Oct 232021
 
 October 23, 2021  Posted by at 7:40 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  66 Responses »


Vincent van Gogh Autumn landscape 1885

 

Sweden Suspends Moderna Shot Indefinitely (TTC)
Pfizer, BioNTech Announce Their Vaccine Is Useless After 11 Months (Berenson)
CDC Considers Changing Definition Of “Fully Vaccinated” (JTN)
More Americans Getting Boosters Right Now Than First Vaccine Shots (Hill)
Biden Vaccine Mandate Not In Effect, Not Enforceable – Republican AGs (JTN)
Strain Of Delta Variant Causing Panic In UK Has Been Found In US (ZH)
Southwest Airlines Says It Won’t Fire Workers Who Don’t Get COVID Vaccine (ET)
Accountability (Denninger)
“What Am I Doing?” He Asks (Kunstler)
Nunes: ABC News HQ should move to Disney’s Fantasyland (JTN)
NATO Unveils Master Plan To Defeat Russia In Nuclear War (RT)
Magnesium Shortage Threatens To Paralyze Global Car Production (AD)
Chief Justice of England & Wales Joins Bench for Assange Hearing (CN)

 

 

Scary numbers. Among 40-49, infection risk for unvaccinated down some 15%, vaccinated up over 50%.

 

 

“..to anyone under 31..”

Sweden Suspends Moderna Shot Indefinitely (TTC)

New concerns are being raised about side effects from the Moderna vaccine against the coronavirus. Swedish health officials have now decided that a moratorium on giving the Moderna vaccine to anyone under 31 will be extended indefinitely, the U.K. Daily Mail reported. The pause on the Moderna shots had been scheduled to end on Dec. 1. Finland, Iceland and Denmark have taken similar steps. Norway is encouraging men under 30 not to get the Moderna shot, but is not mandating it. For months, the Moderna vaccine has been under scrutiny because of data that shows young men who receive it are at increased risk for myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle, and pericarditis, an inflammation of the sac around the heart.


[..] The decision comes as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is putting Moderna’s plans for a shot aimed at the population from age 12 to 17 on hold due to concerns over risks of the ailments, according to The Wall Street Journal. Although a federal CDC panel on Thursday approved boosters for the Moderna and Johnson & Johson vaccines, there were some cautions raised, according to CNBC. Dr. Tom Shimabukuro said there is an increased risk of myocarditis and pericarditis with either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, in particular after the second dose of the vaccines. According to the Daily Mail, the data indicated the risk was 13 times greater for those getting the Moderna vaccine than for those who got the Pfizer vaccine. Sweden’s Public Health Agency said the unpublished data linking the Moderna vaccine with the two conditions means there is “an increased risk of side effects such as inflammation of the heart muscle or the pericardium.”

Read more …

Not sure where he gets the 11 months. I think it might be 6.

Pfizer, BioNTech Announce Their Vaccine Is Useless After 11 Months (Berenson)

Well, that’s not how they phrased it. But it is the only reasonable way to read their press release claiming that the booster is 95% effective. Remember. The booster is given to people who have RECEIVED the vaccine. (That’s why it’s a booster, right?) And when they tested a booster against a placebo in those people, they found a 95% reduction in disease in people who received the booster (for a total of 11 weeks after they received the booster, excluding the first week, because science – by which I mean because including that week would not help their results). 95%! Where have you heard that figure before? Oh yeah, it is EXACTLY the same relative risk reduction they claimed in the pivotal trial last year, when they tested the INITIAL dose against placebo.


The only reasonable read is that the booster is providing (temporary) protection similar to the first two-dose series (temporarily) did AGAINST PLACEBO. But these are VACCINATED people. So where’s the protection from the initial two doses? There is ONE difference, though. The ABSOLUTE risk appeared at least two to three times higher in the vaccinated people in this trial than in UNVACCINATED people in the initial trial – 110 infections in 5,000 people in 10 weeks, compared to 162 infections in 20,000 people in about the same period. Because vaccines work. If you are vaccinated, get ready to take boosters forever. By the way, the press release includes NO specific safety data. Yay Pfizer!

Read more …

Worst kept secret.

CDC Considers Changing Definition Of “Fully Vaccinated” (JTN)

The U.S. could change the definition of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Friday. The definition might be changed as booster shots become more prevalent, the CDC Director Rochelle Walensky told reporters in a briefing. “We have not yet changed the definition of ‘fully vaccinated.’ We will continue to look at this,” Walensky said. “We may need to update our definition of ‘fully vaccinated’ in the future. If you’re eligible for a booster, go ahead and get your booster and we will continue to follow up.”


According to The Hill, the term “fully vaccinated” applies to people who have received the one-shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine, or both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. According to the White House, more than 70 million Americans qualify for a booster shot, while predicting another 120 million Americans should become eligible in the coming months. Currently, the CDC estimates about 58% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated against the virus, while nearly 68% is only partially vaccinated.

Read more …

All under informed consent, we may presume?

More Americans Getting Boosters Right Now Than First Vaccine Shots (Hill)

The number of Americans getting their booster shots is outpacing those who are getting their first vaccine dose, according to new data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). According to the latest data, 190 million people are fully vaccinated in the U.S. and 12 million people have received their booster dose since it was authorized in August. An average of roughly 340,000 people are getting a booster shot on a daily basis, compared to a daily average of 157,605 who received their first vaccine shot for the week ending Tuesday, government data shows, according to The Washington Post. The disparity isn’t particularly surprising given the demand for booster shots among the vaccinated population, and the fact that the unvaccinated population has had months to get a shot but has not so far.

But it points to how even with boosters available, a stubborn minority of Americans are likely to not take initial vaccinations or boosters. It is much easier for the coronavirus to spread the larger that population is. An Axios-Ipsos poll published in August found that 20 percent of Americans said they either are not very likely or not likely at all to receive a vaccine. There are now booster recommendations for all three available COVID-19 vaccines in the United States, after the CDC on Thursday approved both the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson boosters. “These recommendations are another example of our fundamental commitment to protect as many people as possible from COVID-19,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in a statement on Thursday.

“The evidence shows that all three COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the United States are safe – as demonstrated by the over 400 million vaccine doses already given. And, they are all highly effective in reducing the risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death, even in the midst of the widely circulating delta variant,” Walensky said.

Read more …

A superbly weird game is being played. As long as it’s not in effect, the White House can’t be sued. There are dozes of court cases pending.

Biden Vaccine Mandate Not In Effect, Not Enforceable – Republican AGs (JTN)

President Joe Biden’s executive order requiring private employees to get the COVID-19 shots hasn’t gone into effect and therefore isn’t enforceable, argue several Republican attorneys general — and if and when the regulation does go into effect, they vow, they will immediately sue to stop it. “No such rule or regulation is currently in effect,” Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen wrote in an open letter to all Montanans, and “there has been a great deal of confusion” since Biden announced his mandate Sept. 9. The letter was released the same day as an announcement made by Biden, who said, “The Labor Department is going to soon be issuing an emergency rule for companies with 100 or more employees to implement vaccination requirements.”

The Department of Labor’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration only last week submitted the initial text of the mandate’s regulatory language to the Office of Management and Budget for review. This is the first of several steps in the regulatory process. OSHA will implement, oversee and enforce the Biden mandate, which it has yet to do. It plans to do so under an obscure authority known as “emergency temporary standards” that has been used only a handful of times. [..] The mandate was a reversal of policy advocated by the White House just five months earlier. On April 6, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters: “The government is not now, nor will we be supporting a system that requires Americans to carry a credential. There will be no federal vaccinations database and no federal mandate requiring everyone to obtain a single vaccination credential.”

However, after Biden’s Sept. 9, mandate, numerous companies issued vaccine mandates requiring employees to provide proof of vaccination status in order to remain employed. Some companies issued fines for employees who chose to not get the shots. Some rejected religious exemption requests, others rejected exemption requests from those who could prove they have natural immunity after they got the coronavirus. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton argues the mandate is unconstitutional, and in response to pushback throughout the state, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued his own mandate prohibiting all entities in Texas from issuing vaccine mandates as a condition of employment. Knudsen says his office is “preparing to immediately challenge and enjoin this federal overreach on a variety of grounds when the Biden administration issues its announced rule.”

Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor also announced that no federal rule mandating employers to require their workers to get the shots exists. He’s instructed employers — and Oklahomans — to ignore Biden’s order. “I urge Oklahoma employers to disregard the Biden Administration’s wishes to the contrary,” O’Connor said in a statement. “In the event federal emergency rules are issued that place such an unlawful demand upon employers, our office will be joined by other state Attorneys General across the country to quickly sue and seek an injunction against any implementation or enforcement.”

Read more …

Let me guess: mostly found among the vaccinated?

Strain Of Delta Variant Causing Panic In UK Has Been Found In US (ZH)

A mutated version of the delta variant that has caused panic in the UK has been detected in several states in the US, the CDC revealed this week. AY.4.2, a subtype of the highly transmissible delta variant which has become informally known as “delta plus”, accounted for 6% of all sequenced samples of the virus. Its emergence has coincided with a rebound in COVID cases in the UK. To be sure, right now, the strain is still rare in the US and accounts for “well below 0.05%” of cases sequenced, the CDC says. So there’s no reason to panic. “At this time, there is no evidence that the sublineage AY.4.2 impacts the effectiveness of our current vaccines or therapeutics,” the CDC said. “Vaccination remains the best public health measure to slow the spread of the virus and reduce the likelihood of new variants to emerge.”


Around 16,830 AY.4.2 cases have been detected around the world across at least 28 countries, according to data from Outbreak.Info. Jeffrey Barrett, director of the COVID-19 Genomics Initiative at the Wellcome Sanger Institute in the U.K., told Newsweek on Thursday that it’s still unclear whether the subtype is helping drive rising case numbers in the UK. “We are one of the groups that has observed a [roughy] 10 percent growth advantage compared to other Delta.” “I’d say we can’t say for sure yet that that is a true biological advantage, as opposed to a bit of epidemiological ‘luck’ for this lineage, but the data are now accumulating week-by-week in favor of a small growth advantage.”

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Still trying to hide the reason why. Still the weather.

Southwest Airlines Says It Won’t Fire Workers Who Don’t Get COVID Vaccine (ET)

Southwest Airlines’ CEO said the company will not fire employees who do not get the COVID-19 vaccine by Dec. 9 following a Biden administration mandate that was announced last month for federal contractors. In a statement to news outlets Friday, the Dallas-based carrier confirmed to Fox News it does not want to “lose any employee” over President Joe Biden’s mandate, adding that firing a worker over the vaccine “makes no sense.” It came a day after Southwest CEO Gary Kelly made a similar announcement during an earnings call. “This is an evolving process working with the government in terms of what they expect, and very clearly, we wanted our employees to know that nobody is going to lose their job on December the 9th if we’re not perfectly in compliance,” Kelly said, according to news reports.

“It is a work in progress, and we’re going to continue working in good faith to meet the requirements of the executive order. But I’ve already said, and I’m sure you’ve heard, we’re not going to fire anybody who doesn’t get vaccinated,” he continued. Biden’s mandate will start on Dec. 8, requiring federal contractors to make sure their workers are vaccinated. Employees can be granted a medical or religious exemption. But Kelly’s and Southwest’s announcements this week mark a reversal in the carrier’s vaccination stance. Earlier this month, Southwest stated that workers would have to be fully vaccinated or receive an exemption to “continue employment with the airline” after it conducted a “thorough review of President Biden’s COVID Action Plan and determined that the carrier’s contracts with the U.S. government require full compliance with the federal vaccination directive.”

Also on Thursday, Southwest said in its quarterly results that it lost some $75 million after thousands of flights were canceled and delayed earlier this month. The firm blamed the weather and unspecified staffing issues, although there was widespread speculation that pilots and other employees walked out over the vaccine requirement.

Read more …

Sometimes I suspect Karl is a faster typer than I am.

“Whether said reprogramming is good, bad, effective or not isn’t the question; it is the claim that such constitutes a “vaccine” that is medically and scientifically false..”

Accountability (Denninger)

That the current jabs are not vaccines is not in question; it is truth. The government has changed the definition of a “vaccine” but you cannot change something that is false into something that is true by making a claim that it is so. A vaccine is a preparation that causes or mimics actual infection but is either attenuated or killed so that it will not harm you. The current “clot shots” are genetic programming designed to alter the core processes of your cells. That the intended outcome of this is to produce an immune response protective against a pathogen does not change the fact that they are not vaccines and that we have discovered the direct result of said programming is pathogenic is not in scientific question either; it is, and is almost-certainly responsible for all the adverse effects of same.

A therapy alters the core processes of your cells to combat a disease; every drug in the pharmacy does this in one form or another. Whether said reprogramming is good, bad, effective or not isn’t the question; it is the claim that such constitutes a “vaccine” that is medically and scientifically false, and no matter how many people believe it, whether that number is zero or 100% of the population does not change the falsity of the statement. That there has never been a successful vaccine — an actual vaccine — against a coronavirus in man or beast is also fact. That is not due to the lack of attempt; there have been many attempts. All have ended in failure; either the protection is non-durable and thus becomes a “required subscription” or worse, it turns on the inoculated individual member of the population and potentiates illness, severely injuring or killing them. Attempting to force that model on the human population through lies or worse, mandates, marks every person involved in advocating or attempting to impose same worthy of immediate imprisonment or even execution as they are wild-eyed extortionists at best or even mass-murdering psychotic criminals.

That every respiratory pandemic in history has progressed into an endemic disease is scientific fact. If it was not, even once, every single one of us would not exist because somewhere before our birth humans would have all been dead. Yet here we are, which is scientific proof that any claim that Covid-19 would not follow the same pattern absent our intervention was and is false. That is not to say that certain pathogens haven’t been worse than others; there have, of course. But the trend toward endemicity and immunity from serious outcome via infection or the mimicry of actual infection, not genetic engineering which only now exists as possible, is fact. Thus my commentary, which I have repeated relentlessly: We are all going to get this thing, there’s nothing we can do about that, and we ought to work on personal resistance to serious outcomes which we know we can have positive impact upon. Indeed, were Covid-19 to have occurred prior to our obsession with obesity and “healthy at any size” it is probable that 99% of those who have died from it in the US would have successfully fought it off and it would have been less serious than seasonal influenza.

Read more …

“The Obama-led claque behind all the White House fakery wants to cram this down the country’s craw before things go so far south that Americans start to think they’re living in Tierra del Fuego.”

“What Am I Doing?” He Asks (Kunstler)

The Leader of the Free World wandered the stage, sometimes oddly circling his interlocutor, Anderson Cooper of CNN, who had to step in and rescue the maundering “Joe B,” when he lost himself in thickets of talking points that no amount of rehearsal could avail to untangle. “What am I doing?” he asked more than once, but no one on the scene volunteered to remind him. The “president” frequently assumed poses that signified some kind of gross cognitive dysfunction: head turned down to the floor with his eyes shut… strange, mincing steps in the direction of a fugitive thought… fists balled like a two-year-old resisting some simple instruction… There was a robotic quality to the act, too, as “JB” repeated his place-holder phrase “Here’s the deal” to preface each flight into the murky jargon of Build Back Better.

It fell short of convincing anyone about who was in charge of the nation’s affairs at a very sketchy moment in history, and at the end Ol “Joe” just ran down like a three-dollar gyroscope. In his most lost moments, such as when AC inaptly tried to prompt him on the border crisis — “I guess I should go down,” he admitted dolefully — the “POTUS” directed the cameras to his wife in the audience, saying, “Jill’s been down there!” We were supposed to conclude that she’d fixed all that for us.

The exercise was also obviously designed to turn up the heat on the two renegade senators, Joe Manchin (WVA) and Kyrsten Sinema (AZ) who are disinclined to vote for the trillions of dollars in pending proposed legislation to drop money from helicopters all over the land and save the economy — and impose all manner of janky surveillance measures and vote-rigging scams on the country. The Obama-led claque behind all the White House fakery wants to cram this down the country’s craw before things go so far south that Americans start to think they’re living in Tierra del Fuego.

Read more …

“[T]hey’re not falling for this,” he replied. “There’s something more nefarious going on — ABC News to put something out like that is just bizarre.”

Nunes: ABC News HQ should move to Disney’s Fantasyland (JTN)

Following an ABC News interview with Christopher Steele, author of the discredited Steele dossier used in the Trump-Russia collusion hoax, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) said the media outlet’s headquarters should move to Fantasyland at its parent company’s Walt Disney World. “[I]t’s a little bit of an embarrassment for ABC News and Disney Corporation,” said Nunes, who as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee was instrumental in exposing the Trump-Russia narrative as a political dirty trick funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign and DNC in 2016. “I’ve been kind of half joking, but really half not, because you wonder if ABC News is gonna move their headquarters to Fantasyland at Disney World,” Nunes quipped. “It’s such a joke.”

Nunes alleged that the network’s hour-long documentary “Out of the Shadows: The Man Behind the Steele Dossier,” released Monday on Hulu, is “entirely fiction.” “[I]t’s really about what was left out,” he said. “And then the lack of clarity on the folks who are … kind of posing as actors in this — you know, they’re supposedly journalists.” Steele was the one “peddling Russian disinformation and the whole hoax early on,” but in his interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos “he’s sitting there going, ‘Oh, we just don’t know if this is true or not,'” observed Nunes. “[I]t’s basically misinformation or disinformation by omission,” he said. Nunes was asked if he was surprised the media is still falling for the Russia collusion narrative five years later.

“[T]hey’re not falling for this,” he replied. “There’s something more nefarious going on — ABC News to put something out like that is just bizarre. “So I have no idea, you know, what’s behind this — the timing, the release of this. That anybody would be defending Steele or those dossiers … at this point is an absolute joke.” While Nunes believes that Special Counsel John Durham is “doing a real investigation” of the Russia collusion hoax, he is concerned about the prosecutor’s ability “to continue this investigation, because we know DOJ is completely politicized.”

Read more …

NATO is done. And not a minute too soon. They can’t even win a game of backgammon. But then again that’s been true for the US for many decades too. Just because they can’t win at anything doesn’t mean they can’t be a major nuisance.

NATO Unveils Master Plan To Defeat Russia In Nuclear War (RT)

Top defense chiefs from NATO member states have given a green light to a new grand strategy on how to beat Russia in any potential all-out conflict, as Moscow says the move proves the US-led bloc isn’t open to improving relations. On Thursday, ministers met in Brussels to sign off the scheme, named the “Concept for Deterrence and Defense in the Euro-Atlantic Area.” According to NATO’s General Secretary, Jens Stoltenberg, it is part of efforts to “continue to strengthen our alliance with better and modernized plans.” The bloc’s officials insist they don’t believe an attack is imminent, but that it is worthwhile being prepared in any case.As part of the plan, NATO troops would fight against Russia’s forces in both the Baltic Region and across the Black Sea.


The battle plans also focus on non-conventional warfare, including the use of nuclear weapons, cyber-attacks and even conflict in space. However, Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov hit out at the adoption of the strategy on Friday, saying that it shows there is no prospect for turning around rock-bottom relations with the bloc. “There is no need for dialogue under these conditions,” he argued, saying that the adoption “of such a concept by NATO confirms it once again.” According to him, “this alliance was not created for peace, it was conceived, designed and created for confrontation.”

Read more …

Google translate from Dutch.

“If the supply of magnesium stops, the entire auto industry may be forced to shut down.”

Magnesium Shortage Threatens To Paralyze Global Car Production (AD)

The automotive industry is already having a hard time due to the shortage of chips and semiconductors, causing many factories to shut down. There is now a threat of a new crisis in Europe due to a magnesium shortage. Magnesium is essential for aluminum production. That material is needed on a large scale for building cars. It is used in gearboxes, steering columns and brakes, seat frames, at fuel tanks, in the bodywork and for many other parts. About 85 percent of global magnesium production comes from China and much of that comes from Yulin City in Shaanxi Province. But due to an energy crisis, production restrictions have been imposed on many factories there. Of the fifty magnesium factories, only fifteen are still active.


They also run at half power to meet the energy requirements. It will remain that way at least until the end of the year. Analysts warn in The Financial Times that stocks of magnesium in the rest of the world are dwindling rapidly. The German and European car industry, almost entirely dependent on China for magnesium, threatens to get nothing in November. “There are no alternatives to aluminum production,” said Barclays analyst Amos Fletcher. “If the supply of magnesium stops, the entire auto industry may be forced to shut down.” In that case, consumers will have to wait even longer for their new car, while the shortage of semiconductors has already doubled or even tripled delivery times.

Read more …

He blocked the Lauri Love extradition.

Chief Justice of England & Wales Joins Bench for Assange Hearing (CN)

Ian Duncan Burnett, the most powerful judge in England and Wales, will join Lord Justice Timothy Holroyde on the bench next week for the two-day U.S. appeal in the extradition case of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange at the High Court in London, according to a spokesman at the Royal Courts of Justice. Burnett, known as Baron Burnett of Maldon, was the High Court justice who on humanitarian grounds overturned a lower court ruling that British activist Lauri Love should be extradited to the United States. Burnett ruled in February 2018 that Love’s extradition would be “oppressive by reason of his physical and mental condition.” Burnett and Mr. Justice Duncan Ouseley said in their decision that, “We accept that the evidence shows that the fact of extradition would bring on severe depression, and that Mr. Love would probably be determined to commit suicide, here or in America.”


Instead they recommended that Love be tried in the United Kingdom on charges of hacking into U.S. government computers. Unlike Love, Assange is accused of no crimes in Britain. But like Love, he has been deemed (by the magistrate’s court) at high risk of suicide if he were to be extradited to the United States. The U.S. is appealing the lower court’s decision not to extradite Assange to the U.S. based on his propensity for suicide. The U.S. is arguing that Assange is not too sick to be sent to the U.S. and that he is a malingerer. Holroyde is the High Court judge who on Aug. 11 reversed an earlier High Court order limiting the U.S. from appealing Assange’s medical issues.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

 

Snowden

 

 

 

 

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Sep 192021
 
 September 19, 2021  Posted by at 8:50 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  50 Responses »


Vincent van Gogh The Rispal Restaurant at Asnieres 1887

 

Covid-19: An ‘Extraterrestrial’ Disease? (Elsevier)
No More Horror Rhetoric And Panic Politics: German Dcotors (HNA)
Heavily Vaccinated Small State Accounts For 65% Of India’s Covid Cases (Blaze)
The Sad Reality: Civil War, Or A Divorce, Is Coming (Denninger)
Antibody Treatments For COVID Work. Why Aren’t They Being Promoted? (Glennon)
Big Gap Between Pfizer, Moderna Vaccines Seen (LAT)
Incensed Anti-Vaxxers (K.)
Most Violent Covid Protests Yet Erupt In Melbourne (DM)
Look Ye, Shipmates — He Breaches! (Kunstler)
I Respected Mark Milley – But He Has Damaged Our Democracy (Kellogg)
France Accuses Australia, US Of ‘Lying’ In Escalating Crisis (Y!)

 

 

“THESE PATIENTS DESERVE TO BE HEARD” -VAERS WHISTLEBLOWER

 

 

 

 

 

 

Malone

 

 

 

 

“A complex disease cannot be solved through a simple, magic-bullet cure or vaccine.”

The headline seems a strange attention seeker, but the fact that it’s published in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases deserves attention. A highly respected scientific publication now says cut the crap and dim the noise. Times are a-changing.

Covid-19: An ‘Extraterrestrial’ Disease? (Elsevier)

Since the beginning of the pandemic, COVID-19 has been regarded as an exceptional disease. Control measures have exclusively focused on ‘the virus’, while failing to account for other biological and social factors that determine severe forms of the disease. We argue that although COVID-19 was initially considered a new challenge, justifying extraordinary response measures, this situation has changed — and so should our response. We now know that COVID-19 shares many features of common infectious respiratory diseases, and can now ascertain that SARS-CoV-2 has not suddenly presented new problems. Instead, it has exposed and exacerbated existing problems in health systems and the underlying health of the population.


COVID-19 is evidently not an ‘extraterrestrial’ disease. It is a complex zoonotic disease, and it needs to be managed as such, following long-proven principles of medicine and public health. A complex disease cannot be solved through a simple, magic-bullet cure or vaccine. The heterogeneity of population profiles susceptible to developing a severe form of COVID-19 suggests the need to adopt varying, targeted measures that are able to address risk profiles in an appropriate way. The critical role of comorbidities in disease severity calls for short-term, virus-targeted interventions to be complemented with medium-term policies aimed at reducing the burden of comorbidities, as well as mitigating the risk of transition from infection to disease. Strategies required include upstream prevention, early treatment, and consolidation of the health system.

Read more …

German doctors agree: dim the noise.

Google translate. “If compulsory vaccination is not wanted – and I do not want it either – then there is only one political alternative: The lifting of all state-imposed restrictions..”

No More Horror Rhetoric And Panic Politics: German Dcotors (HNA)

The National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians no longer sees any reason for corona measures in Germany: “Now it is no longer the responsibility of the state”. Berlin – Denmark recently lifted all Corona * measures. No masks, no tests, no hygiene rules are now the order of the day in the Scandinavian country. The National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (KBV) has now called for such a procedure: The most important medical association in Germany is calling for all corona rules * to be repealed. “If compulsory vaccination is not wanted – and I do not want it either – then there is only one political alternative: The lifting of all state-imposed restrictions,” said the deputy chief executive of the KBV, Dr. Stephan Hofmeister, on Friday (September 17, 2021) in Berlin.

