Jun 042021
 


Pieter Bruegel the Elder Dulle Griet, also known as Mad Meg 1563

 

Inside the Fight to Uncover COVID-19’s Origins (Vanity Fair)
How Amateur Sleuths Broke the Wuhan Lab Story and Embarrassed the Media (NW)
Fauci Kept Funding Daszak’s Experiments after Trump Canceled Grant (NF)
Fauci Defends China, Doubles Down On Animal Origins Of Covid (DM)
Ex-CDC Director Threatened For Saying Covid-19 Likely Originated In A Lab (DM)
Where’s The Tar and Feathers? (Denninger)
Covid-19 Cases Hit Lowest Point In US Since Pandemic Began (Axios)
EU Purchases Its First Monoclonal Antibodies Cocktail For Covid-19 (RT)
The Netherlands Used Children As A Weapon In The Fight Against Corona (AD)
Delhi Reports Over 1,000 Cases Of ‘Black Fungus’ Amid Shortage Of Drugs (RT)
Nord Stream 2 To Cost Kiev $3 Billion In Transit Fees A Year – Zelensky (RT)
Russia’s $186 Billion Sovereign Wealth Fund Dumps All Dollar Assets (ZH)

 

 

When both Vanity Fair and Newsweek come out with in-depth articles about the very same topic (in this case how the DRASTIC group reported the lab leak theory), at the very same moment, that makes me nervous.

What also makes me nervous is the one-dimensional attention for Fauci. Much as I dislike the man, it starts to feel as if others are hiding behind him.

 

 

“Ivermectin is an off-patent drug that is one of the most widely used drugs in the world, and we know it is able to reduce Covid-19 symptoms at any stage of the disease by about 90%, so there is no need for vaccines.”

– Michael Yeadon, former CSO of Pfizer

 

 

 

Kory

 

 

“The idea of a lab leak first came to NSC officials not from hawkish Trumpists but from Chinese social media users..”

Inside the Fight to Uncover COVID-19’s Origins (Vanity Fair)

The idea of a lab leak first came to NSC officials not from hawkish Trumpists but from Chinese social media users, who began sharing their suspicions as early as January 2020. Then, in February, a research paper coauthored by two Chinese scientists, based at separate Wuhan universities, appeared online as a preprint. It tackled a fundamental question: How did a novel bat coronavirus get to a major metropolis of 11 million people in central China, in the dead of winter when most bats were hibernating, and turn a market where bats weren’t sold into the epicenter of an outbreak? The paper offered an answer: “We screened the area around the seafood market and identified two laboratories conducting research on bat coronavirus.”

The first was the Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention, which sat just 280 meters from the Huanan market and had been known to collect hundreds of bat samples. The second, the researchers wrote, was the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The paper came to a staggeringly blunt conclusion about COVID-19: “the killer coronavirus probably originated from a laboratory in Wuhan…. Regulations may be taken to relocate these laboratories far away from city center and other densely populated places.” Almost as soon as the paper appeared on the internet, it disappeared, but not before U.S. government officials took note.

By then, Matthew Pottinger had approved a COVID-19 origins team, run by the NSC directorate that oversaw issues related to weapons of mass destruction. A longtime Asia expert and former journalist, Pottinger purposefully kept the team small, because there were so many people within the government “wholly discounting the possibility of a lab leak, who were predisposed that it was impossible,” said Pottinger. In addition, many leading experts had either received or approved funding for gain-of-function research. Their “conflicted” status, said Pottinger, “played a profound role in muddying the waters and contaminating the shot at having an impartial inquiry.”

Read more …

The bat lady returns.

How Amateur Sleuths Broke the Wuhan Lab Story and Embarrassed the Media (NW)

If there is a moment when the DRASTIC team coalesced into something more than its disparate parts, it would be this thread. In real time, for all the world to see, they worked through the data, tested various hypotheses, corrected each other, and scored some direct hits. The key facts quickly came together. The genetic sequence for RaTG13 perfectly matched a small piece of genetic code posted as part of a paper written by Shi Zhengli years earlier, but never mentioned again. The code came from a virus the WIV had found in a Yunnan bat. Connecting key details in the two papers with old news stories, the DRASTIC team determined that RaTG13 had come from a mineshaft in Mojiang County, in Yunnan Province, where six men shoveling bat guano in 2012 had developed pneumonia. Three of them died.

DRASTIC wondered if that event marked the first cases of human beings being infected with a precursor of SARS-CoV-2—perhaps RaTG13 or something like it. In a profile in Scientific American, Shi Zhengli acknowledged working in a mineshaft in Mojiang County where miners had died. But she avoided connecting it to RaTG13 (an omission she had made in her scientific papers as well), claiming that a fungus in the cave had killed the miners.

[..] One of those scientists was Alina Chan, a molecular biologist at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard who recognized the value of the information DRASTIC was producing and began to interpret it for scientists and nonscientists alike in crisp explainers on Twitter that made her a star science communicator. Chan acknowledged the group’s accomplishments in a long thread on Twitter. “Without the work done by the DRASTIC team, I don’t really know where we would be today with the origins of covid-19,” she wrote, adding, “The work of these outsiders…has had a measurable impact on the scientific discourse.” That scientific discourse jumped tracks on January 6, 2021, when the University of Washington virologist Jesse Bloom, one of the country’s most respected COVID-19 researchers, became the first major scientific figure to publicly legitimize DRASTIC’s contributions.

“Yes, I follow the work,” he tweeted, sending tremors through the scientific establishment. “I don’t agree [with] all of it, but some parts seem important & correct.” Bloom singled out Mona Rahalkar’s paper on the Mojiang mine, then added that in the early days of the pandemic, “I thought lab escape very unlikely. Based on subsequent work, I now say quite plausible.” Other scientists pressured Bloom to reconsider, but he held his ground, and the wall of silence began to crumble. In May, 17 scientists from Harvard, Yale, MIT, Stanford, and other leading institutions, including Chan, joined Bloom in a letter in Science calling for a thorough investigation of the Wuhan lab. On nearly the same day, The Seeker struck again. Visiting a database hosted by China’s Ministry of Science and Technology, he searched for all theses supervised by Shi Zhengli. Boom. Three hits. “I got it on my first try,” he says. “Not sure why no one else thought of this before, but I guess no one was looking.”

If there had been any remaining doubt about the WIV’s pattern of deception, these new theses put it to rest. They indicated that the WIV researchers had never believed a fungus had killed the Mojiang miners, contradicting Shi’s remarks in Scientific American and elsewhere. In fact, WIV researchers had been so concerned about a new SARS-like outbreak that they’d tested the blood of neighboring villagers for other cases. And they had known the genetic sequences for the eight other SARS-like viruses from the mine—which could have helped researchers to understand more about SARS-CoV-2 in the early days —long before the pandemic started, and had kept the information to themselves, until DRASTIC called them out.

Read more …

THIS should be investigated. Fauci as a state within a state.

