Jun 142021
 


Vittorio Matteo Corcos Sogni (Dreams) 1896

 

79% Of Democrats Support Employers Forcing Workers To Get Covid-19 Jabs (RT)
‘Pretty Safe’ Jab Will Protect Kids From Variant (ST)
CDC Claims Covid-19 Kills ‘Healthy Young Children’ (JTN)
The Killer in the Bloodstream: the “Spike Protein” (Whitney)
UK Lockdown End To Be Delayed (Pol.eu)
MP Warns Brits ‘Have To Learn To Live With Covid’ For ‘Rest Of Time’ (RT)
Why Is Britain Now The Capital Of Long Covid? (T.)
Wisconsin Top Court: Health Agency Lacks Power To Close Schools Over Covid (JTN)
Too Fat To Fly: FAA Updates Guidelines As American Obesity Crisis Grows (Fed.)
Biden Calls For Access To Wuhan Labs (RT)
Biden-Putin: What’s On The Table (ZH)
“Tesla Only Sold ~10%” Of Its Bitcoin Holdings: Musk Speaks, Bitcoin Moves (WS)

 

 

Look how young these inoculated kids are! 236 injuries and fatalities from vaccines in the 0-1 month old group!

 

 

Eric Clapton doesn’t agree

 

 

And that makes it alright?

79% Of Democrats Support Employers Forcing Workers To Get Covid-19 Jabs (RT)

A new poll shows that Democrats and Republicans are just about as divided on an employee’s right to choose whether to get vaccinated against Covid-19 as they are on a woman’s right to choose whether to abort her unborn child. Nearly 80% of Democrats agreed that employers should be able to force their workers to get Covid-19 shots, according to a CBS News-YouGov poll released on Sunday. In contrast, only 39% of Republicans approved of giving businesses such authority over their employees’ medical choices. The overall response was 56-44 in favor of forced jabs. Supporters of the two major parties are more split on vaccine choice than on Covid-19 inoculation in general. While 95% of Democrats have already been vaccinated or are at least considering it, 71% of Republicans are on board or thinking about taking the jab, the poll showed.

That result suggests some improvement in vaccine acceptance in the past two months. A Monmouth University poll released in mid-April indicated that 43% of Republicans don’t intend to get vaccinated against the virus. In the CBS News-YouGov survey, 29% of Republicans said they had ruled out the shots. Overall, only 18% of respondents said they won’t get vaccinated, while 71% said they had either already gotten a jab or planned to do so. The other 11% were undecided. The issue of employer-mandated vaccination is heating up, as a Texas judge on Saturday issued the nation’s first federal court ruling on whether workers can be ordered to receive Covid-19 shots.

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“Pretty” safe? Is that a slip of the tongue, or is it a warning?

‘Pretty Safe’ Jab Will Protect Kids From Variant (ST)

A scientist advising the government has declared that there is now a “very strong argument” to vaccinate children against the coronavirus as infections rise and evidence emerges that vaccination is “pretty safe”. Professor Peter Openshaw, vice-chairman of Nervtag, a committee that looks out for emerging respiratory threats, said there were indications that the Indian variant was more transmissible among children than the original Wuhan strain. Openshaw, professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College London, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It strengthens the argument for extending vaccination to children. I’ve been sitting on the fence on this one, but on balance I’m coming to the view that there’s a very strong argument we should go there.


“Evidence has come out about the safety and efficacy of generating an antibody response in children. It looks like it is pretty safe and there are no adverse signals.” Coronavirus testing in secondary schools has collapsed in recent weeks, according to NHS Test and Trace. Nearly two thirds of secondary school pupils failed to take a test in the week before half-term. Data from Public Health England shows 282 Covid-19 outbreaks in schools in the past four weeks, compared with 88 in the previous four weeks.

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“In reviewing the medical literature and news reports, and in talking to pediatricians across the country, I am not aware of a single healthy child in the U.S. who has died of COVID-19 to date..”

CDC Claims Covid-19 Kills ‘Healthy Young Children’ (JTN)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now claims that “healthy young children” can die from COVID-19. Marty Makary wants to see the evidence. “In reviewing the medical literature and news reports, and in talking to pediatricians across the country, I am not aware of a single healthy child in the U.S. who has died of COVID-19 to date,” the Johns Hopkins University professor of medicine and public health said Thursday. Archived versions of the CDC’s web page comparing COVID-19 and seasonal influenza show that it revised the “differences” in the section “People at High-Risk for Severe Illness” sometime between May 31 and June 8.

“The risk of complications for healthy children is higher for flu compared to COVID-19,” the earlier version says. “However, infants and children with underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for both flu and COVID-19.” The new version flips the emphasis as well as adding a new claim. “Overall, COVID-19 seems to cause more serious illnesses in some people,” it begins. “For young children, especially children younger than 5 years old, the risk of serious complications is higher for flu compared with COVID-19. However, serious COVID-19 illness resulting in hospitalization and death can occur even in healthy young children.”

Makary’s article in MedPage Today, a clinical news publisher where he serves as editor in chief, pushes back on calls to vaccinate kids ages 0 to 12 without comorbidities. He also recommends parents avoid vaccinating children who have recovered from COVID-19 infections, continuing his argument that natural immunity is just as good if not better than vaccine immunity. “The case to vaccinate kids is there, but it’s not compelling right now,” Makary wrote. He’s part of a movement of doctors at medical institutions around the world calling for far more cost-benefit analysis of COVID-19 vaccines for low-risk populations such as children.

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“..the spike protein is deadly even absent the virus. ..”

The Killer in the Bloodstream: the “Spike Protein” (Whitney)

The Spike Protein is a “uniquely dangerous” transmembrane fusion protein that is an integral part of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. “The S protein plays a crucial role in penetrating host cells and initiating infection.” It also damages the cells in the lining of the blood vessel walls which leads to blood clots, bleeding, massive inflammation and death. To say that the spike protein is merely “dangerous”, is a vast understatement. It is a potentially-lethal pathogen that has already killed tens of thousands of people. So, why did the vaccine manufacturers settle on the spike protein as an antigen that would induce an immune response in the body? That’s the million-dollar question, after all, for all practical purposes, the spike protein is a poison. We know that now due to research that was conducted at the Salk Institute. Here’s a summary of what they found:

“Salk researchers and collaborators show how the protein damages cells, confirming COVID-19 as a primarily vascular disease…. SARS-CoV-2 virus damages and attacks the vascular system (aka–The circulatory system) on a cellular level… scientists studying other coronaviruses have long suspected that the spike protein contributed to damaging vascular endothelial cells, but this is the first time the process has been documented…. … the spike protein alone was enough to cause disease. Tissue samples showed inflammation in endothelial cells lining the pulmonary artery walls. The team then replicated this process in the lab, exposing healthy endothelial cells (which line arteries) to the spike protein. They showed that the spike protein damaged the cells by binding ACE2…“If you remove the replicating capabilities of the virus, it still has a major damaging effect on the vascular cells, simply by virtue of its ability to bind to this ACE2 receptor, the S protein receptor, now famous thanks to COVID.”