All citizens who wanted to protect themselves against the coronavirus with a vaccination could do so. In contrast to spring, there are also enough vaccine doses available. Hofmeister said: “Now it is no longer the responsibility of the state, but the individual responsibility of each and every one of us.” Before the start of the nationwide vaccination campaign, some “severe and stressful cuts for everyone” had to be justified, Hofmeister said, according to the Ärztezeitung. “Not any longer longer.” He expects a different kind of communication from politics to the citizens. Surveys show that some people refuse to be vaccinated in protest against political pressure. There would be a “bad mix”, said Hofmeister. Unfortunately, people are still trying to make politics with fear. Hofmeister demanded: “It must finally be an end with horror rhetoric and panic politics!”

KBV chairman of the board, Dr. According to the Ärztezeitung, Andreas Gassen spoke out in favor of “a little more rationality” in the corona discussion. “After a year and a half in crisis mode, we finally need a rational discussion.” Debates should not be conducted on the basis of fears, but rather on the basis of facts. One such fact is that the no-covid strategy would not work in any country. Since the beginning of the corona pandemic, around 4.13 million people in Germany have been infected with the Sars-CoV-2 virus, and almost 93,000 people have died after being infected with the pathogen. 52.2 million people (62.8 percent of the total population) are fully vaccinated. A total of 55.7 million (67.0 percent) received at least one vaccine dose.

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What mass murder looks like everywhere ivermectin is rejected.

Heavily Vaccinated Small State Accounts For 65% Of India’s Covid Cases (Blaze)

The Indian state of Kerala has 3% of India’s population, and 67% of its inhabitants have at least one vaccination. One would expect Kerala’s COVID cases to be so low as to be invisible in a chart of India’s very low overall cases. Yet this state of just 33 million people accounted for 65% of all of India’s cases on Thursday, and even more in recent weeks. It has essentially been the only state experiencing a surge in recent months. It also happens to be the Indian state that has rejected ivermectin. I have written several columns on the miracle of Uttar Pradesh, India’s largest state, which has essentially eradicated COVID with the universal use of ivermectin. In general, most of India experienced very few COVID cases since the large spring wave because there is a great deal of immunity built up. However, Uttar Pradesh, despite its population of 240 million people, has been averaging fewer than 20 cases over the past few months for its seven-day rolling average. This is India at large:

Now compare to Uttar Pradesh, which has a flat line rather than just a low churn.

Now let’s compare this to the state of Kerala, which has removed ivermectin and other proven therapeutics from its treatment protocol and has gone all in on the ineffective remdesivir.

As you can see, unlike anywhere else in India, Kerala kept experiencing a robust spread for months and has only finally begun to turn the corner. This relatively small state of less than 3% of the Indian population has been responsible for the overwhelming majority of cases for months. So, let’s review the statistics again.

Uttar Pradesh:
• largest state of 240 million people
• roughly 20 cases a day
• 193 active cases — 33% with one dose of vaccine (and near zero when cases were going down in the spring)
• universal ivermectin use

Kerala:
• 33 million people
• 65% of all current cases in India
• 186,000 active cases
• 67% with at least one vaccine
• banned ivermectin

“The protocol clearly says antibiotics like Azithromycin or vitamins are not indicated for COVID-19 patients,” said R. Aravind, Head of Infectious Diseases, Thiruvananthapuram Government Medical College, of the Kerala revised protocol in early August. They removed ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine but retained remdesivir as part of the treatment protocol. Well, Kerala’s case rate is about 8,000 times greater than that of Uttar Pradesh, which liberally uses ivermectin and focuses on early and preventive treatment. Rather than following the example of Uttar Pradesh, Kerala is increasing restrictions on human freedom. Why treat people when you can just control them?

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“Mathematics was not wrong in the time of Galileo — he was right and the priests were full of crap — and it isn’t wrong now.”

The Sad Reality: Civil War, Or A Divorce, Is Coming (Denninger)

This is a matter of mathematical fact; a virus must find a new host or it dies out and the basic formula for that has been known for decades; 1 – 1/R0 = Herd Immunity Threshold. So if Delta has an R0 of 6 (which I doubt by the way; the CDC claims it but the UK data says no, it’s materially less but somewhat higher than the original R0 of 3.0 for Covid’s wild strain) then we get 1 – 1/x = 83% or, from basic algebra which any nurse or doctor damn well ought to be able to do you get -1/x = 0.83 – 1. You can solve that equation from here for the suppressed level of R0, right? This means that in May there was no national epidemic possible for an R0 of 5.88 or less unless the jabs don’t work or enhance disease. Mathematics was not wrong in the time of Galileo — he was right and the priests were full of crap — and it isn’t wrong now.

Civil war or a partition and divorce between the people of this nation? When those who are alleged “health” care workers and politicians are acting identically to those who persecuted Galileo because he scientifically proved the Earth was not the center of the universe, and who have as their high priests the very organization that multiplied the rate of a serious infectious disease by a factor of FIFTY by putting politics and pharma ahead of health resulting in the death of many people who are right now having tubes shoved down their throat and their veins filled with a damned dangerous drug, specifically remdesivir, and that results in a huge wave of DEATH then yeah, that’s where we’re headed unless they cut that crap out. There’s NO indication they will. I want nothing to do with these people and do not willingly engage with them. If they want to sit in a bar and drink beer where people who see it the other way and can be bothered to do basic algebra happen to be, that’s fine.

You have a right to be intentionally ignorant. I’m perfectly happy to consider such people nothing more or less than a large rock consuming an equal amount of space; that’s the peaceful option. You do you, I do me; leave me the Hell alone and I will do likewise. At worst you’ll get a smirk when you display said insanity in public on your clothing. But they’re not content to do that and leave me alone as I experienced once again last night. Not at all, and that’s the problem. If one group refuses to leave the other alone and repeatedly continues to accost the other on an escalating basis eventually those demanding you perform a dangerous act that, on the evidence and the fundamental laws of mathematics is making Covid worse are going to turn to violence and, when they do, that’s a one-way door as once THEY start that crap (and from the pattern of escalation it appears they will do exactly that) they will not be able to turn it back off.

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Profit?!

Antibody Treatments For COVID Work. Why Aren’t They Being Promoted? (Glennon)

It’s perhaps the most effective way to save your life if you are infected with COVID-19, but probably the least known. It reduces the risk of even being hospitalized by 70% to 85%, though it must be administered early to be effective – within four days of infection. Lives probably are being lost unnecessarily because people don’t know about it. It’s monoclonal antibody treatment, abbreviated as mAb. To the extent the public has any familiarity with it they, may know it as Regeneron, though that’s actually the name of the company that makes the leading treatment, REGEN-COV2, and there are several other mAbs from other makers. Health authorities for months back should have been issuing this message constantly: “Immediately after being exposed or you have COVID symptoms, get tested and ask if an antibody treatment is right for you.”

But they didn’t. They still aren’t. At least not in Illinois and most of the nation. Why not? No reasonable explanation is evident and a significant number of lives may have been lost because of the failure to inform the public properly. And now, with antibody treatments getting more attention, the treatments must be rationed, adding to the tragedy. At least in part, the explanation is a sad one – politics, and politicized media. The effectiveness of REGEN and other antibody treatments has been known since at least November when the Food and Drug Administration granted emergency authorization for REGEN and another mAb. Earlier tests had found REGEN to be over 70% effective in heading off serious illness and multiple subsequent tests have confirmed it.

“Many of us were talking about this as early as March [2020]” wrote Scott Gottlieb, a former FDA commissioner. “Regeneron did extraordinary work to secure their own manufacturing, but we needed a concerted industrial effort to get the supply we needed.”

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After the Israel data on waning efficacy, all of these numbers appear superfluous at best.

Big Gap Between Pfizer, Moderna Vaccines Seen (LAT)

Amid persistent concerns that the protection offered by COVID-19 vaccines may be waning, a report released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that America’s workhorse shot is significantly less effective at preventing severe cases of disease over the long term than many experts had realized. Data collected from 18 states between March and August suggest the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine reduces the risk of being hospitalized with COVID-19 by 91% in the first four months after receiving the second dose. Beyond 120 days, however, that vaccine efficacy drops to 77%. Meanwhile, Moderna’s vaccine was 93% effective at reducing the short-term risk of COVID-19 hospitalization and remained 92% effective after 120 days.

[..] When the Moderna vaccine received emergency use authorization in December, the company reported that 30 people in its clinical trial developed severe cases of COVID-19, including nine who required hospitalization. All 30 patients were in the placebo group, resulting in a vaccine efficacy against severe disease of 100%. Ten people in Pfizer’s initial clinical trial developed severe cases of COVID-19. Nine of them was in the placebo group, including seven who were hospitalized, resulting in a vaccine efficacy against severe disease of 88.9%. Once the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines were rolled out to the public, their records of preventing COVID-19 hospitalizations in the first four months were neck and neck — 93% and 91% effective, respectively. But the degree of protection diverged after that.

When they focused specifically on the period 120 days beyond the second dose, the study authors found that the Moderna vaccine remained 92% effective at preventing COVID-19 hospitalizations. But the equivalent figure for the Pfizer vaccine was 77%. The results were published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are based on mRNA technology, which delivers temporary instructions to the body’s muscle cells that help it learn to recognize the spike protein, a key part of the coronavirus’ structure. But “they’re actually not necessarily interchangeable,” said Dr. Timothy Brewer, a professor of medicine and epidemiology at UCLA.

Each vaccine is formulated and administered differently, Brewer said, and those differences could affect the strength and duration of the two vaccines’ protection. Moderna’s shot contains 100 micrograms of vaccine, more than three times the 30 micrograms in the Pfizer shot. And Pfizer’s two doses are given three weeks apart, while Moderna’s two-shot regimen is administered with a four-week gap. Brewer also pointed to evidence that the Moderna vaccine seemed to elicit higher levels of a key antibody than the Pfizer vaccine. “We know from other studies the neutralizing antibody levels will decay over time, so starting at a higher level will mean that you have farther to go before you decay to a point where efficacy drops off,” he said.

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How my local paper sees things.

Incensed Anti-Vaxxers (K.)

The recent anti-vaccination rallies in Athens and Thessaloniki were not the first of their kind, but they were the largest: From the usual attendance of a few dozen or even a couple of hundred protesters, these swelled to a more than a thousand – and that was still during the summer lull. The protesters were also more aggressive than usual, “anointing” the police with Molotov cocktails instead of incense.

The key weapon of the deniers – both on an ideological and material level – is the usual: saying “no” to everything, from the existence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus to the use of masks, to social distancing and to vaccines. The vast majority – regardless of which faction of the movement they belong to – deny the coronavirus despite the 4 million people who have died of Covid-19 worldwide and its more than 14,000 victims in Greece. And where its existence is acknowledged, then it is explained away as a machination by the slyest of the world’s plotters to fulfill the age-old desire of getting rid of the Greeks and Greece and eking the Christianity out of Christendom by injecting microchips that tamper with the human DNA into people’s arms.

The mathematics of death mean even less to them than scientific explanations. They simply do not believe the numbers. Their faith is invested in other things – Christ and the Virgin Mother, in theory at least, given that their icons, along with massive crosses and Greek flags adorned with religious motifs, are part of their customary armor, embellished recently with a banner quoting dictator Georgios Papadopoulos’ “I believe.” Had they thrown in a couple of images of Alexander the Great, their rallies may have been confused with a typical gathering of “neo-Macedonians.” One can almost imagine it: the Macedonian king riding his steed Bucephalus beside Saint George on his horse, with the latter plunging his lance into the serpent and the former his sarissa into Bill Gates or George Sorros.

The deniers’ verbal armory is littered with sexist vulgarity, distributed between Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras. Yet this also fails to convince certain people that the real enemy is the failure of logic, religious fanaticism and intolerance, an aversion for science (which also stems from the machinations of the Slyest One) and idiotic conspiracy theories.

The vehement denial of the medical sciences and of reality we are witnessing among fanatical religious circles is not the only version of denial, but it is the only one that was born at the same time as Covid-19 – the others appeared along the way. For the past year-and-a-half, priests from the ranks of the Church of Greece’s hierarchy have been raising the banners of revolt, imagining themselves in their deluded minds as some modern-day monk Samuel defending the fortress of Kougi at Souli against the onslaught of the barbarians. There are worshippers at churches across the country who have never donned a mask, either because “Jesus saves” or the priest forbade it. Not to mention the government, which even now treats this part of society with kid gloves – like voters instead of deniers.

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‘Angry aggressive young males (were) there to fight the police, not to protest about freedoms..’

Most Violent Covid Protests Yet Erupt In Melbourne (DM)

Anti-lockdown riots have erupted in Melbourne’s CBD with violent protesters overpowering police officers and storming the streets in defiance of the city’s stay-at-home orders. More than 1,000 demonstrators turned out in full-force to protest against the lockdown as they swarmed in front of traffic in Richmond, in the Victorian capital’s inner suburbs, on Saturday. Melbourne has spent 228 days in lockdown since since march 2020, and is set to notch up a grim world record for the most days spent under stay-at-home laws when it passes Buenos Aires on September 23. In Sydney 32 were arrested and 265 fines handed out as 2,000 police swarmed the city, while in Byron Bay 11 people were arrested at a 250-strong street protest.


Thousands more protested against lockdown restrictions and mandatory Covid vaccinations at large rallies in Brisbane and Perth. Some 2,000 officers were deployed at road checkpoints and barricades across Melbourne, and on roving patrols, to try to stop the rally going ahead in breach of public health orders. Police arrested 235 people and while most were taken away for breaching health directions, some were charged with assault, riotous behaviour and weapons and drug offences. Each will be fined $5,452, with 193 infringements handed out so far. Ten police were injured while dealing with the protests, with injuries including a broken elbow and broken nose, a broken finger and torn muscles. Six officers were taken to hospital. Commander Mark Galliott said bottles and stones were thrown at officers while an authorised vehicle was severely damaged. ‘Angry aggressive young males (were) there to fight the police, not to protest about freedoms,’ he told the media late on Saturday.

Oz protest
https://twitter.com/i/status/1439101005476646912

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” I hope you are ready for a month of shocks to the system. ”

Look Ye, Shipmates — He Breaches! (Kunstler)

The overwhelming body of opinion for more than a year is that John Durham is a phantom doing next-to-nothing about the greatest political scandal in US history. If his efforts end with Mr. Sussmann, he will disgrace himself, of course, and that’s a possibility. But I would venture to suppose that it won’t end there. The insult to the nation of all the epic dishonesty is too grave, even potentially fatal — since it has enabled a depraved skein of additional seditious activities afterward, including the 2020 election subterfuge, the lawlessness of BLM and Antifa, the psychotic race-and-gender “Woke” mind-fuckery infecting the US military, the ongoing invasion across the US-Mexican border, all the coercion around Covid-19, especially “mandated” shots of a dangerous so-called “vaccine,” and the destruction of small business from sea to shining sea.

All of that has left the American public demoralized and economically savaged, and with the country’s standing in the world dangerously reduced. I hope you are ready for a month of shocks to the system. The deceit of the CDC and the FDA in gaming and cooking their Covid-19 data is now emerging from the fog of pandemic hysteria. I will also dare to conjecture that the number of recent and current Covid-19 “cases” turns out to be actually and overwhelmingly adverse reactions to the mRNA experiment, not the disease itself, and that holy hell will erupt among the public as it becomes understood that their livelihoods — and their health — are being stolen as part of this fraud.

A week from today, the Arizona election audit results are now scheduled to be released. Expect trauma. Tomorrow, a demonstration in support of the 1/6 political prisoners is on-board for Washington, DC. The potential for Deep State manipulation of the event is high, so stay away from it. There are enough other forces in motion now to throw a spanner in the engine of malice our government has become. Let Karma do its thing and hold on tight for a rough ride.

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Keith Kellogg is a retired Army lieutenant general who was an assistant to the president and national security adviser to President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. He is currently co-chairman for American Security at the America First Policy Institute.

I Respected Mark Milley – But He Has Damaged Our Democracy (Kellogg)

Commenting on the recent events by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is not easy for me. For much of his career, Mark Milley served with distinction and honor. I worked hand-in-hand with him during my four years in the White House and I’d like to think we built a rapport based on mutual respect. It is hard to separate that man from the one who has emerged these last months, alongside the alleged actions he has not denied. Civilian control of the military is enshrined in our Constitution. Article 2, Section 2 is extraordinarily clear — a civilian leader, the elected president, is commander in chief. His senior advisers provide input toward decisions involving use of force and the role of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is to provide his best military advice. He is an advisor who executes the commander in chief’s commands, not the other way around.

Any action on the part of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs that gives the impression that he has traveled outside his lane, however slight, should be met with swift and severe recourse. This is not political; this is about the preservation of our democracy. Unfortunately, recent comments by many in the media, including retired military officials, appear to undermine that hard truth. They are trying to give Gen. Milley a pass, not because they believe this departure from norms is a good thing for our republic, but because they will support anything that portrays former President Donald Trump in a poor light. Such politicization of the responsibilities of the chairman and his critical role does this nation a disservice.

In my lifetime, I have seen military officials removed for overstepping their responsibilities. In fact, I’ve seen officers removed for things that bordered on the silly. The allegations against Milley are anything but. Unauthorized military discussions with a growing adversary about potential action sends a negative signal to an enemy. It conveys confusion, weakness, and calls into question our ability to control our military forces. It also implies that the military, in fact, calls the shots — not the commander in chief. Any undermining of the civilian control of the military is problematic; this was dangerous. Moreover, this call was made in the aftermath of a contentious election in the midst of a debilitating pandemic caused and perpetuated by the same country on the other end of the phone. In diplomatic relations, what s not said often carries as much weight as what is. Milley s alleged call communicated disarray.

Nothing was further from the truth. I was the longest serving senior national security official in the Trump White House. I was confident then, and confident now, that Trump was a commander in chief that we needed and served us well in multiple crises. You need only look at the fall of Kabul, the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan and our failure to coordinate with our allies, the tragic drone strikes that killed seven children rather than an ISIS-K member, and the French withdrawing their ambassador to see how far we ve fallen. Peace through strength is more than just a catchphrase. The Biden administration needs to hit the reset button in more ways than one. President Biden may have confidence in his chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, but the American public no longer does.

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The end of NATO?!

France Accuses Australia, US Of ‘Lying’ In Escalating Crisis (Y!)

France on Saturday accused Australia and the United States of lying over a ruptured Australian contract to buy French submarines, warning a grave crisis was underway between the allies. Australia’s decision to break a deal for the French submarines in favour of American nuclear-powered vessels sparked outrage in Paris, with President Emmanuel Macron recalling France’s ambassadors to Canberra and Washington in an unprecedented move. The row has sparked a deep rift in America’s oldest alliance and dashed hopes of a post-Donald Trump renaissance in relations between Paris and Washington under President Joe Biden.

Speaking to France 2 television, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian gave no indication Paris was prepared to let the crisis die down, using distinctly undiplomatic language towards Australia, the United States and Britain, which is also part of the three-way security pact. “There has been lying, duplicity, a major breach of trust and contempt,” Le Drian said. “This will not do.” He described the withdrawal of the ambassadors for the first time in the history of relations with the countries as a “very symbolic” act that aimed “to show how unhappy we are and that there is a serious crisis between us”. But Australia has rebuffed French accusations of betrayal, with Defence Minister Peter Dutton insisting Canberra had been “upfront, open and honest” with Paris about its concerns over the deal.

On Sunday, Australian Finance Minister Simon Birmingham said his country had informed the French government “at the earliest available opportunity, before it became public”. He told national broadcaster ABC that it was “always going to be a difficult decision” to cancel the French deal. “We don’t underestimate the importance now of… ensuring that we re-establish those strong ties with the French government and counterparts long into the future,” he added. “Because their ongoing engagement in this region is important.” Le Drian also issued a stinging response to a question over why France had not recalled its ambassador to Britain, which was also part of the security pact that led to the rupture.

“We have recalled our ambassadors to (Canberra and Washington) to re-evaluate the situation. With Britain, there is no need. We know their constant opportunism. So there is no need to bring our ambassador back to explain,” he said. Of London’s role in the pact under Prime Minister Boris Johnson, he added with derision: “Britain in this whole thing is a bit like the third wheel.”

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The undertaker from the video has been suspended.

 

 

 

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in virustime; donate with Paypal, Bitcoin and Patreon.

 

Jun 102021
 


Henri Matisse Odalisque couchée aux magnolias 1923

 

CDC Claims Hospitalization Rising Among Unvaccinated Teens (Blaze)
The Real Efficacy of Covid-19 Vaccines (OR)
Fauci Compares Criticism Of Him To ‘Attacks On Science’ (RT)
G7 Leaders Will Call For Fresh WHO Inquiry Into Covid Origins (G.)
Covid Distancing May Have Weakened Children’s Immune System (G.)
Mongolia Reports Fresh COVID Outbreak Despite High Vaccination Rates (ZH)
J&J Must Pay $2 Billion In Landmark Talcum Baby Powder Trial (ZME)
Yet Another Media Tale Collapses (Greenwald)
EU-UK Talks On Northern Ireland Appear Close To Collapse On Eve Of G7 (G.)
Joe Biden Accuses Boris Johnson Of ‘Inflaming’ Tensions In Ireland (Sun)
Zelensky Tells Biden Ukraine Needs Clear Plan For Accession To NATO (ZH)

 

 

Actual deaths after waxxine

 

 

 

 

Neat little trick.

CDC Claims Hospitalization Rising Among Unvaccinated Teens (Blaze)

In order to justify the forced vaccination of children, the powers that be would somehow have to overturn 15 months of observations that COVID is less a threat to children than the flu and that unvaccinated children are less at risk than vaccinated adults (100 times less at risk than seniors), even if we are to believe Pfizer’s efficacy data. “CDC director reports spike in teen hospitalizations, urges parents to vaccinate kids over 12,” was the headline at the Hill on Friday, reporting on the CDC’s new study of hospitalizations. Naturally, it caught my attention because we all know that hospitalizations among all age groups have been plummeting to record lows across the country in recent weeks.

It turns out that along with its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), the CDC published a “study” purporting to show an increase in hospitalizations among 12- to 17-year-olds, with one-third of them being in the ICU and 5% of them being placed on ventilators. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky was ready to pounce. “I am deeply concerned by the numbers of hospitalized adolescents and saddened to see the number of adolescents who required treatment in intensive care units or mechanical ventilation,” said Walensky in a statement. Of course, the solution is the great experimental gene therapy. “Until they are fully vaccinated, adolescents should continue to wear masks and take precautions when around other [sic] who are not vaccinated to protect themselves, and their family, friends, and community,” Walensky stated.

But there’s one problem. The CDC’s own data show that hospitalizations among all groups have plummeted over the past six weeks. It turns out they picked arbitrary start and end points – an old trick they’ve used with mask studies – which coincides with a period of increased hospitalizations among all age groups, including those with high vaccination rates. The study period of the CDC’s report was from March 1, 2020, to April 24, 2021. It just so happens that April 24 was roughly the peak period for ALL age groups! Most of that mini increase (after the major winter spread) was due to the final spring spread in the northeast and upper Midwest. Based on the CDC’s headlines, one would think that childhood hospitalizations are spreading now and that they are rising relative to other age groups. In reality, they have plummeted and only rose slightly from a near-zero baseline earlier this year along with other groups.

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To make it clear once and for all.

The Real Efficacy of Covid-19 Vaccines (OR)

Absolute Risk Reduction (ARR) and Relative Risk Reduction (RRR)

Why are ARR and RRR very important? Very simply, let’s assume you have 100 people in a Treatment group and another 100 people in a Control or placebo group. Then, let’s say that 2 people get Disease X in the Control group while one person gets Disease X in the Treatment group. The Relative Risk Reduction or RRR in this example is 50% because one diseased person is 50% or half of 2 diseased people. However, the Absolute Risk Reduction (ARR) is only 1% because in the treatment group, only one fewer people out of 100 participants got Disease X. You can also work it out using these formulas:

1) In the Treatment group, 1/100 got Disease X = 1% which is the EER (Experimental Event Rate)
2) In the Control or placebo group, 2/100 got Disease X = 2% which is the CER (Control Event Rate)
3) ARR (Absolute Risk Reduction) = CER – EER = 2% – 1% = 1%

In a subtraction the % signs carry through the equation and are kept.

4) RRR (Relative Risk Reduction) = ARR divided by CER = 1% divided by 2% = 1/2

In a division, the % signs cancel each other out and are not kept, but 1/2 is the same as 50%.

Let’s say the Treatment in this example had side effects, as most treatments do. If a patient were offered this Treatment and was told that the “efficacy” (how well the treatment works) was only 1% (the ARR) which is the true efficacy, this patient would be much less likely to accept the Treatment and its side effects than if he or she were told the efficacy was 50%. Fifty percent sounds a lot more promising than 1% but it reflects only the comparison between the diseased people of each group. The ARR or 1% efficacy is much more accurate as it reflects how many more people out of 100 will be protected from Disease X as a result of the Treatment. To just say that the Treatment is 50% effective in this scenario by ignoring the ARR is to introduce outcome reporting bias.