Fauci Kept Funding Daszak’s Experiments after Trump Canceled Grant (NF)

Peter Daszak, who studied controversial “gain of function” experiments on coronavirus elements in Wuhan, received $7.5 million from Anthony Fauci after Trump cancelled his grant. Last April, reports emerged that the EcoHealth Alliance, an organization run by one Peter Daszak, was involved in funding and collaborating with the Wuhan Institute of Virology, where researchers were examining coronaviruses extremely similar to the one behind the COVID-19 outbreak, and allegedly engaging in “gain of function” research relating to them. In an April 17th press conference, President Trump confirmed that a grant worth around $3.7 million since 2015 given to Daszak’s group by the National Institute for Health would be ended “very quickly” following the reports.

Only one week later on April 24th, all future funding for the EHA was cut, and they were ordered to stop spending the $369,819 remaining from its 2020 grant. “At this time, NIH does not believe that the current project outcomes align with the program goals and agency priorities,” Michael Lauer, the agency’s deputy director for extramural research, wrote in a letter to EcoHealth Alliance officials. From within the treasure trove of 3,200 pages of emails obtained from Anthony Fauci, one email can be found from Daszak, who thanked Fauci for dismissing the lab leak theory as being simply conspiratorial the day after President Trump announced the funding would be cut.

[..] Only a few months later in August, Fauci, who along with being put in charge of America’s response to COVID-19, is the director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, which is part of the NIH, helped confirm that Daszak’s organization would receive a new grant of $7.5 million to study coronaviruses as part of a new network. The CREID network, which contains 11 institutions including the EHA, “coincidentally” will continue to study the emergence of coronaviruses in Southeast Asia. Fauci said that the network will help “enable early warnings of emerging diseases wherever they occur, which will be critical to rapid responses,” while Daszak boasted that they will be working in rural hospitals, according to a statement, “in remote parts of Malaysia and Thailand to get to the front line of where the next pandemic is going to start.”

Video of Anthony Fauci announcing “NIH Lifts Funding Pause on Gain-Of-Function Research” at a NIAID Advisory Council meeting on January 29, 2018.

Read more …

That train has passed.

Fauci Defends China, Doubles Down On Animal Origins Of Covid (DM)

Dr. Anthony Fauci doubled down on claims that the coronavirus likely originated from an animal then was transmitted to humans in a Thursday morning interview on CNN, despite increasing speculation that it leaked from a China lab. Fauci, who served under former President Trump and President Joe Biden, continues to fight the idea that he downplayed theories that the virus originated in the Wuhan Institute of Virology after a trove of emails exchange at the beginning of the pandemic revealed he was warned about a potential lab leak. ‘I have always said and will say today to you … that I still believe the most likely origin is from an animal species to a human,’ Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Thursday on CNN.

Although he said he’s keeping an open mind about the possibility of a lab leak, Fauci said it was ‘far-fetched’ to think the Chinese would kill their own people. ‘The idea, I think, is quite far-fetched that the Chinese deliberately engineered something so that they could kill themselves, as well as other people. I think that’s a bit far out.’ In a separate Thursday morning interview on MSNBC, Fauci said they want to definitively find the cause of the coronavirus pandemic – whatever that origin is – but pointing the finger at China isn’t going to help. ‘It’s in China’s interest to find out exactly what it is,’ Fauci said. ‘Obviously, you want openness and cooperation. One of the ways to get it is not to be accusatory. Try to get a forensic, scientific and investigational approach. I think the accusatory part about it is only going to make (China) pull back more.’

Fauci was asked during the MSNBC interview if he thought it was in China’s best interest to hide information if the origin was a lab leak or if it was designing a weapon. He sidestepped, saying no matter what he says, ‘it will be taken completely out of context,’ which he said has already happened after more than 3,200 of his emails from January to June 2020 were obtained and published by Buzzfeed on Tuesday. The emails showed leading virus experts warned him COVID-19 may have been created in a lab while he publicly played such claims down.

GoF

Read more …

“The former director of the Centers for Disease Control received death threats from fellow scientists..”

Ex-CDC Director Threatened For Saying Covid-19 Likely Originated In A Lab (DM)

The former director of the Centers for Disease Control received death threats from fellow scientists after he said during a TV interview that he believed COVID-19 originated in a lab, according to an interview released Thursday. Robert Redfield, who served as the CDC director under Donald Trump when the pandemic began, told CNN on March 26 that he thought the most likely ‘etiology of this pathogen in Wuhan was from a laboratory – you know, escaped.’ He said he wasn’t insinuating that there was ill intent, but that was his opinion. After that 10-second sound bite, he told Vanity Fair he was ‘threatened and ostracized because I proposed another hypothesis.’ At the time, the Wuhan lab leak was widely considered a ‘fringe theory’ at best, in favor of transmission from an animal to a human.

The Vanity Fair article said ‘death threats flooded his inbox’ from strangers who said he was being racist to prominent scientists, even some he considered friends. One told him to ‘wither and die,’ Vanity Fair reported. ‘I expected it from politicians. I didn’t expect it from science,’ Redfield said. Stephen Goldstein, an evolutionary virologist at the University of Utah, wrote an opinion piece on Webpagetoday on April 5 shooting down Redfield’s assertions on CNN. ‘Questions are undoubtedly going to persist about the origin of SARS-CoV-2 until, and if, a definitive answer is uncovered (and perhaps beyond),’ Goldstein wrote. ‘Until then, it’s imperative that leaders in science, public health, and government continue to call for rigorous study and stick to the science of viral evolution and viral ecology in their public commentary. ‘One of the fundamental principles of a life in science is to admit what you don’t know, and never be afraid to look it up. That’s where Redfield falls short, unfortunately on a big stage.’

[..] The magazine outlined the first moments Redfield heard about a mysterious new pneumonia affecting people in a Wuhan market from Dr. George Fu Gao, head of the Chinese CDC, on January 3, 2020. Redfield told Vanity Fair that he thought it was odd that family clusters were getting sick, and Gao later told Redfield that many cases had nothing to do with the market. That’s when it became apparent the virus was jumping from person to person, and Redfield told Vanity Fair he immediately thought of the Wuhan Institute of Virology. He wanted to send researchers to the facility to rule it out, but the Chinese didn’t allow it, Vanity Fair reported. ‘A team could rule it out as a source of the outbreak in just a few weeks, by testing researchers there for antibodies,’ according to Vanity Fair.

Read more …

“All you need is for an entire profession involved in some very dangerous research to realize that they ****ed up and believe that through their ****up one percent or more of the population in their nation is about to die..”

Where’s The Tar and Feathers? (Denninger)

The so-called “MSM” isn’t even debating these parts of the email dump — they’re playing Ostrich instead, hoping they can bury it by “touting” all the “pressure” that was seen in the trove while ignoring that the archive damns not one man but entire professions including the vaccine/pharma connection. Yes, there is even evidence that the intentional refusal to look at and use existing drugs and the “decision” on how they were going to deal with this goes back that far, before the first American died. Bluntly put these people didn’t just ignore the evidence that accumulated by the summer months they literally ignored it all the way back to the start and thus it can be reasonably argued they are personally responsible for all of the deaths. If you want to know how you generate international hysteria you don’t need some cabal pulling a puppet string.

All you need is for an entire profession involved in some very dangerous research to realize that they ****ed up and believe that through their ****up one percent or more of the population in their nation is about to die with nothing they can do about it, and if it gets pinned on them as it should since they caused it every one of them deserves to be swinging from a rope. Oh, incidentally, Fauci also knew that masks in the general population were worthless. He pointed this out directly; that the virus was too small and would go right though it. His own words folks, as I’ve repeatedly pointed out but cannot say as “it’s against the consensus of experts”, according to Google, Facebook, Twitter and others, without being de-monetized, having videos pulled and risking being banhammered.