Remember how everyone laughed at Trump when he said injecting household bleach would cure Covid? How is this any different? It’s not different, and whatever modest protection the vaccines provide as far as immunity, it pales in comparison to the risks they pose to personal health and survival. And did you notice what the author said about stripping-out the virus and leaving the spike protein alone?’ He said “it still has a major damaging effect” implying ‘blood clots, bleeding and severe inflammation.’ In other words, the spike protein is deadly even absent the virus. Here’s how Dr. Byram Bridle (who is a viral immunologist and associate professor at University of Guelph, Ontario) summed it up:

“We made a big mistake. We didn’t realize it until now… We thought the spike protein was a great target antigen, we never knew the spike protein itself was a toxin and was a pathogenic protein. So, by vaccinating people we are inadvertently inoculating them with a toxin.” Think about that for a minute. This is a very big deal, in fact, this is the critical piece of the puzzle that has been missing for the last 15 months. Just as the respiratory virus concealed the real killing-agent in Covid, (the spike protein) so too, the relentless hype surrounding mass-vaccination has concealed the glaring problem with the vaccines themselves, which is, they generate a substance that is “capable of causing disease.”

Read more …

How bad will the backlash be?

UK Lockdown End To Be Delayed (Pol.eu)

The U.K.’s final lifting of lockdown restrictions on June 21 is expected to be pushed back by Prime Minister Boris Johnson at a press conference on Monday evening, a government official confirmed to London Playbook. Multiple outlets report that Johnson, alongside cabinet members Rishi Sunak, Michael Gove and Matt Hancock have signed off on a month-long delay, after scientific advisers urged the prime minister to allow enough time for more people to get fully vaccinated. On Friday, The Sun reported that July 19 would be proposed as the new “Freedom Day” of lockdown end, with a review of numbers on July 5 that could see some or all restrictions lifted early.

“The prime minister sees this as the final stretch and wants people to be patient. We are nearly there, it’s one last haul,” a government source told The Times. The rules currently in place that will be kept include the wearing of face masks and limits on indoor and outdoor gatherings. The reopening of nightclubs is also set to be delayed. On the other hand, according to the Financial Times, some allowances may be made for weddings, allowing for larger gatherings as is the case for funerals. Health minister Edward Argar told Sky News on Monday that weddings and those who plan to wed “will be very much in [Johnson’s] mind at the moment.”

Despite reports that Sunak is not planning to extend the furlough scheme to support businesses, Argar said Johnson is “very mindful of the need for businesses and others to get what they need if they continue to be locked down.” On Sunday, 7,490 new COVID cases were reported in the U.K., a considerable increase from 5,341 a week before, on June 6.

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“If our very effective vaccines cannot deliver us freedom from restrictions, then nothing ever will.”

MP Warns Brits ‘Have To Learn To Live With Covid’ For ‘Rest Of Time’ (RT)

Covid Recovery Group chairman and MP Mark Harper opposes delays in the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions, arguing Brits will “have to learn to live with” the virus now that the vulnerable are jabbed, or suffer constant lockdown. Harper took to Twitter after an article on Sunday in the Telegraph citing an unnamed minister claimed the planned lockdown-easing date of June 21 could be delayed until as late as next spring due to the government’s concern about the spread of Covid-19 variants. The Forest of Dean MP warned in response that it “would be devastating for business confidence, people’s livelihoods and wellbeing” if the reopening were delayed, and would send “a clear message to employers and workers that, when Covid cases increase this (and every) autumn and winter, they cannot rely on Govt to keep our society open.”


“Now that the most vulnerable have been protected with their vaccine doses, we have to learn to live with this virus, rather than endure seasonal on-off lockdowns and restrictions,” Harper argued, noting that Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance has warned that coronavirus mutations “will appear for the rest of time.” Harper also pointed out that the most vulnerable people in the UK – who account for 99% of Covid-19 deaths and 80% of hospitalisations – will all have been offered two vaccine jabs by June 21, making it safer than ever to reopen. “We have to learn to live with it,” concluded Harper. “If our very effective vaccines cannot deliver us freedom from restrictions, then nothing ever will.”

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“Many of these patients don’t really believe mental illness will explain their symptoms. They want something tangible, something external like the virus.”

Why Is Britain Now The Capital Of Long Covid? (T.)

In April, the NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens promised to have 83 long Covid clinics open by the end of the month. The Office for National Statistics has estimated that more than 1 million people in Britain have suffered from long Covid. Danny Altmann, a professor of immunology at Imperial College, London, has predicted that long Covid could represent a long-term burden on the NHS comparable to arthritis, which costs the service an estimated £10 billion a year, some 8 per cent of the health budget. Altmann estimates that as many as 20 per cent of Covid sufferers could have longer symptoms; many of them will be younger patients who didn’t initially face severe illness.

It seems Britain is the long Covid capital of the world. This became immediately apparent to me upon moving back here from the US last month. American media has led much of the discussion on long Covid, but fear of the syndrome hasn’t penetrated public sentiment the way it has in Britain, where many young people are terrified of getting the virus not because they fear it will kill them, but because of the potentially debilitating after-effects. The question is why? Is there more long Covid here? And if so, for what reason? Are we simply doing a better job of diagnosing and discussing it, much as we lead the world in using genomic sequencing to find new Covid variants? Or might there be other cultural and societal factors underpinning our pervasive long Covid issue?

The answer could well be some combination of the above. The difficulty in researching long Covid is that every expert that you ask gives you a slightly different answer as to what the illness is and what causes it. “The simple answer is I don’t know [what causes this] and nor does anybody else,” says Dr Paul Harrison, head of Oxford University’s Translational Neurobiology Group. “We have to start with ‘nobody knows’ and keep that uncertainty — and therefore open-mindedness — at the forefront of our approach.” [..] “It’s psychosomatic,” says Jeremy Devine, a resident psychiatrist at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada. In March, he wrote a controversial column for The Wall Street Journal, arguing that long Covid was being incorrectly used as a catch-all for a whole host of ailments and issues, many of them psychological. There was a fierce backlash, with several UK-based patient groups writing furious letters to his supervisors.

“People do not like psychological explanations for physical symptoms,” he says. “They want something that’s perceived as real. Many of these patients don’t really believe mental illness will explain their symptoms. They want something tangible, something external like the virus.”

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“What is reasonable and necessary cannot be reasonably read to encompass anything and everything.”