[..] Analysis of Pfizer’s Data

1) In the vaccine group, 8/18,198 got Covid-19 infection (not death) = 0.044% This is the EER (Experimental Event Rate)
2) In the Control (placebo) group, 162/18,325 got covid-19 infection (not death ) = 0.884% This is the CER (Control Event Rate)
3) ARR (Absolute Risk Reduction) = CER – EER = 0.884% – 0.044% = 0.84% = 0.84/100 = 0.0084
4) RRR (Relative Risk Reduction) = ARR divided by CER or 0.84% divided by 0.884% = 0.95

As this formula involves division, the percentage signs cancel out. 0.95 is the same as 95% which is what the Pfizer study reports for “efficacy.” An “efficacy” of 95% gives the impression that one is 95% less likely to catch Covid-19 if one is vaccinated with Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine. However,

5) the ARR or Absolute Risk Reduction, which is 0.0084 or 0.84%, is actually less than 1%

As shown under the ARR and RRR heading above, the ARR (of any study) is far more accurate than the RRR, but clearly, 95% sounds much more compelling than <1%. Referring to the “efficacy” of the Pfizer vaccine as 95% is not technically incorrect, but it is very misleading as this value does not properly inform the vaccine recipient. Such misrepresentation is at the very least unethical and at most illegal in many countries which require informed consent. Unfortunately, it is easy for outcome reporting bias to escape detection since the average individual, including the average doctor, does not understand ARR and RRR and will automatically assume that “95% efficacy” means 95% less likely to get Covid-19 in the real world.

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How much longer?

Fauci Compares Criticism Of Him To ‘Attacks On Science’ (RT)

White House health advisor Anthony Fauci pushed back against growing controversy surrounding him, equating attacks on him to “attacks on science.” While Fauci remains a leading force in the US government’s battle against Covid-19, he has become an increasingly divisive figure, especially in light of a recent dramatic flip on his position on vaccinated Americans masking, as well as leaked emails seemingly showing him wavering on public positions. Asked about continuing attacks from mainly conservative critics, Fauci equated the criticism to attacking science itself. “It’s very dangerous, Chuck, because a lot of what you’re seeing as attacks on me quite frankly are attacks on science, because all of the things that I have spoken about consistently from the very beginning, have been fundamentally based on science,” he told MSNBC’s ‘Meet the Press’ hosted by Chuck Todd.

While critics have argued Fauci’s emails show he was perhaps more open to a lab leak theory behind Covid-19 privately than publicly and flip-flopped his position on masking, the infectious disease expert has denied any wrongdoing in the messages. “If you go through each and every one of them you can explain and debunk it immediately,” he said. As he has done in the past, Fauci argued that when he has seemingly changed his position on issues like masking, it’s because new data has been presented. “As a scientist, as a health official, when those data change, when you get more information, it’s essential that you change your position because you’ve got to be guided by the science and the current data,” he said. It was Fauci’s “science” defense that really stirred his critics – and Fauci believes they want him “fired” or “put in jail.”

Beyond the dangerous arrogance and pomposity of proclaiming ‘anyone who criticizes me is attacking Science’ – thus placing himself off-limits from questioning – he *admitted* he purposely issued false, anti-science, politicized claims, such as telling people not to wear masks,” journalist Glenn Greenwald tweeted.

Fauci

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Yeah, sure Fauci would like that! Then again, as long as it’s the WHO doing the inquiry, he has nothing to fear.

G7 Leaders Will Call For Fresh WHO Inquiry Into Covid Origins (G.)

Leaders at the G7 summit will call for a new, transparent investigation by the World Health Organization into the origins of the coronavirus, according to a leaked draft communique for the meeting. The call was initiated by Joe Biden’s administration and follows the US president’s decision to expand the American investigation into the origins of the pandemic, with one intelligence agency leaning towards the theory that it escaped from a Wuhan laboratory. The broad consensus among scientific experts remains that the most likely explanation is that Covid-19 jumped to humans from an animal host in a natural event. An on-the-ground investigation by WHO experts earlier this year concluded t it was “extremely unlikely” the pandemic began in a laboratory.


According to Bloomberg News, which said it had sight of the draft communique, the G7 will also commit to deliver 1bn extra doses of the Covid-19 vaccine over the next year to accelerate global protection against the disease. The move may disappoint aid agencies that want most of the world’s 8 billion people to be vaccinated, but the communique will argue that the fresh commitment will dramatically increase the number of people in the developing world offered a vaccine. Ahead of his arrival at the summit, Biden said the US would commit to buying 500m doses of the vaccine for distribution to developing countries. The communique, which is often leaked ahead of the G7 summit, is due to be finalised on Sunday following a three-day meeting in Cornwall. At the 2020 summit in France, leaders abandoned publishing a list of commitments after Donald Trump refused to sign the letter.

Biden to announce a “vaccine plan for the world”
https://twitter.com/i/status/1402688704767041539

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May have?

Covid Distancing May Have Weakened Children’s Immune System (G.)

Scientists are concerned that measures to combat Covid-19 have weakened the immune systems of young children who have not been able to build up resistance to common bugs, leaving them vulnerable when mask-wearing and social distancing eventually end. Contact with viral pathogens happens on a fairly regular basis and although it does not always lead to sickness, the exposure helps shore the immune system against the threat should the bugs be encountered again. Over the past 14 months or so, protracted restrictions on mixing and travel, alongside mask-wearing and social distancing, have not only reduced the risk of Covid but other respiratory bugs such as the flu – cases of which were basically nonexistent last winter, according to surveillance data largely encompassing England compiled by the Royal College of GPs (RCGP).

However, virologists are concerned about RSV, a virus that can cause serious lung infections requiring hospital admission, and sometimes even death, in children under the age of one – and for which there are no approved vaccines. “Flu worries me, but there is a vaccine – and so the most vulnerable will still have access to the vaccines,” said Dr Catherine Moore, consultant clinical scientist for Public Health Wales. She warned that RSV currently has no vaccine. “Whereas what Covid has done has caused a big issue in our adult ICUs, we may see conversely problems in our paediatric hospitalisations and intensive care,” she said. Pre-Covid, most children encountered most seasonal viruses before they turned 18 months old.

But the biggest influx in paediatric hospital wards each winter are babies under the age of one who have for the first time been infected with RSV – because their lungs are not well developed, their bodies struggle to fight off the infection, explained Moore. Scientists are worried that if life begins to go back to pre-Covid normality, respiratory viruses that typically circulate every winter will return alongside the coronavirus. Moore said she was particularly worried about the risk of RSV in young children. “We’ve got two cohorts now of children who’ve never met the virus, so they are susceptible, but there’s two years’ worth of them!” Before the pandemic, data suggested more than 30,000 babies and children under five were admitted to hospital every year in the UK because of RSV. Assuming “normality” resumes later this year, “we are preparing for a significant impact in paediatrics”, said Moore.

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Is it Sinopharm?

Mongolia Reports Fresh COVID Outbreak Despite High Vaccination Rates (ZH)

For weeks now, Mongolia has been touted as an unexpected success story in the international vaccination project: the poor, mostly rural country lies between northeastern China and Russia’s resource-rich east. The country, which struck deals with its neighbors to stock its vaccine coffers months ago, drew attention due to its climbing international vaccination rate. But in recent days, Mongolia’s COVID-19 rate has surged, raising questions about the efficacy of China’s vaccines. More than half of Mongolia’s population has been fully vaccinated. But despite this, the country reported 1,312 new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday as the country’s total infections neared 70K, with almost all of those recorded since January. New daily infections have risen more than 70% in the past two weeks, according to a New York Times database.

The landlocked nation has easily secured enough doses of the vaccine from Russia and China. And as its case numbers rise, Sinopharm’s vaccine has come under scrutiny because of a lack of transparency in its late-stage trial data. The vaccine faced more questions after the island nation of the Seychelles, which relied heavily on Sinopharm to inoculate its population, also saw a spike in cases, although most people did not become seriously ill. “Inactivated vaccines like Sinovac and Sinopharm are not as effective against infection but very effective against severe disease,” said Ben Cowling, an epidemiologist and biostatistician at the University of Hong Kong School of Public Health. “Although Mongolia seems to be having a spike in infections and cases, my expectation is that there won’t be large number of hospitalizations,” he added.

Doubts about the efficacy of China’s Sinopharm jab have been spreading for months, as the vaccine was repeatedly shown to be less effective than the new mRNA jabs from Pfizer and Moderna-BioNTech. In some areas, mutant strains may be spreading fast enough to cause concern even in countries where much of the population has vaccinations effective against them: Britain is dealing with a rise in cases linked to the Delta variant, despite having more than half of its adult population fully vaccinated, largely with shots from AstraZeneca and Pfizer. Still, the wave of infections has raised questions in Mongolia over why the government relied on the Sinopharm shots instead of a vaccine proven to be more effective.

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“If even a fraction of these cases succeed, it could cost J&J in the trillions.”

J&J Must Pay $2 Billion In Landmark Talcum Baby Powder Trial (ZME)

In 2018, a court verdict ordered Johnson and Johnson to pay $2.1 billion to 22 plaintiffs who claimed the company’s talcum baby powder contained asbestos and caused ovarian cancer. It’s a hefty fine, but the stakes are even higher — as the company faces around 21,000 other trials. The story (or at least one part of it) starts in 1999, when J&J was sued by a woman who had used their baby powder. She claimed that the powder gave her cancer. The woman (and her lawyer) had a hunch that the company’s baby powder was contaminated with asbestos, but couldn’t prove it. It seemed to make sense: in nature, talc and asbestos (both naturally-occurring minerals) are often found together, so there’s a significant risk of contamination. But without hard evidence, the case was dropped. As it turns out, Johnson and Johnson had the hard evidence all along.

The company, which denied any wrongdoing, had numerous lab tests showing that their product sometimes contained small amounts of asbestos, a known carcinogen. Two decades later, they were ordered to release these lab tests during a much larger trial that involved 11,700 plaintiffs, who all claimed the same thing: Johnson and Johnson’s baby powder sometimes contains asbestos. According to a Reuters investigation, J&J knew they were in the wrong, and hid it from both the public and regulators. In light of these findings, a Missouri jury initially awarded the women $4.7 billion — but an appeal dropped two women from the suit and reduced the award to $2 billion. The judge in that case ruled that the company had “misrepresented the safety of these products for decades” and demonstrated “particularly reprehensible conduct.”

J&J tried to push things even further. The case initially combined the claims of almost two dozen plaintiffs from 12 states. The company argued to the Supreme Court that the sprawling nature of the case violated the Constitution’s due process clause. But without comment, the top US court refused to consider J&J’s objections. “Today justice is served,” said Mark Lanier, the women’s lawyer. “Twenty families now get compensated for a horrible, unnecessary disease. And J&J, the trigger for that disease, is held accountable.” Jurors in the initial case awarded each woman $25 million in compensatory damages, in addition to the company fine. For J&J, this could be only the beginning. The company faces more than 26,000 lawsuits blaming baby powder for causing cancers — which could be the biggest litigation lawsuit in history. If even a fraction of these cases succeed, it could cost J&J in the trillions.

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Lafayette Park. Who will be held accountable?

Yet Another Media Tale Collapses (Greenwald)

The independent Inspector General of the Interior Department, Mark Lee Greenblatt, issued his office’s findings after a long investigation into “the actions of the U.S. Park Police (USPP) to disperse protesters in and around Lafayette Park in Washington, DC, on June 1, 2020.” Greenblatt has been around Washington for a long time, occupying numerous key positions in the Obama administration, including investigative counsel at the Department of Justice’s Office of Inspector General and Assistant Inspector General for Investigations at Obama’s Commerce Department. The letter released by Greenblatt’s office accompanying the report makes clear how far-reaching the investigation was:

“Over the course of this review, our career investigative staff conducted extensive witness interviews, reviewed video footage from numerous vantage points, listened to radio transmissions from multiple law enforcement entities, and examined evidence including emails, text messages, telephone records, procurement documents, and other related materials. This report presents a thorough, independent examination of that evidence to assess the USPP’s decision making and operations, including a detailed timeline of relevant actions and an analysis of whether the USPP’s actions complied with governing policies.”

The IG’s conclusion could not be clearer: the media narrative was false from start to finish. Namely, he said, “the evidence did not support a finding that the [U.S. Park Police] cleared the park on June 1, 2020, so that then President Trump could enter the park.” Instead — exactly as Hemingway’s widely-mocked-by-liberal-outlets article reported — “the evidence we reviewed showed that the USPP cleared the park to allow a contractor to safely install anti-scale fencing in response to destruction of Federal property and injury to officers that occurred on May 30 and May 31.” Crucially, “the evidence established that relevant USPP officials had made those decisions and had begun implementing the operational plan several hours before they knew of a potential Presidential visit to the park, which occurred later that day.”

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Good Friday.

EU-UK Talks On Northern Ireland Appear Close To Collapse On Eve Of G7 (G.)

Talks between the EU and the UK over Northern Ireland appear on the brink of collapse as London indicated it was still considering unilateral action to keep unhindered supplies flowing from Great Britain into the region. The European commission vice-president, Maros Sefcovic, said patience was “wearing very, very thin” and described the relationship with the UK as “at a crossroads”. Amid fears that the escalating crisis over Northern Ireland would develop into a trade war, David Frost, the Brexit minister, said there had been “no breakthroughs” over the Brexit checks but no “breakdowns” after a two-hour meeting with Sefcovic in London.


They agreed to continue to try to find a solution before 30 June when a ban on chilled meats including sausages and mincemeat is due to come into force. Late on Wednesday, Boris Johnson insisted that there was no crisis. “I’m very very optimistic about this. I think that’s easily doable,” he said, referring to an issue that was at the heard of the fraught Irish border negotiations two years ago: preventing a border on the island of Ireland while protecting trade within the UK post-Brexit. Johnson’s optimism could face a challenge at the G7 meeting on Thursday, however, when Joe Biden will warn him and the EU not to “imperil” the Northern Ireland peace process.

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Playing with fire.

Joe Biden Accuses Boris Johnson Of ‘Inflaming’ Tensions In Ireland (Sun)

Joe Biden has accused Boris Johnson of “inflaming” tensions in Ireland ahead of their first meeting in Britain today. The President is expected to address post-Brexit peace with the Prime Minister to ensure that the Good Friday Agreement is protected – as Britain and the EU try to resolve the issue of checks in the Irish Sea. But tensions over Britain’s handling of Irish issues have already been voiced by Biden, reports The Times. Yael Lempert, America’s most senior diplomat in Britain, told Lord Frost, the Brexit minister, that the government was “inflaming” tensions in Ireland and Europe with its opposition to checks at ports. Lempert said she had been told to take the step of issuing London with a demarche – which is a formal diplomatic reprimand rarely exchanged between allies.


The memo said that the US “strongly urged” Britain to come to a “negotiated settlement”, even if that meant “unpopular compromises,” according to reports. In a meeting on June 3, the US diplomat warned Frost that the increasingly bitter dispute between Britain and the EU over the protocol was “commanding the attention” of Biden before his first meeting with Johnson today. Ahead of the talks, Mr Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan warned that the president harbours “very deep” concerns on the issue provoked by Brexit. Mr Sullivan said the president believes the post-Brexit Northern Ireland Protocol is “critical” to ensure that the Good Friday Agreement is protected – as Britain and the EU try to resolve the issue of checks in the Irish Sea.

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Ha ha ha!

Zelensky Tells Biden Ukraine Needs Clear Plan For Accession To NATO (ZH)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stressed in his phone conversation with U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday that Ukraine needs “a real step-by-step plan” tied to calendar dates for its accession to NATO, the chief of the Ukrainian presidential office Andriy Yermak said according to a report on Ukraine’s official website. The time of statements and declarations of intent should be a thing of the past, Zelensky told Biden. “There can be no doubt that Ukraine is an integral part of Europe in terms of its value foundation. Now, in the new situation in Europe, we need a logistical plan for Ukraine’s accession to the Alliance in the near future. NATO is a way of maximum protection for our country,” Zelensky said.

According to a second official report, Zelensky also informed Biden about the situation in Donbas, a Ukrainian territory temporarily occupied by Russian-backed separatists, and explained the reasons and nature of the periodic escalation of the conflict. “The so-called withdrawal of Russian troops is only an imitation,” Zelensky said. There was still a high concentration of Russian troops and heavy weapons in the temporarily occupied Ukraine’s territories and near the Ukrainian border, he explained. “Ukraine’s move to NATO is also an opportunity to achieve the preconditions for establishing a stable and lasting peace in Donbas,” the second report states.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on June 4 during an event at The Brookings Institution that the best way for Ukraine to move toward membership in NATO is to implement reforms to fight corruption and to modernize its defense and security institutions. “We are helping [Ukraine] with that as they move toward further Euro-Atlantic integration,” he added. NATO provides support to Ukraine in the form of training and capacity building, Stoltenberg said, and encouraged NATO Allies “to do more of that.”

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May 072021
 


Edgar Degas At the Milliner’s 1905-10

 

CDC Predicts Sharp Decline In Covid-19 Activity By July (Cidrap)
Why Masks Are Still Mandatory (AT)
CDC Uses Different PCR Test Rules For Vaccinated, Non-Vaccinated (AVV)
Experts Say It’s Vital That Parents Get Their Kids Vaccinated For Covid (F.)
Gates-Backed Institute Claims Covid Deaths Over Double Official Number (RT)
Merkel Opposes Biden’s Call To Waive Covid-19 Vaccine Patent Protections (RT)
Russia Authorizes Single-dose ‘Sputnik Light’ (RT)
Australia Borders Could Be Shut Until Late 2022 (Y!)
Gundlach Warns America’s “Unfunded Liabilities” Are $163 Trillion (ZH)
Big Tech Has Turned The Internet Into A Prison (Malic)
White House Says “We Support” Ukraine’s Ambitions To Join NATO (ZH)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tucker VAERS

 

 

This will be claimed as a vaccine victory, though it was predicted long before. Seasonal.

CDC Predicts Sharp Decline In Covid-19 Activity By July (Cidrap)

New modeling from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicts the United States will see a sharp drop off of COVID-19 infections and deaths by July, if high vaccination coverage is achieved and most of the country maintains a moderate adherence to non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs), including physical distancing. The data from six models were published yesterday in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Researchers predicted different outcomes based on four scenarios with different vaccination coverage rates and effectiveness estimates and strength and implementation of NPIs for a 6-month period (April–September 2021) using data available through Mar 27, 2021, the authors said.

The four scenarios included: high vaccination with moderate NPI use, high vaccination with low NPI use, low vaccination with moderate NPI use, and low vaccination with low NPI use. “All scenarios included the spread of the B.1.1.7 variant, with the assumption that it was 50% more transmissible than were previously circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants,” the authors said. “In all four scenarios, COVID-19 cases were projected to increase through May 2021 at the national level because of increased prevalence of the B.1.1.7 variant and decreased NPI mandates and compliance,” the authors found. “A sharp decline in cases was projected by July 2021, with a faster decline in the high-vaccination scenarios.”

The United States reported 44,51[0] new COVID-19 cases yesterday, and 776 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 tracker. In total, 32,580,188 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in the United States, including 579,653 deaths. The country is currently averaging 46,656 new COVID-19 cases and 686 deaths per day, according to a CNN analysis of Johns Hopkins data. The United States has not seen the 7-day average of deaths this low since July. The CDC COVID Data Tracker shows 321,549,335 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been delivered in the United States, and 249,556,820 have been administered, with 107,346,533 Americans fully vaccinated.

[..] As early as next week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is poised to issue an emergency use authorization for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 12 to 15. But according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, only 3 in 10 parents polled of children in that age group said they would get their child vaccinated as soon they are able. One quarter say they will wait and see how the vaccine is working, 18% say they will wait to see if school requires it, and one quarter say they will not get their child vaccinated.

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“People would actually begin to associate non-masking people with safety, while mask-wearing people would signal danger.”

Why Masks Are Still Mandatory (AT)

Joe Biden is in a pickle. He wants to continue to convince Americans they should get the experimental biological agent (AKA “the vaccine”), but, as Tucker Carlson pointed out last week, the administration and the CDC have offered no explanation as to why you need to continue to wear a mask after you have taken “the vaccine.” Why would they want us to doubt the efficacy of the vaccine? Why would any sane person who is not in a high-risk group contemplate becoming a lab experiment subject if you are not allowed (yes, our rights are now derived from government and will be doled out based on compliance) to burn your mask and return to a pre-pandemic way of life?

That’s just bad salesmanship…until you think about the alternative. Think about what would happen if they allowed (there’s that word again) people not to wear masks after being vaccinated. Here’s a typical scenario. The vaccinated test subject enters the supermarket. The vigilante mob of leftists can’t wait to accost and demand compliance to their edict, using physical violence if necessary. The test subject then proclaims that he has put his mask in his pocket. A short time later, the test subject hears the man claim the same immunity.

In this fictional example, you can begin to see what the ramifications of this policy would be. Within weeks, the majority of Americans would stop wearing masks. (Along with social distancing, and lockdowns, and getting the vaccine). People would actually begin to associate non-masking people with safety, while mask-wearing people would signal danger. The danger of the unvaccinated. The government has just lost all control. Do you really think these people will give up their newfound power so easily? I’m afraid not. I imagine that their Big Tech partners are working furiously building a mandatory vaccine passport system as you read this. Until that is up and running, you can expect the regime to continue requiring all people to wear masks, especially those who have been “vaccinated.”

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Google translated from a Belgian doctors’ site. Odd.

CDC Uses Different PCR Test Rules For Vaccinated, Non-Vaccinated (AVV)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has changed the rules for the PCR test so that vaccinees are less likely to be tested as infected than those who are not vaccinated. They have lowered the CT value from 40 to 28. The PCR test, on which the entire corona policy was based, is extremely unreliable and yields up to 90% false positives. So say Nature, WHO, The Lancet and many others. Without all those false positives, we wouldn’t have had this whole “crisis”. The current PCR test analyzes genetic material from the virus using 37 or 40 cycles, but health experts say that is too high because it detects even small amounts of the virus that do not pose a risk of contamination.

“Tests with such high thresholds can detect not only live virus, but also genetic fragments, remnants of infections that pose no particular risk – similar to finding hair in a room long after a person has left,” said Dr. Michael Mina, an epidemiologist at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, New York Times. “If you adjust that down to a more reasonable CT threshold of 30, anywhere from 40% -90% of lab results * are no longer positive. * The rest is well beyond the point of infectivity,” Mandavilli wrote on Twitter. The problem is that high CT threshold.

PCR tests are a very smart method to specifically amplify the smallest DNA fragments so often that they can be easily detected, TKP reports. As each cycle is doubled, very high gain percentages are achieved. How high this percentage must be in order to be able to detect an infection as such with any probability has been the subject of discussion for some time. The US agency CDC is now lowering the cycle threshold for detecting infections after vaccination from 37 to 40 to 28. A number of studies have shown that more than 24 to 27 cycles can certainly no longer detect infectious viruses. If you need more than 28 cycles, you have proof that there is no longer a reproducible virus.

But it goes beyond that, because in fact PCR cannot basically detect whether or not there is reproducible virus in the smear, because it only first converts small particles of it into DNA and then amplifies them. This is how the Swedish health authority Folkhälsomyndigheten describes it: “The PCR technology used in tests to detect viruses cannot differentiate between viruses capable of infecting cells and viruses that have been rendered harmless by the immune system, and therefore these tests cannot be used to detect viruses. whether or not someone is contagious.

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Vaccine porn.

Experts Say It’s Vital That Parents Get Their Kids Vaccinated For Covid (F.)

Children and teenagers might soon be the next focus of the U.S. Covid-19 pandemic. By the last week of April, cases among children and teens accounted for more than 22% of new cases in the U.S, and there was a 4% increase in the total number of cases in kids. Almost 4 million kids have been diagnosed with Covid-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. Luckily, vaccines for kids are arriving soon. On May 4th, Pfizer said the vaccine it co-developed with BioNTech will likely get an FDA authorization for use in kids aged 12-15. The companies hope to get the vaccines authorized for kids aged 2-11 by September. Moderna is just behind, having started its phase 2 / 3 clinical trial in children less than 12 years old in March.

While polls show that adults are increasingly willing to get vaccinated, if they haven’t already, some parents have expressed doubts about vaccinating their kids. These concerns range from a lack of data to the quick pace of production. That said, a recent poll showed that 30% of parents are enthusiastic about vaccinations. As vaccines become available for those under 18, pediatricians and researchers argue that it is essential to immunize kids against Covid-19, both for their own protection as well as the protection of everyone else. Usually, Covid-19 symptoms aren’t as severe for kids when compared to adults, but that doesn’t mean that kids feel no effect from the virus. The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that between 0.1% and 2% of Covid-19 cases affecting those under age 18 require hospitalization..

Additionally, more than 250 children in the U.S. have died from the disease in the past year. Children who have been infected with Covid-19 can see other complications. A multisystem inflammatory syndrome, called MIS-C, can cause fever, rash, and damage to the heart and other organs in children who had even asymptomatic cases of Covid-19. And just like adults, children can also get symptoms of “long-haul” Covid-19, which can include severe fatigue, headaches, and abdominal pain. Paul Offit, a pediatrician at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, says that he’s seen a number of cases of both severe Covid-19 and MIS-C in children. “I’m sure all of those parents would have preferred the vaccine to the disease,” he says.

[..] “Reaching a level of immunity in the community is even more important as these more transmissible variants are circulating,” says Ted Chaconas, the chief medical officer of UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital. And vaccinating kids won’t just help prevent them from getting the disease; it will also make the whole community safer. The more opportunity that the Covid-19 virus has to replicate in human bodies, the higher the likelihood that new mutations will emerge. Children make up almost 25% of the U.S. population, a huge group “that possibly has no preexisting immunity to this virus, that could become infected and produce new variants,” says Jennifer Nayak, a pediatric infectious disease doctor at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

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Covid porn.

