant that two years since the exposé, outlets such as the New York Times and Washington Post, finally admitted that the laptop and its contents are real, only to offer even more cover for Joe Biden. Both papers had joined in the drive to suppress reporting on the laptop. One of the lines of defense was to play it up as “Russian disinformation,” citing dozens of former intel officials who cast doubt on its provenance. This type of decision-making by the media is also concerning, as it set a dangerous precedent for future elections. If the media can decide to ignore certain stories, regardless of their potential significance or importance, then it is possible that other stories of similar magnitude could go unreported.

Enter Elon Musk. Following his takeover and new ownership of Twitter – a platform that participated in the suppression of the report – Musk publicly announced his decision to reveal what happened behind the scenes at the San Francisco-based social media company when the Hunter laptop report dropped. A series of tweets by independent journalist Matt Taibbi, using materials provided by Elon Musk, details how the company “just freelanced” its decision to censor the bombshell New York Post report in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election. The emails reveal how chaos and confusion reigned at the platform in the immediate aftermath of the report. Top-level Twitter executives discussed how to suppress the story, ultimately deciding to shut it down using policies enacted in 2018, created in response to Donald Trump’s presidential victory in 2016. The decision, according to Taibbi, was taken without the knowledge of then-CEO Jack Dorsey.

[..] For now, it is unclear what kind of legal action could be taken against all of the parties involved in Big Tech’s suppression of the New York Post report. However, Musk stated that “Twitter acting by itself to suppress free speech is not a 1st amendment violation, but acting under orders from the government to suppress free speech, with no judicial review, is.” Musk asked: “If this isn’t a violation of the Constitution’s First Amendment, what is?” Even if some of the revelations were not necessarily news to anyone who’s followed the story closely, the contents of the emails prove what many have suspected but have never been able to prove.

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“..the lies of the FBI to keep politically damaging – and true – material away from Americans..”

“Damning”: The Twitter Files And The FBI (Techno Fog)

As Miranda Devine observed today, there is much more to be divulged. Specifically, the FBI’s meddling in the 2020 election and the FBI’s pressure of social media companies, including Facebook and Twitter, to essentially censor the Hunter Biden story. It’s the story of FBI Supervisory Special Agent Elvis Chan, who recently testified he was part of that effort: “During the deposition, Chan said that he, along with the FBI’s Foreign Influence Task Force and senior Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency officials, had weekly meetings with major social media companies to warn against Russian disinformation attempts ahead of the 2020 election, according to a source in the Missouri attorney general’s office.”

These FBI warnings had to do with the potential Russian “hack and dump” or “hack and leak” of sensitive materials. And they may have contributed to Twitter’s assessment that the Hunter Biden materials may have been hacked, justifying Twitter’s censorship of the story. FBI Director Christopher Wray actually took pride in these efforts, admitting to the agency’s involvement with social media companies “to make sure that their platforms are not used by foreign adversaries to spread disinformation and propaganda.” The censorship was directed from the top. Not that any of this matters to much of the left. The clichés started once the story was posted. Twitter’s former former head of trust and safety, Yoel Roth, complained that the leaks were essentially “violence” and put the censors in danger.

The media’s response to the Twitter File story was equally predictable and boring. It was a non-story, it was public relations for the world’s richest man. They misrepresented the leak, ignored the merits, downplayed the significance of the Hunter Biden story by focusing on scandalous photos and not corruption and influence peddling and tax evasion and violations of federal law, and criticized Taibbi for posting the story on Twitter. Undertones of jealousy and resentment. As if we expected anything else. If their attacks are anything, they’re unoriginal. By this time we know what they’re gonna say before they say it. Thankfully, we were able to see the documents for themselves. They’re damning, demonstrating the danger of the political control of social media.

The DNC and Biden Team knew they had friends at Twitter who would do their bidding during the election. And Twitter lied to the FEC about that influence. But that’s just at the surface. There’s something worse underneath it all, hidden from public: governmental influence and coercion over social media platforms, and the lies of the FBI to keep politically damaging – and true – material away from Americans. It’s the massive “censorship enterprise” by the Federal Government. It’s the one-sided influence operation on American soil. (The CIA would be proud.) It was there in 2016, and it continued through the 2020 election to the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic and the development of the COVID-19 vaccines. And it’s slowly coming into view.

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Big brother.

New Zealand Admits It Has Direct Access To Facebook Takedown Portal (RTN)

New Zealand’s government has officially admitted that it has partner access to Facebook’s controversial content takedown portal. This portal is designed specifically for government agencies to flag content to Facebook for censorship. According to The Intercept, which reported on the portal in October, government partners can also use the portal to “report disinformation directly” to Facebook. And in a recent response to a New Zealand Official Information Act (OIA) request, which asked whether the government has partner access to Facebook’s takedown portal, the New Zealand government confirmed that the Department of Internal Affairs has access. While this was the only government department that was confirmed to have access to the portal, the OIA response also said “we cannot advise if any other government agency has access to the takedown portal.” We obtained a copy of the OIA response for you here.

The OIA response didn’t detail how much content had been censored via this Facebook takedown portal. However, other reports on similar types of backdoor content takedown arrangements between governments and Big Tech have shown that governments regularly use them to target legal content such as parody accounts, accounts questioning the effectiveness of Covid vaccines, and so-called election misinformation.” Publicly, the New Zealand government has endorsed the censorship of legal content with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern saying “disinformation” should be regulated like guns, bombs, and nuclear weapons. Big Tech companies have also agreed to a censorship pact in the country where they suppress “misinformation” and “harmful content.”

Most other governments haven’t admitted that they have access to these portals. However, last year The White House did admit that the United States (US) Surgeon General’s Office is flagging posts for Facebook to censor. The Intercept’s report on this Facebook content takedown portal claimed that several other United States (US) government agencies have access to the portal, including the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

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“..big sister is watching!”

Apple and China Want to Delete Apps on Your Phone (Flynn)

In China, authoritarians flood Twitter with ads for prostitutes and pornography in an effort to prevent users from obtaining information about protests. Authoritarians in the United States threaten to remove Twitter from more than 1.5 billion devices worldwide. “Apple has also threatened to withhold Twitter from its App Store,” Elon Musk tweeted, “but won’t tell us why.” The powerful few want to impede the free flow of information to the vulnerable many. Suppression strikes intelligent observers as not a Chinese thing but a fetish of the powerful in whatever nation they reside. It appears cruder and more thuggish in China, and more passive-aggressive and sophisticated in the United States. But whether the state or a monopoly suppresses expression, does the crushing effect of it on a free society really differ?

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre spoke of “monitoring” and “keeping a close eye” on Twitter (big sister is watching!), which, she claims, bears a responsibility to “take action” against “misinformation” and “hate.” Does not the federal government bear a responsibility to ensure that the United States remains a free society? Instead of breaking out of the stranglehold Apple and Google have placed upon the information that we consume, the White House publicly nudges tech companies to censor. Traditionally, the federal government assumed a massive role in ensuring, particularly when it came to communications, that no company controlled too much of the market share.

During the 1940s, the feds forced NBC’s Blue Network to separate from the parent company. It eventually became NBC’s competitor ABC. Later, after decades of litigation, the government broke up the Bell System into the seven “Baby Bells” (four of which once again folded into “Ma Bell,” otherwise known as AT&T). This similarly resulted in a competitor to the monopoly in Verizon. Now people in positions of power cheer on the consolidation of information. Instead of breaking out of the stranglehold Apple and Google have placed upon the information that we consume, the White House publicly nudges tech companies to censor. Privately, we may learn that political actors do much more than nudge.

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The west is not capable of discussing an outcome where Russia does not lose. That is what keeps the war going.

Macron Talks Security Guarantees For Russia (RT)

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Saturday that NATO should weigh on eventual guarantees for Russia’s security in the settlement of the conflict in Ukraine. Macron is the second leader of the EU country this week to openly discuss Europe’s future relationship with Russia. In an interview with France’s TF1 and LCI networks, Macron described his meeting with US President Joe Biden this week as a “success,” adding that the two leaders had begun to discuss what “the peace” following the ongoing conflict would look like. Macron acknowledged Russian President Vladimir Putin’s concern that “NATO will deploy weapons that will threaten Russia,” and said that members of the US-led alliance “need to prepare” to offer “guarantees of the security of the Russian Federation” when Moscow joins Kiev and the West at the negotiating table.

However, while Macron focused on the peace settlement, he pledged to “do the maximum” to bolster Kiev’s military in the meantime. Ukraine abruptly withdrew from talks with Russia in April. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has since outlawed negotiations with Moscow and declared his intention to capture the Russian territory of Crimea. While the Russian Foreign Ministry states it remains open to resuming negotiations with Kiev, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in October that other parties will have to be involved, as any agreement between Ukraine and Russia would be “instantly canceled upon orders” from the West. Macron is not the only leader of an EU nation to publicly discuss a potential post-conflict arrangement in recent days.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told the Berlin Security Forum on Wednesday that while his country would likely never return to its pre-2022 “partnership” with Russia, Germany would be willing to discuss arms control and missile deployment treaties with Moscow in the future. Such agreements, he said, formed “the basis for the peace and security order” in Europe since the end of the Cold War. Like Macron, however, Scholz promised to keep the supply of arms to Ukraine flowing “for as long as it takes,” a phrase that both leaders, as well as Biden, have frequently used when referring to their multibillion-dollar arms shipments to Kiev. Russia has repeatedly cautioned that these deliveries risk prolonging the conflict, while making the West a de-facto participant.

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“Western companies will be prohibited from insuring or financing vessels carrying Russian crude unless it is sold for under $60 per barrel..”

Russia Forms ‘Shadow Fleet’ To Bypass Oil Sanctions (RT)

Russia has assembled a ‘shadow fleet’ to circumvent Western oil sanctions, the Financial Times claimed on Saturday. According to the outlet, Moscow has “quietly amassed a fleet of over 100 aging tankers.” Citing the energy consultancy Rystad, FT reported that Russia has taken control of 103 tankers since the start of the year, either by repurposing ships previously involved in conveying oil cargo to and from Iran or Venezuela or by purchasing tankers outright. On Friday, the EU and G7 finally agreed to cap the price of seaborne Russian crude at $60 per barrel. The decision came after weeks of argument between countries, who thought the proposed cap was “too generous,” such as Poland and the Baltic states, and some maritime nations, including Greece, who wanted the ceiling to be set at around $70 per barrel.

Western companies will be prohibited from insuring or financing vessels carrying Russian crude unless it is sold for under $60 per barrel under the new rules, which Moscow has made clear it does not plan to accept. The head of VTB Bank, Andrei Kostin, said in October that Russia had to spend “at least 1 trillion rubles ($16.2 billion)” on “the tanker fleet’s expansion.” Western analysts interpreted this statement to mean that Moscow was investing in very large crude carriers (VLCCs, which can hold as many as 2 million barrels of crude each), Suezmax tankers (which carry as many as 1 million barrels each), and Aframax tankers (which hold as many as 700,000 barrels each).