Wisconsin Top Court: Health Agency Lacks Power To Close Schools Over Covid (JTN)

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled against the city of Madison’s public health agency in a dispute over the power to close schools during the pandemic. A top city health official decried Friday’s decision, saying it would put children at risk. “The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that local health officers cannot close schools within their jurisdictions. We are extremely disappointed in the court’s decision, which has much further reaching implications than just this current pandemic,” health director Janel Heinrich said.. “This decision hinders the ability of local health officers in Wisconsin to prevent and contain public health threats for decades to come.”


The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty brought the case. WILL argued that Public Health Madison & Dane County overstepped its bounds by unilaterally ordering all schools, public and private, to close. WILL also argued the order infringed on parents’ rights to decide about their children’s education. Justice Rebecca Bradley wrote the majority opinion, saying Heinrich’s office had relied on an over-generalized reading of state law. “The power to take measures ‘reasonable and necessary’ cannot be reasonably read as an open-ended grant of authority,” Bradley wrote. “If Heinrich’s argument were correct, then the general provision would essentially afford local health officers any powers necessary to limit the spread of communicable diseases. This cannot be. What is reasonable and necessary cannot be reasonably read to encompass anything and everything.”

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One of the main causes of disease and death, also for Covid, and nothing is done about it whatsoever.

Too Fat To Fly: FAA Updates Guidelines As American Obesity Crisis Grows (Fed.)

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is demanding U.S. airlines submit plans with updated weight averages they will use for passengers and baggage moving forward by Saturday. According to the Wall Street Journal, “Airlines officials say the weight estimates used for passengers and baggage are going up between 5 percent and 10 percent.” “That will affect some flights, possibly requiring that more passengers get bumped or more baggage left behind,” the Journal reported. The new guidelines, and likely travel disruptions to come with them, are yet another symptom of American weight gain with no signs of abatement.

While the novel coronavirus — a virus exacerbated by excessive weight where 78 percent of those hospitalized with infection were overweight or obese — should have served as a wake-up call to the decades-long obesity crisis, Americans instead packed on the pounds with apparently little concern. According to a global Ipsos poll in January, two in five Americans reported gaining weight throughout the lockdowns still in place at the time. Those surveyed said they put on an average of more than 14 pounds, putting the U.S. seventh out of 30 countries in terms of pandemic weight gain. Most Americans appeared relatively unbothered by the weight. Less than half said they believed there was a link between obesity and complications from COVID-19 which data determined early on was a major risk contributor.

“Since the pandemic began,” Science Magazine reported in September, “dozens of studies have reported that many of the sickest COVID-19 patients have been people with obesity.” Overweight patients in one study published in August cited by the flagship journal were 113 percent more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 compared to patients of an otherwise healthy weight. Obese patients were found 74 percent more likely to end up in intensive care units (ICU) and 48 percent more likely to die. Pre-pandemic, more than 70 percent of adults 20 years old and older were already overweight with 42 percent categorically “obese” according to the CDC.

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Never has rhetoric been more empty.

Biden Calls For Access To Wuhan Labs (RT)

US President Joe Biden revealed on Sunday that he and other leaders in the G7 spoke about gaining access to the laboratories in Wuhan, China to determine whether Covid-19 was the result of a Chinese experiment gone wrong. During a press conference at the G7 conference in Cornwall, England on Sunday, Biden called on China to start acting “more responsibly in terms of international norms on human rights and transparency.” The president then revealed that one of the concerns he and other leaders at G7 had raised was that “we haven’t had access to the laboratories to determine whether or not” Covid-19 was the result of bats in Chinese marketplaces “interfacing with animals and the environment,” or “an experiment gone awry in a laboratory.”


“I have not reached a conclusion because our intelligence community is not certain yet,” Biden said, adding, however, that it was “important to know the answer” so the international community could predict and prevent another pandemic from happening in the future. “The world has to have access,” he argued, concluding that he and other leaders were trying to figure out a way to gain transparency. Former president Donald Trump has repeatedly argued that Covid-19 came from a Wuhan laboratory, and told podcast host Dan Bongino last month that he had “very, very little doubt” the virus originated from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. In a statement on Thursday, he demanded that China pay $10 trillion in “reparations” to the world for “what they allowed to happen.”

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Biden is outclassed 1000x. He comes with nothing.

Biden-Putin: What’s On The Table (ZH)

There is a lot of optimism and big press regarding the upcoming meeting between Biden and Putin. This will be the first meeting of the two since Biden took that seat behind the lovely desk in the Oval Office. There are many issues on the table for discussion and there is tension and excitement in the political press in both the West and especially in Russia. There is a growing belief that this could be a turning point or at least provide some small nudging of relations in a positive direction. This wishful thinking, although pleasant from a moral standpoint, does not reflect the realities of the current divide between the United States and Russia. This meeting simply cannot provide some sort of new start for relations between the countries and will probably look like a head-nodding and pretending-to-listen fest the likes of which we have never seen before.

Hours worth of hot air will be blown to throw words onto deaf ears with some background posturing to boot. One reason for the Russians to be suspicious of any offers from Washington is simply recent precedent. Over ten years ago when Obama was still full of Hope and Change his feisty new Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with a great big smile presented Foreign Minister Lavrov the infamous Russian Reset Button. The red button had the word “overload” accidentally written on it in place of “reset”. This mistake due to a fake desire to make it seem like Washington cared enough to learn one word of Russian was very telling as during the brief era of the Russian Reset, America’s Soft Power machine was working day and night to organize the Maidan in Kiev.

From a Western perspective this revolution was another piece of evidence that the people of Eastern Europe want nothing to do with naughty Moscow, but from a Russian perspective the Maidan was the beginning of an endless waking nightmare. This all led to the genocidal war in the Donbass breaking out, the return of Neo-Nazism to Europe, and the now official systemic racism that Russian speakers have to endure in the “Zimbabwe of Europe”. After an experience like that, can one really expect any sort of optimism from the Russian side because Biden sort of stepped back a bit on the whole Nord-Stream 2 thing?

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“But Musk walks on water, and he can assert anything, no problem.”

“Tesla Only Sold ~10%” Of Its Bitcoin Holdings: Musk Speaks, Bitcoin Moves (WS)

Why can’t this dude just shut up? That’s what people, including the SEC, want to know. But look, he just can’t. Apparently, no one can take his Twitter account away from Elon Musk, and Tesla isn’t putting it under adult supervision, as the SEC has suggested. So he was at it again today, responding to accusations by Magda Wierzycka, CEO of South African tech and financial services firm Sygnia, that he’d pumped up the price of Bitcoin by tweeting all manner of things, and then “sold a big part of his exposure at the peak.” So yes. Musk acknowledged in his tweet today that Tesla had in fact dumped part of its holdings of Bitcoin, but he argued that it wasn’t a big part, that it had “only sold ~10%” of its Bitcoin holdings.