Gates-Backed Institute Claims Covid Deaths Over Double Official Number (RT)

An outfit whose statistical models were used to justify early Covid-19 lockdowns is now arguing that the true death toll of the pandemic is far higher than the official numbers – and closer to their own apocalyptic predictions.
Covid-19 has killed more than 900,000 Americans and over 6.9 million people worldwide, the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) claimed on Thursday, citing their own statistical models based on excess mortality. By contrast, official figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University list 3.24 million deaths globally, of which 580,000 are in the US, as of May 6. IHME chief Dr. Christopher Murray explained in a series of videos that they used a “variety of statistical methods” to determine excess mortality, which was then weighed against six other factors to calculate whether it would have been due to the coronavirus or other causes.

They compared “anticipated deaths from all causes based on pre-pandemic trends with the actual number of all-cause deaths during the pandemic,” then removed the deaths both “indirectly attributable” to the pandemic and “averted” by the lockdowns. “When you put all that together, we conclude that the best way, the closest estimate, for the true Covid death is still excess mortality, because some of those things are on the positive side, other factors are on the negative side,” Murray said. The institute apparently suggests that official Covid data is not to be trusted – and their extrapolated “statistics” imply that some nations are even more untrustworthy than the others. For instance, they claim that Russia had almost six times more coronavirus deaths than its official numbers – almost as many as Brazil, whose official numbers are supposedly off by a third, again by IHME metrics.

By contrast, the UK “undercounted” its deaths by only 60,000 or so. The bombshell claim, while promptly parroted by major media outlets, was met with some skepticism by other scientists. William Hanage of Harvard University told NPR in an email that IHME’s claim that Covid-19 deaths have been “substantially undercounted” in some places more than others “is likely sound, but the absolute numbers are less so for a lot of reasons.” “Their estimate of excess deaths is enormous and inconsistent with our research and others,” said Dr. Steven Woolf of Virginia Commonwealth University. “There are a lot of assumptions and educated guesses built into their model.”

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Intellectual property covers a lot of things, not just vaccines.

Merkel Opposes Biden’s Call To Waive Covid-19 Vaccine Patent Protections (RT)

The Biden administration’s endorsement of a proposal to waive intellectual property rights on Covid-19 vaccines is facing new opposition from German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “The limiting factor for the production of vaccines are manufacturing capacities and high quality standards, not the patents,” a spokesperson for Merkel said Thursday, according to Bloomberg. “The protection of intellectual property is a source of innovation and this has to remain so in the future.” US Trade Representative Katherine Tai announced this week that the Biden administration was supporting a proposal in the World Trade Organization to open up patents on Covid-19 vaccines.

Tai said the “extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic call for extraordinary measures.” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called the announcement a “monumental moment in the fight against Covid-19. Supporters of the measure have said removing intellectual property protections will help low-income countries produce and distribute vaccines faster. Critics, however, like vaccine advocate Bill Gates, have argued that such a move presents difficulties and could hinder the safety of future vaccines. After Biden’s endorsement of the proposal, stock for companies like Pfizer and Moderna fell. Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said on Thursday he is “not at all” in favor of the US’ stance.

“The problem is that there are no facilities in the world outside the ones that we can build ourselves,” he told AFP. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said earlier on Thursday that the EU is ready to have discussions on the proposal to remove patent protections from vaccines. Russian President Vladimir Putin has also expressed its support for waiving patents.

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Russia’s doing better but not great.

Russia Authorizes Single-dose ‘Sputnik Light’ (RT)

The Russian Health Ministry has authorized the use of Sputnik Light, a one-shot coronavirus vaccine said to be even more efficient than some two-dose jabs currently on the market. Sputnik Light is the first component of the widely used Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, its researchers explained. However, the single dose has shown 79.4% efficacy, which “is higher than that of many two-dose vaccines,” the developers said in a statement. Researchers have analyzed the efficacy rate based on data received from Russia’s mass vaccination program between December 2020 and April 2021. Having studied data taken 28 days after a single injection was administered, they said the infection rate among one-time vaccinated people was just 0.277%. The unvaccinated adult population showed 1.349% infection rate over the same period.


The scientists behind the vaccine say it’s effective against new Covid-19 strains. Antibodies neutralizing the deadly virus were activated in over 91% of recipients on the 28th day post shot. It is also said to provide absolute protection against severe cases of the disease. Following the trials, no serious side effects have been registered, Sputnik Light researchers report. Developers hope the single dose will help provide faster immunization among larger numbers of people. “The single-dose regimen solves the challenge of immunizing large groups in a shorter time, which is especially important during the acute phase of the spread of coronavirus, achieving herd immunity faster,” said Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which funds the vaccine. He also pointed out that Sputnik Light “has an affordable price of less than $10,” and can be easily transported and stored.

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How is that not a prison?

Australia Borders Could Be Shut Until Late 2022 (Y!)

Australia is likely to remain shut to visitors until late 2022, the country’s trade and tourism minister said Friday, as another global coronavirus surge smashed hopes of a quick reopening. Minister Dan Tehan said a wave of cases on the Indian sub-continent showed Australia’s near blanket ban on arrivals was still essential to keep the country Covid-free. Since March 20, 2020, Australians have been barred from travelling overseas and a hard-to-get individual exemption is needed for foreign visitors to enter the country. It is “very hard to determine” when borders could reopen, Tehan told Sky News, “the best guess would be in the middle to the second half of next year”.


Before the pandemic, around one million short-term visitors entered the country each month. That figure is now around 7,000. Anyone who does enter must undergo 14 days strict hotel quarantine. A recently established travel bubble with New Zealand has had mixed success, being paused for cities where the virus jumped from quarantine facilities before being contained. Australia has recorded 29,886 cases since the pandemic began. A large proportion were detected in hotel quarantine. Vaccination rollout has been slow, with just 2.5 million vaccines administered in a country of 25 million people, each needing two doses.

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“..amount of unfunded liabilities is 775% of our current total economic output..”

Gundlach Warns America’s “Unfunded Liabilities” Are $163 Trillion (ZH)

DoubleLine’s Jeffrey Gundlach called the Fed’s bluff late last month, telling investors during an interview that he suspected the central bank was merely “guessing” about the impact of inflation being “transitory”. Since then, we have only received more signs that inflationary pressures are growing in the US economy, while a growing number of investors have been persuaded to agree with Gundlach. The other day, DoubleLine released a recording of another talk given by Gundlach where he elaborated on the inflation theme, while also discussing other issues like the outlook for the US dollar in the face of President Biden’s tax-and-spend agenda.

During the course of an hour-plus conversation, much of it accompanied by a slide deck with some of Gundlach’s favorite charts, Gundlach tackled a few key topics that he feels could threaten the Fed’s ability to backstop financial markets. He started by slamming Biden’s plan to hike capital gains taxes on taxpayers with more than $1 million in earnings, arguing that fears of higher capital gains taxes is already weighing in the market. Gundlach argued that high-beta stocks and other speculative investments like bitcoin have the most to lose due to a hike in capital gains. After all, who is going to want to take a risk on a long shot if they need to give half of their winnings to the government?

“Today is an important day because the president has made good if you want to call it that on his promise to begin raising taxes and the capital gains tax if you make more than a million dollars a year in California the capital gains tax if the proposal goes through that was launched today will be 57 capital gains tax that’s the federal tax plus the California tax so it’s getting pretty ugly and i think it’s going to have some very significant effects which we started to see the minute that this tax proposal was was launched today we’ve seen bitcoin a very speculative darling investment these days go down about 20 from its high in the last couple of weeks and obviously a lot of people would think twice about speculating on something like bitcoin if they felt that if they won meaning the price went up from their cost that 57 percent of a highly speculative gamble if it hits if it hits would go to the federal government but the stock market also fell pretty sharply upon that no wonder it’s surprising that people haven’t been contemplating this already.”

[..] Gundlach also pointed out that the surge in the debt doesn’t fully capture how much money the federal government owes. There are also unfunded liabilities which, when combined with all local, state and federal debt, leave US citizens on the hook for $163 trillion. That’s more than 5x the $28 trillion national debt. “The government giveaway programs and the programs that we put in place to battle the economic impact especially to people who were suddenly unemployed and there were about 20 20 uh 20 million people that were suddenly unemployed those stimulus packages were originally thought to be temporary but now they’ve become a fixture and we can see that the blue line in recent months has needed uh as has grown again as a requirement in funding these non-stop stimulus programs so the US government is now has over 28 trillion dollars in debt and the US government has $163 trillion in unfunded liabilities when you roll it all together federal state and local level that amount of unfunded liabilities is 775% of our current total economic output,” Gundlach said.

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No kidding.

Big Tech Has Turned The Internet Into A Prison (Malic)

I once thought the internet would have the same effect on corporate media gatekeepers as the AK-47 had on colonial empires in Africa. That was before Big Tech turned that promise of freedom into the second coming of feudalism. Wednesday’s decision by Facebook’s “oversight board” – a transparent attempt to outsource responsibility for censorship to an international committee – to extend the ban on 45th US President Donald Trump is just the latest example, but by no means the most egregious. Earlier this week, the banhammer descended on RT’s digital project Redfish over posts criticizing… Italian fascist leader Benito Mussolini and the Holocaust, of all things.

How did it come to this? Years ago, in an argument over media censorship, I had brought up the internet as the modern version of the AK-47. While the European colonial armies were able to conquer Africa in the 19th century, using machine guns and repeating rifles, they became unable to hold it once the Kalashnikov automatic rifle put the peasants in places like Congo, Angola and Vietnam on equal footing with Western armies seeking to keep them down. Or, if you want a more peaceful metaphor, it was the promise of open pasture extended to people who had previously been treated like cattle, penned up in factory barns and fed slop from a trough.

That was in March 2011. Facebook, YouTube and Twitter were already around, but they were challenging the gatekeepers and offering their platforms to the common people like myself. In 2016, everything changed. That was the year Trump was able to bypass the corporate gatekeepers, using those platforms to speak to the American people directly. Having consolidated the internet between them, and under pressure from politicians they already supported, the corporations running these platforms began censoring content and users – first gradually, then suddenly. The pretext for this was “Russiagate,” the conspiracy theory pushed by Democrats and their corporate media allies to explain Hillary Clinton’s 2016 fiasco, delegitimize Trump’s presidency, and – as it turns out – justify censorship.

As demonstrated by the recent example of Twitter’s clash with Russia over illegal content, or Facebook’s standoff with Australia over paying for news, these mega-corporations aren’t opposed to censorship or committed to property on principle. Rather, their only “principle” is the Who-Whom reductionism, a world in which they and those they agree with can do no wrong, while anyone else can do no right. The long march from banning Alex Jones in 2018 to banning the sitting president of the United States in 2021 was completed with surprising alacrity. The collusion within Silicon Valley to ban Trump on the blatantly false pretext of “inciting insurrection” on January 6 may have been the political Rubicon, but Big Tech had begun putting their finger, fist and even elbow on the political scales long before.

Read more …

Let them try.

White House Says “We Support” Ukraine’s Ambitions To Join NATO (ZH)

While traveling aboard Air Force One for President Joe Biden’s visit to Louisiana on Thursday, White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre bluntly stated that “we support” Ukraine’s ambition to join NATO. When she was asked by a press pool reporter if the White House “supports Ukraine joining NATO” – the deputy press secretary responded with “We supported it… yeah” – but then quickly sought to clarify that certain “commitments” have to be met. She explained, “The Biden administration remains committed to ensuring that NATO’s door remains open to aspirants when they are ready and able to meet the commitments.” “Secretary [of State Antony] Blinken is in Kiev right now to affirm our support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and independence. His trip also emphasizes the importance of Ukraine passing key legislation to advance rule of law, anticorruption and economic reforms that will strengthen Ukraine’s democracy and economy, and further Euro-Atlantic integration,” Jean-Pierre said.

“The Biden administration is committed to ensuring that NATO’s door remains open to aspirants when they are ready and able to meet the commitments and obligations of membership and contribute to security in the Euro-Atlantic area,” she later clarified. Rarely has the White House answered the controversial question so directly, especially given NATO’s clear requirements for entry stipulating that a country engaged in territorial disputes with neighbors, including internal civil conflict, is not eligible for membership. This is because of the obvious reality that the inevitable quick invocation of NATO’s Article 5 would immediately result in war. Last month’s renewed crisis and Russian troop build-up which thrust the Russia-Ukraine-Crimea dispute back in international headlines saw Kiev officials renew their vocal push for entry into NATO. Kiev had after the Maidan coup in 2014 cooled its NATO pursuit rhetoric given the obvious hurdles for entry and the conflict with Russian-backed separatists in the country’s east.

Crucially in the Thursday comments, which are sure to raise the alarm in Moscow, the White House spokeswoman additionally emphasized that the US “supports” Ukraine’s reforms (the very reforms which are meant to secure its future NATO membership) as well as “its border fight against Russia aggression.” The NATO question will likely be raised by Vladimir Putin assuming the much anticipated Biden-Putin summit actually materializes in June. Russia has long considered Ukraine and Georgia’s NATO pursuits to be a “red line” which the Kremlin says would make war all but certain.

Read more …

 

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Apr 212021
 


Mark Chagall I and the village 1911

 

 

Joe Biden declares a “national emergency”, calls Putin a killer, slaps more sanctions on Russia, for which he has his Foreign Secretary Antony Blinken declare that “Today, we announced actions to hold the Russian Government to account for the SolarWinds intrusion, reports of bounties on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, and attempts to interfere in the 2020 U.S. elections,” … and then “invites” Putin for a summit.

For the SolarWinds “intrusion”, the US has never provided any evidence at all, the Russian bounties story was -finally- fully debunked well before Blinken made his statement -which makes him look very incompetent-, and the election interference narrative is by now just too dumb to even get into. No evidence for it whatsoever after 2 years of the Mueller investigation, but now Putin’s at it again? Who did he want to win, then? Trump again, after apparently not even trying in 2016?

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky states that his country should urgently be made a full member of both NATO and the EU, and has his own proxy, Ukraine’s ambassador to Germany, Andriy Melnyk, solemnly claim that not just “The only possibility for this [to prevent alleged invasion plans] is for Ukraine to finally become a NATO member”, but also that “Ukraine has no other choice: either we are part of an alliance such as NATO and are doing our part to make this Europe stronger, or we have the only option – to arm by ourselves, and maybe think about nuclear status again”.… And then Zelensky invites Putin for a summit. In the Donbass, no less.

These people are all as insincere as they possibly could be, but they trust that this doesn’t matter anymore. The western media have been planting the “Putin is a monster” seeds in their readers and viewers for many years now, and critical thought has long since left the building. Yes, that is the ultimate effect of what’s called propaganda, and as long as the sheeple “victims” don’t recognize it as such, it works like a charm.

 

I’ve been wondering for a long time why Boris Yeltsin appointed Putin as his successor in 1999, and I can’t find much information on it. Yeltsin was a US asset, and sold out his country to the CIA and a bunch of CIA-asset homegrown oligarchs. I’ve always suspected that when Yeltsin left, he felt a lot of regret for what he had done to Russia, and that maybe appointing Putin was his way to try and make up for that. I see people saying that Yeltsin thought Putin was pliable, but I think perhaps he knew exactly how Putin thought.

A “detail”: remember that after the collapse of the Soviet Union, male life expectancy for a period of time feel from a very steep cliff. And nothing Yeltsin did provided a solution to that crisis. Then, in August 1999, he appointed Putin as his prime minister, and didn’t leave a year later as planned, but 4 months later, in December. His chief of staff, Valentin Yumashev , who had hired Putin as his deputy in 1997, wrote his resignation speech:

Mr Yumashev was entrusted with writing Yeltsin’s resignation speech. “It was a hard speech to write. It was clear the text would go down in history. The message was important. That’s why I wrote the famous line ‘Forgive me’. “Russians had suffered such shock and stress during the 1990s. Yeltsin had to speak about this.”

Back to today. All economic -and other- sanctions against Russia since Putin first became president have led to one thing only: the country has dramatically increased its self-sufficiency. And in the process has upgraded its weapons arsenal to a level that no western country even comes close to, including the US, for maybe 10% of what the same US has spent on its own arsenal.

Russia’s latest generation of hypersonic missiles, against which no country has any defense, are far superior to what anybody else possesses. When they said recently they could take out a specific building in Kyiv if they wanted, they were not exaggerating. So yeah, look for Biden and Blinken and NATO et al to soon start using that superiority as a reason to incite more war vs Moscow.

A war they could never win, but that’s not the point any longer. One might argue of course that it never was after the advent of nuclear weapons. The whole point of NATO today, its raison d’être, is that it can create chaos wherever it goes and looks. It’s no longer capable of defending anyone from the Russian threat, but then that threat hasn’t been there for many years.

 

And NATO wants to continue existing, as does the Pentagon, and Boeing and Raytheon, it’s all about money, so they have to make up a threat, aided by their media brethren. That‘s why you see, from time to time, reports about Putin having yet another person “poisoned”, why governments in countries like the UK and Germany go along with the narrative, and why media in all other vassal states parrot these stories.

In that vein, the story this week out of Czechia, which expelled 18 Russian diplomats, kind of sets a new standard in absolute nonsense.

The Czech organised crime squad (NCOZ) said it was looking for two men using Russian passports in relation to the explosions. The passports bear the names of Alexander Petrov, born in 1979, and Ruslan Boshirov, born in 1978, and their holders are also wanted in Britain in connection with Skripal’s poisoning in Salisbury.

Mark Ames’ reaction to this on Twitter is so good, I’m not going to try to beat him to it: : “If I understand this right, apparently GRU thought it’d be smart to use the same 2 spies to carry out 2 separate deadly operations in NATOland – 2014 bombing in Czech Rep, 2018 Skripal poisoning – using exact same aliases & fake passports in both operations.”

Now that the west has lost its military superiority, all that’s left for it to claim is some sort of “intelligence superiority”, so it portrays Russians as really dumb people. Putin tries to poison one person after another, invariably people who are no threat to him at all, with the deadliest poisons on the planet, and fails time and again. Navalny is a US asset who gets 2% max of votes in a poll, Skripal is a former military intel officer who was allowed to go to the UK after being exposed as a double-agent (!), but they fit the 20+ year old narrative of Putin as Pol Pot. Stories. They are all that counts. Reality, not so much. Bernays and Goebbels are having a ton of fun in their own private hells.

So how will the Ukraine episode be resolved? Not easy. Making the world’s 2nd-most corrupt country a full member of NATO is out of the question, Russia will never accept that. Which is why the west is pushing it. Ukraine with nukes is even more preposterous, if that is possible (hard call). Dmitry Orlov suggested a “solution” the other day about which I have major question marks, but he’s Russian and I’m not, so take a look:

Putin’s Ukrainian Judo

The answer, I believe, is obvious: evacuation. There are around 3.2 million residents in Donetsk People’s Republic and 1.4 million in Lugansk People’s Republic, for a total of some 4.6 million residents. This may seem like a huge number, but it’s moderate by the scale of World War II evacuations. Keep in mind that Russia has already absorbed over a million Ukrainian migrants and refugees without much of a problem.

Also, Russia is currently experiencing a major labor shortage, and an infusion of able-bodied Russians would be most welcome. Domestically, the evacuation would likely be quite popular: Russia is doing right by its own people by pulling them out of harm’s way. The patriotic base would be energized and the already very active Russian volunteer movement would swing into action to assist the Emergencies Ministry in helping move and resettle the evacuees.

The elections that are to take place later this year would turn into a nationwide welcoming party for several million new voters. The Donbass evacuation could pave the way for other waves of repatriation that are likely to follow. There are some 20 million Russians scattered throughout the world, and as the world outside Russia plunges deeper and deeper into resource scarcity they too will want to come home.

While they may presently be reluctant to do so, seeing the positive example of how the Donbass evacuees are treated could help change their minds. The negative optics of surrendering territory can be countered by not surrendering any territory. As a guarantor of the Minsk Agreements, Russia must refuse to surrender the Donbass to the Ukrainian government until it fulfills the terms of these agreements, which it has shown no intention of doing for seven years now and which it has recently repudiated altogether.

[..] The West would be left with the following status quo. The Donbass is empty of residents but off-limits to them or to the Ukrainians. The evacuation would in no sense change the standing or the negotiating position of the evacuees and their representatives vis-à-vis the Minsk agreements, locking this situation in place until Kiev undertakes constitutional reform, becomes a federation and grants full autonomy to Donbass, or until the Ukrainian state ceases to exist and is partitioned. The Ukraine would be unable to join NATO (a pipe dream which it has stupidly voted into its constitution) since this would violate the NATO charter, given that it does not control its own territory.

Further sanctions against Russia would become even more difficult to justify, since it would be untenable to accuse it of aggression for undertaking a humanitarian mission to protect its own citizens or for carrying out its responsibilities as a guarantor of the Minsk agreements. The Donbass would remain as a stalker zone roamed by Russian battlefield robots sniping Ukrainian marauders, with the odd busload of schoolchildren there on a field trip to lay flowers on the graves of their ancestors. Its ruined Soviet-era buildings, not made any newer by three decades of Ukrainian abuse and neglect, will bear silent witness to the perpetual ignominy of the failed Ukrainian state.

Dmitry suggests 4.6 million people leave the Donbass so peace may be restored. But most of those people grew up there, and so did their families. And largely peacefully so, until the US and NATO, John McCain and Victoria Nuland and Geoffrey Pyatt, tried to take over Ukraine. Why should Russia, instead of protecting these people where they live, migrate them and protect them in Russia? Anyone ask for their own opinion?

There would be a giant empty piece of land where they once lived, in a kind of demilitarized zone? And what then? Nobody in Ukraine would come up with the idea to move into the empty land? And if they did, Russia would have to shoot them from Russian territory? I sort of see the reasoning of course, but not all of it. It only seems to work if you see Russia, and the Russians in the Donbass, as the aggressors.

Were they? Are they? Russia only sprung into action when the west tried to take away their sole warm water port, Sevastopol in Crimea. An election was held, and 97% of mostly Russians voted to be part of Russia. Yeah, that upset NATO and the other usual suspects, but that doesn’t make Russia an aggressor.

Russia has no reason to “invade” Ukraine. They don’t need even more territory, they’re already by far the largest nation on earth. Moreover, they don’t have the military to occupy large swaths of land. They only have the capacity to protect their own.

Thing is, they really got that down. So the only thing NATO can do, in its quest to prove it has reason to exist, is to create chaos, as I said before. But there is a problem with consciously creating chaos between nuclear powers, instead of maintaining communication channels, as the US and USSR always did during the Cold War. Do we all understand this means we are in a worse situation today than back then? That all those expulsions of diplomats only make the situation worse?

And that some fool could actually fire a nuclear missile because of that? Me, I’m not so sure anymore. Between the Covid virus and the US cancel culture, there are not that many western people paying attention to warmongers and NATO aka warheads. Not a good idea.

 

 

 

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Apr 022021
 
 April 2, 2021  Posted by at 8:44 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  90 Responses »


Pablo Picasso Vue de Notre-Dame de Paris 1945

 

Why Are ‘Experts’ Disagreeing With Each Other Over Covid Vaccine? (Ron Paul)
CDC Real-World Study Confirms Protective Benefits of mRNA Vaccines (CDC)
Faith in Quick Test Leads to Epidemic That Wasn’t (NYT)
Quadruple Therapy With Ivermectin Is Effective In Treating COVID-19 (Hindu)
Texas COVID-Positivity-Rate Drops To Record Low After Mask-Mandate Lifted (ZH)
Fewer Than 1 In 5 Britons With Symptoms Gets Tested, Only 2 In 5 Isolate (RT)
Almost Third Of UK Covid Hospital Patients Readmitted Within 4 Months (G.)
GOP Rep. Greene Introduces Bill To Cut Fauci’s $400,000 Salary To Zero (JTN)
Kremlin Responds To Anger Over Ukraine Border Build-Up (ZH)
We‘ll Talk To NATO ‘But Not Just About Ukraine’ – Lavrov (RT)
Analyst Pleads To Leaking Secrets About Drone Program (AP)
The Empire State Building Falls into the Suez Canal (Stoller)
Massive DNA Damage Caused By CRISPR/Cas9 Gene Editing (GMW)
New Digital Archive Preserves and Protects Indigenous Folk Medicine (Smiths.)

 

 

Reopening
https://twitter.com/i/status/1377756996083011592

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Deaths in Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), since its start in 1990. 2021 is off the charts.”

 

 

Ron Paul is a Doctor of Medicine. Will he be censored too?

Why Are ‘Experts’ Disagreeing With Each Other Over Covid Vaccine? (Ron Paul)

Even the establishment experts seem to be in total disagreement with each other – and often with themselves – over the experimental Covid “vaccine.” Does it prevent the illness? Lessen the illness? Provide lasting immunity? Temporary immunity? Is it safe for all? So many questions, but so few reliable answers.

Read more …

Pfizer’s sales team.

CDC Real-World Study Confirms Protective Benefits of mRNA Vaccines (CDC)

A new CDC study provides strong evidence that mRNA COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective in preventing SARS-CoV-2 infections in real-world conditions among health care personnel, first responders, and other essential workers. These groups are more likely than the general population to be exposed to the virus because of their occupations. The study looked at the effectiveness of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna mRNA vaccines in preventing SARS-CoV-2 infections among 3,950 study participants in six states over a 13-week period from December 14, 2020 to March 13, 2021. Results showed that following the second dose of vaccine (the recommended number of doses), risk of infection was reduced by 90 percent two or more weeks after vaccination.