According to FT, international observers have commented that Russia will likely use its “shadow fleet” of aging oil tankers to sell growing volumes of energy to countries like India, China, and Türkiye that are not subject to EU or US sanctions and other trading restrictions. On Saturday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow is not planning to recognize a Western-imposed price cap on Russian seaborne oil exports. He added that the government is currently carrying out a review of the situation.

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“..we have to be ready for a large number of Ukrainians coming to the EU this winter – and many of them to Germany.”

Germany ‘Sleepwalking’ Into New Migration Crisis – Top EU MP (RT)

Germany is facing a new refugee influx fueled by the Ukraine conflict and the country is doing nothing to prepare for it, Manfred Weber, the president of the European People’s Party (EPP), said on Saturday. Speaking to Welt am Sonntag newspaper, Weber, who is also the leader of the EPP Group in the European Parliament, claimed that Germany “is sleepwalking into a new migration crisis.” To prove his point, he said that accommodation centers in Germany were already full, with municipal authorities in a number of other European countries under strain as well. The politician stressed that due to the destruction of Ukrainian energy infrastructure by Russian strikes, “we have to be ready for a large number of Ukrainians coming to the EU this winter – and many of them to Germany.”

“I’m afraid we will experience a dramatic exodus this winter,” he said. It is possible that Germany will have to accommodate Ukrainians in gyms, as well as restricting school and business activities to handle the crisis, Weber noted. “Germany is not prepared for this situation. The federal government simply ignores the challenges,” he added. Russian strikes on Ukraine’s power plants have knocked out a significant portion of the country’s energy grid. The bombardments follow Moscow’s accusation that Kiev conducted “terrorist attacks” on Russian infrastructure, including the strategic Crimean Bridge.

Weber also addressed the issue of refugees coming to Europe from Africa via Italy. According to him, Germany should help Italy handle the crisis not through supporting rescue efforts, but rather by organizing joint European patrols “at the external borders of the Mediterranean.” “If you do not have a visa, a passport or a reason for asylum, you should be returned immediately,” he said. In recent months, various European countries have been stocking up on food and other supplies in anticipation of a winter influx of Ukrainian refugees. According to UN data, about 4.8 million refugees are currently registered with various national protection schemes in Europe, with almost eight million displaced Ukrainians recorded across Europe in total.

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“..Patten previously acknowledged during a prank call that her harsh “rape” claims concerning the Russian military were based solely on what Ukrainian officials had told her..”

UN Ignores Abuse Of Ukrainian Women In Sweden – Moscow (RT)

The UN and human rights bodies are turning a blind eye to reports of sexual exploitation of female Ukrainian refugees in Sweden, the spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, has said. In a post on Telegram on Saturday, Zakharova called attention to a statement made last month by the Swedish Gender Equality Agency, which sounded the alarm over “an increased risk of Ukrainian refugees being exposed to human trafficking, labor exploitation and prostitution in Sweden.” The police have been investigating some 20 such cases, but many more offenses remain unreported, according to the agency. There has also been a rise in the number of prostitutes from Ukraine in Sweden since the outbreak of the conflict between Kiev and Moscow in late February, it added.

The statement was widely reported by the Swedish media, “but no reaction from Kiev or the international community followed,” the spokeswoman pointed out. She noted how UN special representative on sexual violence Pramila Patten claimed in October that the Russian military has been pursuing a deliberate “rape strategy” during its military operation in Ukraine. The Foreign Ministry spokeswoman also recalled the former Ukrainian human rights commissioner, Lyudmila Denisova, who had been behind the claims of sexual abuse by Russian troops early in the conflict, but ended up being fired by Kiev in May. “Denisova admitted that she simply lied, ‘trying to persuade the world to provide weapons [to Ukraine] and put pressure on Russia,’” Zakharova wrote.

“The real threat to Ukrainian women doesn’t come from Russia, but awaits them in Europe,” the spokeswoman insisted. The UN and human rights bodies, however, “are silent because it’s not in their rules to draw attention to a real humanitarian problem; or because they are performing yet another political order,” Zakharova said. She added that neither option looked good. The spokeswoman also advised Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba to stop attacking Moscow and switch his attention to Stockholm. Patten previously acknowledged during a prank call that her harsh “rape” claims concerning the Russian military were based solely on what Ukrainian officials had told her and that she didn’t have any actual proof to back them up.

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“..every single currency has always gone to ZERO..”

In The End The $ Goes To Zero And The US Defaults (Von Greyerz)

If a country prints worthless debt that nobody will buy in a currency that no one wants to hold, the country has definitely defaulted whatever spin they put on it. In the next few years, not just US but all sovereign debt will only have one buyer which is the country that issues the debt. And every time a sovereign state buys its own debt, it has to issue more worthless debt that nobody will touch with a barge pole. Printing more money to pay for previous sins has never worked and never will. And this is how money dies, just like it has throughout history. The current monetary era started with the foundation of the Fed in 1913 and the acceleration of debt and currency debasement since 1971 when Nixon closed the gold window.

With just over 100 years into this era, it is now approaching the end, like they all do. Global currencies are already down 97-99% since 1971 and we can now expect the final 1-3% decline for all money to become virtually worthless. This is of course nothing new in history since every single currency has always gone to ZERO. We must of course remember that the final 1-3% move means a 100% fall from today. The final collapse is always the quickest so it could easily happen in the next 2-5 years. Let’s look at how it has all evolved.

Although US debt has increased virtually every year since 1930, the acceleration started in the late 1960s and 1970s. With gold backing the dollar and therefore most currencies UNTIL 1971, the ability to borrow more money was restricted without depleting the gold reserves. Since the gold standard prevented Nixon to print money and buy votes to stay in power, he conveniently got rid of those shackles “temporarily” as he declared on August 15, 1971. Politicians don’t change. Powell and Lagarde recently called the increase in inflation “transitory” but in spite of their bogus prediction, inflation has continued to rise.

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Why do we have to endlessly rehash what is already known? Does science really mean nothing anymore?

Not Even N95 Masks Work To Stop Covid (Miller)

The Experts™” have repeatedly tried to deflect from the failure of their policies with misdirection. The reason lockdowns didn’t work in the United States or the United Kingdom is because they weren’t strict enough, according to many in the expert community. Of course, their excuses have been conveniently ignored as China’s repressive zero COVID lockdowns have continued, with horrific consequences. Now that mass protests have broken out in the country that “The Experts™” revered for their COVID handling, there’s a massive effort to disregard their own previous advocacy. This is perhaps best exemplified by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who clearly used authoritarian measures to suppress the protests in his own country, while now supporting Chinese demonstrations.

The bewildering lack of awareness of their own hypocrisy seems to be a feature of COVID obsessed politicians and public health authorities. Another similar, oft-repeated assertion is that the failure of universal masking can be explained by the type of masks being used by the public. Even though the CDC and Dr. Fauci explicitly claimed that wearing anything to cover your face would be effective at preventing transmission, many have now quietly dismissed that messaging. Fauci specifically said that “cloth coverings work,” not just surgical or N95’s. Former Surgeon General Jerome Adams famously suggested that rolling up a t-shirt in front of your face would be effective protection.

Yet public health departments and the media are now highlighting the importance of “high quality,” “well fitted” masks. Their desperation to justify masking has led to remarkably poor studies being released to support their anti-science messaging. There is new research that has been released showing that masks are ineffective, regardless of type. And it’s not just new research, it’s high quality research. The Annals of Internal Medicine just published a randomized controlled trial comparing the ability of medical masks to prevent COVID infection to fit-tested N95’s.

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Tucker Carlson Today Beyond Bitcoin





Ryan Cole



Real photo of a male seahorse








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Oct 042020

Herbert Draper Lament for Icarus 1898



Is it still allowed to talk about COVID without mentioning Trump? I am not sure. And now I did it anyway. Nassim Taleb made an interesting point about that:



Though I don’t follow the news in the Netherlands much, I happened to see something the other day that I think is a “beautiful” example of why so many countries get their “measures” wrong, their lockdowns, facemasks etc.

First of all, they all screwed up their initial lockdowns, which pretty much were March-June all over. And second lockdowns are more something they like to threaten people with than actually considered options. Unless things really get out of hand, if for instance numbers of deaths suddenly increase a lot, but given the change towards infections occurring in much younger people than before, that is not likely. Plus, of course, no-one wants even more economic damage.

And now what you see is the politicians don’t know what to do anymore. They turn to “their scientists” again, but many have before given advice that is different from what they say now, that hasn’t worked, and that often contradicts what their colleagues in other countries say. And so everyone starts blaming “the people”.

But the people have mostly obeyed the lockdowns and become experts themselves, or so they think, and seen them go nowhere. That makes the positions of politicians and “experts” much weaker than it was 6-7 months ago. It’s about credibility, and they’ve squandered it. Why “must we listen to the scientists” if that does us no good?

The Netherlands, like many European countries, is in a second wave that is seeing many more new daily cases than in spring. Partly due to more testing, but not entirely:



The number of deaths does not show a similar trend, which can be contributed to the infections mostly occurring in much younger people, and of course a better understanding in medical circles of the virus. However, hospitals are still filling up much faster than in June-July, and many younger people, too, end up with damaged brains, lungs, hearts etc.



This recent chart of the difference between August and September infection numbers throughout Europe is skewed because of the insane increases in Hungary and Georgia, but it shows that a 300% increase was entirely normal in that timeframe.





So what now? The Dutch government came with a whole new set of measures starting October 2. Because people “don’t obey the rules”. And people increasingly say: maybe the rules are not right. By the way, facemasks are not mandatory there in stores and other public places, there is only an “urgent” government advice to wear them. That is different from many other nations. Here are the new measures per Google Translate:



• Work from home as much as possible.
Receive up to 3 guests at home.
– Children up to and including 12 years are not included.
You may meet with a group of 4 people.
– For example in a cinema or restaurant.

– Children up to and including 12 years are not included.
• A maximum of 30 people may be together in an indoor space.
– Children count.
• Cafes, bars and restaurants close at 10 p.m. You must be gone then. You can enter until 9 p.m.
– You provide your name and telephone number. If someone gets sick who has been in the restaurant or cafe, you will receive a call.
• You must make a reservation to visit a museum or library.
• Stores only allow customers if there is enough space.
• In supermarkets there will be special shopping hours for the elderly and the sick (people with poor health).
• People with a contact profession must register customers. For example hairdressers.



The first reaction that I have, and I’m sure I’m not the only one: Why 3 people as house guests and not 4? Why 4 people at a restaurant table and not 5, or 30 total in an indoor space? There are family members we haven’t seen since Christmas, but a birthday party is out?

Where do those numbers come from? Did you just make them up? Also, closing bars and restaurants at 10 pm is going to be the death knell for many of the few that are left. Is that worth it?

About that number of 4 people at a restaurant table, the next article from NLTimes about worries in the hospitality sector says that in neighboring Germany and Belgium, 10 people can sit at that same -or preferably a bigger- table. Are Dutch people supposed to drive to those countries if they have a party of 8?


Gov’t Advice To Wear Masks In Public Space Met With Skepticism

On Wednesday Prime Minister Mark Rutte issued the urgent advice for all Netherlands residents to wear masks in publicly accessible indoor spaces. This advice was met with skepticism, especially from the hospitality industry. Former RIVM director Roel Coutinho would rather have seen a mask obligation instead of advice.