And he came up with a rationalization why Tesla had dumped 10% of its Bitcoin holdings: “to confirm BTC could be liquidated easily without moving market.” That was a joke apparently. Over the past two months, the price of Bitcoin plunged from about $64,800 to around $33,000 at the low and now hovers at $39,000, after the current Musk-induced spike, with the plunge leaving a big-fat question market over his assertion that Bitcoin could be “liquidated easily without moving market.” But Musk walks on water, and he can assert anything, no problem. The second part of Musk’s tweet contained an effort to pump up the price of BTC by walking back his assertion in May that Tesla would no longer allow customers to pay for vehicles with Bitcoin because of the carbon footprint of Bitcoin mining, which was another one of his Bitcoin 180s.

At the time, that statement had whacked the price of Bitcoin. Bitcoin mining is of course the fiat-currency equivalent of “money printing.” But money printing has a tiny carbon footprint, because it needs just enough electricity to move credits by computer and the internet. You don’t need huge arrays of special mining rigs with special power supply and cooling equipment to print money. So today he tried to walk back his carbon-foot print concern, by tweeting: “When there’s confirmation of reasonable (~50%) clean energy usage by miners with positive future trend, Tesla will resume allowing Bitcoin transactions.”

Read more …

 

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May 172021
 
 May 17, 2021  Posted by at 9:00 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  57 Responses »


Vincent van Gogh Landscape with Couple Walking and Crescent Moon 1890

 

Second Stage Terror Wars (Edward Curtin)
Fear Is the Mind-Killer (Alice)
How To Cure Type 2 Diabetes – Without Medication (G.)
Covid-19 Testing Turns To T Cells (Nature)
Interview with Dr Bhakdi (Schultz)
The 60-Year-Old Scientific Screwup That Helped Covid Kill (Wired)
War of Words Over Inflation Stirs Questions for the Fed (Judy L. Shelton)
Druckenmiller: “There’s Been No Greater Engine Of Inequality Than The Fed” (ZH)
‘$40 Billion’ Robinhood App Tries To Vault SEC Hurdles (NYP)
Italian Port Workers Refuse To Load Arms Shipment Destined For Israel (NA)

 

 

“According to the scientific data…

Vaccinating 300,000 people under 18yo is statistically likely to prevent one COVID death and likely to cause 3 vaccine-reaction deaths.”

 

 

 

 

Testing? That’s so yesterday.

 

 

Must read.

Second Stage Terror Wars (Edward Curtin)

It is well known that the endless US war on terror was overtly launched following the mass murders of September 11, 2001 and the linked anthrax attacks. The invasion of Afghanistan and the Patriot Act were immediately justified by those insider murders, and subsequently the wars against Iraq, Libya, Syria, etc. So too the terrorizing of the American people with constant fear-mongering about imminent Islamic terrorist attacks from abroad that never came. It is less well known that the executive director of the U.S. cover story – the fictional 9/11 Commission Report – was Philip Zelikow, who controlled and shaped the report from start to finish.

It is even less well known that Zelikow, a professor at the University of Virginia, was closely associated with Condoleezza Rice, George W. Bush, Dickey Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Brent Scowcroft, et al. and had served in various key intelligence positions in both the George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush administrations. In 2011 President Obama named him to his President’s Intelligence Advisory Board as befits bi-partisan elite rule and coverup compensation across political parties. Perhaps it’s unknown or just forgotten that The Family Steering Committee for the 9/11 Commission repeatedly called for Zelikow’s removal, claiming that his appointment made a farce of the claim that the Commission was independent. Zelikow said that for the Commission to consider alternative theories to the government’s claims about Osama bin Laden was akin to whacking moles.

This is the man, who at the request of his colleague Condoleezza Rice, became the primary author of (NSS 2002) The National Security Strategy of the United States of America, that declared that the U.S. would no longer abide by international law but was adopting a policy of preemptive war, as declared by George W. Bush at West Point in June 2002. This was used as justification for the attack on Iraq in 2003 and was a rejection of the charter of the United Nations. So, based on Zelikow’s work creating a magic mountain of deception while disregarding so-called molehills, we have had twenty years of American terror wars around the world in which U.S. forces have murdered millions of innocent people. Wars that will be continuing for years to come despite rhetoric to the contrary. The rhetoric is simply propaganda to cover up the increasingly technological and space-based nature of these wars and the use of mercenaries and special forces.

Simultaneously, in a quasi-volte-face, the Biden administration has directed its resources inward toward domestic “terrorists”: that is, anyone who disagrees with its policies. This is especially aimed at those who question the COVID-19 story. Now Zelikow has been named to head a COVID Commission Planning Group based at the University of Virginia that is said to prepare the way for a National COVID Commission. The group is funded by the Schmidt Futures, the Skoll Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation and Stand Together, with more expected to join in.

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“This ideological mass psychosis is religion—not science.”

Fear Is the Mind-Killer (Alice)

Can you imagine what master propagandist Edward Bernays would have done with access to today’s mainstream media conglomerate combined with the global surveillance infrastructure of Big Tech? And you really think that’s not happening now—with another century of psychological, neurological, and technological research under their belts? The present ability to curate reality and coerce obedience is unprecedented, far beyond what Orwell envisioned in 1984, Bradbury in Fahrenheit 451, Huxley in Brave New World, and Burgess in A Clockwork Orange. A textbook example of Problem Reaction Solution, the current tsunami of worldwide hysteria is the latest and potentially most threatening example of mass control in history.

The recipe is simple. Take a naturally occurring phenomenon, say a seasonal virus, and exaggerate its threat far beyond every imagining—despite exhaustive evidence to the contrary. Suppress, silence, ostracize, and demonize every individual who dares present facts that expose the false mono-narrative. Whip up a witches’ brew of anger, envy, and, most importantly, fear, escalating emotions to a boil so as to short-circuit our faculties of reason and logic. Isolate us from one another, supplant real-world interactions with virtual feuds, label nonconformists as a threat to the group, and pump the public with a disinformation campaign designed to confuse and atomize. In essence, foster a cultlike mentality that shuts down thought to guarantee assent.

Cultivate and wield our cognitive biases—especially ingroup bias, conformity bias, and authority bias—against us in a comprehensive divide-and-conquer policy that keeps us too busy squabbling amongst each other to recognize and unite against those corralling us into a Matrix-like collective delusion that enables the powerful to extract our resources for their own gain. This ideological mass psychosis is religion—not science. If this were about science, the Media–Pharmaceutical–Big-Tech complex would not be memory-holing every dissenting voice, vilifying every thought criminal, and censoring every legitimate inquiry in quest of the truth.

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With obesity such a major factor in Covid deaths, two birds with one stone.

How To Cure Type 2 Diabetes – Without Medication (G.)