Following a single dose of either vaccine, the participants’ risk of infection with SARS-CoV-2 was reduced by 80 percent two or more weeks after vaccination. It takes about two weeks following each dose of vaccine for the body to produce antibodies that protect against infection. As a result, people are considered “partially vaccinated” two weeks after their first dose of mRNA vaccine and “fully vaccinated” two weeks after their second dose. These new vaccine effectiveness findings are consistent with those from Phase 3 clinical trials conducted with the vaccines before they received Emergency Use Authorizations from the Food and Drug Administration. Those clinical trials evaluated vaccine efficacy against COVID-19 disease, while this study evaluated vaccine effectiveness against infection, including infections that did not result in symptoms.

“This study shows that our national vaccination efforts are working. The authorized mRNA COVID-19 vaccines provided early, substantial real-world protection against infection for our nation’s health care personnel, first responders, and other frontline essential workers,” said CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH. “These findings should offer hope to the millions of Americans receiving COVID-19 vaccines each day and to those who will have the opportunity to roll up their sleeves and get vaccinated in the weeks ahead. The authorized vaccines are the key tool that will help bring an end to this devastating pandemic.”

Read more …

PCR history.

From New York Times Jan. 22, 2007

Faith in Quick Test Leads to Epidemic That Wasn’t (NYT)

Dr. Brooke Herndon, an internist at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, could not stop coughing. For two weeks starting in mid-April last year, she coughed, seemingly nonstop, followed by another week when she coughed sporadically, annoying, she said, everyone who worked with her.Before long, Dr. Kathryn Kirkland, an infectious disease specialist at Dartmouth, had a chilling thought: Could she be seeing the start of a whooping cough epidemic? By late April, other health care workers at the hospital were coughing, and severe, intractable coughing is a whooping cough hallmark. And if it was whooping cough, the epidemic had to be contained immediately because the disease could be deadly to babies in the hospital and could lead to pneumonia in the frail and vulnerable adult patients there. It was the start of a bizarre episode at the medical center: the story of the epidemic that wasn’t.

[..] For months, nearly everyone involved thought the medical center had had a huge whooping cough outbreak, with extensive ramifications. Nearly 1,000 health care workers at the hospital in Lebanon, N.H., were given a preliminary test and furloughed from work until their results were in; 142 people, including Dr. Herndon, were told they appeared to have the disease; and thousands were given antibiotics and a vaccine for protection. Hospital beds were taken out of commission, including some in intensive care. Then, about eight months later, health care workers were dumbfounded to receive an e-mail message from the hospital administration informing them that the whole thing was a false alarm. Not a single case of whooping cough was confirmed with the definitive test, growing the bacterium, Bordetella pertussis, in the laboratory. Instead, it appears the health care workers probably were afflicted with ordinary respiratory diseases like the common cold.

[..] “You’re in a little bit of no man’s land,” with the new molecular tests, said Dr. Mark Perkins, an infectious disease specialist and chief scientific officer at the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics, a nonprofit foundation supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. “All bets are off on exact performance.” Of course, that leads to the question of why rely on them at all. “At face value, obviously they shouldn’t be doing it,” Dr. Perl said. But, she said, often when answers are needed and an organism like the pertussis bacterium is finicky and hard to grow in a laboratory, “you don’t have great options.” Waiting to see if the bacteria grow can take weeks, but the quick molecular test can be wrong. “It’s almost like you’re trying to pick the least of two evils,” Dr. Perl said.

At Dartmouth the decision was to use a test, P.C.R., for polymerase chain reaction. It is a molecular test that, until recently, was confined to molecular biology laboratories. “That’s kind of what’s happening,” said Dr. Kathryn Edwards, an infectious disease specialist and professor of pediatrics at Vanderbilt University. “That’s the reality out there. We are trying to figure out how to use methods that have been the purview of bench scientists. The Dartmouth whooping cough story shows what can ensue.

Read more …

From September 2020.

Quadruple Therapy With Ivermectin Is Effective In Treating COVID-19 (Hindu)

Elaborating on the effective methods being followed for treating COVID-19 across the globe, Shashikanth Manikappa, a specialist cardiac anaesthetist working at Monash Health in Melbourne, Australia, has strongly advised what he termed Quadruple Therapy involving four medicines — Ivermectin, Doxycycline, Zinc and Vitamin D3 — as a preventive as well as treating method. Addressing a media conference in Kalaburagi on Monday, the senior doctor said that the use of Ivermectin would be more effective than that of Hydroxychloroquine which was widely being used worldwide, right from the outbreak of the pandemic.

Referring to a pre-official release of a randomised controlled trial using Ivermectin in three doses in primary contacts of COVID-19, Dr. Manikappa said that 93 % of primary contacts who received Ivermectin did not develop any symptoms and 58 % of primary contacts who did not receive Ivermectin did progress to have symptoms of the pandemic. “Quadruple Therapy includes Ivermectin 12 mg one dose, Doxycycline 100 mg once a day for four days, Zinc 50 mg once a day for four days and Vitamin D3 once a week. Ivermectin, Doxycycline and Zinc are to be repeated every 14 days and Vitamin D3 every week with blood levels monitored. The synergistic effect of these medicine acts to prevent viral multiplication and also stop the virus from entering human cells.

Thomas Borody, an Australian gastroenterologist who is known for curing peptic ulcers with triple antibiotic therapy, has revealed that one block in South America that received Ivermectin combination prophylaxis did not contract coronavirus infection while others did,” he said. On the side effects, Dr. Manikappa said that Ivermectin was being used in 3.7 billion people for intestinal parasites and was found to be safe. “These are not new medicine. They are already in use for treating different ailments and are found to be safe. They can be prescribed by any doctor to control the pandemic,” he said.

Read more …

“The 4.95 percent test positivity rate is the lowest the state has seen since the start of the pandemic.”

Texas COVID-Positivity-Rate Drops To Record Low After Mask-Mandate Lifted (ZH)

For the better part of the past year, the US public was bombarded with “science” how only the wearing of a mask (or two masks, or three masks or more) was the only thing that stood between the Western way of life and Armageddon (despite the periodic emergence of cold, hard data showing no improvement in covid transmission in states that mandated masks vs those that did not, at least until Twitter decided to ban it). Then, one month ago, Texas had had enough and its governor shocked the Faucis of the world – and the White House – when he declared that the mask mandate in the state was officially over. What happened then? Well, in a development that would likely shock Dr. Fauci, newly confirmed Coronavirus cases in Texas plunged to their lowest since June, roughly three weeks after the state lifted its mask mandate and reopened businesses.

Additionally, the 7-day Covid positivity rate dropped to a new recorded low: 4.95%…

Texas Governor Greg Abbott wrote in a tweet over the weekend. “Everyone now qualifies for a shot. They are highly recommended to prevent getting Covid but always voluntary.” The 4.95 percent test positivity rate is the lowest the state has seen since the start of the pandemic. According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, some 1,900 new virus cases were reported on Sunday, which is the lowest daily number the state has seen since early June. Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that the seven-day moving average number of cases in Texas dropped to the lowest level since mid-June. According to the CDC, Texas was averaging 3,783 daily cases as of March 27.

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National Health Service’s Test and Trace program costs £37 billion over two years.

Fewer Than 1 In 5 Britons With Symptoms Gets Tested, Only 2 In 5 Isolate (RT)

Only half of Britons know the main symptoms of Covid-19, and most don’t get tested or self-isolate, a new study has shown, raising questions about the UK’s Test and Trace system and placing emergence from the pandemic at risk The large study, exploring the effectiveness of the National Health Service’s Test and Trace program, was published in the British Medical Journal on Wednesday. Designed to identify, find and test those who have coronavirus, it has been allocated a massive budget of £37 billion over two years. Researchers at King’s College London, University College London and Public Health England looked at aggregated data from some 37 national online surveys, encompassing more than 75,000 responses from nearly 54,000 people living in the UK.

Only some 51.5% of those surveyed managed to properly identify the symptoms of Covid-19 – which include a cough, high temperature, fever, and loss of sense of smell or taste – that have been “actively promoted to members of the UK public,” the study reads. Moreover, the willingness to get tested should any of those symptoms be experienced turned out to be extremely low, with only 18% of those who reported suffering such symptoms having requested a test to confirm whether they had coronavirus. Such low figures call into question the effectiveness of the whole Test and Trace system, the researchers said, while acknowledging a slight improvement in people’s willingness to follow the rules over time.

With such low rates for symptom recognition, testing, and full self-isolation, the effectiveness of the current form of the UK’s test, trace, and isolate system is limited. Only 43% of respondents said they had adhered to self-isolation. The need to go to work or to leave the house to shop or attend to medical needs other than Covid-19 were among the most common excuses given for breaking the rules. Young people, those on a low income and/or from a working-class background were identified as the ones most likely to break the rules. The researchers suggested targeted messaging and increased financial support as methods by which to improve adherence.

Read more …

“..far from a benign illness..”

Almost Third Of UK Covid Hospital Patients Readmitted Within 4 Months (G.)

Nearly a third of people who have been in hospital suffering from Covid-19 are readmitted for further treatment within four months of being discharged, and one in eight of patients dies in the same period, doctors have found. The striking long-term impact of the disease has prompted doctors to call for ongoing tests and monitoring of former coronavirus patients to detect early signs of organ damage and other complications caused by the virus. While Covid is widely known to cause serious respiratory problems, the virus can also infect and damage other organs such as the heart, liver and kidneys. Researchers at University College London, the Office for National Statistics, and the University of Leicester, compared medical records of nearly 48,000 people who had had hospital treatment for Covid and had been discharged by 31 August 2020, with records from a matched control group of people in the general population.


The records were used to track rates of readmission, of deaths, and of diagnoses for a range of respiratory, heart, kidney, liver and metabolic diseases, such as diabetes. After an average follow-up time of 140 days, nearly a third of the Covid patients who had been discharged from hospital had been readmitted and about one in eight had died, rates considerably higher than seen in the control group. “This is a concern and we need to take it seriously,” said Dr Amitava Banerjee, at the Institute of Health Informatics at University College London. “We show conclusively here that this is very far from a benign illness. We need to monitor post-Covid patients so we can pick up organ impairment early on.”

Read more …

Ha ha ha!

GOP Rep. Greene Introduces Bill To Cut Fauci’s $400,000 Salary To Zero (JTN)

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene on Thursday said she is introducing a bill to strip Dr. Anthony Fauci of his government salary. In a press release Greene posted on Twitter, the controversial Georgia Republican said her “Fire Fauci Act” would decrease “Dr. Always Wrong’s pay to $0 and the ‘We Will Not Comply Act’ will ‘prevent discrimination against the unvaccinated.’ ” Greene said the Fire Fauci Act will: • Remind the American public that Dr. Fauci is the highest paid ($434,312) of all 4 million federal employees, including the president. • Cite numerous findings about Dr. Fauci’s evolving and contradictory advice on COVID-19. • Reduce Dr. Fauci’s salary to $0 until a new NIAID administrator is confirmed by the Senate. • Direct the Government Accounting Office to conduct a study about the correspondence, financials, and policy memos inside the NIAID before COVID through the end of this year. This will allow us to see what Fauci and the NIAID knew, when they knew it, what they spent money on, and how the agency responded to the virus.


The bill has little if any chance of passage in the Democrat-controlled House. Fauci has made several seemingly contradictory statements during the pandemic about the virus and related health-safety measures – including one on mask wearing. The annual salary for Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease, makes him “the highest paid doctor in the federal government and the highest paid out of all 4 million federal employees,” Forbes reported. In fact, Fauci’s salary is more than the president of the United States’ annual $400,000 pay.

Read more …

Who do YOU think is the agressor here?

Kremlin Responds To Anger Over Ukraine Border Build-Up (ZH)

Various reports strongly suggest that over the past week there’s been a significant uptick in shelling and fighting in the war-torn Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine. This has served to thrust the over 5-year long crisis back in the media spotlight in the past days, particularly after the US Army ( via US European Command, or EUCOM) raised its Europe threat level to its highest of “potential imminent crisis”. At the same time The New York Times and others are detailing the escalation while alleging ‘Russian aggression’ is fueling the fresh flare-up, which has signaled the collapse of yet another cease-fire. And more alarmingly the reports allege a major build-up of Russian troops and tanks along Ukraine’s eastern border. But even as the NY Times report mused, it’s also likely that the estimated 4,000 regular Russian soldiers there were simply left over from recent scheduled military exercises common during this time of year.


The Kremlin has responded to the slew of reports on Thursday, underscoring that given the troops remain entirely within Russia’s national boundaries, it’s essentially ‘nobody’s business’ where they go. “The Russian Federation transfers the Armed Forces on its soil as it wants to. This should not concern anyone and this is not posing any threat to anyone,” spokesman Dmitry Peskov emphasized. Moscow is taking “all the necessary measures to ensure security of its frontiers,” he stressed according to TASS. Peskov added that: “As for the participation of Russian troops in the armed conflict on Ukraine’s soil, the Russian troops have never taken part in it and are not participating now.” He further said: “And we, the European countries and all world states would not like the civil war in Ukraine as a result of provocations and provocative steps by Ukraine’s military to flare up again.”

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“we do not refuse to work, we just don’t want to sit there and hear about Ukraine.”

We‘ll Talk To NATO ‘But Not Just About Ukraine’ – Lavrov (RT)

Moscow has rejected claims that it is unwilling to participate in talks with NATO, arguing instead that it would be eager to hold a summit, but only if it sticks to topics that are actually within the US-led military bloc’s remit. Last week, the faction’s General Secretary, Jens Stoltenberg, claimed that a breakdown in communication was the fault of one side alone. “Since the summer of 2019, there have been no meetings of the NATO-Russia Council,” he said. “And that’s because Russia has not responded positively to our invitation to convene the Council.” “I regret that, because I think that dialogue is important, especially when times are difficult as they are now, then it is important that we sit down, discuss also difficult issues,” Stoltenberg added.

“I believe in dialogue with Russia partly to strive for a better relationship with [that country].” However, on Wednesday, Moscow hit back at the remarks, with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov arguing that his country was not opposed to talks with the bloc. “Our colleague Mr Stoltenberg declares that Russia refuses to work in the Russia-NATO Council,” Lavrov said, insisting that “we do not refuse to work, we just don’t want to sit there and hear about Ukraine.” “NATO has nothing to do with Ukraine,” the Minister said, “and yet when they offer to convene the Russia-NATO Council, they always insist that the first question should be about Ukraine. We sat down a couple of times, listened, we all know this.

Therefore, we have proposed to restore contacts between our militaries in order to save complex agreements that we have previously signed.” In February, Stoltenberg said that the ball was in Moscow’s court when it comes to relations with the bloc. “We need to send a clear signal to Russia,” he said. “If they want clashes, we are ready. If they want to co-operate, we will be glad.”

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“Damn, @theintercept got yet another whistleblower pinched. It’s almost like Omidyar is running a sting operation there.”

Analyst Pleads To Leaking Secrets About Drone Program (AP)

A former Air Force intelligence analyst pleaded guilty Wednesday to leaking classified documents to a reporter about military drone strikes against al-Qaida and other terrorist targets. The guilty plea from Daniel Hale, 33, of Nashville, Tennessee, comes just days before he was slated to go on trial in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, for violating the World War I-era Espionage Act. Hale admitted leaking roughly a dozen secret and top-secret documents to a reporter in 2014 and 2015, when he was working for a contractor as an analyst at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). While court papers never specified the recipient of the leak, details about the case make it clear that the documents were given to Jeremy Scahill, a reporter at The Intercept, who used the documents as part of a series of critical reports on how the military conducted drone strikes on foreign targets.


He faces up to 10 years in prison at sentencing scheduled for July 13. The original indictment against Hale states that he reached out to the reporter in April 2013 while still enlisted in the Air Force and assigned to the National Security Agency. The leaks continued after Hale became a private contractor and was assigned to NGA. Hale’s lawyers sought unsuccessfully last year to have the case tossed on First Amendment grounds. They also argued that the case was a selective and vindictive prosecution. Defense lawyers said that while Hale was being punished for leaking information about negative aspects of the drone program, the government seemed unconcerned about anonymous leaks by government officials about successful strikes.

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“And frankly, we should have seen this coming, because a lot of people have been noticing supply chain fragility, even if Thomas Friedman didn’t.”

The Empire State Building Falls into the Suez Canal (Stoller)

Over the last few decades, ships have gotten really really big, four times the size of what they were 25 years ago, what the FT calls “too big to sail.’ The argument behind making such massive boats was efficiency, since you can carry more at a lower cost. The downside of such mega-ships should have been obvious. Ships like this, which are in effect floating islands, are really hard to steer in tight spaces like ports and canals, and if they get stuck, they are difficult to unstick. In other words, the super smart wizard financiers who run global trade made ships that don’t fit in the canals they need to fit into. The rise of mega-ships is paralleled by the consolidation of the shipping industry itself. In 2000, the ten biggest shipping companies had a 12% market share, by 2019 that share had increased to 82%.

This understates the consolidation, because there are alliances among these shippers. The stuck ship is being run by the Taiwanese shipping conglomerate Evergreen, which bought Italian shipping firm Italia Marittima in 1998 and London-based Hatsu in 2002, and is itself part of the OCEAN alliance, which has more than a third of global shipping. Making ships massive, and combining such massive ships into massive shipping monopolies, is a bad way to run global commerce. We’ve already seen significant problems from big shipping lines helping to transmit financial shocks into trade shocks, such as when Korean shipper Hanjin went under and stranded $14 billion of cargo on the ocean while in bankruptcy. It’s also much harder for small producers and retailers to get shipping space, because large shippers want to deal with large clients.

And fewer ports can handle these mega-ships, so such ships induce geographical inequality. Increasingly, we’re not moving ships between cities, we’re moving cities to where the small number of giant shipping lines find it efficient to ship. Dumb big ships owned by monopolies are the result of dumb big ideas, the physical manifestation of what Thomas Friedman was pushing in the 1990s and 2000s with books such as The Lexus and the Olive Tree and The World is Flat, the idea that “taking fat out of the system at every joint” was leading towards a more prosperous, peaceful and competitive world. Friedman’s was a finance-friendly perspective, a belief that making us all interdependent with a very thin margin of error would force global cooperation.

Just make ships bigger, went the thinking, until a big boat got stuck in a canal, taking down global supply chains with it. It seems so dumb. And it is. But it’s also reality, because for whatever reason, a lot of powerful people at one point thought Thomas Friedman was a genius. And frankly, we should have seen this coming, because a lot of people have been noticing supply chain fragility, even if Thomas Friedman didn’t.

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Bigger than God.

Massive DNA Damage Caused By CRISPR/Cas9 Gene Editing (GMW)

New research from Chinese scientists shows that CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing causes massive damage to the genome, much of which would have been missed by the analytical tools used so far. In a previous study, the same authors described a novel DNA sequencing procedure, which they called a “primer-extension-mediated sequencing assay” or PEM-seq. By applying this procedure, they found that DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) brought about by the CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing tool could lead to unintended chromosomal translocations and large deletions. In their latest follow-up report, the researchers describe a new computer program, which enabled them to analyse the PEM-seq data to greater depth than previous programs had allowed.

They used this program to analyse real sequence data from their own new experiments, as well as previous ones, following CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing in mouse and human cells. In gene editing, while the initial double-strand break made by the DNA “scissors” or gene-editing tool can be targeted to a given location, the subsequent DNA repair that makes the “edit” is performed by the cell’s own repair mechanisms and is not controllable or precise. The researchers analysed the outcomes of the gene edit – and found what they call “tremendous deleterious DSB repair byproducts of CRISPR/Cas9 editing”. The unintended outcomes or genetic errors ranged from unintended small insertions or deletions (indels) to large deletions, plasmid (gene-editing tool delivery vehicle) integrations, and chromosomal translocations.

The researchers wrote, “Our findings provide an extra dimension for genome editing safety besides off-targets” – the well documented unintentional DNA damage at locations of the genome that were not targeted for editing. They added, “Caution should be exercised to avoid not only off-target damages but also deleterious DSB repair byproducts during genome editing.” Worryingly, these unintended deleterious outcomes of gene editing were not overcome even when a high-fidelity CRISPR/Cas tool was used. Furthermore, when components of the DNA repair machinery were inhibited in an attempt to force a specific gene sequence modification outcome (known as SDN-2), this resulted in large deletions, large insertions, and DNA cuts around the start site of genes.

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Smithsonian. The Archive of Healing lists traditional remedies, procedures and practices from all seven continents.

New Digital Archive Preserves and Protects Indigenous Folk Medicine (Smiths.)

For thousands of years, people around the world have relied on medicinal folklore, herbal treatments and rituals to heal an array of ailments. Now, researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) have created an online platform featuring hundreds of thousands of these traditional therapies. Spanning seven continents and 200 years, the Archive of Healing draws on such sources as anthropologists’ field notes, scholarly journals, oral histories and folktales. “The whole goal here is to democratize what we think of as healing and knowledge about healing, and take it across cultures in a way that’s respectful and gives attention to intellectual property rights,” says David Shorter, director of the digital archive, in a statement.

As Valentina Di Liscia reports for Hyperallergic, the database is one of the most inclusive catalogues of medicinal folklore in the world. A key goal of the project is preserving Indigenous treatments while ensuring that this knowledge is protected against exploitation by pharmaceutical companies seeking to make a profit. To that end, certain identifying details for plants and recipes are omitted from the archive. Western medicine has, historically, overlooked herbal remedies used by women and Indigenous peoples. As folk herbalist Sade Musa explained for Healthline in 2019, many traditional treatments were passed down orally and, as a result, overlooked in favor of written documentation.

“[C]olonialism built a medical industrial complex through often violent means of cultural suppression, erasure, and exploitation,” noted Heathline. “The rise of the patriarchy also authorized only white male physicians to practice and define medicine for the world.” Former faculty member Wayland Hand launched the UCLA database more than 40 years ago. In 1996, folklorist Michael Owen Jones began digitizing the collection of more than one million notecards—then known as the Archive of Traditional Medicine—after receiving a grant. Speaking with Jeyling Chou of the Daily Bruin, UCLA’s independent student newspaper, in 2005, Jones said, “Folk medicine [includes] the beliefs and practices that we learn and teach in our first-hand interactions with one another in our everyday lives.” He added, “It’s not institutional medicine, it’s not medicine that requires a license.”

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How Earth will look in 250 million years according to plate tectonics theory

 

 

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Mar 292021
 


William Eggleston Coupe de Ville, Los Angeles 1964

 

Cargo Ship Blocking The Suez Is Partially Floated – Suez Canal Authority (CNBC)
The Great Unvaxxed (TE Creus)
Pandemic Upsurge Hits Europe Recovery Hopes (Y!)
First Covid Jab Cuts Infection Risk By 62% In England Care Home Residents (G.)
Fauci and Chinese Counterpart Envision Lengthy Covid Restrictions (JTN)
Self-Isolation After Covid Contact Will Be Necessary For ‘Years’ (Ind.)
Madeira Lets In Tourists Who Can Show Covid ‘Vaccine Passport’ (G.)
Congress Demands Tech CEOs Censor Internet Even More Aggressively (Greenwald)
Ray Dalio Warns Bitcoin Ban ‘Likely’ (F.)
One Man Stands In The Way Of Cuomo Nursing Home Scandal Investigation (IC)
In Quest Of A Multipolar Economic World Order (Saker)
Stoltenberg Comes Clean On China “Opportunity” For NATO (SCF)
The Lawyer Who Took On Chevron Marks His 600th Day Under House Arrest (G.)

 

 

Vaccine job interview

 

 

 

 

Full Moon.

Cargo Ship Blocking The Suez Is Partially Floated – Suez Canal Authority (CNBC)

The giant container ship blocking the Suez Canal was partially refloated early Monday, days after the vessel got stuck and brought a vital global trade route to a standstill. A statement by the Suez Canal Authority said the ship, known as the Ever Given, “responded to the pulling and towing maneuvers.” It added that the ship’s course has been corrected by 80% and further maneuvers will resume when the water level rises later in the day. The statement followed an earlier tweet by maritime services company Inchcape, which said the Ever Given was refloated and being secured.

It remains unclear what the condition of the stranded ship is and when the canal would be open to traffic, with Inchcape saying that “more information will follow once they are known.” Efforts to free the mega vessel have lasted for nearly a week. The ship became stuck last Tuesday after running aground while entering the Suez Canal from the Red Sea. Ever Given is one of the largest container ships in the world. It is a 220,000-ton mega ship nearly a quarter-mile long with a 20,000 container capacity. The ship completely blocked the canal that’s home to as much as 12% of the world’s seaborne trade, and caused a traffic jam with hundreds of ships waiting to enter the Suez.

[..] Experts told CNBC that problems caused by the Suez blockage will not immediately ease when the Ever Given is freed. Tim Huxley, director of Mandarin Shipping, said it will take “some time” for traffic that has built up to cross the narrow canal. And when those ships and tankers arrive at their destinations, ports will likely face congestion that will also take time to clear, he added. “You normally have about 50 or so ships a day going through the canal, obviously at the moment it’s about 300 ships backed up … this is an enormous traffic jam, which is at both ends of the canal,” he told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia” on Monday. “This will take quite awhile for the whole supply chain to get back to normal and that’s gonna have an impact on manufacturers, retailers right across the board,” said Huxley.

Ever Given

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A fantasy.