Hospitality association KHN doubts whether the advice to wear masks in public makes sense, the association said in a press release. “The fact that there is still no scientific substantiation by the cabinet and RIVM about the proven usefulness of face masks certainly does not help to create and maintain support. Moreover, face masks still form an extra barrier to visiting establishments.”

If the government turns its advice into an obligation, the KHN wants the Netherlands to follow Germany and Belgium’s example. According to the association, in those countries up to 10 people are allowed at a restaurant table. “Then we will be open to it,” the association said. The KHN also wants extra financial support should masks become mandatory.

Roel Coutinho, who preceded Jaap van Dissel as head of public health institute RIVM, is pleased that the advice to wear masks indoors now applies to the whole of the Netherlands, but regrets that the government did not make it mandatory. “On the basis of all the literature, I am convinced that wearing a face mask is useful. But only advice makes it particularly difficult for people,” he said to Nieuwsuur. “An obligation, as is also happening in countries around us, gives everyone much more clarity.”

An obligation will also help the stores that have to enforce the face mask rule. “Because what exactly should those shops or supermarkets do?” Coutinho said. “Because it only concerns urgent advice, the responsibility now lies with shops, which makes it very difficult. An obligation is not always pleasant, but it is clear and easy to enforce.”


But the best part is the following, the initial piece that got me thinking about this. Turns out that at the same moment the government issues an “urgent” advice to wear them, with a threat of making them mandatory, its chief Infectious Diseases expert, the Dutch Fauci, says he sees little benefit is wearing non-medical masks. As, ironically, Fauci, who used to say they were useless, now calls them very beneficial. Google translate again:


Van Dissel Insists: Ordinary Face Masks Have Little Effect

The frequent use of masks in other countries, the pressure of public opinion in his own country, or even a direct appeal from his famous American counterpart Anthony Fauci: Jaap van Dissel sticks to his position. When asked, the director of Infectious Diseases at the RIVM repeats that, according to him, masks have “an exceptionally small effect” on the attempts to contain the spread of the corona virus. In an interview with the NOS, he calls the cabinet’s recent decision to urgently recommend masks in public indoor spaces, therefore primarily a political decision rather than one based on medical grounds.

Since the start of the corona crisis, Van Dissel has emphasized that he sees little benefit in wearing non-medical face masks, especially because it could evoke a sense of false security and possibly divert attention from other rules. Although he acknowledges that there are studies that signal a positive effect of face masks, he believes they are difficult to extrapolate to the corona crisis.

“For example, medical mouth masks were often used in those studies and measures such as the one and a half meters are not taken into account,” he explains. There are also studies that are less positive about masks, he says. “That leads us to consider that we have not given a positive advice about it. That is just the story. That another decision is taken, based on political considerations, that it should be so.”

In addition, according to Van Dissel, the alleged effectiveness of non-medical face masks is nothing compared to the usefulness of other measures such as keeping sufficient distance from each other, washing hands regularly and staying at home in case of complaints. Earlier this week, the Outbreak Management Team, the advisory body of the cabinet which Van Dissel chairs, made some adjustments to the advice on face masks for the first time.

For example, the OMT wrote that masks could be recommended in places where sufficient distance from each other cannot always be kept “such as in busy shops”. For the same reason, a mask has been mandatory in public transport since June. According to Van Dissel, the change in the OMT advice has nothing to do with a changed view of mouth masks, but more to do with people’s sense of safety. “Of course, as OMT, we have also realized that some people would prefer to wear a mouth mask. If someone feels safer, we are fine with that,” he says.


The government says: wear a mask, and its chief scientific adviser says: don’t bother. Great message. And people don’t miss that. I’ve said it before: every government today should have a generous supply of N95 masks ready. They don’t because their experts long said they were not necessary. While some keep claiming cloth masks are useful, but “more to do with people’s sense of safety”.

I don’t know about you, but all these people with these useless masks on where they’re not needed, like outside, don’t make me feel safe at all. They make me think I’m surrounded by fools. And is anyone going to believe that 4 at a table is better than 10? How can they when just across the border the opinion is so different? If you ask me, the time of being able to order your citizens around on what to do and what not, may be ending for many governments. And they have only themselves to blame.

The only realistic thing to do at this point appears to be to give people back their own responsibility. If only because taking it away from them didn’t work.




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Sep 062020
 September 6, 2020  Posted by at 7:03 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  12 Responses »

Joel Meyerowitz/Beetles + Huxley New York City 1978



Of course, because I’m a dreamer, I start off an essay like this with the idea that I should do an all-encompassing idea of COVID19, all around the world no less, for the rest of 2020, and beyond. Only to find that nobody, including me, even if I have a few advantages over most, could possibly do such a thing. So of necessity there’ll be this essay and many more to come. As the US elections set the world on fire.

I did make a list of what every government, every society and community should be ordering by now (and that would be already very late) Here they are: A billion rapid tests, a billion doses of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), a billion doses of zinc, a billion doses of Vitamin D, and a zillion N95 facemasks. (I am not a doctor, but we do have doctors on this platform.)

Rapid tests: these things have been available for months, but have been obstructed by guidelines that say every test must be PCR, which take a long time to produce results, which test positive on dead virus etc. etc. Whereas rapid tests (there are several options) detect a virus load when it’s most likely to infect a third person (the no. 1 thing you want to find!, and moreover show a result in minutes and cost a few pennies each (don’t fall for the $5 a test thing!). You can do a paper test for everyone every single day.

We have this, we got this, but we’re not doing it. The answer from the politicians who have failed to grasp this reality will be: another lockdown! But there won’t be another lockdown. Or, there will be in some locations, but what good is that if neighbors don’t lock down? More on that in a bit.

Hydroxychloroquine (or ivermectin) and zinc -combined if you will with an antibiotic- for those who are infected or close to it, combined with a substantial increase in everyone’s vitamin D levels in your population -right now, you already lost half a year!- will bring down death and suffering enormously. Don’t listen to your doctor, listen to us.

A bit of -potential- harsh reality came to us today through a report from Washington University’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. They predict total deaths to triple globally, and double in the US, in less than four months from today.


Total COVID19 Deaths Projected To Double In US, Triple in World By Jan. 1

U.S. deaths from the coronavirus will reach 410,000 by the end of the year, more than double the current death toll, and deaths could soar to 3,000 per day in December, the University of Washington’s health institute forecast on Friday. Deaths could be reduced by 30% if more Americans wore face masks as epidemiologists have advised, but mask-wearing is declining, the university’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation said. The U.S. death rate projected by the IHME model, which has been cited by the White House Coronavirus Task Force, would more than triple the current death rate of some 850 per day.

“We expect the daily death rate in the United States, because of seasonality and declining vigilance of the public, to reach nearly 3,000 a day in December,” the institute, which bills itself as an independent research center, said in an update of its periodic forecasts. “Cumulative deaths expected by January 1 are 410,000; this is 225,000 deaths from now until the end of the year,” the institute said. It previously projected 317,697 deaths by Dec. 1. The model’s outlook for the world was even more dire, with deaths projected to triple to 2.8 million by Jan. 1, 2021.

No, I won’t take back one word of what I’ve been saying about the best ways to tackle COVD19 over the past 8 months, for instance in April 15’s The Only Man Who Has A Clue about Nassim Taleb. He was still right, and that’s not going to change. But that doesn’t mean nothing has changed. Actually, a lot has.

Taleb’s approach, and that of his “co-conspirators” Yaneer Bar-Yam and Joe Norman, is as valid as it ever was, but that validity doesn’t last forever if it is not applied by those in charge of policy. It hasn’t been and today we’re way past the best-before date. Which, as we will see going forward, is highly unfortunate, because all the alternatives are -much- worse.

We’ve seen an entire world, and tons of governments in that world, caught with no blueprints and no playbooks for a coronavirus pandemic, despite having been warned about such a pandemic coming, for decades. And so they all went into “make it up as you go along” mode. With very little knowledge of what was going on, and what to expect.

With predictable failures as a result. But because the pandemic has largely played out on a national level, not international, they manage to keep their failures hidden behind a facade of “we listened to the best science”, “nobody could have seen this coming”, and “if only people had listened to (obeyed)” what we said all along.

As I explained in the Taleb piece, the first, the initial, scientists to refer to in a case like SARS-CoV-2 are not epidemiologists, because they are backward looking; they compare the little they know about a new virus with what they know about earlier ones. Even if it’s all essentially a mismatch.

Instead, the first people you consult are risk specialists; yes, like Taleb. To know what the -necessarily basic- steps are to take against something you know very little about, other than it is contagious and potentially lethal. One of the obvious steps is close your borders.Another is a lockdown. But a lockdown is not a lockdown is not a lockdown. If you don’t get it right, it’s useless, oppressive and even harmfully counterproductive.

That’s why blueprints and playbooks, written well before a pandemic happens, are so important. You should never leave those things up to politicians, who don’t understand the matter at hand, who will always have other interests in mind (the economy), and will therefore assemble a bunch of local epidemiologists in order to declare: we’re listening to science!

Most of these people mean well, but that’s not enough. And with that, we’re moving out of the summer time and into, what?, COVID 2.0? With Lockdowns 2.0? There is no need. Here’s what you do: Order a billion rapid tests, a billion doses of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), a billion doses of zinc, a billion doses of Vitamin D, and a zillion N95 facemasks.

Not the crappy bluish masks everyone’s wearing today, that’s just a symbolic thing, but get the real thing, for everyone. How many has your government offered to you to date, while spending billions of trillions on the effects of the virus? Really, politicians are always useless when it comes to emergencies, because that’s not what they get elected for.

And no, face masks are not useless, but they certainly are outside. The risk of you getting infected -or infecting someone- are infinitesimal on the street. Unless someone spits or coughs in your face, but if that happens, that bluish mask won’t do much good anyway. So when I see a photo like this, of Japanese girls en masse wearing almost useless masks (only because the others do it too), I can only think: why don’t we teach people what works and what doesn’t? (I see the same thing here in Athens a lot too)



But so, yeah if your government won’t protect you with a billion rapid tests, a billion doses of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), a billion doses of zinc, a billion doses of Vitamin D, and a zillion N95 facemasks., they’re going to be thinking Lockdown 2.0. And that is going to be a huge problem in many places. There are very big problems in Melbourne as we speak:


Melbourne Lockdown Extended By Two Weeks

A strict lockdown in the Australian city of Melbourne has been extended by two weeks, with officials saying new Covid-19 cases had not dropped enough. Victoria State Premier Daniel Andrews said the restrictions would be in place until 28 September, with a slight relaxation. A gradual easing of the measures will be implemented from October. The state has been the epicentre of the country’s second wave, accounting for 90% of Australia’s 753 deaths. Australia has recorded a total of 26,000 cases in a population of 25 million. The greater Melbourne area entered a second lockdown on 9 July after a rise in cases. A 5km (3 mile) travel limit and night time curfew was imposed while shops and businesses were closed. The current stage four lockdown was originally set to end on 13 September.