[..] Modest words for a man whose “useful contribution to society” has given hope to the 3.9m people diagnosed with the condition in the UK and who has shown doctors a new way to fight a disease which causes 185 amputations and 700 premature deaths every week. Now, he wants to go one step further and share everything he has learned directly with the public, in a new book, Your Simple Guide to Reversing Type 2 Diabetes. It’s a 153-page paperback that takes you through the latest research on how the disease develops and explains why rapid weight loss can be so effective at reversing the condition in the early stages – which usually means during the first six years of a diagnosis.

“If people really do want to make it happen, then in the first few years of diagnosis, it’s almost universal that their health can be returned to normal,” says Taylor, who is professor of medicine and metabolism at Newcastle University. In one study, he found that nine out of 10 people with “early” type 2 diabetes were cured after losing more than 2 1/2 st (15kg). The book also explains who is at greatest risk and why some people who have a “normal” Body Mass Index (BMI) develop the disease, when many people who are more overweight – or even obese – do not. Taylor’s “Newcastle” weight loss programme is a clinically proven method of reversing early type 2 diabetes and his approach is currently being rolled out to people with the condition by the NHS. It involves cutting your calorie intake to 700-800 calories a day.

In the book, he explains how the people in his programme managed to do this – typically by consuming only slimming meal shakes and non-starchy vegetables, plus one cup of tea or coffee each day with skimmed milk – lost a life-changing amount of weight in just eight weeks. And how you can do the same, safely, at home. [..] One of Taylor’s most important new discoveries is that everyone has their own fat threshold: an individual level of tolerance for levels of fat in the body. “It’s a personal thing. It’s nothing to do with the sort of information that’s often provided about obesity, which is about average BMI and what the population is doing. The bottom line is, a person will develop type 2 diabetes when they’ve become too heavy for their own body. It doesn’t matter if their BMI is within the ‘normal’ range. They’ve crossed their personal threshold and become unhealthy.”

He is currently in the middle of research to find out whether there’s any way of discovering, via a blood test, when people are heading into this dangerous territory and their fat cells are putting out what he describes as “distress signals”. What we do know already is that our bodies start to have trouble controlling blood sugar when fat can no longer be stored safely under the skin and it spills over into the liver and then the pancreas. If these organs get clogged with fat, they stop functioning properly and that is when you develop type 2 diabetes.

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Does this address only vaccine-related T cells?

Covid-19 Testing Turns To T Cells (Nature)

A diagnostic test based on sequencing long-lived SARS-CoV-2–specific memory T cells provides a complement to antibody testing for determining previous exposure to SARS-CoV-2. Following last month’s US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Emergency Use Authorization for Adaptive Biotechnologies’ T-Detect COVID-19 test, routine T-cell testing has entered a new era. The Adaptive test involves laboratory-based next-generation sequencing to identify T cells that recognize SARS-CoV-2 antigens. The test is not intended for the diagnosis of active infection but is a complement to antibody tests used to confirm recent or previous infections. The lab-based procedure, which has a seven- to ten-day turnaround time, is now authorized for use on samples taken from individuals at least 15 days after the onset of symptoms.

Increasing interest is focused on the role of T-cell immunity in fighting SARS-CoV-2 infection and in providing resistance to re-infection. A new analysis of T cells from people who recovered from COVID-19 has confirmed that they remain active against three of the new SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern: B1.1.7, B.351 and B.1.1.248. The study, conducted by a team from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Singapore-based biotech company ImmunoScape, will further boost confidence that the efficacy of vaccines developed against the original pandemic strain will not be overly compromised as these new variants—and others—spread more widely.

Until now, researchers have mostly relied on the use of lateral flow assay or enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) tests for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies to determine whether a person has been exposed to the virus. Understanding the neutralizing antibody response has been considered central to establishing protection against the virus. “It’s easy to test,” says Andrew Redd of NIAID, who led the recent study. Although critical, antibodies are part of a larger and incompletely understood set of humoral and cellular immune responses, which has received little attention. These include additional antibody functions, such as antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity, complement activation and phagocyte recruitment. Unravelling their contribution to SARS-CoV-2 immunity is an ongoing challenge. “There are assays to do that, it’s just complicated to do,” says Redd.

The same can be said for assaying T-cell-mediated immunity. The NIAID study relied on a complex laboratory test to identify T-cell epitopes specific to SARS-CoV-2, employing a combination of mass cytometry and combinatorial staining of peptide–major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-bound tetramers. The complexity of the assay and data generated necessarily confine the assay to use in specialist laboratories. “The data that it generates are massive. The analysis side of it is a big lift,” Redd says.

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You tell me what you think of the man.

Interview with Dr Bhakdi (Schultz)

According to the UK Government’s figures, more than 1,100 people have died due to an adverse effect caused by one of the vaccines currently being rolled out via Emergency Use Authorisation. But Dr Bhakdi reveals that worse is yet to come, with manufacturers, he says, creating a false sense of security. “It’s so easy to manipulate the nano-particles,” he said. “All you need to do is take out one component, one lipid, and the vaccine will not be taken up by the cells any more. And then you have no side-effects. And you will have a vaccine that is well-tolerated. “That is what’s happening now with the mRNA vaccines, so the AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and Sputnik will be removed from the market. So there will be a monopoly of the mRNA vaccines, which are being backed by Bill Gates.

“This plan was conceived years ago. Once this vaccine gets legally, fully approved, not approved for emergency use, but fully approved, no more risk analysis needs to be done. “Pfizer are going to submit an application for this in June. And the authorities have already released underground information that the approval will probably be given in October. When this happens, it means that every subsequent vaccine is automatically approved. They have to sign no more application, there will be no more trials, no more risk-benefit analysis. No more notification of side effects. “It’s such a nightmare. They can say, ‘well the care homes are overcrowded. India and South Africa…

“You know that with each subsequent vaccine the chances rise that you are going to kill people. That’s why they are starting to vaccinate children – they are going to show that the vaccine is tolerated by children – then they are going to use this wherever they want to. “Once that has come through, these guys have a free hand to do whatever they want, wherever they want. And no one can do anything about it. It’s so horrible. “How can people be so evil? How can people be so ignorant? It’s that combination of evil and ignorance that is making the world a living hell. And the only people who can do anything about it is us because we have to get the world around us to stand up and realise that they are being led to a living hell.

“It’s a devilish plan, satanic. But the very, very small chance we have is that they made a mistake, which was they thought that this vaccination programme would go through smoothly, as they were not aware that the adverse effects would be so severe and so widespread. “This is where they may trip if we can force them to turn back on the vaccination programme. Now there have been legal charges brought against the EU, for nullification against all the vaccines.”

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“Trapped in their group-specific jargon, the two camps on Zoom literally couldn’t understand one another.”