Now we know factually that Fauci stated this himself, so now the media and other “tech companies” are enforcing a position that the so-called “expert” generated with an intentional lie and they’ve maintained and forced that intentional lie for a year and are continuing to do so to this day. Now you know how the hysteria, cover-ups and outright lying happened. Now contaminate that with pharma money and you get what we’re doing now.

Read more …

This reads like a vaccine ad. “..the virus really is under control, nationwide and in every state, thanks almost entirely to the vaccines.”

But remember this graph, and remember they refused to use HCQ and ivermectin.

Covid-19 Cases Hit Lowest Point In US Since Pandemic Began (Axios)

The U.S. has brought new coronavirus infections down to the lowest level since March 2020, when the pandemic began. Nearly every week for the past 56 weeks, Axios has tracked the change — more often than not, the increase — in new COVID-19 infections. Those case counts are now so low, the virus is so well contained, that this will be our final weekly map. The U.S. averaged roughly 16,500 new cases per day over the past week, a 30% improvement over the week before. New cases declined in 43 states and held steady in the other seven. The official case counts haven’t been this low since Americans went into lockdown in March last year — when the pandemic was still new, no one knew how long this would go on, and inadequate testing meant that cases were undercounted.

Overall, roughly 33 million Americans — about 10% of the population — have tested positive for COVID-19. About 595,000 people have died from the virus in the U.S., making it deadlier for Americans than the past 80 years of wars and other armed military conflicts combined, including World War II. The U.S. largely failed to contain the virus until the vaccines arrived. Cities and businesses began shutting down last March. From there, the virus rolled into a second wave last summer, when cases climbed to over 65,000 per day, on average, and hospitals in many parts of the country said they were overwhelmed. That failure was then eclipsed in the winter, when hundreds of thousands of people per day were contracting the virus and deaths climbed over 3,000 per day for about a month.

But now, the virus really is under control, nationwide and in every state, thanks almost entirely to the vaccines. Just over half of American adults are now fully vaccinated, according to the CDC. Cases and deaths are still soaring around the world, especially in the developing world, and the Biden administration is facing consistently mounting pressure to export more vaccines, now that the U.S. has contained the virus. The U.S. was never able to control the virus without vaccines, and it still can’t. The risk is still about as high as it’s ever been for unvaccinated people, as the Washington Post recently reported. An average of about 500 Americans per day are still dying from COVID-19, almost all of them unvaccinated.

There will still be some localized outbreaks in the U.S., especially in areas where relatively few people are vaccinated. But they will likely be small, and vaccinated people will be protected. Over time, the immunity from vaccines will likely wane, which, together with new variants of the virus, will likely require booster shots to stay ahead of another outbreak. For now, though, the U.S. has finally gotten the virus down to a level that just about every expert agrees is safe. Fewer than 20,000 cases per day, spread across the U.S. population of 331.5 million people, is a relatively low number of cases, and that number continues to improve across the board.

Read more …

Why not simply get ivermectin? Too cheap?

EU Purchases Its First Monoclonal Antibodies Cocktail For Covid-19 (RT)

The European Union has announced the purchase of 55,000 doses of the Roche-Regeneron Covid-19 drug, marking its first foray into potential treatments involving a cocktail of monoclonal antibodies. The EU announced it secured the shipment of the doses on Wednesday, as the bloc seeks to expand its portfolio of drugs and explores potentially promising treatments that can help in the fight against the virus. The deal was agreed earlier this year but the details were only confirmed on Thursday by an EU spokesperson, who said 55,000 doses of the single-shot treatment had been purchased. Roche stated that the company’s contract will cover 37 countries in Europe, including the UK and other non-EU nations. The cost of the shipment has not been made public by the EU or the pharmaceutical companies.


While the deal agreed between the companies and the EU is for the drug’s infusion version, there is also a shot that has been tested and developed. The Roche-Regeneron treatment is still awaiting formal approval from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) before the shipment is dispatched, with formal authorization expected between August and October 2021. The EMA is currently in the process of conducting a rolling review of preliminary data. The Roche-Regeneron Covid-19 treatment has already been granted emergency US approval for patients with mild to moderate symptoms, with Washington ordering 1.5 million doses. The monoclonal antibodies treatment seeks to replicate or boost the body’s natural immune response, helping to support Covid-19 patients who are at high risk of developing severe disease.

Read more …

Google translate. Holland closed schools not to protect children, but to make parents stay home. Think about how crazy that is.

The Netherlands Used Children As A Weapon In The Fight Against Corona (AD)

Due to the Dutch corona policy to close schools and thus keep parents at home, children have been used as a means to fight the epidemic. Our cabinet receives that hard slap on the fingers today in the annual worldwide children’s rights report, the KidsRights Index. According to the makers, the Netherlands has set a very bad example internationally, by not even trying to keep schools open safely. With all the consequences that entails for the mental health of our youth. The corona guidelines from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child have also been neglected. Youth has not been given any priority in Dutch policy, it sounds.

Statements by corona minister Hugo de Jonge, dated mid-December 2020, are presented as proof. Then De Jonge indeed mentioned on television as the reason why the cabinet decided to close the schools, that parents with children sitting at home will therefore start working from home more quickly. When parents take their children to school, that is another moment of contact, De Jonge explained at the time. “And we also learned from the first wave, when the schools were also closed, that the fact that primary education does not provide physical education also ensures that parents adhere better to another advice, namely: work from home as much as possible. ”, said the minister at the time.

“Children’s rights have been put in second place by the cabinet during corona time,” Marc Dullaert, founder of the international children’s rights organization KidsRights, now told this site. “They were the ankle bracelet for parents. These had to be kept at home in order to effectively fight the epidemic. At the expense of their mental health.” In the first phase, when everyone was looking for the right approach, this was understandable according to Dullaert. ,,But De Jonge’s statements came at a time when it was really no longer acceptable, in the second phase. And other countries – such as Belgium and Sweden – have done everything they can to keep the schools open, so there were alternatives on the table.”

Read more …

“..it has a fatality rate of around 54%..”

Delhi Reports Over 1,000 Cases Of ‘Black Fungus’ Amid Shortage Of Drugs (RT)

The number of cases of so-called black fungus, or mucormycosis, has almost doubled in Delhi over the past seven days, reaching 1,044 infections, the local health minister has said. The disease has particularly affected India’s Covid patients. A further 440 people have been diagnosed in the city since last week, when the number of afflicted patients stood at 600. Health minister Satyendra Jain said on Thursday that 89 people had succumbed to the disease in Delhi to date, while 92 others had recovered. The shortage of drugs to treat mucormycosis still remained a problem for the city of 29 million, the minister added. Cases of black fungus have been on the rise in India during the harsh second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.


As of May 25, the country saw 11,700 infections, which prompted several states to declare mucormycosis an epidemic. It also soon became clear that the health authorities didn’t have sufficient quantities of the antifungal drug Amphotericin B for the number of patients. Capitalizing on the weakened immune system in Covid sufferers, the fungi most commonly enter the human body through the nose and mouth before spreading to the lungs, heart, or brain. Its symptoms include facial swelling and black lesions – hence its name – and it has a fatality rate of around 54%. The spike in black fungus incidences among Indian coronavirus patients has been largely linked to the steroids and anti-inflammatory drugs prescribed during their treatment for Covid-19.