2nd lockdowns are going to be hell to pay, for governments, for their citizens, for their economies. And they don’t have to be. If just everyone gets out the Fauci, “experts”, mood., and their potential connections to Big Pharma. Vitamin D and zinc and HCS look very promising. So does the Russian vaccine, but we don’t want it because, well, it’s Russian, and even more because it would deprive Gilead et al of huge potential profits furnished by western governments.

No, not all lockdowns are terrible. But a lock down should last maximum 2 months, or you will needlessly destroy your economy. Thing is, you must make sure it’s real, effective and short, not some Swedish or Dutch half-lockdown, or any of the half-assed US ones. A lockdown is either a lockdown or it’s not. But we’ve already passed that fase. Lockdowns in most locations will simply no longer be accepted.

Facemasks can have a real potential, but just as with lockdowns, only when applied appropriately, at the right time and under the right circumstances. I don’t subscribe to the right wing US idea that it is all just a bad joke and a means to oppress people. But if you order people to wear masks outside, where the infection risk borders on zero, and you order churches closed but not demonstrations or Target, you just show you understand neither the virus not your people. And then try and claw that one back.

Once again: tell your government to order – and have available ASAP: a billion rapid tests, a billion doses of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), a billion doses of zinc, a billion doses of Vitamin D, and a zillion N95 facemasks. You may not be perfect, but your prospects are going to be a lot better than they are now.




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Aug 122020
 August 12, 2020  Posted by at 10:00 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  16 Responses »

Joel Meyerowitz Girl On A Scooter 1965


20 Countries Order One Billion Doses Of Russian COVID19 Vaccine (RT)
America’s Window Of Opportunity To Beat Back COVID19 Is Closing (STAT)
The Grifters, Chapter 2 – N95 Masks (Ben Hunt)
Wall Street Executives Are Glad Joe Biden Picked Kamala Harris (CNBC)
Cuomo Is Protecting His Wall Street Donors From Democratic Tax Bills (TMI)
UK Enters Recession As GDP Plunges By Record 20.4% In Q2 (CNBC)
What If Trump Won’t Leave? (IC)
John Solomon Calls For Creation Of New White House ‘Press Pool’ (JTN)
New Memos Show Relentless Pressure By Burisma On State Dept In 2016 (JTN)
Food Bank Strains Emerge As Economy Falls Off Fiscal Cliff (ZH)



The big thing today of course is Kamala Harris as VP candidate. I must say I don’t think I get it. There are tons of people expressing support, including the entire party, but far as I can see that doesn’t matter at all. Judge for yourselves, there are a few videos below.

What does matter, I think, is that Harris left the primaries last December because nobody voted for her, or like 2% did, after a highly publicized and very well-funded campaign.. People don’t like her! Simple. And those were the people in her own party!

This is not about issues, it’s intuition. Though Tulsi’s takedown of Harris in the debates can’t have helped.

You’re not going to turn that around dramatically by expressing support. It’s the purest gauge you can get, and then you just ignore that? Really, are we sure they want to win? This graph is from November 2019, before she dropped out. Even in her own California, she barely got 5%.




This is just funny:



Hmmm. Both global new cases and new deaths up quite a lot.



US cases look sort of okay, but deaths have almost tripled from the day before,. most since May 27.









And the FT graph I post sometimes doesn’t look great either:





Tulsi Kamala

Kamala DNA tests



Lots of people say it wasn’t tested properly and cannot be trusted. And it’s fine, don’t take it, see if we care. But don’t tell me the Russians are going to kill their own people.

20 Countries Order One Billion Doses Of Russian COVID19 Vaccine (RT)

A total of 20 nations from Latin America, the Middle East, and Asia have already requested doses of Russia’s breakthrough coronavirus vaccine, which was confirmed to be registered on Tuesday by Russian President Vladimir Putin. At a conference dedicated to the announcement of the vaccine’s registration, the CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) explained that it had already received orders for a billion doses. “Together with our foreign partners, we are ready to produce more than 500 million doses of the vaccine per year,” Kirill Dmitriev explained. Everything produced in Russia will be used domestically, and doses for use in other countries will be made abroad.

According to Dmitriev, the RDIF is also working on a humanitarian aid program for developing countries, with the aim of making the Covid-19 vaccine available in states that can’t afford to make or buy their own. Explaining that vaccination is an acute problem in the world’s poorest countries, Dmitriev said that the fund believes “people around the world should have equal access to a vaccine, regardless of their financial situation.” On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that the country had registered the world’s first Covid-19 vaccine. Named “Sputnik V,” the vaccine is due to enter mass production soon, and will be available to the general public from January 2021. Despite being registered, the vaccine will still go through more clinical trials in Russia and the Middle East.

Read more …

COVID waxes poetic: “..this winter could be Dickensianly bleak..”

America’s Window Of Opportunity To Beat Back COVID19 Is Closing (STAT)

The good news: The United States has a window of opportunity to beat back Covid-19 before things get much, much worse. The bad news: That window is rapidly closing. And the country seems unwilling or unable to seize the moment. Winter is coming. Winter means cold and flu season, which is all but sure to complicate the task of figuring out who is sick with Covid-19 and who is suffering from a less threatening respiratory tract infection. It also means that cherished outdoor freedoms that link us to pre-Covid life — pop-up restaurant patios, picnics in parks, trips to the beach — will soon be out of reach, at least in northern parts of the country.

Unless Americans use the dwindling weeks between now and the onset of “indoor weather” to tamp down transmission in the country, this winter could be Dickensianly bleak, public health experts warn. “I think November, December, January, February are going to be tough months in this country without a vaccine,” said Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Diseases Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. It is possible, of course, that some vaccines could be approved by then, thanks to historically rapid scientific work. But there is little prospect that vast numbers of Americans will be vaccinated in time to forestall the grim winter Osterholm and others foresee.

Human coronaviruses, the distant cold-causing cousins of the virus that causes Covid-19, circulate year-round. Now is typically the low season for transmission. But in this summer of America’s failed Covid-19 response, the SARS-CoV-2 virus is widespread across the country, and pandemic-weary Americans seem more interested in resuming pre-Covid lifestyles than in suppressing the virus to the point where schools can be reopened, and stay open, and restaurants, movie theaters, and gyms can function with some restrictions.

“We should be aiming for no transmission before we open the schools and we put kids in harm’s way — kids and teachers and their caregivers. And so, if that means no gym, no movie theaters, so be it,” said Caroline Buckee, associate director of the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “We seem to be choosing leisure activities now over children’s safety in a month’s time. And I cannot understand that tradeoff.”

Read more …

Ben Hunt has raised $1 million over the past half year for masks for health care workers. Because the system doesn’t function in the US after decades of neglect.

The Grifters, Chapter 2 – N95 Masks (Ben Hunt)

Last week, Mike Pence shook his finger at us and said that there were no outstanding requests on federal PPE stockpiles from any governor, and thus any urgent requests for N95 masks from doctors or nurses were isolated incidents to be quickly resolved by state authorities. SMACK goes the bag of oranges. In truth, both the supply and the distribution of N95 masks in the United States remains a national disgrace, a squandered opportunity to fight Covid with something other than death cultism or lockdown defeatism. In truth, what could have been our finest hour is turning into our worst. For the past six months, a big part of my life has revolved around getting PPE directly to doctors, nurses, EMTs, first responders, social workers and other frontline heroes in this war against Covid-19.

Thanks to the amazing generosity of donors big and small, we raised close to $1 million. Thanks to the inspired work of a dozen friends-for-life-most-of-whom-I-didn’t-even-know-before-this, we first set up an “underground railroad” of N95 and high-quality KN95 masks from China, and later a steady network of PPE suppliers. Thanks to the daily, unwavering commitment of a small team (literally my wife and daughter, literally working out of our garage), we’ve been able to distribute more than 120,000 medical respirators in batches of 100-200 to more than 1,100 hospitals, clinics, police departments, fire departments, prisons and shelters across 47 states. So far. We’ll get out another 4,000+ this week. And next week. And every week until we win this war.

Clear eyes. Full hearts. Can’t lose. Is the overall PPE situation for healthcare workers and first responders better today than it was in April? Absolutely. In April we were sending masks to desperate ER docs and nurses at major hospitals in the biggest cities in America. Today there is neither an urgent need nor even a shortage of PPE in these big city ERs and ICUs. Why not? Because, distribution of PPE from our massive federal and state stockpiles is designed for big cities and big hospital systems. Because that’s how the American system of trickle-down everything … in this case PPE … works.

Eventually, Andrew Cuomo sucks it up and asks Mike Pence for help, and eventually Mike Pence makes a call to FEMA, and eventually all the requisition forms get filled out and signed by all the right people at the governor’s office, and eventually a truckload of 1 million N95 masks makes the trip from the FEMA warehouse to the New York-Presbyterian warehouse, and eventually a NY-P van starts shuttling a pallet of masks every week to every NY-P hospital loading bay, and eventually the boxes of N95s get allocated to the individual medical departments. Eventually.

Read more …

‘Nuff said?!

Both Wall Street execs AND Black Lives Matter are happy about the same thing? One of them might want to do some thinking. She locked up a lot of young black people in California, for one thing.

Wall Street Executives Are Glad Joe Biden Picked Kamala Harris (CNBC)

Wall Street leaders on Tuesday cheered Joe Biden’s selection of Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate in the presidential election. Finance executives, confident the ticket has what it takes to topple President Donald Trump, raved about her experience in government, as well as her fundraising prowess. “I think it’s great,” said Marc Lasry, the CEO of investment firm Avenue Capital Group. “She’s going to help Joe immensely. He picked the perfect partner.” Lasry is also a part owner of the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks. Blair Effron, the co-founder of Centerview Partners, texted “GREAT CHOICE” to CNBC. Citigroup’s Ray McGuire sent a similar message.

When she ran for president last year, Harris saw contributions from executives in a wide range of industries, including film, TV, real estate and finance, according to data from the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. Her campaign finished raising close to $40 million. Harris, who dropped out of the race in December, opened up a joint fundraising committee with the Democratic National Committee earlier this year, allowing her to raise six figure checks that mainly went to the party as a whole. Harris, a former California attorney general, also overcame headwinds from a group of Biden allies who privately tried to block her from becoming the nominee for vice president.

Financial advisory firm Signum Global is already telling its clients that the choice of Harris reinforces the notion that the Democratic ticket is more moderate than progressive. Jon Henes, a partner at corporate restructuring firm Kirkland & Ellis who was Harris’ national finance chairman when she ran for president, told CNBC that the choice shows Biden’s strong judgement. He added that her supporters are ready to give Democrats the backing they need to defeat Trump. “Vice President Biden’s first decision is the perfect one and demonstrates his excellent judgement,” Henes said. “Kamala’s supporters will follow her lead and work non-stop to help Biden and Harris win this historic and critical election.”

Kamala Mnuchin

Read more …

So the party takes donations from donors that it then wants to raise new taxes on, and Cuomo fights his own party about it? A little confusing for a bear of little brain.