The Great Unvaxxed (TE Creus)

The vaccine was a resounding success. Yes, there had been a final death rate of 10% among the vaccinated, but this was mostly among the elderly or the already ill, so it was probably not the vaccine’s fault, and if it was, no one could prove it one way or another, and even if they could, well, the vaccine manufacturers were not liable to lawsuits due to the agreements they had made with the various governments. In any case, the pandemic had ended, that was for sure. Of course the masks and the lockdown mandates continued to be enforced; the reason was that while the pandemic had most certainly been defeated, the virus still existed in its natural form somewhere out there, and so it was vital to continue with the safety procedures to avoid any possible resurgence of the disease. So what? People got used to it, as they had gotten used to so many other things before that.

And was wearing a mask in the end much worse than wearing a helmet or a safety belt? Was being forced to stay at home for a few months every year much different than being forced to be at the office working for five days out of the seven in the week? Rules are rules, and those were not as bad as others that had been instituted in the past. But there was something that worried the authorities. While most people had predictably complied with the mandatory vaccination campaign, there were a few groups that had refused them, alleging religious or health reasons, and found refuge in rural communities living off the grid. They had abandoned the use of mobile and network technology and so could not be traced so easily, and, since non-digital cash had been abolished, they appeared to have returned to a form of commerce based in the exchange of physical goods.

At first, the authorities ignored them; most people saw them as a minority of loser hicks, “anti-vaxxers” as they had been called in earlier pre-scientific times, and since it was unlikely that too many among the masses would opt for such a harsh lifestyle away from the comforts of modern urban life, they were not seen as a menace. But what happened, in the end, was that rumours started to appear, even in the cities, about small communities where no one needed to wear masks, and people were dancing and smiling, and food was delicious and natural and people were even – gasp! – falling in love and procreating in natural ways.

Of course this was an obvious and mendacious falsity, but the authorities could not permit such fairy tales to gain acceptance among the people at large. So they started to persecute “the great unvaxxed”, as they called them, or the “free renegades” as they preferred to call themselves. Their communities were dispersed. Their leaders were arrested. Planting organic, unmodified seeds became illegal.

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After a 6-month lockdown, Greece now has higher case numbers than ever.

Pandemic Upsurge Hits Europe Recovery Hopes (Y!)

An upsurge in new coronavirus cases is forcing governments across Europe into new, damaging lockdowns that threaten to delay a much hoped-for return to growth, economists say. The plan was that mass vaccination programmes would turn the tide on the pandemic, allowing locked-down consumers free rein after months penned up at home. Instead the virus has embarked on a third wave which is proving more difficult to bring under control. French President Emmanuel Macron warned Thursday that the European Union would have to do more and beef up its already massive 750 billion euro ($885 billion) virus recovery fund as a result. The EU had made a major effort after the first wave last year, Macron said, but “following the second and third waves… we will no doubt have to add to our response”.

In September, as the economy picked up sharply after a rapid reverse in the first wave, expectations were high that by the middle of this year it would be solidly back on track, thanks especially to the vaccine rollout. Just a couple of weeks ago, European Central Bank head Christine Lagarde was even talking about a “firm rebound in activity in the second half of the year”. Now the EU’s strongest economies — Germany, France and Italy — have reimposed restrictions and the vaccine programme in Europe is mired in a blame game over supplies. Credit insurer Euler Hermes estimates that the EU is now seven weeks adrift of its target to have 70 percent of the population vaccinated by the end of the summer, compared with five weeks in February.

It estimates the delay will cost the bloc’s 27 member states some 123 billion euros this year. “If you compare us with the US, where the outlook is so much more positive, we are falling further behind on the recovery because of this third wave,” said Charlotte de Montpellier, economist with Dutch bank ING. ING now expects eurozone growth of 3.0 percent this year, down more than half a percentage point from its previous estimate. Most of the growth will also come from the third quarter, slightly later too, ING added. Andrew Kenningham, chief Europe economist at Capital Economics, said he does not expect the bloc to return to pre-pandemic activity levels before the second half of 2022, a year behind the US.


As of March 28, covid19 cases in Greece per million people are higher than Germany, the UK and US. Chart shows 7 day rolling average

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“..what you want to do is reduce the total number of people who’ve been infected..”

Is that so? Isn’t it about the number of vulnerable people?

First Covid Jab Cuts Infection Risk By 62% In England Care Home Residents (G.)

A government-funded study of care home residents in England has found that their risk of infection with Covid-19 – either symptomatic or asymptomatic – fell by 62% five weeks after they received their first Oxford/AstraZeneca or Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine dose. Those who were infected after having the vaccine may also be less likely to transmit Covid-19, initial findings showed. The study, funded by the Department of Health and Social Care, is key, given that most clinical trials and observational studies evaluated the impact of the vaccines on symptomatic infections, but whether the vaccines can reduce asymptomatic infections – which play a crucial role in the spread of the virus – is still unclear. “It’s helpful to look at people who don’t have symptoms because what you want to do is reduce the total number of people who’ve been infected,” noted UCL’s Dr Laura Shallcross, an author of the analysis.

Researchers tracked more than 10,400 care home residents in England (with an average age of 86) between December and March, comparing the number of infections occurring in vaccinated and unvaccinated groups – using data retrieved from routine monthly PCR testing. Both vaccines reduced the risk of infection by about 56% at 28-34 days after the first dose, and 62% at 35-48 days. The effect is maintained for at least seven weeks, the authors concluded in their analysis, which has not yet been peer-reviewed. This data is notable, given older adults with underlying illnesses have largely been excluded from vaccine trials. It also supports the UK’s decision to extend dose intervals beyond what was studied in clinical trials.

[..] In clinical trials, both vaccines were found to be very effective in reducing the risk of severe illness and death. But understanding whether these interventions can thwart the spread of the disease is imperative to public health policy, given vaccinating the world will take a long time, the risk of vaccine-resistant virus variants emerging and percolating, and that vaccines have not yet been proved safe and effective in children.

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“to do that … will take about two or three years time with global collaboration.”

Fauci and Chinese Counterpart Envision Lengthy Covid Restrictions (JTN)

Top U.S. infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci on a recent public health panel signaled common ground with a renowned Chinese doctor and public health administrator on the matter of ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, with both Fauci and his Chinese counterpart suggesting that those restrictions could continue for many months or even years. Fauci in early March appeared on the virtual panel, titled “The Future of Health,” hosted by the University of Edinburgh. Also present in the meeting was Chinese pulmonologist Zhong Nanshan, who has been at the forefront of China’s response to the pandemic and who has been referred to by national spokeswoman Hua Chunying as “China’s Fauci.”

Zhong has a long career in the Chinese Communist Party hierarchy, having served for years in delegatory positions in both the CCP’s National Congress and its National People’s Congress. He has also served on numerous state research initiatives and is the founder of the state-funded Guangzhou Institute of Respiratory Diseases. On the panel, Fauci and Zhong both expressed hopes that COVID-19 restrictions worldwide would continue well into the future. Zhong himself claimed that efforts to develop natural immunity to COVID-19 are inadvisable from a national policy standpoint. “It doesn’t work this way,” he said. “And it’s not realistic, and less scientific, and … inhumane.” Zhong argued that “mass vaccinations” are the “commonsense” approach to engendering herd immunity in the population, but “to do that … will take about two or three years time with global collaboration.”

“I have noticed in other countries,” the doctor said elsewhere, “that actions [are] not so strict enough. So that will be not enough to stop the spreading of [the virus].” Fauci himself echoed those concerns, warning against the danger of what he said was “jump[ing] the gun or do[ing] it too quickly” and seeming to imply that countries should keep COVID-19 measures in place even if they appear to have suppressed the virus within their borders. “It is important to realize,” Fauci claimed, “that variants arise, and if you suppress the virus in one country, but it is allowed to spread uninhibited in other areas of the world, sooner or later, the variants, the new lineages, the mutants, will come back and rekindle the outbreak, even in countries that seem to have it under control. So we still have a considerable amount of task in front of us.”

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Still no mention whatsoever of prophylactics.

Self-Isolation After Covid Contact Will Be Necessary For ‘Years’ (Ind.)

People will have to self-isolate after coming into contact with Covid-19 for many years as the UK learns how to “live with this virus”, a government adviser has warned. Mark Woolhouse, a professor of epidemiology, said the test-and-trace system is here to stay – as are some social distancing measures. He also admitted to being “nervous about a full relaxation in June”, calling the idea of emerging from the lockdown “in one great bound” wide of the mark. “I still suspect that looking forward – and I am talking now right through 2021 and into the years ahead – that we are still going to have to be alert to coronavirus,” Prof Woolhouse said. “There are still going to be situations where we might need to use personal protective equipment, we might well need to do some kind of social distancing, put some kind of biosecurity measures in place.”


It would also be necessary to “maintain our capacity to test and trace, and particularly to isolate people who are infected,” he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show. “That final thing is going to remain important for the entire future – that, when we get cases of novel coronavirus, that those people are then going to have to be asked to self-isolate and their contacts.” Prof Woolhouse, who sits on the SPI-M modelling group, which feeds advice into the main Sage body, also said vaccine certificates to enter nightclubs and other venues might be necessary. It’s certainly something we have to consider seriously as part of a wider package of measures that are designed to make our activities safe, he warned. And, on another lockdown, he said: We should regard that as a failure of public health policy if we have to go that route again.

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“..visitors who can show either a vaccination certificate or proof they have recently recovered from the virus…”

Being healthy and strong and having natural immunity has been rendered fully meaningless.

Madeira Lets In Tourists Who Can Show Covid ‘Vaccine Passport’ (G.)

Sara Pedro is sat at a beach-side restaurant with friends. It is her first time dining out in three months. She is in Madeira, an autonomous region of Portugal, having left her home city of Lisbon’s strict coronavirus restrictions to take advantage of the more relaxed atmosphere on the Atlantic island and its “green corridor” for visitors who can show either a vaccination certificate or proof they have recently recovered from the virus. “I came to Madeira because in continental Portugal we are under absolute lockdown, so there was a certain fatigue about it,” she says. Sara, who has recovered from Covid-19, entered Madeira without having to take a PCR test, as would typically be required. Instead, she presented a medical certificate proving she has been in contact with the virus.

The island has a 7pm curfew, but in its capital of Funchal the esplanades are full of people having coffee in the sun as customers go in and out of the shops. It’s in stark contrast with the empty streets and closed shopfronts across mainland Portugal, which is still under tough restrictions imposed on 15 January to tackle what was then the world’s worst coronavirus surge. “Obviously, border closures are necessary for extreme situations, but I think it’s time to bet on safe tourism. Why can’t this be done in other European countries?” Sara asks, as a waiter arrives with drinks.

Located off the coast of Morocco and more than 800km from mainland Portugal, Madeira is one of the few places in Europe accepting tourists – and since 18 February it has been operating a green corridor for tourists who have recovered from Covid-19 in the previous 90 days or who have been fully vaccinated against it, in a foretaste of what may be a future of vaccine passports for EU travel. Vaccinated travellers must present an immunisation certificate in English, validated in their home country, that includes their name, date of birth, type of vaccine, and the date (or dates) it was administered. Tourists must also respect the activation period set out in the vaccine’s summary of product characteristics.

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Orwell.

Congress Demands Tech CEOs Censor Internet Even More Aggressively (Greenwald)

Over the course of five-plus hours on Thursday, a House Committee along with two subcommittees badgered three tech CEOs, repeatedly demanding that they censor more political content from their platforms and vowing legislative retaliation if they fail to comply. The hearing — convened by the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Chair Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), and the two Chairs of its Subcommittees, Mike Doyle (D-PA) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) — was one of the most stunning displays of the growing authoritarian effort in Congress to commandeer the control which these companies wield over political discourse for their own political interests and purposes.

As I noted when I reported last month on the scheduling of this hearing, this was “the third time in less than five months that the U.S. Congress has summoned the CEOs of social media companies to appear before them with the explicit intent to pressure and coerce them to censor more content from their platforms.” The bulk of Thursday’s lengthy hearing consisted of one Democratic member after the next complaining that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Google/Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey have failed in their duties to censor political voices and ideological content that these elected officials regard as adversarial or harmful, accompanied by threats that legislative punishment (including possible revocation of Section 230 immunity) is imminent in order to force compliance (Section 230 is the provision of the 1996 Communications Decency Act that shields internet companies from liability for content posted by their users).

Republican members largely confined their grievances to the opposite concern: that these social media giants were excessively silencing conservative voices in order to promote a liberal political agenda (that complaint is only partially true: a good amount of online censorship, like growing law enforcement domestic monitoring generally, focuses on all anti-establishment ideologies, not just the right-wing variant). This editorial censoring, many Republicans insisted, rendered the tech companies’ Section 230 immunity obsolete, since they are now acting as publishers rather than mere neutral transmitters of information. Some Republicans did join with Democrats in demanding greater censorship, though typically in the name of protecting children from mental health disorders and predators rather than ideological conformity.

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“My understanding from people who are sort of in government surveillance is yes, they can understand, they can track it.”

Ray Dalio Warns Bitcoin Ban ‘Likely’ (F.)

Bitcoin has soared back after losing ground earlier this week, climbing toward its all-time high price of over $60,000. The bitcoin price hit an all-time high of around $62,000 per bitcoin earlier this month—more than double where it began the year—but has since fallen back, despite Elon Musk’s Tesla bombshell this week. Now, the billionaire founder of the world’s largest hedge fund and legendary investor Ray Dalio has warned he thinks there’s a “good probability” bitcoin will be banned by the U.S. government—comparing it to the 1930’s U.S. gold ban. “Every country treasures its monopoly on controlling the supply and demand,” Bridgewater Associates’s Dalio told Yahoo Finance this week.


“They don’t want other monies to be operating or competing, because things can get out of control. So I think that it would be very likely that you will have it under a certain set of circumstances outlawed the way gold was outlawed.” In the 1930s, President Franklin D. Roosevelt made gold ownership illegal in the U.S. in an attempt to shore up the Federal Reserve’s gold supplies so the Fed could justify printing more dollars. Dalio pointed to reports of a proposed bitcoin ban in India as potentially laying the groundwork for a more widespread crackdown on bitcoin. “[We] have to see what [reports of a proposed bitcoin ban in India] means,” Dalio said. “Now, can they do it? Yeah. Now we get into the particulars. My understanding from people who are sort of in government surveillance is yes, they can understand, they can track it. They can know who’s dealing with it … I would suspect it would be very hard to hold up against that kind of action.”

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Clique.

One Man Stands In The Way Of Cuomo Nursing Home Scandal Investigation (IC)

Over the past two months, two scandals have subsumed the administration of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo: the state’s gross mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic, especially in the state’s nursing homes, and the governor’s reported harassment of several women around him. But the state attorney general has launched a formal investigation into only one of those scandals. In January, New Yorkers were shocked to learn that the actual Covid-19 death tolls in the state’s nursing homes were as much as 50 percent higher than what had previously been disclosed. The misreporting, which was revealed in a report released by New York Attorney General Tish James on January 28, meant that thousands of deaths may have gone uncounted. And many of these deaths occurred in the early days of the pandemic, as Cuomo told hospitals to send coronavirus-positive patients back to the facilities, leading to rapid spread of the virus.

That scandal gained legs in February when the top aide to the governor, Melissa DeRosa, said that the misreporting was deliberate; Cuomo’s office wanted to throw off an investigation into the state’s handling of nursing homes. “We were in a position where we weren’t sure if what we were going to give to the Department of Justice, or what we give to you guys, and what we start saying, was going to be used against us and we weren’t sure if there was going to be an investigation,” she said on a conference call with Democratic legislators. But the spotlight quickly turned to a second scandal, as eight women reported inappropriate behavior and sexual harassment by the governor. The sexual harassment allegations, which have attracted the bulk of media coverage, prompted an investigation into Cuomo by James, by referral from Cuomo himself.

And many of the top Democrats in the state have called for Cuomo’s resignation. James has not, however, begun an investigation into the Cuomo administration on its actions last spring, for a bureaucratic reason: She needs a referral from either Cuomo himself or Tom DiNapoli, the state’s low-profile comptroller, who has served since 2007. James has the statutory authority to investigate nursing homes, hence the January 28 report. She does not have the statutory authority to launch an investigation with subpoena power into the Cuomo administration without DiNapoli’s referral. (Theoretically, James could decline to investigate Cuomo’s handling of the nursing home crisis even if she received the referral from DiNapoli, though that seems very unlikely given her willingness to investigate the issue so far.)

A nursing home investigation has the potential to be explosive for a much broader range of actors than just Cuomo, and DiNapoli is himself considering a run for governor. While DiNapoli, a mainstream Democrat who nonetheless has occasionally clashed with Cuomo, is among the Democratic politicians calling for Cuomo’s resignation over sexual harassment claims, so far his office has declined to make a referral.

Read more …

Professor Michael Hudson and Pepe Escobar discuss the emerging economic world order..

In Quest Of A Multipolar Economic World Order (Saker)

Hudson: 50 years ago, I wrote Super Imperialism about how America dominates the world financially, and gets a free ride. I wrote it, right after America went off gold in 1971, when the Vietnam war – which was responsible for the entire balance-of-payments deficit – forced the country to go off gold. And everybody at that time worried the dollar was going to go down. There’d be hyperinflation. But what happened was something entirely different. Once there was no gold to settle U.S. balance-of-payments deficits, America strong armed its allies to invest in US Treasury bonds, because central banks don’t buy companies. They don’t buy raw materials. All they could buy is other government bonds. So, all of a sudden, the only thing that other people could buy with all the dollars coming in were US Treasury securities.

The securities they bought essentially were to finance yet more war making and the balance-of-payments deficit from war and the 800 military bases America has around the world. The largest customer – I think we discussed this before – was the Defense Department and the CIA. They looked at it as a how-to-do-it book. That was 50 years ago. What I’ve done is not only re-edit the book and add more information that’s come out, but I’ve summarized how the last 50 years has transformed the world. It’s a new kind of imperialism. There was still a view, 50 years ago, that imperialism was purely economic, in the sense that there’s still a rivalry, for instance, between America and China, or America and Europe and other countries.

But I think the world has changed so much in the last 50 years that what we have now is not really so much a conflict between America and China, or America and Russia, but between a financialized economy, run by financial planners allocating resources and government spending and money creation, and an economy run by governments democratic or less democratic, but certainly a mixed economy. Everything that made industrial capitalism rich, everything that made America so strong on the 19th century, through its protective tariffs, through its public infrastructure investment all the way down through world war two and the aftermath, was that we had a mixed economy in America. Europe also had a mixed economy, and in fact, every economy since Babylon has had a mixed economy.

Read more …

One small step from “Multipolar Economic World Order” to “Multipolar Global Political Economy”.

Stoltenberg Comes Clean On China “Opportunity” For NATO (SCF)

Jens Stoltenberg and other European leaders have been swooning over the “new chapter” in transatlantic relations under the Biden administration. After four years of dealing with vulgar-mouth Donald Trump and his relentless hectoring over military budgets, some European leaders are sighing with relief at Biden’s seemingly dulcet assurances that “America is back”. Of course people like Stoltenberg, a former Norwegian prime minister who has been the civilian head of NATO since 2014, are reliant on pushing a stronger alliance for their comfy livelihoods and no doubt for future sinecures at corporate-funded think-tanks. Stoltenberg is constantly striving to find a new vision and mission for NATO, an organization founded over 70 years ago at the start of the Cold War, and which has been expanding ever since despite the official end of the Cold War three decades ago.

The buzz phrase he uses is to make the alliance “future-proof” – that is to find a permanent pretext for the U.S.-led military organization to continue its existence regardless of real-world security needs. In his interview with Deutsche Welle this week, Stoltenberg commented on the rise of China. He said, inferring something menacing: “China is coming closer to us, investing in our critical infrastructure.” Well maybe that’s because China is the world’s biggest trading partner with the European Union and a major foreign direct investor in European nations which have become bankrupt from decades of neoliberal capitalism and austerity. Stoltenberg went on: “There’s no way we can avoid addressing the security consequences for our regional alliance of the rise of China and the shift in the global balance of power.”

And then the usually cautious, wooden Stoltenberg let it slip: China, he said, provided “a unique opportunity to open a new chapter in the relationship between North America — the United States — and Europe.” Voila! So the real strategic value of China being presented as a “threat” or an “adversary” is to give a new purpose to the U.S.-led NATO bloc which subordinates Europe to Washington’s geopolitical objective of hegemony. The emphasis here is on China “being presented as a threat” and not what the real relationship actually is, that is, one of a vital economic partner. (Same for Russia and its vast energy partnership with Europe.)

The United States in pursuit of global dominance by its corporations and its capitalist order must, by definition, thwart a multipolar global political economy which the rise of China and Russia embody. The fiendish political problem, however, is that Washington and its European surrogates cannot justify such a stance based on the normal and natural relations that exist. For in doing that, they would be seen as obnoxious, unwarranted aggressors. It is imperative therefore to conflate China and Russia as “security threats” to the presumed Western “rules-based order”.

Read more …

The Donziger story is almost as crazy as Julian Assange’s.

The Lawyer Who Took On Chevron Marks His 600th Day Under House Arrest (G.)

Many of us will have felt the grip of claustrophobic isolation over the past year, but the lawyer Steven Donziger has experienced an extreme, very personal confinement as a pandemic arrived and then raged around him in New York City. On Sunday, Donziger reached his 600th day of an unprecedented house arrest that has resulted from a sprawling, Kafkaesque legal battle with the oil giant Chevron. Donziger spearheaded a lengthy crusade against the company on behalf of tens of thousands of Indigenous people in the Amazon rainforest whose homes and health were devastated by oil pollution, only to himself become, as he describes it, the victim of a “planned targeting by a corporation to destroy my life”.

Since August 2019, Donziger has been restricted to his elegant Manhattan apartment, a clunky court-mandated monitoring bracelet he calls “the black claw” continuously strapped to his left ankle. He cannot even venture into the hallway, or to pick up his mail. Exempted excursions for medical appointments or major school events for his 14-year-old son require permission days in advance. An indoor bike sits by the front door in lieu of alternative exercise options. “There’s no comparison to quarantine because I can’t even go outside for a walk. If my kid is sick I can’t go to the drug store to get a prescription,” Donziger said. “I never truly understood freedom until I was put in this situation.”

The nights are hardest for Donziger, when he has to struggle to get his jeans off over the boxy tag and lie in bed next to his wife “with the government still there on my ankle”. Each morning he wakes up in angst. A flag reading “SOS Free Steven” sometimes flutters defiantly from the window, but efforts to end the unusually long detention have yet to be granted. “It’s been brutally difficult for him,” said Paul Paz y Miño, associate director of Amazon Watch, a conservation group allied to Donziger. “It’s taken a huge toll on him and his family. Chevron wants the narrative to be that he’s a criminal. The implications of that for the entire environmental movement against oil companies is terrifying.”

[..] The dispute with Chevron centres upon a landmark 2011 decision by the Ecuador courts to order the company pay $9.5bn in damages to people blighted by decades of polluted air and water. Chevron has never paid up, claiming “shocking levels of misconduct” and fraud by Donziger and the Ecuadorian judiciary. But the subsequent web of events that has led to Donziger being detained and stripped of his law license is befuddling even to legal scholars. “Frankly, I scratch my head when I look at this case,” said Larry Catá Backer, a professor of international law at Penn State University. “It is this strange multi-front battle with one extraordinary explosive development after another. It has had this magical quality to enrage everyone involved in it.”

Read more …

 

 

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Mar 192021
 
 March 19, 2021  Posted by at 7:05 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,  13 Responses »


Brian Griffin Memorial to the Conquerors of Space, Moscow, Russia 1974

 

 

In the space of just 24 hours, Joe Biden and Antony Blinken managed to make Donald Trump look like a perfect diplomat. And we must wonder why that is. Why did Biden call Putin a soulless killer, and Blinken invoke a 20 minute tirade from Chinese top diplomat Yang Jiechi in Alaska? Is it just stupidity, which is quite possible, or is it orchestrated, which you might suspect given it took so little time to insult America’s alleged two biggest adversaries? Reuters:

 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken told China’s top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, and State Councilor Wang Yi in Anchorage that the U.S. side would discuss its “deep concerns” about Chinese actions in Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Taiwan, as well as cyber attacks on the United States and economic coercion of allies. “Each of these actions threaten the rules-based order that maintains global stability,” he said. …Yang hit back, accusing the United States of using its military might and financial supremacy to pressure countries and of abusing national security to threaten the future of international trade.


He said Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Taiwan were all inseparable parts of Chinese territory and China firmly opposed US interference in its internal affairs. Yang said human rights in the United States were at a low point with Black Americans being “slaughtered” and added that the United States should handle its own affairs and China its own. Yang said it was necessary to abandon a “Cold War mentality,” and confrontation and added: “The way we see the relationship with the United States is as President Xi Jinping has said, that is we hope to see no confrontation, no conflict, mutual respect and win-win cooperation with the United States.”

It’s time that people understand Joe Biden is an entirely scripted actor. Not well-scripted, and not a good actor, but still. His comments about Putin being a “killer with no soul” are insane, they scrape the bottom of the bottom of the barrel of diplomacy, they insult not just Putin, and thereby all of Russia, and threaten world peace, but they’re not his. They were written for him. Biden keeps reminding me of Max Headroom, an early MTV thing. Cartoon character. Scripted.