The 60-Year-Old Scientific Screwup That Helped Covid Kill (Wired)

Early one morning, Linsey Marr tiptoed to her dining room table, slipped on a headset, and fired up Zoom. On her computer screen, dozens of familiar faces began to appear. She also saw a few people she didn’t know, including Maria Van Kerkhove, the World Health Organization’s technical lead for Covid-19, and other expert advisers to the WHO. It was just past 1 pm Geneva time on April 3, 2020, but in Blacksburg, Virginia, where Marr lives with her husband and two children, dawn was just beginning to break.

Marr is an aerosol scientist at Virginia Tech and one of the few in the world who also studies infectious diseases. To her, the new coronavirus looked as if it could hang in the air, infecting anyone who breathed in enough of it. For people indoors, that posed a considerable risk. But the WHO didn’t seem to have caught on. Just days before, the organization had tweeted “FACT: #COVID19 is NOT airborne.” That’s why Marr was skipping her usual morning workout to join 35 other aerosol scientists. They were trying to warn the WHO it was making a big mistake.

Over Zoom, they laid out the case. They ticked through a growing list of superspreading events in restaurants, call centers, cruise ships, and a choir rehearsal, instances where people got sick even when they were across the room from a contagious person. The incidents contradicted the WHO’s main safety guidelines of keeping 3 to 6 feet of distance between people and frequent handwashing. If SARS-CoV-2 traveled only in large droplets that immediately fell to the ground, as the WHO was saying, then wouldn’t the distancing and the handwashing have prevented such outbreaks? Infectious air was the more likely culprit, they argued. But the WHO’s experts appeared to be unmoved. If they were going to call Covid-19 airborne, they wanted more direct evidence—proof, which could take months to gather, that the virus was abundant in the air. Meanwhile, thousands of people were falling ill every day.

On the video call, tensions rose. At one point, Lidia Morawska, a revered atmospheric physicist who had arranged the meeting, tried to explain how far infectious particles of different sizes could potentially travel. One of the WHO experts abruptly cut her off, telling her she was wrong, Marr recalls. His rudeness shocked her. “You just don’t argue with Lidia about physics,” she says.

Morawska had spent more than two decades advising a different branch of the WHO on the impacts of air pollution. When it came to flecks of soot and ash belched out by smokestacks and tailpipes, the organization readily accepted the physics she was describing—that particles of many sizes can hang aloft, travel far, and be inhaled. Now, though, the WHO’s advisers seemed to be saying those same laws didn’t apply to virus-laced respiratory particles. To them, the word airborne only applied to particles smaller than 5 microns. Trapped in their group-specific jargon, the two camps on Zoom literally couldn’t understand one another.

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Trump nominated her to the Fed. Her nomination stalled on November 17, 2020, with a 47–50 vote in the Senate.

War of Words Over Inflation Stirs Questions for the Fed (Judy L. Shelton)

Does it make sense, for a nation founded on the notion of individual liberty, equality under the law, and personal property rights, to allow a government agency to manipulate the value of the currency used by its citizens? Would it be better to have a stable monetary foundation to facilitate free-market outcomes, rather than empower the Federal Reserve to distort interest rates and dilute dollars in the service of government policy? It’s not as if we haven’t been here before. The question of whether rules-based monetary stability historically delivers better economic results in terms of increasing middle-class incomes than relying on the discretionary judgment of central bankers has been wholly analyzed and resolved.

In the 2015 Economic Report of the President issued under the Obama administration, a special section describes the period from 1948 to 1973 as the “Age of Shared Growth”—characterized by accelerating labor productivity, falling income inequality, and increased workforce participation. The report makes little mention of the fact that this period of remarkable growth, which increased living standards across all income levels, coincided with the existence of the Bretton Woods international monetary system under which the U.S. dollar was convertible into gold at a fixed price. The report does posit that if post-1973 productivity growth had continued at its pace from those previous 25 years, “incomes would have been 58% higher in 2013” and “the median household would have had an additional $30,000 in income.”

All of which should give pause to those who belittle the uneasiness felt by conservatives who fear that compromising monetary integrity not only violates founding principles but also economic rationality. And it’s not just conservatives per se, but rather an increasingly larger segment of the population expressing concerns about the wisdom of government officials and the correctness of government policies.

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Well, that’s what it’s for.

Druckenmiller: “There’s Been No Greater Engine Of Inequality Than The Fed” (ZH)

After his status-quo-shattering appearance on CNBC this week, during which he warned that “Fed policy is endangering the dollar’s reserve status,” billionaire fund manager Stan Druckenmiller spoke to The USC Marshall Center for Investment Studies’ Student Investment Fund Annual Meeting via Zoom, and shocked the on-lookers with his frank assessment of our current perceptions and realities. After The Bank of Canada sheepishly admitted this week that “some of the monetary policy tools it is using to address the COVID-19 pandemic, such as quantitative easing (QE), could widen wealth inequality,” Druckenmiller drops the proverbial hammer on all the hedged-speak (“could”), and blasts that

“I don’t think there has been a greater engine of inequality than the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States… so hearing the Chairman [Powell] talking about visiting homeless shelters is very rich indeed…” The outspoken fund manager went on to note that “everyone wealthy that I know is making fortunes” because “this guy [Powell] is printing money like there’s no tomorrow” adding that the kids is Harlem are not benefitting from money-printing but wealthy people are, exclaiming that “…for the life of me I can’t understand why the left is so excited about money-printing when all the data shows that the people who benefit from money-printing are rich people.”

“The odds-on bet is that we’re going to have inflation,” he continues: “and inflation is going to hurt poor people, again, a lot more than rich people.” How does this all end? “The asset bubble which [Powell] is blowing up into unbelievable proportions busts before the inflation ever really manifests itself, that’s what happened in the housing bubble in 08/09. We never really got to the inflation because the asset bubble burst… not dis-similar to what happened in 1929.” And Druck reminds us all, “there is no one, no group, that will be hurt more by a bust than the poor… they will be first in line to get screwed.”

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Gasparino.

‘$40 Billion’ Robinhood App Tries To Vault SEC Hurdles (NYP)

It’s a lot of money for a stock-trading app that’s supposedly free. Robinhood is slated to launch an initial public offering before summer’s end that could value the Silicon Valley-based company at $40 billion or more, people close to the underwriting group say. That would make it among the biggest deals of the year – and certainly the most anticipated as the day-trading app became a cultural phenom during the pandemic. A blowout IPO would be remarkable for a company created only in 2013 and which has survived its share of controversies. Last summer, I warned that Robinhood was luring in amateurs stuck at home during the COVID lockdowns who took on day trading as a sport. They would eventually lose their shirts trading stocks on its free and easy-to-use platform, and regulators would pounce.