Cuomo Is Protecting His Wall Street Donors From Democratic Tax Bills (TMI)

In blocking his party’s push for new taxes on stock trades, capital gains and carried interest, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is protecting the financial industry that has delivered millions to his campaign and political operation, according to state records reviewed by TMI. That includes the single largest donor to the state Democratic party during Cuomo’s 2018 re-election bid, who just delivered large contributions to Cuomo as the governor has stymied the tax proposals. Last month, billionaire James Simons and his wife gave Cuomo $90,000. Simons is the founder of the hedge fund Renaissance Technologies, which could be subject to the new levies being pushed by New York Democratic legislators. In total, Cuomo has received over $280,000 from Simons and his family.

The Cuomo-controlled New York Democratic Party has received an additional $3.4 million from Simons. Cuomo’s political machine has received big donations from other hedge fund moguls including Dan Loeb ($197,000) and Stanley Druckenmiller ($60,800), who could also be impacted by the Democratic tax initiatives aimed at the financial industry. Democratic legislators have been pushing the tax measures to raise new revenues that they say could be used to prevent budget cuts to education, health care and other state programs. Disclosure records reviewed by TMI show that the financial industry has been actively lobbying on the tax proposals in Albany — and Cuomo has parroted their opposition to higher taxes on the rich.

“I literally talk to people all day long who are in their Hamptons house who also lived here, or in their Hudson Valley house or in their Connecticut weekend house,” the governor said on August 3, suggesting that billionaires and multimillionaires will leave New York if higher taxes on the wealthy go through. Michael Kink, the executive director of the labor-backed Strong Economy for All Coalition in New York, told TMI that Cuomo’s work to block progressive taxation is indicative of his warped priorities overall.

“A governor that’s connected to reality would be examining every single possible way of raising revenue in the time of crisis,” Kink said. “When you’re so close to someone like James Simons, that leads to you blocking the door to some of the biggest and most important sources of revenue. There’s a door called the billionaire’s tax – $5.5 billion a year. Cuomo strolls away from that door. Then there’s the stock transfer tax door which is $13 billion a year. The vast majority of people who would pay are the speculators who are diving in and out. James Simon, Dan Loeb, a lot of Cuomo’s major donors are the ones that would pay that tax.”

Read more …

What was that quote again before? Oh yes: “..this winter could be Dickensianly bleak..”

UK Enters Recession As GDP Plunges By Record 20.4% In Q2 (CNBC)

The U.K. economy contracted by 20.4% in the second quarter of 2020, compared to the previous three months, as coronavirus-induced lockdowns hammered activity, according to preliminary figures released Wednesday. GDP expanded by 8.7% in June as government lockdown measures eased, having shown a meek 1.8% recovery in May following April’s 20.4% contraction. The second-quarter plunge is the worst on record and follows a 2.2% contraction in the first quarter. Analysts had expected a fall of 20.5%, according to a Reuters poll. Two consecutive periods of contraction mean the British economy is now in a technical recession.

Services, construction and production all saw record quarterly falls, particularly in the sectors most exposed to government restrictions, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). “The economy began to bounce back in June with shops reopening, factories beginning to ramp up production and housebuilding continuing to recover,” ONS Deputy National Statistical for Economic Statistics Jonathan Athow said. “Despite this, GDP in June still remains a sixth below its level in February, before the virus struck.”

Read more …

Apart from RussiaRussia, the Mike Wallace interview also comes up again. Where he asks a question of Trump that he would never have (dared) ask of Obama or even George W. Why do people feel it was a proper questions to ask? I don’t feel it is. Has Trump ever before indicated he would not leave? Or is that just something people invented? Shouldn’t Wallace show respect because at least Trump showed up, something Biden still refuses to do? And if he does get Biden, will he ask that same question? Wallace has gone down in my book by a lot. Cheap clickbait stuff doesn’t become him.

WALLACE: But can you give a, can you give a direct answer you will accept the election?

TRUMP: I have to see. Look, you – I have to see. No, I’m not going to just say yes. I’m not going to say no, and I didn’t last time either.

What If Trump Won’t Leave? (IC)

Events in Charlottesville, Lafayette Square, and Portland have shown the country that President Donald Trump is prepared to do whatever it takes to keep power, including embracing militant white supremacists and using federal troops to tear gas and arrest peaceful protesters. His noxious proposal to postpone the elections is not the real threat to democracy. He has openly declared that he may not abide by the election results in a nationally televised interview on Fox News. Trump has a lot of tools at his disposal to steal the election if he loses, many of which he’s already putting into motion. Can he be stopped? We believe that he can be, but only if most Americans are willing to put their trust in people power — rather than courts, norms, and elites — to save democracy.

The evidence of the risk we face is impossible to ignore. Trump is questioning the legitimacy of an election that will rely on mail-in ballots, even though he himself has often voted absentee. He has threatened to withhold funding from states that are trying to make it easier for people to vote, and he is undermining the U.S. Postal Service, both of which are essential, especially in a pandemic. His Republican allies around the country have been passing voter ID laws, purging voter rolls, and cutting the number of polling places in urban areas, forcing people to stand in line for hours to exercise their right to vote. This is a war on voters who lean Democratic, specifically Black people, Latinos, Asian Americans, Native Americans, naturalized immigrants, poor people, and young people. We’ve already seen in Georgia and Wisconsin how these tactics play out on Election Day.

Trump’s administration has downplayed foreign interference in the elections that benefit him. He has given succor to white nationalist groups, and the Republican Party has deputized 50,000 “poll watchers” to intimidate minority voters on Election Day. This will be the first election since 1980 during which the Republican National Committee will not be bound by a federal consent decree that prohibited “ballot security” efforts whose real purpose was to intimidate and disenfranchise minority voters. Let’s be clear: Trump and the Republicans are already trying to steal the election.

Read more …

Like everything MSM, it’s become all about opinion -because clickbait-, not news.

John Solomon Calls For Creation Of New White House ‘Press Pool’ (JTN)

Just the News Founder and Editor-in-Chief John Solomon is calling for the creation of a new White House press pool, one that would practice authentic journalism by asking “the people’s questions” rather than participating in what Solomon claims is an atmosphere of “political effect.” Solomon was speaking to Matt Margolis on the podcast John Solomon Reports. Margolis, a conservative columnist and author, argues in his latest book “Airborne” that the American media has “weaponized the coronavirus against Donald Trump.” Margolis during the podcast argued that journalists at the White House press conference are in general “trying to create a narrative” instead of “trying to get the information.”

Solomon, in response, stated that White House officials need to move toward creating “a second White House press pool” in order to “create competition” and promote authentic journalism at the executive branch. The White House Correspondents Association “has had a monopoly on [the White House briefing room] for so long,” Solomon said, stating that the WHCA has engaged in effective censorship by the way it conducts press briefings. “They don’t ask the people’s questions anymore,” Solomon said, arguing that journalists are more likely now to ask “grandstanding” questions that fail to elicit useful information.

[..] Solomon, the former Washington assistant bureau chief for the Associated Press, said: “I almost never expressed an opinion. But since it’s a professional opinion about the state of the news media, it is time for this White House to create a pool.” “If done right,” Solomon added, “you can bring some real news every day, get the American people what they need to know. Instead, we get a lot of late night comedy skits out of it. It’s terrible.”

Read more …

Where’s the Special Counsel for this?

New Memos Show Relentless Pressure By Burisma On State Dept In 2016 (JTN)

The Ukrainian natural gas firm that appointed Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter to a lucrative board seat relentlessly pressured the State Department throughout the 2016 election in an effort to get corruption allegations against it dropped and its badly damaged reputation rehabilitated, newly released government memos show. “They keep trying through every channel they can,” a State Department official lamented in summer 2016, describing a nonstop lobbying campaign by Burisma Holdings and its American representatives. The memos, released to Just the News under a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit assisted by the Southeastern Foundation, add new significance to a long-running Senate investigation into the Bidens’ activities and perceived conflicts of interest in Ukraine.

For instance, they show far more contact between Burisma and the U.S. embassy in Kiev than was acknowledged by witnesses during President Trump’s impeachment proceedings earlier this year. One issue in that trial was the more than $3 million Hunter Biden’s firm collected from Burisma while his father supervised Ukraine policy for President Obama. The memos obtained by Just the News also were withheld from Senate investigators, who learned of their existence from the FOIA lawsuit. “We have been so frustrated in our attempt to get the documentation that we need before we can sit down and interview people, and as I understand it, the documents you just obtained in your FOIA request we haven’t received unbelievably,” Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson said in an interview with the John Solomon Reports podcast.

“I cannot tell you how frustrated and ticked off, I’ll use that word, ticked off about where we are here. So yeah, I subpoenaed the FBI. And, you know, expect additional subpoenas to be forthcoming,” Johnson (R-Wisc.) added. Asked whether a subpoena to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo might be forthcoming, Johnson answered, “Well, certainly a subpoena would bring it to his attention.” The memos show Burisma’s lobbying efforts were led by a Democratic firm called Blue Star Strategies and aided by the nonprofit Atlantic Council foreign policy think tank, stretching from the State Department’s executive suite in Washington at the start of the election to the U.S. embassy in Kiev in the waning days of the Obama administration.

Burisma representatives repeatedly pressed for meetings, at times invoking Hunter Biden’s name, starting with a Blue Star conversation with then-Undersecretary of State Catherine Novelli in January 2016 before turning their attention to U.S. diplomats on the ground in Kiev, the memos show. By summer 2016 — their mission to clear Burisma’s name still incomplete — Blue Star officials pigeonholed the new U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, during her Senate confirmation hearing and then attended a private reception where she was honored, according to the memos. State officials at times chafed at the Burisma campaign, concerned Hunter Biden’s role at the gas firm was undercutting his father’s anti-corruption efforts in Ukraine, according to the memos and interviews.

Read more …

A reminder of the future. I’m discussing with the people of the kitchen here in Athens about what we can and should expect going forward. Already demand is rising, but how much more will come?

Food Bank Strains Emerge As Economy Falls Off Fiscal Cliff (ZH)

The latest economic data suggest the US recovery stalled. One look at the Citi US econ surprise index, as of this week, shows the recovery ran out of steam last month. A fiscal cliff is already underway, set to enter the second week on Friday (Aug. 14) as tens of millions of Americans are unemployed and have yet to receive their stimulus checks. The recovery, so far, is a massive economic sugar rush, entirely a function of the Trump administration on a reckless spending spree. One way the administration can artificially supercharge consumption is through issuing direct transfer payments to the working poor. The extra money has been used by households to pay down credit card bills, put food on the table, and pay housing expenses, while others used the free money to buy automobiles and FANG stocks.

[..] Massive federal spending has transformed America into a welfare state under the GOP watch. Tea Party politicians aren’t pleased with the Republican establishment’s wild spending spree. With a fiscal cliff coming up on the second week, tens of millions of folks are unable to consume because they are insolvent and jobless, and their amount of consumption is dependent on the government. We’ve noted before, a quarter of all household income is derived from the government. And with no stimulus checks in the mail, that means Americans are returning to food banks: Claudia Raymer, who manages a network of food-security groups in Ohio County, West Virginia, told Bloomberg when stimulus checks stopped arriving in late July, there was an immediate impact on households, resulting in rising food bank activity among the working poor.