The CIA, Pentagon, NATO, Boeing, Raytheon, you name them, all badly need to conserve the image of Putin as Satan, because he’s their “raison d’être”. Putin is the figurehead for why the US spends 10 times more than Russia on “defense”, and still ends up with inferior weaponry. The CIA thought they had it all won when they put Yeltsin in the Kremlin, and started to take over all resources of the country with the most natural resources on the planet.

And then Putin came, and prevented that take-over. It’s hilarious to see how that same CIA now tries to push Alexey Navalny, a virtual nobody in Russia, as “opposition leader”, just as even Amnesty take their hands off of him, and reverse their nutty “prisoner of conscience” moniker, because all of a sudden they realize he called Muslims “flies and cockroaches”. Navalny, like Yeltsin, is a CIA asset, plain and simple.

The narrative of him being poisoned with novichok, the deadliest poison in the world, which never seems to kill anyone when Russians use it on their enemies, of course goes back to the “poisoning” of father and daughter Skripal in the UK 3 years ago, who didn’t die either, but haven’t been heard from since. It’s a narrative: evil Putin poisons people. But if you look at the background, none of the people he supposedly targets are ever a threat to him. They just serve the narrative. Just like Joe Biden does. That’s his role.

Driving all this blubber are people like neocon man and wife team Robert Kagan and Victoria Nuland and their ilk, the latter a driving force behind the 2014 Maidan coup in Ukraine, who were outsmarted by Putin’s peaceful and democratic take-over take-back of Crimea, and are still mightily pissed off about that. And guess what, Nuland is now back in Joe Biden’s US government.

Skripal was a Russia military intelligence officer who turned double agent and spied for Britain. That would have been enough for any country to either lock him up for a very long time or simply eliminate him, certainly in the US. It happens all the time. But Putin let him leave to live in Britain. Ergo: he can’t have been that much of a threat. And then years later they want to kill him anyway, and send two clowns who screw up the operation with the deadliest poison in the world? That theory only works if you think Russians, and Russian intelligence, are the stupidest on the planet. While ex-KGB agent Putin is in charge. Then he must be stupid too.

Who buys that? Well, Americans do. Because their media do nothing but repeat Putin is Satan messages. And corrupt too. Navalny recently had a story about some multi-billion “castle” Putin allegedly owns, western media ate it up, and then it turns out to be some empty shell, like those cardboard store fronts you see in western movies. But this is not about truth anymore. It‘s about how endless repetition makes lies “believable” to gullible people – of which America has a seemingly endless supply. They can only sell you the story about how stupid Russians supposedly are if they assume you are really stupid.

Putin won’t starve when he retires, but we have no indications that he stole billions either. That’s a narrative that’s been repeated for all twenty odd years he’s led Russia. America’s war industry needs an enemy, so they create one. It all just serves to show ever more that “US intelligence” is an oxymoron. And that Biden is a moron, period.

 

ZeroHedge is (re?)running a series of articles by US hedge fund manager Alex Krainer, who noticed how, especially in 2014 post-Maidan, the Putin stories ran in the MSM, and started looking into it. And then wrote a book about it. In 2018, he wrote 3 articles on the topic. Here are some excerpts, but do read all of it:

 

 

Is Vladimir Putin Evil? – 1

In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis Putin declared publicly that he bore responsibility to ensure that the 1998 crisis would not repeat itself on his watch. His government also took proactive steps to limit the fallout from the crisis. In July 2008, Putin personally went to the town of Pikalyevo in Leningrad Oblast to confront the directors and owners of a large metallurgical factory. This was not long after the owners had shut the facility down, suspending without pay thousands of their workers.

Addressing the gathering, Putin excoriated them, saying that because of their unprofessional conduct and greed, thousands of families would find themselves destitute. This was unacceptable to his government and he ordered the owners to restart the facility, else the government would do it without them. He further ordered the management to immediately (“deadline today”) pay all workers’ salary arrears, amounting to more than 41 million rubles. [..]
Putin publicly chastised Oleg Deripaska, once Russia’s richest man, and other Russian businessmen at a meeting in Pikalyovo.

Putin took similar action protecting the ordinary people in another crisis situation. During his first winter as president, entire towns and villages across the far east of the country counting as many as 400,000 inhabitants, lost heating for the lack of coal. A serious crisis emerged with mines shutting down, workers out in the streets and even hospitals ceasing to function because of the cold. But the coal for heating was available in Russia, only most of it was already allotted for export. Vladimir Putin didn’t think that Russian people should suffer freezing conditions all winter in order for that coal to be exchanged for American dollars. He decreed that export of coal be stopped immediately and that all available quantities be sent back to Siberia to fuel the boiler stations.

Is Vladimir Putin Evil? – 2

According to his chief of security, Alexander Korzhakov, Boris Yeltsin worked about two hours per day. The rest he spent eating, drinking, playing tennis, hunting or enjoying some other pastime. Vladimir Putin reportedly works exceptionally long hours and several of his advisers and ministers have testified to working with him until very late into the night and then receiving a call from him early in the morning the next day. Exiled banker and former oligarch Sergei Pugachev described his experience: “we hardly parted company, we met on a daily basis from early morning to late evening until 3, until 4 AM, every day, every day. We naturally discussed matters of state business development, the state of the economy and so on. Putin needed someone who understood and knew those matters well. (Harding, Smith and Maynard 2015)

Some of his advisors and ministers reported meeting with him to discuss some matter within their own domain of specialty only to be startled in realizing that Putin commanded a more detailed understanding of that very matter than they themselves had. Being that immersed in and devoted to his occupation enables Vladimir Putin to hold his famous marathon press conferences when he speaks for three or four hours answering journalists questions with accurate and detailed information and without teleprompters. His 14th annual call-in marathon in 2016 lasted 3 and a half hours during which he took and answered 80 questions!

[..] I wondered if the Russians wouldn’t in the end get Edward Snowden and trade him for some big concession from their “American partners” who were clearly extremely keen on getting the renegade whistle-blower. I remember thinking that the outcome of that incident would give us an important indication of what Vladimir Putin was made of: would he do the right thing and offer Snowden asylum and protection, or would he end up trading him off? My gut feeling was that Putin would indeed do the right thing, but at the same time I cringed at the thought that I might end up disappointed. After several weeks of legal procedures, on July 31st 2013, Snowden was granted asylum in Russia.

Is Vladimir Putin Evil? – 3

In a speech to the Federal Assembly in 2005, Putin drew on the philosophy of Ivan Ilyin to outline the limitations of state power: “State power cannot oversee and dictate the creative states of the soul and mind, the inner states of love, freedom and goodwill. The state cannot demand from its citizens faith, prayer, love, goodness and conviction. It cannot regulate scientific, religious and artistic creation… It should not intervene in moral, family and daily private life, and only when extremely necessary should it impinge on people’s economic initiative and creativity.”


It is unusual for a politician to speak of such things as states of the soul and mind or the “inner states of love” to a gathering of other politicians but these ideas do appear to run as a theme in Putin’s conception of political leadership. At the 15th Congress of the Russian Geographical Society, he ventured the following statement: “In general, love is the whole meaning of life, of being. Love of family, of children, and of the motherland. It is such a multifaceted phenomenon that is the basis of all our actions.” To a Westerner, exposed to a relentless defamation of Vladimir Putin, this may be difficult to believe. After all, we know that he was a KGB agent, that he routinely ordered assassinations of his critics and political opponents, that he has made himself the wealthiest man in the world, and many other similarly negative “facts” about him.

And Scott Ritter has it right:

Biden’s Tough-Guy Flexing At ‘Soulless Killer’ Putin Would Be Funny If The Consequences Weren’t So Serious

[..] the likelihood of the Biden-Putin meeting occurring as described by Joe Biden is slim to none. When Biden made his trip to the Kremlin in 2011, he was fronting for the Obama administration’s “reset” with Russia. There was no opportunity, or need, for Biden’s faux machismo. The two men did meet, but as part of delegations discussing the possibility for improving relations. Not only would Biden’s insulting verbal flexing have been wildly inappropriate and inconsistent with the larger policy objectives of his visit, but it ran counter to his own feelings, expressed at the time, about Russia.

“Russia has the best engineers in the world,” Biden said in a press conference after his meeting with Putin (who was serving as Russia’s prime minister, not president, at the time.) “Russia has intellectual capital. Russia is a great nation.” These are not words one utters after telling a Russian leader in private that he has “no soul.”

Biden’s struggle with the truth is well known, so it should come as no surprise to anyone that he possibly made up a meeting with Putin. Biden has been caught plagiarizing a speech delivered by former British Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock, lied about his academic record and accomplishments, and manufactured from whole cloth a narrative that has him participating in the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Biden’s lies all have one goal in common: to make him out to be that which he is not. So, too, his apparent lie about calling Putin soulless.

Biden is desperate to be a ‘tough guy’. But for that reputation to stick vis-à-vis Putin, there had to be a ‘showdown’ moment, where the good guy faced off against the bad guy and called him out. Since no such event exists, Biden had to make one up. And, like most of his lies, Biden repeats them long enough and often enough that they take on a life of their own, embraced as fact by unquestioning journalists.

 

Joe Biden only has a veneer, a semblance, of credibility, and that’s only because US media never ask him any serious questions. Not just because he never did any press-ops after becoming president, but also because even if he did, they still wouldn’t.

Putin, on the other hand, saved his country from America, globalism, and the worst outgrowths of capitalism and neocons. The US no longer has any meaningful dialogue with Russia anymore, which is of course utterly insane (but yeah, the narrative), but the Alaska meeting does give us an insight into where this train is about to be headed next.

Biden is no match for Putin in any way shape or form, but that doesn’t matter much “back home” as long as the press reports on just one side of the situation. We could have a great relationship with Russia, mutually beneficial, but that is too much of a threat to certain forces in the country. And those forces just came back into power.

Putin’s weak point is he would like to retire, but can’t find anyone he trusts to take over. And the CIA is ready to pounce as soon as he leaves. Biden is no problem for him, but finding a successor as smart as himself, is.

And you know, do you see Joe Biden take on the entire Russian intelligence apparatus, on his own? Just saying. And asking for a friend.

 

 

 

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Feb 252021
 
 February 25, 2021  Posted by at 9:45 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  10 Responses »


Rembrandt van Rijn The flight into Egypt – a night piece 1651

 

Coronavirus Deaths Worldwide Fell By 20% Last Week – WHO (F.)
Researchers Find Emerging COVID-19 Strain in New York (NYP)
COVID Aid Bill Pays Federal Employees With Kids Out Of School Up To $21K (F.)
US Senators Weigh Paring Back Biden’s $1.9 Trillion COVID-19 Aid Plan (R.)
New US Report To Blame Saudi Crown Prince For 2018 Killing Of Khashoggi (NBC)
Swalwell Committee Colleagues Ask FBI For Briefing On China ‘Honey Pot’ (NYP)
Twitter Deletes Dozens of Accounts for “Undermining Faith in NATO” (MPN)
NZ Housing Policy Stand Blows Up The Bond Market (AFR)
Lincoln Project Got $32mn In Free Media Coverage Since Sex Scandal Broke (RT)
House Dems Call for Biden to Give Up Sole Launch Authority for Nukes (NM)
The Greatest Threat to the Planet You’ve Never Heard Of (NC)
California Bill Requires ‘Gender Neutral’ Stores (DW)

 

 

 

 

Anyone seen an explanation?

Coronavirus Deaths Worldwide Fell By 20% Last Week – WHO (F.)

The number of coronavirus-related deaths decreased by 20% worldwide last week compared to the week before, according to an analysis by the World Health Organization, which coincides with a drop in cases and deaths in the United States as well, as it appears the course of both the global and domestic outbreaks of the virus may finally be slowing. Slightly fewer than 66,000 fatalities worldwide were reported last week—the third consecutive week the fatality rate has decreased. The WHO also announced the total number of new cases fell to 2.4 million for the week of Feb. 15 through Feb. 21, representing an 11% dip from the prior week, which marks the sixth consecutive week the global case count has declined.


The U.S. has averaged 68,038 new cases per day over the past seven days, a decrease of nearly 40% compared to the average earlier this month. On Tuesday, according to the Covid Tracking Project, the number of hospitalized Covid-19 patients in the U.S. dropped below 56,000 for the first time since early November. While there is no disputing the fact that the numbers are trending in the right direction, the emergence of new variants has many health professionals concerned. Three particular variants, B.1.1.7 (first found in the U.K.), B.1.351 (South Africa) and P.1 (Brazil) are the most prevalent at this point.

Read more …

There will be thousands. Get fit. One of the many drawbacks of the vaccines is that the virus will beat them. Too many people are infected worldwide to prevent this.

Researchers Find Emerging COVID-19 Strain in New York (NYP)

A new coronavirus strain that shares some characteristics with the South Africa variant is emerging in New York City, researchers said Wednesday. As of mid-February, the new variant, called B.1.526, was present in about 12 percent of coronavirus samples collected in the Big Apple and surrounding areas, according to researchers at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. In their analysis of publicly available databases, the Columbia researchers did not find a high prevalence of the South Africa or Brazil COVID-19 variants in the region.


“Instead we found high numbers of this home-grown lineage,” Dr. Anne-Catrin Uhlemann, assistant professor in the division of infectious diseases at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, said in a statement. The Columbia study found the new strain shares some similarities to the South Africa strain, which scientists believe can spread more easily than other virus variants. B.1.526 was also described in research published this week by the California Institute of Technology.

Read more …

“Critics call it a personal bailout for bureaucrats.”

COVID Aid Bill Pays Federal Employees With Kids Out Of School Up To $21K (F.)

The U.S. House version of the “American Rescue Plan Act of 2021” – a $1.9 trillion emergency aid package to help America recover from the coronavirus pandemic has an extra perk for federal workers: Enhanced paid time off if your child is enrolled in a school that isn’t back to full-time, in-classroom instruction. Critics call it a personal bailout for bureaucrats. It is funded through a new $570 million family leave account exclusively for federal workers. While millions of parents struggle to work from home with kids who are enrolled in shuttered or partially shuttered schools, and millions more left the workforce or lost jobs to care for their at-home children, evidently parents in the federal bureaucracy need their own, personal Covid-19 bailout.

Buried on page 305 of the House bill released late last Friday night (included after the bailout details for states and localities), is a new Treasury Department fund called the “Emergency Federal Employee Leave Fund.” $570 million in the new fund is available through September 30. Federal employees caring for others due to Covid-19 are eligible for paid leave. Among those eligible are those who are “unable to work” because they are caring for school-aged children not physically in school full time “due to Covid-19 precautions[.]” The new Fund allows a federal employee “caring for a son or daughter” to qualify for the paid leave, specifically:


“if the school or place of care of the son or daughter has been closed, if the school of such son or daughter requires or makes optional a virtual learning instruction model or requires or makes optional a hybrid of in-person and virtual learning instruction models, or the child care provider of such son or daughter is unavailable, due to Covid-19 precautions;” Under the bill as currently drafted, full-time federal employees can take up to 600 hours in paid leave until September 30, up to $35 an hour and $1,400 a week. That’s 15 weeks for a 40-hour employee. Part-time and “seasonal” employees are eligible, too, with equivalent hours established by their agency.

Read more …

Find in your thesaurus under “dysfunctional”.

US Senators Weigh Paring Back Biden’s $1.9 Trillion COVID-19 Aid Plan (R.)

U.S. senators on Wednesday were eyeing potentially significant cuts to President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill as they awaited a ruling on whether the measure can include raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. The Senate parliamentarian was expected to decide soon whether Senator Bernie Sanders’ proposed minimum wage increase is allowable under a rule allowing a simple majority of the 100-member Senate to approve the sweeping relief measure, instead of the chamber’s typical 60-vote majority. The House of Representatives on Friday could pass the bill that would help tackle the heavy human and economic toll of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed more than 500,000 Americans and thrown millions out of work.

The Senate is likely to follow up in early March. The measure is Biden’s top legislative priority. Senate Democrats and Republicans were looking at scaling back some of the biggest provisions, including expanded federal unemployment benefits, $1,400 direct payments to Americans and money for state and local governments, according to lawmakers and aides. [..] A new round of stimulus checks could be scaled back to exclude more high earners, the aide said. Several senators, including Democrat Joe Manchin, have said they were looking at a minimum wage increase to $10 to $11 an hour, instead of $15 by 2025, up from the current $7.25.


“I think even though several Democrats have some concerns, that we can still find a basis for agreement,” Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Senate Democrat, told reporters. Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who must juggle demands of progressive and moderate Democrats amid Republican opposition, described a U.S. economy in need of help beyond the nearly $4 trillion provided last year.

Read more …

“During the 2020 election campaign, Biden promised to make the Saudis “pay the price and make them, in fact, the pariah that they are.”

New US Report To Blame Saudi Crown Prince For 2018 Killing Of Khashoggi (NBC)

The Biden administration will release an intelligence report Thursday that concludes that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved the 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, three U.S. officials familiar with the matter said. The intelligence assessment, based largely on work by the CIA, is not new — NBC News was among the organizations that confirmed it in 2018. But its public release will mark a significant new chapter in the U.S.-Saudi relationship and a clear break by President Joe Biden with former President Donald Trump’s policy of equivocating about the Saudi state’s role in a brutal murder that was widely condemned by members of Congress, journalists and a U.N. investigator.

Reuters first reported on the declassified intelligence summary scheduled for release Thursday. White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Wednesday that Biden would communicate with the Saudi king, rather than his son the crown prince. She said the declassified report was being prepared for release soon. It remains to be seen how releasing the report will affect U.S.-Saudi relations. Biden officials have been engaging with the Saudis since they took office, according to the State Department.


[..] During the 2020 election campaign, Biden promised to make the Saudis “pay the price and make them, in fact, the pariah that they are.” Biden has ended American support for Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen, but he has not moved to cut off military aid to an important Middle East ally and counterterrorism partner. “The president’s intention, as is the intention of this government, is to recalibrate our engagement with Saudi Arabia,” Psaki said Wednesday.

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Get him under oath.

Swalwell Committee Colleagues Ask FBI For Briefing On China ‘Honey Pot’ (NYP)

Rep. Eric Swalwell’s Republican colleagues on the House Homeland Security Committee are asking the FBI to brief them on the California Democrat’s relationship with Chinese spy Fang Fang. The GOP legislators say that it’s important to understand Swalwell’s relationship with Fang, who seduced US politicians as part of her work, to protect themselves and national secrets. The 14 Homeland Security Committee Republicans, led by Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC), wrote to FBI Director Christopher Wray that “Members of Congress must understand the threats we now face and the extent of damage already done.”

“As our nation faces a growing security threat from the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) attempts to infiltrate and undermine the United States Government, we write to request a full briefing regarding counterintelligence threats to Members of Congress, including information related to Representative Eric Swalwell’s ties to a suspected Chinese intelligence operative,” the legislators wrote. “In light of Fang’s infiltration of Rep. Swalwell’s inner circle, we believe Members of Congress must know the full extend of the CCP’s efforts to target Members of Congress.” The Republicans wrote to Wray, “We must ensure the Committee can safeguard Top Secret information and make an informed decision regarding Rep. Swalwell’s future access to classified information”


Swalwell is a member of both the House Homeland Security and Intelligence Committees, which entitles him to top-secret information. Most if not all of his GOP colleagues were unaware of his ties to Fang before a bombshell December report. Swalwell received an FBI “defensive briefing” in 2015 on Fang, who is believed to have returned to China to avoid apprehension. His brother and father remained active Facebook friends with her until after her role was publicly reported. Swalwell has refused to say if he had a romantic relationship with Fang, who fundraised for him and allegedly seduced at least two mayors as part of her work.

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Historians are going to think Twitter was a political party.

Twitter Deletes Dozens of Accounts for “Undermining Faith in NATO” (MPN)

Social media giant Twitter announced yesterday that it has deleted 373 accounts it claims were linked to Russia, Iran, and Armenia. In a blog post entitled “Disclosing networks of state-linked information operations,” it claimed that it had taken the decision to remove 69 Russian accounts primarily because they were “undermining faith in the NATO alliance and its stability.”The move sparked controversy on Twitter itself, with many users joking that their own fealty to NATO was insufficiently zealous. Twitter justified the decision by pointing to its rules regarding the prohibition of state-controlled disinformation networks. Yet it failed to fully explain exactly how it knew these users were in the pay of the Kremlin or under the control of the Grand Ayatollah Khamenei.


Indeed, the supposedly “independent investigation and analysis” team at the Stanford Internet Observatory, to which Twitter contracted out its work, itself has troubling connections to the (U.S.) state. For example, its non-resident fellow Matt Masterton was, until recently, a senior official at the Department of Homeland Security. Indeed, the whole observatory is located within the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, headed by former American Ambassador to Russia (and noted Kremlin hawk) Michael McFaul. Supposed “experts” accuse users of being Russia-linked disinformation agents with great regularity. Ben Nimmo, data journalist and former NATO press officer, falsely asserted that a noted Ukrainian concert pianist and a Welsh pensioner were Kremlin bots. Nimmo was recently announced as Facebook’s chief of intelligence.

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Bubble.

NZ Housing Policy Stand Blows Up The Bond Market (AFR)

The New Zealand bond market imploded on Thursday as traders raced to price in a better-than-even chance of a rate hike coming as soon as this year, to ensure the central bank meets a shock Ardern government mandate to keep housing affordable. The yield on the 10-year New Zealand government bond soared 18.5 basis points to 1.852 per cent. Australian 10-year government bonds rose in sympathy, trading 11 basis points higher at 1.718 per cent. The New Zealand currency edged down 0.1 per cent to US74.26¢ late in the session, but it’s trading around the highest level since August 2017. The bond market sell-off came after New Zealand’s finance minister, Grant Robertson, declared that the central bank’s remit will now change so that it has to consider housing when making monetary and financial policy decisions.

Specifically, the the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) will have to take into account “government policy relating to more sustainable house prices, while working towards its objectives,” the finance minister said. In effect, that will mean that the RBNZ has to weed out investor property demand, which low rates and easy credit have fuelled. It will need to regularly explain to the government “how it has sought to assess the impacts on housing outcomes”. The finance minister also asked the RBNZ to provide advice on debt-to-income ratios and interest-only mortgages. “The minister’s direction is in tune with our recent advice to the government in which we detailed the many influences on house prices, including the actions of the Reserve Bank,” said RBNZ governor Adrian Orr. Just a day ago, he said the RBNZ had the capacity to deploy negative rates if needed.


The RBNZ is forecasting that house prices will soar to 22 per cent annual growth by mid-year, as New Zealanders turn to the investment they are most familiar with and that has delivered big returns in the past – housing. The central bank slapped new restrictions on the housing market earlier this month, after warning that speculation is helping to fuel huge post-pandemic price gains. The December REINZ house price index rose an eye-watering 17.3 per cent year on year, with prices up 18.1 per cent in Auckland and 16.6 per cent outside Auckland. ANZ New Zealand fixed income strategist David Croy said markets interpreted the government’s move to change the RBNZ’s mandate to include housing as further confirmation that the economy is flying. The market “is simply seeing the government’s move as validation of the good news,” he said.

Read more …

Sinkhole.

Lincoln Project Got $32mn In Free Media Coverage Since Sex Scandal Broke (RT)

Since the Lincoln Project’s co-founder John Weaver was accused of sexually harassing multiple young men, the controversial anti-Trump group has received tens of millions in free media coverage, according to a new analysis. Weaver’s alleged misconduct broke in a story on January 11 in a report from the American Conservative, but Lincoln Project members have still been aplenty on both CNN and MSNBC – two networks that have heavily promoted the organization, run by anti-Trump Republicans, since its inception. According to the new analysis from the conservative Washington Free Beacon, media coverage between January 11 and February 11 for the group is worth a whopping $32 million, based on advertising value estimated by media monitoring service Critical Mention. In that time, there were 40 appearances by founders and advisers – 10 on CNN and 30 on MSNBC.


Earlier this month, Weaver resigned from the group he co-founded after being accused of making unwanted sexual advances on numerous young men, often offering professional advances in exchange for sexual favors. He apologized for sending “inappropriate” messages, but reports since have indicated his behavior was known about by others, including co-founder Steve Schmidt, who has denied such knowledge. Only hours after Weaver’s departure, Schmidt appeared on ‘Real Time with Bill Maher’, where he faced no questions about his fellow co-founder but was grilled about the group’s tens of millions in funding and where it goes. That subject has become yet another controversy for the group, as it has been revealed much of the money was funneled into separate organizations involved with the founders.

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Pass it to Nancy and Kamala.

House Dems Call for Biden to Give Up Sole Launch Authority for Nukes (NM)

A group of about three dozen Democrats in the House have signed a letter calling for President Joe Biden to give up his sole authority to authorize the launch of nuclear weapons, which was obtained by Politico. “Vesting one person with this authority entails real risks,” reads the letter, which was spearheaded by Rep. Jimmy Panetta, D-Calif., according to Politico. “Past presidents have threatened to attack other countries with nuclear weapons or exhibited behavior that caused other officials to express concern about the president’s judgment.” The letter continues, “While any president would presumably consult with advisors before ordering a nuclear attack, there is no requirement to do so. The military is obligated to carry out the order if they assess it is legal under the laws of war. Under the current posture of U.S. nuclear forces, that attack would happen in minutes.”


The congressman said in a tweet on Wednesday: “ICYMI: I’m calling on @POTUS to install checks & balances in our nuclear command-and-control structure. Past presidents have threatened nuclear attacks on other countries or exhibited concerning behavior that cast doubt on their judgment.” The Democrats suggest several alternatives to the president’s sole authority, including requiring other officials in the presidential line of succession, specifically the vice president and the House Speaker, neither of whom can be removed by the president if they disagree — to concur with a launch order.”