Read more …

The US did this to Ukraine.

Nord Stream 2 To Cost Kiev $3 Billion In Transit Fees A Year – Zelensky (RT)

The completion of the controversial Nord Stream 2 project will deprive Ukraine of about $3 billion annually, with the country’s pipelines no longer necessary for the transportation of Russian gas to Western Europe. That’s according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who told a delegation from the US Congress that America should do what it can to prevent Nord Stream 2 from being completed. Once finished, the pipeline will connect Germany directly to Russia via the Baltic Sea. It aims to protect Berlin’s energy security and make the process less reliant on third countries transiting gas, thereby lowering the price. As things stand, according to Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak, around 100km remains to be completed, which should be achieved by the end of 2021.


“Only the United States and the administration of President Joe Biden can prevent the completion and commissioning of Nord Stream 2,” Zelensky explained. “Nord Stream 2 will disconnect Ukraine from gas supplies, which means ‘disconnecting’ us from at least $3 billion a year… We will have nothing to pay for the Ukrainian Army.” According to the Ukrainian leader, without this money, the country will no longer have a “powerful and well-supplied army” to continue “defending Europe and European values.” The construction of Nord Stream 2 has been significantly hindered by US sanctions, with Washington imposing numerous packages of measures against companies involved in the building, maintenance, insurance, and certification of the project. The American authorities have claimed that its completion would “undermine Europe’s overall energy security and stability.” However, some have accused the Americans of opposing the pipeline for economic reasons, as the country looks to increase its exports of liquefied natural gas to the continent.

Read more …

They’ll move into gold.

Russia’s $186 Billion Sovereign Wealth Fund Dumps All Dollar Assets (ZH)

Following a series of corporate cyberattacks that American intelligence agencies have blamed on Russian actors, Russia’s sovereign wealth fund (officially the National Wellbeing Fund) has decided to dump all of its dollars and dollar-denominated assets in favor of those denominated in euros, yuan – or simply buying precious metals like gold, which Russia’s central bank has increasingly favored for its own reserves. Finance Minister Anton Siluanov made the announcement Thursday morning at the annual St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. “We can make this change rather quickly, within a month,” Siluanov told reporters Thursday.

He explained that the Kremlin is moving to reduce exposure to US assets as President Biden threatens more economic sanctions against Russia following the latest ransomware attacks. The transfer will affect $119 billion in liquid assets, Bloomberg reported, but the sales will largely be executed through the Russian Central bank and its massive reserves, limiting the market impact and reducing visibility on what exactly the sovereign wealth fund will be buying. “The central bank can make these changes to the Wellbeing Fund without resorting to market operations,” said Sofya Donets, economist at Renaissance Capital in Moscow. “This in some sense a technical thing.”

Jordan Rochester, currency strategist at Nomura International PLC, said, “This is a transfer of euros from the central bank to the wealth fund, we’ll then see the central bank the holder of the USDs and it’s up to them to manage it. No initial market impact.” The news isn’t a complete surprise: The Bank of Russia, Russia’s central bank, has steadily reduced its dollar holdings over the last few years amid increasing sanctions pressure from the US and Europe. That trend continued through President Trump’s term. Just a few days ago, we reported that the Russian parliament had just authorized the sovereign wealth fund to buy gold through the central bank. However, the central bank reports its holdings with a six-month lag, making it impossible to determine its current holdings.

Read more …

 

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Brilliant Ali on how he wants to be remembered.

 

 


The red train, Landwasserviadukt, Switzerland. Drone photo by Sebastianmzh

 

 

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May 192021
 


Andrew Wyeth Christina’s world 1948

 

The CDC Is Manipulating Data To Prop-up “Vaccine Effectiveness” (OffG)
CDC Head Now Differentiates Between Dying ‘From’ Vs. Dying ‘With’ Covid (Fox)
Is The Pfizer Vaccine As Effective As Claimed? (P&R)
One Shot Is Enough To Obtain An EU Covid Travel Certificate (CC)
Vaccine Cocktails Could Be On The Menu (RT)
Unvaccinated Americans Twice As Likely To Feel Comfortable Ditching Masks (F.)
Canada Invests $200 Million To Build An mRNA Vaccine Plant (CBC)
New York Investigation Into Trump Organization Now Criminal (R.)
The Glass House Where the Power Elite Gather to Throw Stones (MPN)
Is The Age Of Permanent War Finally Over? (Krainer)
Israel Kills 11 Children Receiving Trauma Care in Their Homes (NRC)
Biden To Waive Sanctions On Company In Charge Of Nord Stream 2 (Axios)
From Basic Income To Inheritance For All (Piketty)

 

 

 

 

Any questions?

The CDC Is Manipulating Data To Prop-up “Vaccine Effectiveness” (OffG)

The US Center for Disease Control (CDC) is altering its practices of data logging and testing for “Covid19” in order to make it seem the experimental gene-therapy “vaccines” are effective at preventing the alleged disease. They made no secret of this, announcing the policy changes on their website in late April/early May, (though naturally without admitting the fairly obvious motivation behind the change). The trick is in their reporting of what they call “breakthrough infections” – that is people who are fully “vaccinated” against Sars-Cov-2 infection, but get infected anyway. Essentially, Covid19 has long been shown – to those willing to pay attention – to be an entirely created pandemic narrative built on two key factors:

• False-postive tests. The unreliable PCR test can be manipulated into reporting a high number of false-positives by altering the cycle threshold (CT value) • Inflated Case-count. The incredibly broad definition of “Covid case”, used all over the world, lists anyone who receives a positive test as a “Covid19 case”, even if they never experienced any symptoms. Without these two policies, there would never have been an appreciable pandemic at all, and now the CDC has enacted two policy changes which means they no longer apply to vaccinated people. Firstly, they are lowering their CT value when testing samples from suspected “breakthrough infections”. From the CDC’s instructions for state health authorities on handling “possible breakthrough infections” (uploaded to their website in late April):

“For cases with a known RT-PCR cycle threshold (Ct) value, submit only specimens with Ct value ≤28 to CDC for sequencing. (Sequencing is not feasible with higher Ct values.)” Throughout the pandemic, CT values in excess of 35 have been the norm, with labs around the world going into the 40s. Essentially labs were running as many cycles as necessary to achieve a positive result, despite experts warning that this was pointless (even Fauci himself said anything over 35 cycles is meaningless). But NOW, and only for fully vaccinated people, the CDC will only accept samples achieved from 28 cycles or fewer. That can only be a deliberate decision in order to decrease the number of “breakthrough infections” being officially recorded.

Secondly, asymptomatic or mild infections will no longer be recorded as “covid cases”. That’s right. Even if a sample collected at the low CT value of 28 can be sequenced into the virus alleged to cause Covid19, the CDC will no longer be keeping records of breakthrough infections that don’t result in hospitalisation or death. From their website: “As of May 1, 2021, CDC transitioned from monitoring all reported vaccine breakthrough cases to focus on identifying and investigating only hospitalized or fatal cases due to any cause. This shift will help maximize the quality of the data collected on cases of greatest clinical and public health importance. Previous case counts, which were last updated on April 26, 2021, are available for reference only and will not be updated moving forward.” Just like that, being asymptomatic – or having only minor symptoms – will no longer count as a “Covid case” but only if you’ve been vaccinated.