The fiscal cliff will be more damaging in lower-income communities (than major metros), such as small towns in West Virginia, where folks were being paid handsomely by the federal government to sit at home. The problem is, once the payments end, consumption plunges, and the local communities return to a recessionary environment. With federal aid already running out for the stimulus program, the fiscal cliff has already been realized in West Virginia: “We’ve definitely already seen food-security needs increase, just in a week, since the extra unemployment has ended,” Raymer said.

Read more …



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Apr 072020

Edward Hopper Office in a Small City 1953


PM’s Move To ICU Shows He’s Likely To Have Severe COVID19 (G.)
To Use Ventilators You Need Sedatives. The US Is Running Out Of Both (Vox)
UK Testing Chief Admits None Of 3.5 Million Antibody Kits Work (Ind.)
Spain To Extend Coronavirus Testing To People Without Symptoms (RT)
Dem Lawmaker Says Trump Saved Her Life By Recommending Hydroxychloroquine (NW)
Untested COVID19 Treatment Trump Talks Up Can Have Fatal Side Effect (IC)
Doctors Embrace Drug Touted By Trump Without Hard Evidence It Works (R.)
Trump, 3M Deal Allows N95 Face Masks To Be Exported To Canada (G.)
CDC Director Says Death Toll Will Be ‘Much Lower’ Than Projected (ABC)
Missouri GOP Senator Sets Up Potential Clash With Own Party (Pol.)
Almost a Third of Young Americans Have Lost Their Jobs So Far (Vice)
Nobody Asks Why Our Economy Is So Rigged, Brittle and Exploitive (CHS)
US Army Temporarily Stops Sending New Recruits To Basic Training (JTN)
Turkey Sets Strict Measures As Cases Soar (BBC)
Wall Street Wins – Again (Nomi Prins)
Money Minus Value, No Limit (Kunstler)
State Dep’t Refuses To Back Hillary Clinton Attempt To Avoid Deposition (JTN)
OPCW Report Set To Blame Syria Chemical Attacks On Assad (G.)



• US records 1,150 coronavirus deaths in 24 hours: Johns Hopkins tracker

• Reported US coronavirus cases via @ryanstruyk @CNN:

5 weeks ago: 91 cases
4 weeks ago: 678 cases
3 weeks ago: 4,459 cases
2 weeks ago: 42,663 cases
1 week ago: 160,698 cases
Right now: 367,650 cases

• Reported US coronavirus deaths via @ryanstruyk @CNN:

Feb. 6: 0
Mar. 6: 17
April 6: 10,908



Cases 1,359,010 (+ 76,627 from yesterday’s 1,282,383)

Deaths 75,900 (+ 5,717 from yesterday’s 70,183)




From Worldometer yesterday evening -before their day’s close- Note: US had over 30,000 new cases in 24 hours.



From Worldometer -NOTE: mortality rate for closed cases is at 21% !



From SCMP:








“The British people were shocked” when they heard Boris went to the ICU, says a BBC Breakfast presenter. Well, of course, because you’ve all been lying about his condition the whole time, you and the government. The next thing they talk about now is how competent the medical staff is, as are the politicians taking over from the PM. La la land.

Boris is in real danger. Andrew Cuomo last week said that in New York only 20% of patients survive a ventilator. Numbers in Europe appear a bit better. But the reason Boris will be put on one is very likely that his own immune system has started to attack him in a cytokine storm. This would typically happen after the 7-10-day period since he got infected.

At the same time, because there is no vaccine, the immune system is the only thing that can save a patient’s life. There are various machines that can take over various’ organs’ functions, and there are medications that may help some, but in the end it’s the immune system.

Here’s wondering if Boris has taken any chloroquine, and if so, at what stage.


This is a good overview of -potential- proceedings.

PM’s Move To ICU Shows He’s Likely To Have Severe COVID19 (G.)

Boris Johnson’s move to the intensive care unit (ICU) of St Thomas’ hospital signals that he has severe Covid-19. Oxygen was available through a mask on the ward he was admitted to on Sunday, but the move to intensive care on Monday strongly suggests that was not enough to help him with the breathing problems caused by the viral pneumonia that the virus triggers. Most people in intensive care, according to the World Health Organization, require ventilation. Around 15% of people with Covid-19 become seriously ill and need oxygen therapy in hospital. A further 5% are moved into intensive care, so that their breathing can be taken over by mechanical ventilation. Some will also need support for other organs.

Anyone who is put on a ventilator will need to be sedated, although they are not unconscious. A tube must be inserted into the patient’s windpipe, so that air and oxygen from the machine can be blown into the lungs. That takes the strain off the lungs while they recover. [..] Ventilation is vital in most severe Covid-19 cases, which is why there has been a huge effort to obtain more machines and even encourage engineering businesses to switch production lines to make them. In the severest cases, patients are put on an ECMO machine (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation), which can support both the heart and lungs where somebody is in a life-threatening condition. Johnson’s admission to intensive care comes shortly after the 10th day of the illness, which has been identified as a real danger point.

During the first week, most people’s immune systems rally and manage to fight off the virus. Those who do not recover and continue to struggle for breath and have a fever often need help around the middle of the second week. In that second week, the immune system can sometimes go into overdrive. In its attempt to fight the virus, it creates what is called a cytokine storm, in which the immune system attacks the body’s own organs. The heart, the liver and kidneys are most likely to be affected and all of them can need to be supported by machines that can take over their function. The latest report into patients admitted into critical care so far from the intensive care national audit and research centre (IANARC), showed 2,621 admissions up to 3 April, most of whom are still there. The mean age was 60 and 73% of them were men. More than 35% of them were overweight, with a body mass index (BMI) between 25 and 30, and 37% were obese.

Derek Hill, professor of medical imaging at University College London, said: “It seems clear that the prime minister went to hospital because he had difficulty breathing. It seems he was initially put on oxygen, and was conscious. “But as often happens with Covid-19, his condition has now deteriorated so he has been admitted to intensive care. “We understand the PM is on a type of breathing support called Continuous positive airway pressure (Cpap), which is commonly used in treatment of obstructive sleep apnoea. Experience in Italy and other European countries has shown that Cpap can be effective in Covid-19 patients, at least initially. Many Covid-19 patients progress to invasive ventilation. Invasive ventilation involves a tube being put down the patient’s airway.”

Read more …

Insult and injury. Entire industries will be forced back from China to the US and Europe.

To Use Ventilators You Need Sedatives. The US Is Running Out Of Both (Vox)

New York City may be the first city in the country to run out of ventilators, other cities are expected to follow. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy recently tweeted, “Ventilators are our #1 need right now. I won’t stop fighting to get us the equipment we need to save every life we can.” Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards predicted that his state would run out of ventilators by April 6. But to save a Covid-19 patient’s life with a ventilator, you also need an ample supply of medications, both to be able to use the machine and to prevent agonizing pain. Experts say there’s a worrisome shortage of those, too — one that’s only expected to grow worse. “The minute you talk about ventilators you need to talk about medications,” says Esther Choo, an associate professor of emergency medicine at Oregon Health & Science University.

Choo says hospitals are already running out of medications like fentanyl, versed, propofol, and even neuromuscular blockades, what she calls “everyday bread and butter medications,” the drugs needed to induce and maintain sedation while on a ventilator. “Ventilators can’t really be used without these medications.” In severe cases of Covid-19, the patient’s’ own immune system can cause their lungs to fill with fluid. At this point, ventilators are a critical tool for keeping people alive. Medical staff insert a tube deep into the lungs in a process called intubation, in order to deliver more oxygen from a ventilator than the patient can inhale on their own.

“You can imagine if I tried to shove a plastic tube down your throat, it’s a very human reflex not to let someone do that,” Choo says. “So we place people in deep sedation.” After the tube is placed in the trachea, patients have to stay sedated — in the case of some Covid-19 patients, that can last for several weeks. [..] It’s alarming that hospitals are already experiencing shortages of these drugs, knowing what’s coming. Although President Trump has invoked the wartime Defense Production Act to start producing the additional 40,000 ventilators New York alone has requested, these won’t help stem the crisis for long without the drugs needed to use them — to say nothing of the freewheeling chaos of inter-state bidding wars for scarce supplies.

Read more …

Meanwhile in Borisland (Q: how much did you pay for those things?):

UK Testing Chief Admits None Of 3.5 Million Antibody Kits Work (Ind.)

The UK government’s new testing chief has admitted that none of the 3.5 million antibody tests ordered from China are fit for widespread use. Professor John Newton, who was appointed by health secretary Matt Hancock to oversee testing, reportedly said the tests were only able to identify immunity in people who had been severely sick with coronavirus. The tests did not pass the evaluation stage, and he was quoted by The Times as saying they were “not good enough to be worth rolling out in very large scale”. Prof Newton, director of public health improvement for Public Health England (PHE) said three “mega labs” for testing NHS staff was his top priority and did not expect university and commercial labs to be able to help.

He said: “We are not relying on lots of people coming forward to help us to achieve what’s required and we shouldn’t get too distracted by that. “There’s a big, big ask at the moment which is quite specific [on testing NHS staff]. So a lot of these companies who are offering their capacity may not be directly related to that ask and therefore they might not be as helpful at the moment.” Mr Hancock has also acknowledged that early analysis of the tests showed “some of them have not performed well”. He added, speaking on Thursday, that: “We’re hopeful that they [the tests] will improve and that the later tests that we’ve got our hands on will be able to be reliable enough for people to use them with confidence.”

Read more …

Does that mean everyone without symptoms? Every country needs to focus on this, but nobody does. They failed to secure the kits.

Spain To Extend Coronavirus Testing To People Without Symptoms (RT)

Hopes are growing that lockdown measures in Spain may be relaxed after figures suggested the country has “passed the peak” as tentative optimism moves across Europe. Spain will extend coronavirus testing to people showing no symptoms as new infection rates slow in the country, the country’s foreign minister announced. On Sunday, 647 deaths were reported over 24 hours – half the rate recorded during the previous week. Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez told TV station Antena 3:”We are preparing ourselves for de-escalation, for which it is important to know who is contaminated to be able to gradually lift Spanish citizens’ lockdown.” He added that Spanish companies were manufacturing 240,000 test kits a week and were still ramping up capacity.

Gonzalez’s colleague, Health Minister Salvador Illa said that Spain wanted to strengthen the coronavirus contagion slowdown as the country entered its fourth week of confinement. Elsewhere, Italy recorded its lowest daily death toll for over two weeks, as 525 people succumbed to the virus on Sunday. Germany recorded its lowest number of deaths in a week with 92 dying yesterday. Berlin announced plans to end the lockdown on April 19. France’s mortality rate also slowed for the second day running. Austria’s government revealed that it plans to start reopening shops from next week as a further indication of a tentative wave of optimism beginning to move across Europe.

Read more …

The war on chloroquine is on.