The party, I predicted, wouldn’t end well and it almost didn’t. Amateur traders are the lifeblood of Robinhood and its user growth, and they lost lots of money on the wrong side of bets. Then came January’s meme – stock controversy, where clearing problems stymied trading of some high-volume stocks on the app, angering customers. The company s business model came under scrutiny. Congress held hearings about the episode following the wild swings in various stocks that traded over the platform, and the IPO that was planned for March was pushed off indefinitely. But for all the noise, the clients just kept coming – and the IPO is back on. The reason is simple, company execs tell me: Robinhood is printing money. Despite the hiccups, Robinhood added some 6 million additional new customers for its crypto platform alone in the first two months of the year.

Now the app’s explosive user growth has investors clamoring for a piece of the action, people close to the deal say. And mind you, underwriters and company officials are quietly calculating their $40 billion valuation for a product that founder Vlad Tenev essentially conjured up in his dorm room.

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While the US still blocks a UN ceasefire resolution.

Italian Port Workers Refuse To Load Arms Shipment Destined For Israel (NA)

A syndicate of port workers in the Italian city of Livorno in Tuscany on Friday protested a weapons and explosives shipment after discovering it was destined for the Israeli port of Ashdod. “The port of Livorno will not be an accomplice in the massacre of the Palestinian people,” said L’Unione Sindacale di Base (USB). The USB added that the ship contained “weapons and explosives that will serve to kill the Palestinian population, already hit by a severe attack this very night, which caused hundreds of civilian victims, including many children”. A report by The Weapon Watch, a Genoa-based NGO that monitors arms shipments in European and Meditteranean ports, informed the syndicate of the destination of the ship and its contents. The NGO urged the Italian government to consider whether it was “suspending some or all Italian military exports to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict areas.”


“The Union on Saturday will also be in the square in Livorno in solidarity with the Palestinian population and to ask for an immediate stop to the bombings on Gaza and a stop to the ‘expropriations’ Palestinian homes that have lived under military occupation for years,” the USB said in a statement. Although the shipment eventually embarked its journey to Naples, as most other port workers continued to load the ship, other Italian workers’ groups have called for increased coordination between port workers to prevent shipment of weapons that could be used to bomb Gaza. Protests took place in various Italian cities this week, following Israeli forces’ attacks against Palestinians in Jerusalem and its escalation on the blockaded Palestinian Gaza Strip.

Read more …

 

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May 022021
 


Pieter Bruegel the Elder The Triumph of Death c1562

 

People In England Urged To Be Patient; Hugging May Soon Be Allowed (G.)
12 Million Possible Adverse Events After Vaccination in UK, Europe, US (BOOM)
Its Your Fear, Nobody Elses (Denninger)
Pfizer Developing Pill To Treat Covid-19, May Hit Market By End Of 2021 (RT)
The Biggest Vaccine Deal in History: EU to Scoop 1.8 Billion Pfizer Shots (GR)
Obesity Increases Risk Of Severe Covid-19, Particularly In Young People (RT)
Ike’s 1950s America Beat The ‘Asian Flu’ With Science & Common Sense (NF)
Covid Lockdowns Cost Countless Jobs, Don’t Appear To Have Saved Lives (NYP)
Florida To Impose Hefty Fines On Tech Giants That Deplatform Politicians (RT)
Twitter Censors Accounts To Spoon-Feed The World Establishment Narratives (RT)
Victoria Nuland Is Now Highest-Ranking Member of US Foreign Service
US Interferes in Mexico’s Phaseout of Glyphosate and GMO Corn (CD)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everything that’s wrong in the world today in one headline. If a government pretends it can “allow” hugging, or not, fire it.

People In England Urged To Be Patient; Hugging May Soon Be Allowed (G.)

People are being urged to remain patient before the next relaxation of Covid lockdown restrictions as there is still a possibility for coronavirus cases to “reignite”, amid reports that family and friends in England could be allowed to hug in just over a fortnight. The success of the vaccine rollout and sharp reduction in coronavirus cases and deaths has led ministers to support the move, according to the Times. If approved, this would mark the first time that people in England have been allowed to have physical contact outside of their household or bubble for more than a year. The government had said it would keep hugging under review as England approaches the third stage of the roadmap out of lockdown on 17 May. It has not yet made a formal announcement on the decision.


However, the former chief scientific adviser Sir Mark Walport warned that “the virus has not gone away” because many UK adults have still not had their first vaccine jab. “We are on the cusp of being able to move to the next step of relaxation; it’s absolutely right that vaccines have been spectacularly successful but not everybody is protected,” Walport, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. “We’ve got 35% of adults who are not vaccinated and 60% who have only had one dose and the truth is the virus has not gone away.” “The mistake that has been made repeatedly, really, is relaxing just slightly too early. What we need to do is get the numbers right down. It’s important that we don’t act as an incubator for variant cases that might be able to resist immunity.”

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Extrapolation.

12 Million Possible Adverse Events After Vaccination in UK, Europe, US (BOOM)

Total Adverse Events reported in the US now number 118,800

Total Adverse Events Reported in the UK now number 725,079

Total Adverse Events Reported in Europe now number 354,177

Total Adverse Events Reported in those three regions = 1,198,056

It is clear that the UK reported numbers of adverse events is far greater proportional to population than those reported in the US and in Europe. If we assume that the UK numbers are, in fact, more accurate as a representation of reported events on a population basis and then extrapolate from those UK rates, then we can guess at the total numbers that may be mis-reported in the US and in Europe. UK Population is 68 Million. Thus the Adverse Events per Million population there is 10,662. BOOM advises readers to sit down now to avoid shock. Such extrapolations reveal a (theoretically possible) Total Adverse Events number to date of almost 8 Million in Europe (where the population is estimated at 741 million) and 3.5 Million in the United States (population 332 million).

This generates a theoretically possible total of over 12 MILLION adverse events in the UK, Europe and the US combined to date. And this is after only 4 – 5 months of so-called “vaccination rollouts”. The Total Adverse Events worldwide may be greater than 20 MILLION already using the same theoretical methodology. Total Deaths worldwide may be of the order 20,000 already (or more). It is estimated that 90% of adverse events are not officially reported. Thus, those numbers may be TEN times higher in reality. The theoretical number of 200 million possible adverse events including deaths is staggering in such a short time frame. Approval for these pharmaceutical products by the US FDA is for emergency use only. The clinical trials conducted in late 2020 were conducted over just a few months.

Thus, they arguably have the status of an experimental vaccine with long term side effect rates unknown. The Nuremberg Code requires an individual’s informed consent before receiving experimental medical interventions. And that principle is in the 1964 Helsinki Declaration, which has been codified at Federal and State level in the USA. Australia has also ratified this declaration as have many other nations. The Declaration of Helsinki is an international document that influences how research is conducted in all countries. The Declaration of Helsinki was born from the history of abuses of human research subjects. Informed consent is one of the hallmarks of ethical research and ensures that individuals can make decisions that are in their best interests. Are people being adequately informed?