The CDC has put new policies in place which effectively created a tiered system of diagnosis. Meaning, from now on, unvaccinated people will find it much easier to be diagnosed with Covid19 than vaccinated people.

Consider…

Person A has not been vaccinated. They test positive for Covid using a PCR test at 40 cycles and, despite having no symptoms, they are officially a “covid case”.

Person B has been vaccinated. They test positive at 28 cycles, and spend six weeks bedridden with a high fever. Because they never went into a hospital and didn’t die they are NOT a Covid case.

Person C, who was also vaccinated, did die. After weeks in hospital with a high fever and respiratory problems. Only their positive PCR test was 29 cycles, so they’re not officially a Covid case either.

Read more …

Seriously wondering what they pay their PR people.

CDC Head Now Differentiates Between Dying ‘From’ Vs. Dying ‘With’ Covid (Fox)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky drew criticism on Sunday for her method of identifying COVID-19 deaths in the U.S., making a sudden distinction between those who died “from” the virus and those who died “with” it. During an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Walensky was asked about vaccinated Americans who have contracted the virus – and whether anyone has died from an infection, despite being inoculated. Walensky said the CDC is aware of 223 so-called “break-through” infections in vaccinated Americans, but clarified that many of those individuals died due to other causes. “Not all of those 223 cases who had COVID actually died of COVID,” she said. “They may have had mild disease but died, for example, of a heart attack.”

But critics pounced on Walensky’s reasoning. “After all this time, we are going to start distinguishing died ‘with’ Covid from died ‘from’ Covid,” one Twitter user wrote. “How anyone lives with the dishonest reporting of numbers is beyond me. Either we treat all the deaths with the same questioning or none of them, Period.” Another user wrote: ‘So she literally just admitted that the covid death count isn’t a real count of covid deaths. The response to this pandemic gets more baffling by the day.” Others suggested that all COVID-19 deaths should be re-examined to determine whether the person died “from” the virus or “with” it. “Sounds like 500k cases need to be reviewed to more accurately distinguish ‘with’ and ‘from’,” one user said. “Hmm, thought I heard this same sentiment expressed in the past.”

Close to 47% of the adult population in the U.S. is fully vaccinated, according to data published by the CDC, while nearly 60% of the adult population – or roughly 157 million people – has received at least one dose. The vaccination rate is expected to rise shortly following the Food and Drug Administration’s approval this week for the use of the Pfizer vaccine in children between the ages of 12 and 15. More than 32.7 million Americans have been infected with COVID-19, and more than 582,000 people died from the virus, according to the CDC.

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No, of course not, it’s just a sales campaign.

Is The Pfizer Vaccine As Effective As Claimed? (P&R)

Using the simple ‘cases per 1000 tests’ (rather than the biased ‘incident rate per 100,000 person days’), results in an approximate ‘vaccine effectiveness’ measure of 75.7%. While this is much less than the 95% headline figure, it is still impressive, so it is strange why the study failed to account for the difference in proportions tested. It appears that the failure to adjust the vaccine effectiveness calculation for different testing protocols for vaccinated and unvaccinated people is not restricted to this Pfizer study in Israel. The data in the FDA briefing document on the Pfizer vaccine (dated 10 Dec 2020) suggests there was a similar problem with the phase 3 trial of the vaccine. This was a randomized, double-blinded and placebo-controlled trial of the vaccine in 44,000 uninfected participants.

It similarly reports a 95% effectiveness measure based on the fact that (post injection) there were 162 confirmed Covid-19 cases among the placebo participants compared to just 8 among the vaccinated participants. However, the study also reports that there were a much larger number of ‘suspected but unconfirmed’ cases and that these were more evenly spread between placebo participants (1,816 such cases) and vaccinated participants (1,594 such cases). This seems to suggest that a disproportionately small number of vaccinated participants with symptoms received PCR tests compared to placebo participants with symptoms. Clearly the failure to properly adjust for both a decreasing infection rate and different testing protocols for vaccinated and unvaccinated people casts doubt on the validity of the studies.

It is also worth noting that, even if we ignore all of the above issues and accept as undisputed the number for ‘COVID-19 related deaths’ in the Israel study (715 among the unvaccinated and 138 among the vaccinated), then the absolute percentage increase in risk of death for an unvaccinated person is just 0.036%. That means that, even if we accept the 95% effectiveness measure, for every 10,000 unvaccinated people, about 3 or 4 would die as a result of not being vaccinated. And this brings us to the final (and critical) problem with the study. It does not provide any information about the number of adverse reactions – in particular the number of deaths – due to the vaccine. Hence, it does not provides the necessary information to make an informed decision about the overall risk/benefit of the vaccine.

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Follow the science, you said? If they had enough vaccines, they would make it two. But they don’t, and everyone wants tourism, so it’s one.

One Shot Is Enough To Obtain An EU Covid Travel Certificate (CC)

You are expected to need only one injection this summer to travel in the European Union. So people don’t have to wait for both shots before they can apply for a Covid travel certificate, EU sources say. In recent weeks, there have been crowded meetings within the European Union over the Covid travel certification. Today, the member states, the European Parliament and the European Commission are back together. The exact terms of the travel certificate are expected to become clear at the end of the week. There are still a number of points on which negotiators disagree. For example, it appears that there will be no free PCR tests for people who want to apply for a travel certificate. The European Parliament wanted to take care of this, as it would make an unfair difference between those who were vaccinated and did not have to pay for it and those who would have to pay for a PCR test before traveling.


But according to diplomats from the European Union, a number of countries, including the Netherlands, do not like this. They think the countries themselves revolve around this. In their opinion, therefore, a free injection should not be imposed from the European Union. The board is likely to issue its opinion on pricing for PCR tests. According to the sources, the Cabinet will decide next Friday the conditions and prices for exams in the Netherlands. Travelers who go on vacation by car will likely avoid a lot of trouble. The intention is that there will be no border controls. Once in the country, you can check. But it is not clear how. The PCR test should be done 72 hours before departure, but if travelers are not screened at the border, this is difficult to prove.

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Where did we lose track?

Vaccine Cocktails Could Be On The Menu (RT)

A Spanish study has suggested that administering a second dose of Pfizer to those who received AstraZeneca as their first dose is safe. It saw antibodies increase seven-fold compared to those who were given no second jab at all. The CombivacS study, which enrolled 676 participants who had already received a first dose of AstraZeneca and gave them a second dose of Pfizer, has produced positive preliminary results. Of the total cohort, 450 people were given Pfizer as their second dose, and the remaining 226 have not received any second dose and are being observed as the control group.

Published on Tuesday, the study, launched by the Carlos III Health Institute, reported that the combination was both safe and effective. Jesus Antonio Frias, coordinator of the ISCIII Clinical Research Network, said, “A more than seven-fold increase in neutralizing antibodies was observed 14 days after vaccination.” According to Magdalena Campins, of the Vall d’Hebron University Hospital in Barcelona, very few side effects have been reported, other than minor pain at the injection site and general discomfort or headaches.