Dem Lawmaker Says Trump Saved Her Life By Recommending Hydroxychloroquine (NW)

Michigan Democratic State Representative Karen Whitsett told Fox News host Laura Ingraham on Monday that the controversial drug hydroxychloroquine stopped her coronavirus symptoms “within a couple hours.” Whitsett represents parts of Detroit, a city that has been labeled a coronavirus “hot spot.” Recent data indicated 5,032 positive cases in Detroit with 196 deaths attributable to the virus reported in the city. Used primarily to treat malaria, hydroxychloroquine has been praised by President Donald Trump as a potential therapeutic for the virus. Sunday, Trump suggested taking the drug to prevent contracting the virus. “I’m not looking at it one way or the other,” Trump said, “but we want to get out of this. If it does work, it would be a shame if we didn’t do it early. But we have some very good signs.”

While the FDA has not yet approved hydroxychloroquine for treatment of the coronavirus, Whitsett claims it worked for her. “I really want to say that you have to give this an opportunity,” Whitsett said Monday. “For me, it saved my life.” Whitsett did not receive hydroxychloroquine until the day of her coronavirus test. She was able to have her husband pick up the medication after her symptoms reached a critical phase. Hospitals in her area were full. “I honestly believed that once I got into something like that, I may not actually come out and that was my biggest fear,” Whitsett said. “And I knew that this medication would possibly save me.” Whitsett credited Trump’s mention of hydroxychloroquine during news briefings for giving her the idea of trying the drug. “If President Trump had not talked about this, it would not be something that’s accessible for anyone to get, not right now,” Whitsett said.

Read more …

Et tu, the Intercept? Chloroquine is not “untested”, just not officially as a COVID19 treatment. That’s a different thing. It’s precisely used less for malaria these days because after decades of use, the parasite that causes is suspected to have developed immunity. Plenty testing for side-effects etc. in those decades.

And do you really need to follow the New York Times in suggesting Trump touts the drug only for his own profit? Is nothing safe from the drive for clickbait and paper sales?

Untested COVID19 Treatment Trump Talks Up Can Have Fatal Side Effect (IC)

An experimental treatment for Covid-19 championed by President Donald Trump — in which patients are given doses of hydroxychloroquine, a drug used to treat malaria and lupus, along with the antibiotic azithromycin — raises the risk for some patients of dangerous irregular heartbeats that could be fatal, cardiologists warn in new guidance published by the American College of Cardiology. According to the lead author of the paper, Dr. Eric Stecker, an associate professor of cardiovascular medicine at Oregon Health & Science University, any patients treated with the combination therapy should be monitored for ventricular arrhythmia, the irregular beating of the heart’s lower chambers, which can lead to cardiac arrest.

“We don’t know the magnitude of the risk,” Stecker said in an interview on Sunday, but both drugs can raise the odds of irregular heartbeats for some patients, and the risk is greater when they are taken together. The president has repeatedly dismissed warnings from Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, that the drugs might not be as safe or effective for people infected with the new coronavirus as they are for other illnesses. On Saturday, at a White House briefing on the global pandemic, Trump urged Americans to try hydroxychloroquine and suggested that people infected with the virus had nothing to lose by taking it, as long as their doctors agree.

[..] “One of the problems with knowing very little about the Trump family’s finances,” the New York Times columnist Jamelle Bouie wrote, “is when the president gets fixated on something like hydroxychloroquine, we don’t know if it reflects his obsession with quick fixes and miracle cures or if he’s trying to juice an investment.” The New York Times reported on Monday that Trump does have “a small personal financial interest in Sanofi, the French drugmaker that makes Plaquenil, the brand-name version of hydroxychloroquine.” In a financial disclosure released last year, the president listed among his assets three family trusts that invested in a Dodge & Cox mutual fund, which had shares of Sanofi as its largest holding.

Read more …

Because there’s no time to collect the evidence, and there’s nothing else that works. The reported numbers of doctors who take it themselves might give you a hint about its dangers.

Doctors Embrace Drug Touted By Trump Without Hard Evidence It Works (R.)

The decades-old drug that President Donald Trump has persistently promoted as a potential weapon against COVID-19 has within a matter of weeks become a standard of care in areas of the United States hit hard by the pandemic — though doctors prescribing it have no idea whether it works. Doctors and pharmacists from more than half a dozen large healthcare systems in New York, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Ohio, Washington and California told Reuters they are routinely using hydroxychloroquine on patients hospitalized with COVID-19. At the same time, several said they have seen no evidence that the drug, used for years to treat malaria and autoimmune disorders, has any effect on the virus.

Use of hydroxychloroquine has soared as the United States has quickly become the epicenter of the pandemic. More than 355,000 people in the United States have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, and more than 10,000 have died. The federal government estimates that as many as 240,000 people in the country may die from the disease before the outbreak is over. Facing those numbers, and in the absence of any known effective treatments, doctors on the frontlines said they began using hydroxychloroquine and the related chloroquine on patients who are deteriorating based on a few small studies suggesting a possible benefit. Some said they had come under pressure from patients to use the therapies widely touted by Trump and other supporters.

“I may take it,” Trump said on Saturday, referring to hydroxychloroquine, though he has twice tested negative for coronavirus, according to the White House. “We’re just hearing really positive stories, and we’re continuing to collect the data.” Potential side effects of hydroxychloroquine include vision loss and heart problems. But doctors interviewed by Reuters say they are comfortable prescribing the drug for a short course of several days for coronavirus patients because the risks are relatively low and the therapies are inexpensive and generally available.

Read more …

3M will move much of its operations back to the US.

Trump, 3M Deal Allows N95 Face Masks To Be Exported To Canada (G.)

The Trump administration has agreed a deal with the US manufacturer 3M to import more than 166 million respirators from China over the next three months and allow 3M to continue exporting its US-made respirators. The agreement breaks a deadlock which resulted in Washington stopping nearly three million of the specialized masks from being exported to Ontario, stirring fears that Canada’s most populous province would run out of supplies for medical staff battling coronavirus by the end of the week. Donald Trump, who had lambasted 3M over the weekend, had warm words for the company on Tuesday, following the agreement, and its chairman and CEO, Mike Roman offered praise for the president.

“I want to thank President Trump and the administration for their leadership and collaboration,” Roman said in a written statement. “These imports will supplement the 35 million N95 respirators we currently produce per month in the United States.” Under the plan, 3M will import 166.5 million respirators (masks which form a seal over the mouth and nose and offer much greater protection than surgical masks) from its factories in China, over the coming three months. Meanwhile, the 3M statement said: “The plan will also enable 3M to continue sending US produced respirators to Canada and Latin America, where 3M is the primary source of supply.”

Read more …

I would fire him on the spot. Is he just seeking attention? Redfield was quite prominent when the US started its nightmare, but he’s pretty much gone now.

CDC Director Says Death Toll Will Be ‘Much Lower’ Than Projected (ABC)

One of the nation’s top public health officials suggested Monday that because Americans are taking social distancing recommendations “to heart,” the death toll from the novel coronavirus will be “much, much, much lower” than models have projected. “If we just social distance, we will see this virus and this outbreak basically decline, decline, decline. And I think that’s what you’re seeing,” said Robert Redfield, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control. “I think you’re going to see the numbers are, in fact, going to be much less than what would have been predicted by the models,” he said. Redfield’s remarks on Monday to AM 1030 KVOI Radio in Tucson, Arizona, struck a rosier tone than some other recent predictions.

On Monday morning, for example, the U.S. Surgeon General equated the coming week’s fallout to the attacks on Pearl Harbor. But officials on the White House task force have said they believe that even with a tough week ahead, the numbers in some places suggest that social distancing is working and could provide a reprieve eventually. National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Disease Director Anthony Fauci said he was very interested in data in New York that the number of admissions to intensive care and intubations in the last three days had started to level off. “We just got to realize that this is an indication despite all the suffering and the death that has occurred that what we have been doing has been working,” he told reporters.

At the same time, Dr. John Brownstein, a Harvard epidemiologist and ABC News contributor, said that Redfield’s comments could mislead Americans into feeling a sense that the disease’s spread is under control. “Projections and models across the board are accounting for a reduction in mobility because of social distancing, so it’s way too soon to declare any kind of victory,” he said. “This is not a moment for people to relax because they feel the models are wrong.”

Read more …

But he’s still focusing on businesses, not people.

Missouri GOP Senator Sets Up Potential Clash With Own Party (Pol.)

Most Senate Republicans are taking a cautious approach to the next step of Congress’ coronavirus response. Not Josh Hawley. The freshman Missouri GOP senator is pitching far-reaching proposals, including the federal government directly financing businesses to keep millions of workers on their payrolls — part of what he calls a “survival then surge” strategy in the face of a sputtering economy and dozens of state stay-at-home orders. It’s not exactly GOP orthodoxy to push for even greater intervention in the economy after providing new unemployment benefits, direct cash payments and more than a quarter trillion dollars in loans and grants to small businesses.

But Hawley argued in a telephone interview Monday that the economic severity in the country is “much bigger and much more severe than many other people anticipated,” and Congress needs to act accordingly. “We seem to be on a roller coaster that is currently plunging down,” Hawley said. “I personally do not want to ride that roller coaster and find where the bottom is. And I don’t think American workers should be forced to.” Hawley is one of the first Republicans to push a major add-on to Congress’ already extraordinary relief effort, and he’s fighting an uphill battle with his guarded colleagues. But the early maneuvering is a hint of the debate to come in what was once a budget-slashing party that must now weigh just how big to go in the face of a terrifying crisis.

After preaching a go-slow approach early last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has acknowledged a fourth bill will be needed, likely concentrating on health care. And action is almost certain to be necessary in the coming weeks in other areas: The bill’s signature $377 billion Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses is expected to run out of funding well before its June 30 end date, aides tracking the program say. Former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen forecast potential 13 percent unemployment; Hawley fears 20 percent or worse. [..] Hawley’s proposal would provide businesses with refundable payroll tax rebates that reimburse 80 percent of payroll costs and give a rehiring bonus for businesses for the duration of the crisis. He says that will prevent unemployment offices from being overwhelmed, keep Americans from going into debt and give families a sense of confidence that a job is waiting for them when the crisis is over.

Read more …

Included for the headline. People should know that.

Almost a Third of Young Americans Have Lost Their Jobs So Far (Vice)

An Axios-Harris survey conducted through March 30 showed that 31 percent of respondents ages 18 to 34 had either been laid off or put on temporary leave because of the outbreak, compared with 22 percent of those 35 to 49 and 15 percent of those 50 to 64. John Gerzema, CEO of the Harris Poll, said it was important to note that the latest survey data do not factor in the doubling of U.S. jobless claims to over 6.6 million in the past week. That number “would suggest further pain and dislocation to 18-34 year olds,” he said. But the economic fears of many young people, even ones with uncomplicated medical histories, are increasingly counterbalanced by health worries as they grow more aware of the risks of COVID-19.

After hearing for months that it threatens primarily seniors and people with chronic diseases, they are now seeing how it imperils their own age group, with consequences such as lung failure. “It’s natural that as we learn more, it’ll become clear that there are substantial costs for young people, even if the risks are, in fact, much greater for the elderly,” said Jeffrey Clemens, a health and labor economist at the University of California-San Diego. “Whether people want to work depends in part on other qualities of the job, one of which is whether it comes with serious health, physical or other risks.”