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Which idiots signed that treaty?

The Greatest Threat to the Planet You’ve Never Heard Of (NC)

On 4 February the German energy giant RWE announced it wassuing the government of the Netherlands. The crime? Proposing to phase out coal from the country’s electricity mix. The company, which is Europe’s biggest emitter of carbon, is demanding €1.4bn in ‘compensation’ from the country for loss of potential earnings, because the Dutch government has banned the burning of coal for electricity from 2030. If this sounds unreasonable, then you might be surprised to learn that this kind of legal action is perfectly normal – and likely to become far more commonplace in the coming years. RWE is suing under the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT), a little-known international agreement signed without much public debate in 1994.

The treaty binds more than 50 countries, and allows foreign investors in the energy sector to sue governments for decisions that might negatively impact their profits – including climate policies. Governments can be forced to pay huge sums in compensation if they lose an ECT case. On Tuesday, Investigate Europe revealed that the EU, the UK and Switzerland could be forced to pay more than €345bn in ECT lawsuits over climate action in the coming years. This amount, which is more than twice the EU’s annual budget, represents the total value of the fossil fuel infrastructure that is protected by the ECT, and was calculated using data gathered by Global Energy Monitor and Change of Oil International.


With ECT-covered assets worth €141bn (or more than €2,000 per citizen), the UK – which in 2019 became the first major economy to pass a net zero emissions law – is the country most vulnerable to future claims. In 2019 the European Commission called the ECT “outdated” and “no longer sustainable”, and more than 450 climate leaders and scientists and 300 lawmakers from across Europe have called on governments to withdraw from the treaty. But in response, powerful interests have mobilised to not just defend the treaty, but to expand it to new signatory states. These interests include the fossil fuels lobby keen to keep its outsized legal privileges; lawyers who make millions arguing ECT cases; and the Brussels-based ECT Secretariat, which has close ties to both industries and whose survival depends on the treaty’s continuation.

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That graph is downright scary.

California Bill Requires ‘Gender Neutral’ Stores (DW)

California’s Assembly is slated to consider a new bill requiring department store childrens’ sections to be largely “gender-neutral” in order to combat “prejudice” and “judgment” against gender non-conforming children. “Large retailers that sell toys, clothes, and other children’s items in California would have to devote floor space to merchandise marketed to both boys and girls under a new bill,” Politico reported earlier this week. “Stores would be able to sell the same products they do now as long as they maintain some areas where shoppers can find all toys or clothes, regardless of gender-based marketing, under CA AB2826 (19R) from Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell). It would apply to department stores with 500 or more employees beginning in 2023.”


Lowe told Politico that the idea for the bill, which he also introduced last year to little effect, came from one of his staffers, who claims her daughter wanted an item in the “boys” section but felt slighted because she felt the toy was designated for a male child. “This is an issue of children being able to express themselves without bias,” Lowe told the outlet. “Keeping similar items that are traditionally marketed either for girls or for boys separated makes it more difficult for the consumer to compare the products and incorrectly implies that their use by one gender is inappropriate,” the text of the bill notes.

Read more …

 

 

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Feb 222021
 
 February 22, 2021  Posted by at 10:22 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  23 Responses »


Thomas Abercrombie Beirut 1957

 

Biden’s $1.9-Trillion Big Spend Is A Big Bet On MMT (LAT)
Cuomo Nursing Home Scandal May Rise To Federal Level Of Criminal Offense (Fox)
Scalise Requests Data On NY Nursing Home COVID Deaths (SAC)
More New York Politicians Accuse Cuomo Of Threatening Behavior (F.)
Why Do Democrats Pretend Andrew Cuomo Did a Good Job With COVID? (Slate)
Psaki Declines To Say Whether Biden Still Views Cuomo As ‘Gold Standard’ (JTN)
The Battery of American Power Is Running Flat (SCF)
Boeing 777s Grounded Around World After Denver Engine Failure (R.)
Garland Expected To Become Biden’s AG (Hill)
Vitamin D: Doctors Will Further Erode Trust In Experts (Cook)
Canada To Follow Australia, Take On Facebook, Seek Payment For Content (NYP)
Disney Labels ‘The Muppet Show’ As ‘Offensive Content’ (RT)

 

 

It’s Andrew Cuomo day! Why is he still in office? Well, the Dems want the GOP to go after him, so they don’t have to. Biden won’t have anything to do with this hot potato, until and unless he can squeeze political capital out of it. Among lower level Dems, there are too many that Cuomo has collected dirt on – or that are afraid he did.

This may take a while therefore, everyone’s playing a waiting game. And the press drip-drip new stories about Cuomo every day, without condemning him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

He’ll be the first to deny it.

Biden’s $1.9-Trillion Big Spend Is A Big Bet On MMT (LAT)

As Stephanie Kelton, former chief economist on the Senate Budget Committee, argues in her bestseller “The Deficit Myth,” the country’s real deficits are in healthcare, jobs, infrastructure, education and the climate. But rather than address those things by spending, writes Kelton, the government proceeds in terror of not “balancing the budget,” falsely believing that an unbalanced budget is the source of inflation. “We run around like a six-foot-tall guy who wanders around perpetually hunched over in a house with eight-foot ceilings because someone convinced him that if he tries to stand up tall he’ll suffer a massive head trauma,” she writes. Jason Furman, who served as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors under President Obama, concurs. “Given low interest rates, the United States actually has even more fiscal room to respond to the crisis today than it did in the financial crisis,” he told me. “We should use that room.”

If the Biden stimulus goes through, and inflation doesn’t skyrocket, the experiment may bear out a new monetary theory. It could be time at last for the nation to stand tall, and unfurl its economy to its full height. Of course, an experiment on such a big scale is unnerving, and Biden is facing substantial criticism for the $1.9-trillion plan. Olivier Blanchard, former chief economist at the IMF, tweeted earlier this month that such a stimulus would not just overheat the economy; it would incinerate it. Former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers issued a less hyperbolic warning but he brought up the fear: The policy would need to come with an aggressive fiscal policy to keep “inflationary pressures” at bay.

Kelton doesn’t completely disagree. On Twitter, she pointed out that the modern monetary theory she advocates requires Congress to stop talking about budgets and start talking entirely about mitigating inflation, if it comes, by other monetary policy means. You’re going to hear a lot more kvetching about government spending and, geez, $1.9 trillion. But remember, no one pushing Biden’s plan is trying to pave the way for a big, fat inflationary decade, filled with 1970s malaise, austerity measures and agony at the pump. They’re just willing to bet that a nearly $2-trillion stimulus, if the economy is monitored closely enough, will improve infrastructure, education, climate and healthcare, while making employers eager to find workers, which will push up wages and benefits. Which all sounds great. Especially when the checks show up.

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“New York’s willful failure to provide information may itself constitute a criminal offense—particularly if the intent was to thwart a federal investigation—..”

Cuomo Nursing Home Scandal May Rise To Federal Level Of Criminal Offense (Fox)

Legal experts are warning that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s alleged undercounting of nursing-home deaths amid the COVID-19 pandemic may rise to the level of a criminal offense. Cuomo has found himself at the center of a federal investigation into whether his administration sought to hide the true toll of the pandemic. The New York Post reported earlier this month that Melissa DeRosa, Cuomo’s top aide, told lawmakers the administration had withheld the numbers for fear of them being “used against us.” In an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, John B. Daukas, who served as acting U.S. attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, wrote that DeRosa’s reported admissions weren’t “merely negligent, but intentional and perhaps criminal.”


Daukas said numerous federal statutes could apply, noting that Cuomo’s administration is accusing of both making false statements to the federal government and trying to thwart an investigation. “Even if it cannot be proved that the Cuomo administration knowingly provided false information to Justice and the (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services), New York’s willful failure to provide information may itself constitute a criminal offense—particularly if the intent was to thwart a federal investigation—which, after all, is exactly what Ms. DeRosa reportedly said the administration did,” Daukas wrote. And on Saturday, Fox News legal analyst Gregg Jarrett said DeRosa’s admission to lawmakers – if true – constitutes a potential obstruction of justice charge. Per the federal statute, Jarrett noted, if a government official falsifies or hides evidence to avoid triggering an investigation (or acts out of fear that such a probe may occur) that official is still culpable under the law of obstruction.”

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There’s a shredder working overtime somewhere…

Scalise Requests Data On NY Nursing Home COVID Deaths (SAC)

As New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) faces increasing criticism over reports that his administration underreported coronavirus-related deaths in nursing homes and a preliminary federal investigation underway, House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (La.) renewed his call Friday for Cuomo to provide all data on such deaths, describing his administration’s alleged conduct as an “apparent obstruction of justice”. Scalise, the ranking member of Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, reiterated his call in a press release emailed Friday afternoon by the House Oversight Republicans. The press release cites the February 11 New York Post exposé reporting that Melissa DeRosa, a top Cuomo aide, had privately admitted to Democratic lawmakers that the administration withheld nursing home death data out of fear that it would be “used against us” by federal prosecutors.

On top of that, the release mentioned the report that Cuomo had allegedly threatened a Democratic assemblyman if he didn’t help cover up the nursing home deaths. “This apparent obstruction of justice necessitates an immediate and thorough investigation by Congress especially in light of the recent revelation that you and your Administration engaged in a cover-up aimed at concealing your culpability in New York State’s COVID-19 nursing home crisis,” Scalise wrote. “Recent reporting suggests that your attempts to cover-up the truth and conceal your culpability extend beyond obstruction to threats of retaliation toward anyone who might cross you. This behavior appears to be your modus operandi when anyone attempts to question your ‘leadership.’”

The press release goes on to mention that the subcommittee’s Republicans have repeatedly called for Cuomo to provide information regarding his since-rescinded directive ordering nursing homes and long-term care facilities to admit untested and contagious COVID-19 patients from hospitals. According to the press release, they first asked the governor in June 2020, and subsequent times in July 2020 and last month. [..] In a letter from Scalise to Cuomo attached to the press release, the Louisiana Republican touched on the aforementioned points but also requested transcribed interviews from DeRosa and New York Commissioner of Health Dr. Howard Zucker.

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Some are just too pissed off.

More New York Politicians Accuse Cuomo Of Threatening Behavior (F.)

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo faces a growing number of allegations he and his subordinates routinely threaten critics, with two New York politicians – a former Democratic congressional candidate and a Republican ex-rival of Cuomo’s – recounting to Forbes their hostile experiences with the governor’s staff. Nate McMurray, a two-time House candidate in Western New York, told Forbes that after criticizing Cuomo for plans to attend a Buffalo Bills game, he received a call from a Cuomo aide on New Years Eve that began “you motherf***er,” before devolving into threats like “you’re done in politics.” McMurray said he took down his tweet after the call because he was “scared” and looking for a job after his run, adding that he’s heard from people in both Cuomo’s staff and the New York legislature about a “pervasive culture of fear that has trickled down from his office.”

“We’ve all been yelled at by someone in that administration,” Marc Molinaro, a Republican county executive in upstate New York who ran against Cuomo in 2018, told Forbes, adding, “It’s unacceptable but how they operate.” Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou, tweeted that she was “flooded” with stories from people who said they were “bullied, mistreated, or intimidated” by Cuomo, a statement echoed by former Cuomo aide Lindsey Boylan, who has previously accused him of harassment. Alessandra Biaggi, a Democratic state senator, told the New Yorker Cuomo once asked her to “tell me again how your grandfather’s career ended,” which she perceived as a threat given that her grandfather, Mario Biaggi, resigned over a corruption scandal – though a Cuomo spokesperson told the New Yorker it was about the “importance of integrity in government.”

Fox News meteorologist Janice Dean tweeted that she was told by someone close to the Cuomo family to “‘Watch my back,’” when she began speaking out against him prolifically over the coronavirus-related deaths of her parents, who were both nursing home residents.

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“..a serially underachieving chief executive playing three-card monte with dead bodies. At this point, Andrew Cuomo could probably shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and get away with it.”

Why Do Democrats Pretend Andrew Cuomo Did a Good Job With COVID? (Slate)

Most concerningly, Cuomo’s administration admitted this month that it had been excluding nursing home residents who died of COVID but didn’t technically die on the grounds of their facilities from its official count of COVID-related nursing home deaths. Since many such residents died only after being hospitalized, this had the effect of making the state’s nursing home outbreak look thousands of deaths smaller than it actually was. Cuomo’s office appears to have compiled the more comprehensive, accurate data months ago but didn’t release it until the state’s attorney general—who is elected independently of the governor—issued a Jan. 28 report alleging that nursing home deaths had been undercounted.

(It does not look like the discrepancy could have resulted from innocent semantic misunderstandings: A representative of the data team that manages the AARP Public Policy Institute’s Nursing Home COVID-19 dashboard noted to Slate that “CDC guidance for the data we use in our dashboard specifically states that resident deaths are supposed to be counted regardless of the place of death,” while the managing editor of the COVID Tracking Project said its staff is “not currently aware of any other US state or territory that reports deaths associated with nursing homes and other long-term-care facilities in the way that New York did for most of the pandemic.”)

[..] His press conference performances notwithstanding, the facts and evidence show that Cuomo is not someone who cares much about facts and evidence. But his liberal supporters don’t care: A Siena College poll taken after the nursing home scandal broke found that 83 percent of New York Democrats still approve of Cuomo’s handling of COVID, with more than 80 percent also saying specifically that they approve of his work “communicating with the people of New York” and “providing accurate information.”

To hammer home the cognitive dissonance, only 54 percent said he’d done a good job “making public all data about COVID-related deaths of nursing home patients,” which suggests both that 54 percent of New York Democrats are full of it and that a significant portion of the rest of them know Cuomo is full of it but don’t care. To many voters, celebrating the idea of the competent blue-state governor is more important than reckoning with the reality of a serially underachieving chief executive playing three-card monte with dead bodies. At this point, Andrew Cuomo could probably shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and get away with it.

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Hot potato.

Psaki Declines To Say Whether Biden Still Views Cuomo As ‘Gold Standard’ (JTN)

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki during an interview on ABC’s This Week would not provide a direct answer about whether President Biden still considers New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo the “gold standard” on dealing with the coronavirus crisis. Journalist Jonathan Karl posed the question after playing a clip of Biden last year stating that Cuomo has performed “one hell of a job” and describing the governor as “sorta the gold standard.” Cuomo, who has come under fire for his handling of nursing home deaths during the pandemic, has faced heightened scrutiny since his top aide Melissa DeRosa revealed the administration held back on answering questions from lawmakers due to concerns about a potential Justice Department investigation.


“Well John, we work with Governor Cuomo just like we work with governors across the country,” Psaki said, noting that Cuomo chairs the National Governors Association and has “an important role in ensuring that we’re coordinating closely in getting assistance out to people of his state and to states across the country.” She said that any matter of investigations would be in the hands of “the appropriate law enforcement authorities to determine how that path is going to move as we look forward. ”But we are going to continue to work with a range of governors, including of course Governor Cuomo because we think the people of New York, the people of states across the country need assistance, not just to get through the pandemic, but to get through this difficult economic time.”

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NATO and Pentagon are Siamese twins.

The Battery of American Power Is Running Flat (SCF)

Historically, the United States relies on NATO as a conduit to project its power and influence over Europe. This was its fundamental objective when NATO was first set up in 1949 at the start of the Cold War against the Soviet Union. In recent decades, NATO has assumed an ever-expanding purpose for American imperial power projection, encompassing not just Western Europe but all of Europe right up to Russia’s borders. NATO has become a vehicle for American hegemonic ambitions holding sway over the Balkans, Caucasia, North Africa and the Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific. For an organization that nominally originated for maintaining security in the North Atlantic, it sounds rather odd indeed to hear its spokesmen talk now about the need for NATO to confront China.

That oddly expanded global mission reflects the real but unspoken fact that NATO is all about serving American global ambitions. Former President Trump was too ignorant or obsessed with money-grubbing financial costs – “we’re being ripped off” he would repeatedly complain with regard to NATO – to realize the strategic bigger picture of what the alliance is really purposed to serve. Under a new man in the White House – an old-time establishment operative – there is seemingly a more consensual approach with allies. Nevertheless, underlying the liberal lexicon there is the same old mantra of hostility towards Russia and China. Lloyd Austin, the Pentagon chief, told European allies this week that there would have to be “more burden sharing” in order to confront the “threats” allegedly posed by Russia and China.

Biden continued the same theme of confronting Russia and China during his G7 and Munich conferences over the weekend. American hegemonic ambitions required to satisfy its corporate capitalism are dependent on a zero-sum geopolitics. The globe must divided into spheres of influence as in the earlier Cold War decades. There must be antagonism to thwart genuine cooperation which is anathema to American capitalism. Indeed, it can be said that the Cold War never actually ended when the Soviet Union dissolved more three decades ago. America’s imperialist ideology continued under new guises of “fighting terrorism”, “democracy promotion and nation building”, or more recently “great power competition” with Russia and China.

The bottom line is that NATO is more important than ever for enabling Washington’s global power ambitions given the demise of American capitalism and the rise of China and Eurasia. NATO provides a crucial political cover for what would otherwise be seen as naked American imperialism.

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Ha ha ha: “Boeing has recommended grounding..”

Yeah, Boeing’s a very responible corporate citizen…

Boeing 777s Grounded Around World After Denver Engine Failure (R.)

Boeing has recommended grounding more than 120 of its 777 jets worldwide following a catastrophic engine failure on a United Airlines plane in Denver. The company said on Sunday night that airlines using the same type of engine that scattered debris across Denver before making an emergency landing should suspend operations until inspections could be carried out. Flight 328 was flying from Denver International Airport to Honolulu with 231 passengers and 10 crew on board on Saturday when one engine failed shortly after take-off. Police in Broomfield, Colorado posted photos of pieces of debris from the plane near houses and other buildings. There were no reports of any injuries on the ground or among the passengers.

United Airlines said it was temporarily grounding all 24 of its Boeing 777s on active duty, and Japan’s aviation regulator swiftly followed suit, ordering Japan Airlines (JAL) and All Nippon Airways (ANA) to cease flying 777s that use the Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines while it considered whether to take additional measures. Japan said ANA operated 19 of that kind and JAL operated 13. The planes are also used by carriers in South Korea. A spokeswoman for South Korea’s transport ministry, speaking before Boeing’s statement, said it was monitoring the situation but had not yet taken any action. Korean Air Lines said it had 12 of the planes, half of them stored, and it would consult with the manufacturer and regulators and stop flying them to Japan for now.

Boeing said in total 69 of the planes were in service and 59 were in storage, at a time when airlines have grounded planes due to a plunge in demand associated with the coronavirus pandemic. The move comes after the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an emergency directive late on Sunday that required immediate or stepped-up inspections of planes similar to the one involved in the Denver incident. “We reviewed all available safety data following yesterday’s incident,” the FAA said in a statement from its administrator, Steve Dickson . “Based on the initial information, we concluded that the inspection interval should be stepped up for the hollow fan blades that are unique to this model of engine, used solely on Boeing 777 airplanes. “This will likely mean that some airplanes will be removed from service”.

Read more …

What will happen to Durham and the Hunter files?

Garland Expected To Become Biden’s AG (Hill)

Nearly five years after Senate Republicans refused to grant Merrick Garland a hearing to be confirmed as a justice on the Supreme Court, the appeals court judge is getting his chance to go before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday, this time as President Biden’s choice to be attorney general. In 2016, former President Obama nominated Garland to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia, but then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) did not allow a hearing on the nomination, citing the presidential election eight months later. Neil Gorsuch was confirmed to the seat on the high court the following year, just more than two months after he was nominated by former President Trump.

Garland is one of the last major Cabinet appointments by Biden, and he is likely to secure confirmation with bipartisan support despite the former Republican blockade on his last nomination. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) has said Garland’s experience “makes him well-suited to lead the Department of Justice, and I appreciated his commitment to keep politics out of the Justice Department.” “Unless I hear something new, I expect to support his nomination before the full Senate,” Cornyn added, according to The Associated Press. In opening remarks released Sunday, Garland pledged to address the threat of domestic extremism as the nation’s top law enforcement officer, specifically invoking the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

“From 1995 to 1997, I supervised the prosecution of the perpetrators of the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building, who sought to spark a revolution that would topple the federal government,” Garland’s remarks read. “If confirmed, I will supervise the prosecution of white supremacists and others who stormed the Capitol on January 6 — a heinous attack that sought to disrupt a cornerstone of our democracy: the peaceful transfer of power to a newly elected government.” Biden has pledged that the Justice Department during his tenure will be free of political influence or interference.

The Justice Department has asked for the resignations of all Trump-appointed U.S. attorneys, a somewhat typical move for incoming administrations. But Biden left in place the U.S. attorney in Delaware in charge of investigating the tax affairs of his son Hunter Biden. He is also allowing U.S. Attorney John Durham to continue in his role as a special prosecutor probing the origins of the FBI investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, a position appointed by former Attorney General William Barr. [..] Garland currently serves as chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

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Jonnathan Cook picks the wrong angle. Vitamin D given to severely ill people is not the story.

Vitamin D: Doctors Will Further Erode Trust In Experts (Cook)

The role of Vitamin D on our general wellbeing and health has come under increasing scrutiny over the past two decades after it was discovered that it is the only vitamin for which there is a receptor in every cell in our body. Long before Covid, researchers had begun to understand that Vitamin D’s role in regulating our immune systems was chronically under-appreciated by most doctors. The medical profession was stuck in a paradigm from the 1950s in which Vitamin D’s use related chiefly to bone health. As a consequence, today’s recommended daily allowances – usually between 400IU and 800IU – were established long ago in accordance with the minimum needed for healthy bones rather than the maximum needed for a healthy immune system.

Today we know that many people in northern latitudes, especially the elderly, are deficient or severely deficient in Vitamin D, even those taking these low-level supplements. In fact, it would be true to say there is a global plague of Vitamin D deficiency, even in many sunny countries where people have lost the habit of spending time outdoors or shield themselves from the sun. The doctors and researchers who have been gradually piecing together the critically important role of Vitamin D are the medical equivalent of the dissident journalists who try to present a realistic picture of what goes on in Israel-Palestine.

Because Big Pharma can make no serious money from Vitamin D, researchers into the sun hormone have struggled to raise funds for their work and have mostly been denied corporate platforms from which to publicise the stunning findings they have made. Until recently, corporate medicine simply ignored most Vitamin D research, relegating it to the supposedly fringe science of “nutrition”, which is why most doctors know little or nothing about it. With the outbreak of Covid, when these Vitamin D studies should finally have come into their own, researchers found themselves shunted further into the margins. Just as journalists, politicians and human rights groups trying to tell you real things about Israel get labelled antisemites, anyone trying to tell you real things about Vitamin D gets labelled a crank, conspiracy theorist or Covid denier.

The desperate need for Covid treatments has not led to intensified interest in Vitamin D among most doctors, even though it is very cheap, almost completely safe even in large doses, and has been shown to help in damping down immune over-reaction of exactly the kind killing Covid patients. Rather, the opportunity for Big Pharma to develop a magic bullet to treat Covid has led to an intensified campaign to discredit Vitamin D research.

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When you threaten sovereign nations, others will notice.

Canada To Follow Australia, Take On Facebook, Seek Payment For Content (NYP)

Canada is poised to take on Facebook, following the example set by Australia, which began a war with the tech giant when the country’s publishers backed proposed legislation demanding payment for their content. Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault condemned Facebook’s actions as “highly irresponsible” last week when the social media giant removed all Australian news content from its sites in retaliation. Guilbeault warned that Canada would be next in making sure Facebook paid for news content from Canadian publishers. Guilbeault is charged with drafting legislation in the next few months that would require Facebook and Alphabet Inc’s Google to pay up. “Canada is at the forefront of this battle … we are really among the first group of countries around the world that are doing this,” Guilbeault told reporters.


Guilbeault said he recently met with government ministers from Australia, Finland, France and Germany to hammer out a common front with respect to Google and Facebook, the Globe and Mail reported.“It was the first ministerial meeting where we jointly started talking about what we want to do together regarding web giants, including fair compensation for media. We believe that there’s real strength in unity on that,” he said, adding that the growing coalition of countries opposed to Facebook and Google could soon reach 15. “I’m a bit curious to see what Facebook’s response will be. Is Facebook going to cut ties with Germany, with France, with Canada, with Australia and other countries that will join? At a certain point, Facebook’s position will be completely untenable.”

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But not for animal cruelty?!

Disney Labels ‘The Muppet Show’ As ‘Offensive Content’ (RT)

Five seasons of ‘The Muppet Show’ appeared on the Disney+ streaming service on Friday night but many viewers were shocked to discover that one of their childhood favorites is now considered “offensive content.” According to a warning from Disney, the show features “stereotypes” and “mistreatment of people or cultures.” “This program includes negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures. These stereotypes were wrong then and are wrong now,” the roughly 300 billion-dollar corporate giant declared. “Rather than remove this content, we want to acknowledge its harmful impact, learn from it and spark conversation to create a more inclusive future together.”


No references are made to what specifically Disney considers to be offensive about the show’s content, though it does depict minorities including Asians and people from the Middle East, as well as featuring a homeless character named “Oscar the grouch” who lives in a trash can. In season five, singer Johnny Cash also performs in front of a confederate flag. “Even the Muppets are now ‘offensive.’ Anyone watching ‘The Muppet Show’ on Disney+ will first see a warning against ‘offensive content.’ It’s time to pack up, seriously,”wrote one baffled Twitter user.

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