The data reinforces the findings of a larger British study that published its preliminary results last week. It said there were no immediate safety concerns about mixing AstraZeneca and Pfizer jabs, but noted that adverse reactions were heightened. The researchers suggested it was possible that these were more prevalent among younger people, but did not elaborate. Spain commenced its study following the government’s decision to stop using AstraZeneca for those under the age of 60. The study’s findings will inform whether the nearly two million essential workers who received a first dose of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 shot will receive a second dose, and which jab they will be given.

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Fear is a harsh mistress.

Unvaccinated Americans Twice As Likely To Feel Comfortable Ditching Masks (F.)

A majority of Americans still say they would not feel comfortable performing most activities without a mask even amid new public health guidance, a new Morning Consult poll finds—but unvaccinated Americans are far more likely to be OK with going maskless, suggesting new mask guidelines might not incentivize a lot of them to get the shot. No more than 48% of U.S. adults would be comfortable doing any of the activities polled without a mask—with outdoor dining being the activity with the highest degree of comfort and international flights having the lowest degree—according to the poll, which was conducted May 14-17 among 2,200 respondents. For every single activity polled, unvaccinated Americans were dramatically more likely to say they’d be comfortable going maskless than their vaccinated counterparts.


Unvaccinated people were approximately twice as likely as vaccinated people to say they’re comfortable not wearing a mask at the movies (40% unvaccinated comfortable versus 20% vaccinated), a shopping mall (41% versus 21%), an amusement park (41% versus 21%), a religious gathering (41% versus 21%), museums (42% versus 22$), a work conference (40% versus 19%), the gym or exercise class (40% versus 20%) and going to school (40% versus 21%). The biggest discrepancies between unvaccinated Americans and vaccinated were in their comfort level going unmasked on a cruise (36% unvaccinated comfortable versus 16% vaccinated), public transportation (33% versus 12%) and on airplanes to domestic locations (34% versus 14%) and international locations (31% versus 12%).

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It’s for the rest of your life.

Canada Invests $200 Million To Build An mRNA Vaccine Plant (CBC)

The federal government today announced a $200-million investment to help a Mississauga, Ont.-based company build a plant that can churn out millions of mRNA vaccines. Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne said the money will be used to expand an existing site owned by Resilience Biotechnologies Inc. to provide “made-in-Canada solutions such as vaccines and treatments for future pandemics.” The funds will expand Resilience’s manufacturing and fill-finish capacity for a number of vaccines and therapeutics, including mRNA shots like the ones now being used to fight COVID-19, Champagne said. The government says the plant expansion will create 500 permanent jobs and 50 co-op placements for students once construction is complete in 2024.


The addition of some 55,000 square feet of factory space will allow Resilience to manufacture between 112 million and 640 million doses of mRNA product each year. The goal is to leave Canada less dependent on foreign vaccine makers when the next pandemic hits. Resilience is a contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO), which means it assembles products developed by other companies. It’s standard for big pharmaceutical companies like AstraZeneca, Merck and Pfizer to outsource the actual drug manufacturing process to third parties. Some companies have sold their manufacturing sites to focus on research and development. A Novartis-owned plant in Boucherville, Que. was sold to Avara, a contract manufacturing operation, in 2018.

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Tie this in with Jan. 6.

New York Investigation Into Trump Organization Now Criminal (R.)

The New York state attorney general’s office has told the Trump Organization that its investigation of the company is now a criminal probe, not purely civil. Cyrus Vance, Manhattan’s district attorney, has also been investigating the business run by former president Donald Trump for more than two years. “We have informed the Trump Organization that our investigation into the organization is no longer purely civil in nature,” spokesman Fabien Levy said in a statement for New York state attorney general, Letitia James. “We are now actively investigating the Trump Organization in a criminal capacity, along with the Manhattan DA,” he said.


Vance’s office has said in court filings it was investigating “possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct” at the former president’s Trump Organization, including tax and insurance fraud and falsification of business records. Vance’s probe began after Trump’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen paid hush money to silence two women before the 2016 election about claimed sexual encounters with Trump. That probe has accelerated since Republican Trump lost his bid for a second term to president Joe Biden, a Democrat. James, who like Vance is a Democrat, is leading a separate criminal probe into whether Trump’s company falsely reported property values to secure loans and obtain economic and tax benefits.

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“Asian NATO”

The Glass House Where the Power Elite Gather to Throw Stones (MPN)

The United States is the nation that most threatens democracy worldwide, far more than Russia or even China. That is the headline finding from a new worldwide poll of 53 countries commissioned by the Alliance of Democracies (AoD). The poll also found that the global public considers rising inequality and the increased power of the super rich to be the greatest threat to liberty and democracy. This was likely not the response the Alliance of Democracies wished to hear as it opened its third annual Democracy Summit in Copenhagen this week — precisely because the organization represents the U.S. government and the wealthy elite more generally. Featuring an all-star panel of American officials, Western heads of state and military leaders, this year’s summit was somber in tone and focused on the “urgent need” for Western nations to unite and come up with a “transatlantic response” to counter both Russia and China.

To that end, there was talk of building an “Asian NATO” and of further controlling what can be said online, all in the service of defending and upholding democracy from these foes. The Alliance of Democracies was founded in 2017 by former Prime Minister of Denmark Anders Fogh Rasmussen. As Secretary General of NATO between 2009 and 2014, he also oversaw the Iraq and Afghanistan occupations, as well as the attack and regime-change operation in Libya, which saw ISIS-affiliated jihadists take control of the country. Together with future President Joe Biden and former Director of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, Rasmussen also founded the Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity (TECI), an AoD body at the forefront of accusing Russia of election meddling in the U.S. Biden was one of the inaugural speakers at the first Democracy Summit in 2018.

The great and the good — including presidents, journalists and business magnates — gathered both in person and virtually to discuss the supposed threats to the democratic order, with Rasmussen in particular pushing for a more formal military, political and economic alliance among the world’s “democracies” against Russia and China. The well-dressed and soft-spoken Dane also introduced lineups of speakers who argued for regime change in states the alliance does not feel are democratic enough for their liking.

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“We must therefore guard against believing that our enemies are the Russians, the Chinese or whomever the logic of divide-and-rule would pit us against.”

Is The Age Of Permanent War Finally Over? (Krainer)

Recent events in the world have given me great hope that we might finally emerge from the century of permanent war. The Great Reset agenda seems to be losing steam and those in charge of implementing it are losing conviction (with the exception, perhaps, of the very top echelon in power). At the same time, the ranks of people who are opposed to it and are willing to take a stand, appear to be swelling. Since the very start of the great pandemic of 2020, something about the public health response didn’t feel right. It was clear from the measures that were enacted and from measures that were not enacted that their purpose had little to do with public health. Instead, they seemed to further a different agenda. Soon we learned that this was all connected to World Economic Forum’s hugely ambitious Fourth Industrial Revolution or the Great Reset.

But the agenda and the steps taken seemed rushed, panicked and frankly, hopeless. Many of the solutions and technologies that would need to be rolled out and ready to use turned out to be non-existent or only in conceptual stages of development. As months went on, the events proved this impression correct as we watched the authorities muddle through, destroying their own credibility in the process. In a very recent interview Dr. Rainer Fullmich stated as follows: “We have a whistleblower and she told us that the original plan was to roll this out in 2050. But then those who are involved with this got greedy and pulled things forward to 2030 and then to 2020 and that’s why so many mistakes are happening.”