Read more …

I think the answer is the Fed. Only the most crooked survive.

Nobody Asks Why Our Economy Is So Rigged, Brittle and Exploitive (CHS)

What’s remarkable about the lockdown isn’t the hue and cry about the economic damage–it’s the absence of any critical curiosity as to how our economy became so fragile that only the wealthiest contingent can survive a few weeks on savings or rainy-day funds. A healthy, resilient economy would be able to survive a few weeks of lockdown without a multi-trillion dollar bailout of every racket in the land. A society that wasn’t threadbare financially and socially would be able to function and accept individual sacrifices for the common good.

Rather than being organized to serve the common good, our economy and social order is little more than overlapping rackets: rigged “markets” operated by quasi-monopolies to enrich the few at the expense of the many; brittle bureaucracies bound by thousands of pages of mindless “compliance” and exploitive neofeudal structures in which debt-serfs are paid just enough to service their debt but not enough to afford skyrocketing costs for housing, healthcare, higher education, childcare, junk fees and taxes. While everyone is busy screaming about the damage done by the lockdown, nobody’s asking why costs are so high that few can survive a few weeks on their own means.

Nobody dares look at the soaring costs imposed by cartels and monopolies (including government and government-funded rackets such as healthcare and higher education) because it might shine a light on the money-trough they’re feeding from. (Crush every racket but mine…)

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But Russia!

US Army Temporarily Stops Sending New Recruits To Basic Training (JTN)

The Army has temporarily stopped sending new recruits to basic training, the U.S. military service announced Monday. The hiatus is an effort to help contain the spread of the coronavirus and is effective immediately. The measure will remain in place for two weeks. “This tactical pause will allow commands to ensure appropriate safety measures are in place and are operating effectively at training installations,” the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) wrote in a release to Just the News. The pause will protect the current and future force, the organization’s leader said in a statement. “One of TRADOC’s main focuses is to develop leaders by accessing, training and educating soldiers,” said Gen. Paul E. Funk, II, who leads the command.

“We have to do so responsibly, and we’ve already begun protecting those currently in our ranks with social-distanced-enabled training, reduced movement of our soldiers and trainees, and increased screening of those moving across our commands.” Soldiers now in the training pipeline will finish their schools and upon graduation proceed to their next assignment, the Army said. Under new guidelines, the graduates will be medically screened before shipping out, then travel aboard sterilized buses while maintaining spaced-apart intervals. “The decision to pause the shipment of trainees to BCT [Basic Combat Training] for two weeks will allow leaders to focus on setting conditions so movement can be conducted in a safer manner in the future,” Funk said.

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One of the countries I singled out recently. Turkey’s soccer league continued playing to crowds until 10 days ago IIRC.

Turkey Sets Strict Measures As Cases Soar (BBC)

Turkish authorities have imposed new measures to limit the spread of coronavirus, as the number of infections continues to rise sharply. The country has reported 30,217 confirmed cases and 649 deaths. Face masks are mandatory on public transport, in markets and other communal spaces, and 31 cities are now closed to all but essential traffic. Turkey now has the ninth-highest number of cases worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Some 1.3 million people have fallen ill globally and more than 70,000 have died. On Twitter, Turkey’s Health Minister Dr Fahrettin Koca urged people to “stay at home”, saying the virus “draws its power from contact”.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has asked people to practice social distancing and stay “three paces” from one another. Schools are closed, many international and domestic flights are suspended, and mass prayers and public gatherings have been banned. But critics – including doctors and opposition politicians – say more needs to be done. The government still has not imposed a full lockdown like those in place in European countries. Data suggests Turkey now has the fastest rising number of confirmed cases in the world. Mr Erdogan imposed a nationwide confinement order on Friday, for those under 20 years old and anyone over 65 or with a chronic medical condition.

[..] “When we counted there were about 1.1 million people using public transport on a work day, and we’ve seen a lot of private cars on the streets,” key opposition figure and Mayor of Istanbul Ekrem Imamoglu told the BBC. Asked if it was crazy how many people continue to move around, he replied: “It is, absolutely.”

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Time for a revolution.

Wall Street Wins – Again (Nomi Prins)

As in 2008, the most beneficial policies and funding will be heading for Wall Street banks and behemoth corporations. Far less will be going directly to American workers through tangible grants, cheaper loans, or any form of debt forgiveness. Even the six months of student-loan payment relief (only for federal loans, not private ones) just pushes those payments down the road. The historic $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package is heavily corporate-focused. For starters, a quarter of it, $500 billion, goes to large corporations. At least $454 billion of that will back funding for up to $4.5 trillion in corporate loans from the Fed and the remainder will be for direct Treasury loans to big companies. Who gets what will be largely Treasury Secretary Mnuchin’s choice. And mind you, we may never know the details since President Trump is committed to making this selection process as non-transparent as possible.

There’s an additional $50 billion that’s to be dedicated to the airline industry, $25 billion of which will be in direct grants to airlines that don’t place employees on involuntary furlough or discontinue flight service at airports through September. Right after the bill passed, the airline industry announced that more workforce cuts are ahead (once it gets the money). Another $17 billion is meant for “businesses critical to maintaining national security,” one of which could eventually be White House darling Boeing. There’s also a corporate tax credit worth about $290 billion to corporations that keep people on their payrolls and can prove losses of 50% of their pre-coronavirus revenue. More than $370 billion of that congressional relief package will go into Small Business Administration loans meant to cover existing loans and operating and payroll costs as well.

Yet receiving such loans will involve a byzantine process for desperate small outfits. Meanwhile, the big banks will get a cut for administering them. About $150 billion is pegged for the healthcare industry, including $100 billion in grants to hospitals working on the frontlines of the coronavirus crisis and other funds to jumpstart the production of desperately needed (and long overdue) medical products for doctors, nurses, and pandemic patients. Another $27 billion is being allocated for vaccines and stockpiles of medical supplies. An extra $150 billion will go to cities and states to prop up budgets already over-stretched and in trouble. Those on unemployment benefits will get an increase of $600 per week for four months in a $260 billion unemployment expansion.

Ultimately, however, the relief promised will not cover the basic needs of the majority of bereft Americans. With Main Street’s economy sinking right now, it won’t arrive fast enough either.

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The overwhelming need for crazy theories…

Money Minus Value, No Limit (Kunstler)

[..] an interesting debate rages internationally as to whether the Covid-19 virus was some kind of engineered event designed to bring about various political outcomes. One thread declares that the Democratic Party, its media handmaidens, and a helpful Chinese leadership used the virus to blow up the US economy and finally, after several botched attempts, get rid of the vexing Mr. Trump. It’s a tidy story, but I don’t buy it, for the simple reason that the entire global economy has blown up, including China’s, so you can file that meme in the Wile E. Coyote folder. A gloss on that one is the idea that NIAID director Anthony Fauci and other medical experts are wicked conspirators bent on destroying American morale by overstating the threat of Covid-19.

This includes the phrase that the novel corona virus is “just another seasonal flu,” and so ordering people to stay away from work and business was unnecessary. Again, you’d have to ask yourself why medical experts and other plausibly intelligent people in so many other countries would do exactly the same thing. They can’t all be orcs. Then there’s the one that has Bill Gates so worked up about climate change that he’s using his foundation’s deep resources to reduce the world’s population by sowing maximum disorder onto the scene with Covid-19 hysteria. This one casts Mr. Gates as something like a villain from a James Bond movie, deep in his Seattle mega-fortress petting a Persian cat as millions perish. Sounds like another case of Americans confusing movies with real life.

Another story has a shadowy gang of “globalists” using the disorder spawned by the virus to impose a centralized global uber-government run by international financiers. First of all, that one smacks of the hoary conspiracy theory that Bilderberger bankers (Jews especially) are scheming to take over the world – yet these supposedly hyper-clever “puppet-masters” are proving that they can’t even run the banks and their own financial ops, which are now crashing down around their ears along with everybody else’s. Thirdly, if there is trend anywhere in this collapse scenario, it is for the devolution of power downward, away from floundering centralized power structures and institutions. As they flounder, the faith of their subject peoples ebbs away and the trust horizon shrinks so that the people are no longer willing to depend on distant authorities for anything.

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Judicial Watch FOIA.

State Dep’t Refuses To Back Hillary Clinton Attempt To Avoid Deposition (JTN)

The State Department on Monday rejected Hillary Clinton’s effort to avoid depositions for herself and her former chief of staff in a lawsuit brought by the government watchdog organization Judicial Watch. The former Secretary of State and her former top aide Cheryl Mills are seeking a writ of mandamus to avoid a judge’s order requiring their testimony in an open records case involving Clinton’s use of a private email server for government business. “The government did not seek and thus does not support the extraordinary relief of mandamus due to the unique circumstances of this case,” reads the State Department’s response signed by multiple members of the Justice Department.

“One aspect of the district court’s rulings, although not central to the pending petition, is of particular concern to the government: assertions that the government acted in bad faith in litigating this FOIA request are wholly without basis,” the Department’s response says. U.S. District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth in early March granted the request to depose Clinton about why she utilized a private email server, her grasp of “State’s records management obligations,” and any information she has about materials pertaining to the 2012 Benghazi attack.

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Can you report on the OPCW without citing the multiple whistleblowers from within its own organization? If you’re the Guardian, you can. You just call it a “supposed whistleblower controversy” and blame it all on RussiaRussia and conspiracy theories:

“… the supposed whistleblower controversy at the OPCW last year, which the organisation comprehensively rejected with an official inquiry. Even though the criticism was found to be baseless it does not stop the conspiracy theorists.”

There was nothing “supposed” about the people who came forward to prove the attacks had been staged.

The OPCW, like the WHO, has turned into a political instrument. As of course the Guardian has.

OPCW Report Set To Blame Syria Chemical Attacks On Assad (G.)

The UN’s chemical weapons watchdog is expected to release its first report explicitly blaming Bashar al-Assad for sarin and chlorine gas attacks on civilians in Syria as efforts to establish accountability for the use of chemical agents in the nine-year-old conflict gain momentum. Observers anticipate that public and classified versions of a report by a new unit at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) will be published on Wednesday, close to the anniversaries of a major chlorine attack on the then rebel-held Damascus suburb of Douma that killed at least 85 people in 2018 as well as a deadly sarin attack on Khan Sheikhun in 2017 which killed at least 89. The report is believed to focus on 2017 attacks on the village of al-Lataminah.

The investigation is the outcome of new powers granted to the OPCW by a 2018 UN resolution specifically calling for the watchdog to “put in place arrangements to identify the perpetrators of the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic by identifying and reporting on all information potentially relevant to the origin of those chemical weapons”. Previously, OPCW fact-finding missions did not have the mandate to apportion blame in chemical weapons attacks. The resulting newly created investigation and identification team (IIT) at the OPCW was designed as a work-around to counter Russia, Syria’s closest political ally. Moscow has repeatedly used international forums – and its veto as a permanent member of the UN security council – to block independent investigations into chemical weapons attacks allegedly launched by the Assad regime.

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A bit of relief in Italy:




While Greece appears to be doing very well compared to Holland, Belgium, Portugal.




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