I do not believe that the people involved with this got greedy — I believe that their concern is with the fragility and imminent demise of the financial system which is their key mechanism of control over all the levers of influence in society. The implosion of that system would also jeopardize their position of power, so they rushed the Great Reset right off the back of the 2020 pandemic to try and front-run the collapse and give themselves an iron-fisted control of things ahead of the unfolding crisis. From their various documents and white papers, it is also evident that they had anticipated the public pushback. As I wrote last August, they have “surely planned diversions to misdirect our grievances… One of the greatest means of diversion are wars. We must therefore guard against believing that our enemies are the Russians, the Chinese or whomever the logic of divide-and-rule would pit us against.”

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By the Norwegian Refugee Council

“..buried with their dreams and the nightmares that haunted them..”

If this doesn’t break your heart…

Israel Kills 11 Children Receiving Trauma Care in Their Homes (NRC)

The Norwegian Refugee Council confirmed that 11 of over 60 children killed by Israeli air strikes in Gaza over the last week were participating in its psycho-social program aimed at helping them deal with trauma. All of the children between 5 and 15 years old were killed in their homes in densely populated areas along with countless other relatives who died or received injuries. “We are devastated to learn that eight children we were helping with trauma were bombarded while they were at home and thought they were safe,” said NRC’s Secretary General Jan Egeland. “They are now gone, killed with their families, buried with their dreams and the nightmares that haunted them. We call on Israel to stop this madness: children must be protected. Their homes must not be targets. Schools must not be targets. Spare these children and their families. Stop bombing them now.”

The children NRC assisted included Lina Iyad Sharir, 15, who was killed with both of her parents in their home on May 11 in Gaza City’s Al Manara neighborhood. Her two-year-old sister Mina sustained third degree burns and remains in critical condition. Hala Hussein al-Rifi, 13, was killed on the night of May 12 when an air strike hit the Salha residential building in Gaza City’s Tal Al-Hawa neighborhood. The attack also killed four-year-old Zaid Mohammad Telbani and his mother Rima, who was five months pregnant. Zaid’s sister remains missing and is presumed dead.

Multiple air raids on 16 May in Al Wahda Street in central Gaza City killed six children that NRC worked with, together with several family members. These included Tala Ayman Abu al-Auf, 13, and her 17-year-old brother. Their father, Dr Ayman Abu al-Auf, was the head of internal medicine at Gaza City’s Shifa hospital. He was also killed. The same attacks also killed Rula Mohammad al-Kawlak, 5, Yara, 9, and Hala, 12 – all sisters – together with their cousin Hana, 14, and several other of their relatives, as well as sisters Dima and Mira Rami al-Ifranji, 15 and 11, and neighbour Dana Riad Hasan Ishkantna, 9.

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Merkel would have never given in.

Biden To Waive Sanctions On Company In Charge Of Nord Stream 2 (Axios)

The Biden administration will waive sanctions on the corporate entity and CEO overseeing the construction of Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline into Germany, according to two sources briefed on the decision. The decision indicates the Biden administration is not willing to compromise its relationship with Germany over this pipeline, and it underscores the difficulties President Biden faces in matching actions to rhetoric on a tougher approach to Russia. The State Department will imminently send its mandatory 90-day report to Congress listing entities involved in Nord Stream 2 that deserve sanctions. Sources familiar with the drafting of the report tell Axios the State Department plans to call for sanctions against a handful of Russian ships.

The State Department will also acknowledge that the corporate entity in charge of the project (Nord Stream 2 AG) and its CEO (Putin crony and former East German intelligence officer Matthias Warnig) are engaged in sanctionable activities. However, the State Department will waive the applications of those sanctions, citing U.S. national interests. This planned move seems at odds with Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s statement, made during his confirmation hearing: “I am determined to do whatever we can to prevent that completion” of Nord Stream 2. This planned move also sets up a bizarre situation in which the Biden administration will be sanctioning ships involved in the building of Nord Stream 2 but refusing to sanction the actual company in charge of the project.

Sources close to the situation say that top Biden officials have determined that the only way to potentially stop the project — which is 95% complete — is to sanction the German end users of the gas. And the Biden administration is not willing to rupture its relationship with Germany over Nord Stream 2.

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“..it is preferable to speak of a basic income than of a universal income..”

From Basic Income To Inheritance For All (Piketty)

The Covid crisis is forcing us to rethink the tools of redistribution and solidarity. Proposals are springing up everywhere: basic income, job guarantee, inheritance for all. Let’s say it straight away: these proposals are complementary and not substitutable. In the long run, they must all be implemented, in stages and in this order. Let’s start with basic income. Such a system is dramatically lacking today, especially in the South, where the incomes of the working poor have collapsed and containment rules are unenforceable in the absence of a minimum income. Opposition parties had proposed introducing a basic income in India in the 2019 elections, but the ruling nationalist-conservatives in Delhi are still dragging their feet.

In Europe, various forms of minimum income exist in most countries, but with many shortcomings. In particular, there is an urgent need to extend access to them to younger people and students (this has already long been the case in Denmark), and especially to people without a fixed address or bank account, who often face insurmountable obstacles. It is worth noting in passing the importance of the current discussions on central bank digital currencies, which should ideally lead to the creation of a genuine public banking service, free and accessible to all, the antithesis of the systems dreamt up by private operators (whether decentralised and polluting, like bitcoin, or centralised and inegalitarian, like the projects of Facebook or private banks).

It is also essential to extend the basic income to include low-paid workers, with a system of automatic payment on pay slips and bank accounts, without people having to ask for it, linked to the progressive tax system (also deducted at source). Basic income is an essential but insufficient tool. In particular, its amount is always extremely modest. Depending on the proposal, it is generally between half and three quarters of the full-time minimum wage, so that, by construction it can only be a partial tool in the fight against inequality. For this reason, it is preferable to speak of a basic income than of a universal income (a notion that promises more than this minimalist reality).

Read more …

 

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May 202018
 
 May 20, 2018  Posted by at 2:20 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  4 Responses »


Vittorio Matteo Corcos Conversation in the Jardin du Luxembourg 1892

 

Obviously, there are tensions between Europe and the US. Just as obviously, these tensions are blamed on, who else, Donald Trump. European Council President Donald Tusk recently said: “With friends like Trump, who needs enemies?” EU Commission chair Jean-Claude Juncker even proclaimed that “Europe must take America’s place as global leader”.

These European ‘leaders’ love the big words. They think they make them look good, strong. In reality, they are merely messenger boys for Berlin and Paris. Who have infinitely more say than Brussels. Problem is, Berlin and Paris are not united at all. Macron wants more Europe, especially in finance, but Merkel knows she can’t sell that at home.

So what are those big words worth when the whip comes down? It’s amusing to see how different people reach wholly different conclusions about that. Instructive and entertaining. First, Alex Gorka at The Strategic Culture Foundation, who likes the big words too: “..a landmark event that will go down in history as the day Europe united to openly defy the US.” and “May 17 is the day the revolt started and there is no going back. Europe has said goodbye to trans-Atlantic unity. It looks like it has had enough.

 

Brussels Rises In Revolt Against Washington: A Turning Point In US-European Relations

The May 16-17 EU-Western Balkans summit did address the problems of integration, but it was eclipsed by another issue. The meeting turned out to be a landmark event that will go down in history as the day Europe united to openly defy the US. The EU will neither review the Iran nuclear deal (JPCOA) nor join the sanctions against Tehran that have been reintroduced and even intensified by America.

Washington’s unilateral withdrawal from the JPCOA was the last straw, forcing the collapse of Western unity. The Europeans found themselves up against a wall. There is no point in discussing further integration or any other matter if the EU cannot protect its own members. But now it can.

[..] As European Council President Donald Tusk put it, “With friends like Trump, who needs enemies?” According to him, the US president has “rid Europe of all illusions.” Mr. Tusk wants Europe to “stick to our guns” against new US policies. Jean-Claude Juncker, the head of the EU Commission, believes that “Europe must take America’s place as global leader” because Washington has turned its back on its allies.

Washington “no longer wants to cooperate.” It is turning away from friendly relations “with ferocity.” Mr. Juncker thinks the time is ripe for Europe “to replace the United States, which as an international actor has lost vigor.” It would have been unthinkable not long ago for a top EU official to say such things and challenge the US global leadership. Now the unthinkable has become reality.

[..] Sandra Oudkirk, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Energy, has just threatened to sanction the Europeans if they continue with the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project to bring gas in from Russia across the Baltic Sea.

[..] President Donald Trump has just instructed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to prepare a list of new sanctions against the Russian Federation for its alleged violations of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. [..] But nobody in Europe has announced that they want US nuclear-tipped intermediate- range weapons on their territory that will be a target for a potential retaliatory strike by Russia.

[..] The time is ripe for Brussels to stop this sanctions-counter-sanctions mayhem and stake out its own independent policies on Russia, Iran, defense, and other issues, that will protect European, not US, national interests. May 17 is the day the revolt started and there is no going back. Europe has said goodbye to trans-Atlantic unity. It looks like it has had enough.

As for placing new nukes in Europe, that will be a hard sell. But the US will probably find countries that say yes, provided they are compensated well. Just don’t try it in Holland, Germany or France. But also don’t forget the amount of nukes already on the continent: just call it an upgrade.

Nord Stream 2 is tricky, but mostly an economic issue: Trump wants to sell American gas to Europe, and uses the bad bad Putin narrative to make that happen. Still, the pipeline has been in the pipeline for a long time, and a lot of time and money has been spent on it. It’ll be hard for the US to cut it off at this late stage.

When it comes to claiming the EU will not review the Iran nuclear deal, isn’t that exactly what they are indeed doing? Reuters:

 

Europe, China, Russia Discussing New Deal For Iran

Under the 2015 deal, Iran agreed to curb its nuclear program in return for the lifting of most Western sanctions. One of the main complaints of the Trump administration was that the accord did not cover Iran’s missile program or its support for armed groups in the Middle East which the West considers terrorists.

Concluding a new agreement that would maintain the nuclear provisions and curb ballistic missile development efforts and Tehran’s activities in the region could help convince Trump to lift sanctions against Iran, the paper said. “We have to get away from the name ‘Vienna nuclear agreement’ and add in a few additional elements. Only that will convince President Trump to agree and lift sanctions again,” the paper quoted a senior EU diplomat as saying.

All in all, Mr. Gorka doesn’t convince me. Europe doesn’t speak with one voice, and we wouldn’t even know which voice speaks for it. Just that it isn’t Juncker or Tusk, they’re handpuppets. Moreover, Europe has so many internal issues to deal with that it has a hard time speaking at all. A landmark event in US-EU relations may happen one day, but May 17 wasn’t it.

What I find more interesting is the account of academic John Laughland, ‘a historian and specialist in international affairs’, at RT:

 

With Iran Sanctions Trump Made Europeans Look Like The Fools They Are

Donald Tusk may say “Europe must be united economically, politically and also militarily like never before … either we are together or we are not at all” but Europe is indeed not “together” at all. The Brussels commission is hounding Poland and Hungary on what are clearly internal political matters beyond the Commission’s remit; the EU is about to lose one of its most important member states; and a new government is going to take power in Rome whose economic policies (a flat tax at 15%) will blow the eurozone’s borrowing rules out of the water and perhaps cause Italy to leave the euro.

The Italian 5-Star/League government also wants an end to the EU sanctions against Russia; these are voted by a unanimity which, although fragile, has held until now but which, if the new power in Rome keeps its word, will shortly collapse. In other words, what Trump has done is to make the Europeans look like the fools they are. In circumstances in which the EU has placed all its eggs in one basket, a basket which Trump has now overturned, it will be impossible for it to come together. On the contrary, it is falling apart.

[..] the EU draws its entire legitimacy from the belief that by pooling sovereignty and by merging its states into one entity, it has advanced beyond the age when international relations were decided by force. It believes that it embodies instead a new international system based on rules and agreements, and that any other system leads to war. It is impossible to exaggerate the importance of this belief for European leaders; yet Donald Trump has just driven a coach and horses through it.

The angry statements by European leaders might lead one to think that we are on the cusp of a major reappraisal of trans-Atlantic relations. However, the reality is that the EU and its leaders have painted themselves into a corner from which it will be very difficult, perhaps impossible, to extricate themselves.

Like I said, completely different conclusions based on the exact same events. The EU risks what might turn into an existential crisis with Beppe Grillo effectively holding the reins of power in Rome. The new government may have dropped the demand for a €260 billion debt relief, but the basic income plan is still there, and so is dropping Russian sanctions.

The new guys can’t divert from their election promises much further, they need to maintain their credibility. But for a lot of their promises it is not at all clear how they could possible fit into the present EU structure. Try their demand for a mechanism to leave the EU.

Italy is so large that Brussels cannot be too aggressive against it. The ECB cannot stop buying Italian bonds, as it did with Greek ones. And at some point the debt relief demand will return too.

But Laughland has a lot more cold water to pour on the alleged but toothless European revolt. In the shape of NATO. This is scary for every European:

 

[..] the links between the EU and the US are not only very long-standing, they are also set in stone. NATO and the EU are in reality Siamese twins, two bodies born at the same time which are joined at the hip. The first European community was created with overt and covert US support in 1950 in order to militarize Western Europe and to prepare it to fight a land war against the Soviet Union; NATO acquired its integrated command structure a few months later and its Supreme Commander is always an American.

Today the two organizations are legally inseparable because the consolidated Treaty on European Union, in the form adopted at Lisbon in 2009, states that EU foreign policy “shall respect” the obligations of NATO member states and that it shall “be compatible” with NATO policy. In other words, the constitutional charter of the EU subordinates it to NATO, which the USA dominates legally and structurally. In such circumstances, European states can only liberate themselves from US hegemony, as Donald Tusk said they should, by leaving the EU. It is obvious that they are not prepared to do that.

Anything else about those dreams of standing up to Trump? Have the past and present leaders in Brussels, and in Berlin and Paris and Rome, betrayed their own citizens? Sold them out? How far removed is this from treason? And does this perhaps indicate that it’s high time for a complete and utter overhaul of the European Union?

It sure sounds a lot more realistic than Europe replacing America as the global leader.

Who needs enemies? NATO does.