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Haemophilus influenzae type B vaccine

“..what none of them care about is relative and absolute risk of both Covid-19 and the shots yet you have to be insane to accept a risk from a shot that is greater than the risk from the disease itself.”

Its Your Fear, Nobody Elses (Denninger)

We knew in March of last year that not everyone was susceptible to severe disease and death. We knew it because a cruise ship full of old, fat, morbid people, of which nearly every cruise ship is on a wildly over-represented basis didn’t have everyone on board drop like flies. Yes, some people got sick and a few died. But nowhere near everyone got sick, and even fewer died. Indeed, only about one in five got sick. We didn’t know why everyone wasn’t susceptible to clinical disease or worse but we knew this factually in March of 2020 yet Fauci, the CDC and indeed many other so-called “experts” intentionally lied and called this a “novel virus” to which everyone was at severe risk of serious disease and death. Nope.

Now we know why; 81% of the population of the planet has cross-immunity which is at least partially protective. None of these “advocates” and so-called “experts” care about how we got that immunity and in fact they deny it exists despite hard, scientific proof. It’s why every single one of us is alive and why we’ve all survived thus far both individually and as a species. Adaptive cross-immunity only comes from your immune system fighting off some infection. We all have done it since we were infants; indeed, the reason breast milk is a superior means of feeding a baby is that the mother passes to her infant a wildly-effective and supercharged bolster of antibodies, a “primer” if you will, in the first feedings which are called “colostrum.” It’s so important that we’ve documented over the years that children fed from the breast are wildly less-likely to get sick, including diseases that can be and sometimes are fatal to said children.

Do these “advocates and experts” propose that we jail, shun, bar from employment or even jail any woman who refuses to feed her child from the breast, or who fails to put in sufficient effort to do so if she finds it difficult or simply inconvenient? Or do we consider it a valid personal choice to reach for the Similac? These people point out that the shots claim to be 90% effective and it sucks if you’re in the 10%. Well, true enough. But what none of them care about is relative and absolute risk of both Covid-19 and the shots yet you have to be insane to accept a risk from a shot that is greater than the risk from the disease itself. That is, VAERS says there are 3,607 deaths associated with these vaccines over four months time, while the next-largest set is for the HIBV vaccine with 1,363.

But the HIB vaccine has been given routinely to children since 1987, a period of 34 years, meaning that said 1,363 associated deaths come to just 40 annually and it is the most-dangerous “next in line”; all others are less so! Note that HIB, prior to vaccination, was approximately three to five times as deadly as Covid-19 generally, killing between 3-6% of all who got it and virtually everyone who got it and died of it was a young child with decades of life ahead of them, not someone in a nursing home where the average life expectancy at admission is six months. Yes, it sucks if you die in a nursing home of Covid-19 but this does not change the fact that 53% of the time if you’re admitted to a nursing home you’re dead of something within the next six months. Dead is dead when you get down to it and we all die exactly once.

If my risk of death over six months time is 53% I’m not especially scared of a virus; yeah, it might get me but the odds are that something will cause my demise over the next 180 days one way or another. Put this up against the Covid shots which are carrying roughly 100 times the risk of associated death for a disease that, if you catch it, is much less likely to kill you in the general sense. Indeed, among healthy persons the risk of death is not 1/5th that of HIB which carries a risk of 1/25 (~4%) but rather approximately 1/50,000, including specifically among children under 18. That is among healthy people Covid-19 is two thousand times less likely to kill you than HIB is to kill a healthy baby.

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Stop the vaccines, there’s no need for them. Or wait: what’s in these pills? Is it ivermectin? With mRNA thrown in? We’ll never know, they’ll claim patent or something.

Pfizer Developing Pill To Treat Covid-19, May Hit Market By End Of 2021 (RT)

Pfizer announced this week that, if development of its pill to treat Covid-19 infection continues at the current pace, and if regulatory approval is quick, the medication could be on the market in the US by the end of 2021.
Pfizer launched an early trial in March of the oral antiviral which tackles Sars-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes Covid-19, by limiting the availability of the enzyme protease which the virus needs to replicate. “If all goes well, and we implement the same speed that we are, and if regulators do the same, and they are, I hope that (it will be available) by the end of the year,” Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said. By limiting the coronavirus’ capacity to self-replicate, the drug would theoretically be able to stave off the worst effects of Covid-19, the so-called ‘cytokine storm’ which overwhelms the human body’s immune system and lands people in the intensive care unit.


With a severely weakened viral enemy, thanks to the Pfizer medication, the human immune system should be able to fight off the infection on its own. According to Mikael Dolsten, Pfizer’s chief scientific officer and president of worldwide research, development, and medical, the new drug could be prescribed “at the first sign of infection, without requiring that patients are hospitalized or in critical care.” The only available antiviral drug authorized for treating Covid-19 at present is Remdesivir, but this must be administered via injection by a healthcare professional. Were Pfizer’s new oral medication to gain regulatory approval, it could be administered at a patient’s local pharmacy, thus freeing up medical resources and reducing hospital visits in the process. “You could get it at home, and that could be a game-changer,” Bourla added. The oral treatment may also be effective against emerging mutations and variants, though more testing is needed to definitively prove this.

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Von der Leyen screwed up bigly so she goes biglier.

The Biggest Vaccine Deal in History: EU to Scoop 1.8 Billion Pfizer Shots (GR)

On Thursday, the European Union is working to finalize a deal with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer-BioNTech for what is called the biggest COVID 19 vaccine deal in the world. The New York Times reports that the deal, which has not been signed just yet, will provide the EU with 1.8 billion vaccines through 2023. This would be the largest vaccine deal in history and it may go a long way in relieving the bloc’s struggling vaccination campaign. Already Pfizer had agreed to provide 300 million doses that the pharmaceutical giant has already promised the EU in a previous agreement. Pfizer and BioNTech agreed to supply an additional 200 million doses of their vaccine in February as well. The process began through extensive personal diplomacy between European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Pfizer’s CEO Albert Bourla.

According to the Times report, von der Leyen and Bourla exchanged countless texts and phone calls for a month before the deal was drafted. The two first came into serious contact in January 2020 before the pace of their interaction picked up in February. Bourla explained in an interview that such conversations with a high ranking government official were not at all uncommon for him Bourla said he and von der Leyen had “developed a deep trust, because we got into deep discussions.” Previously, the EU was reliant on the British drug company AstraZeneca for its supply of vaccines. However, the bloc initiated a lawsuit this week against the company for delays in delivery of the vaccine. AstraZeneca had at one time committed to deliver 120 million vaccine doses by the end of March but in actuality only delivered 29.7 million inoculations by that deadline.

The EU has almost 448 million residents — more than one hundred million more than the US population of 328 million. The relationship hit another snag when it was reported that the AstraZeneca vaccine may be linked to some recipients suffering from blood clots. After the use of the vaccine had been paused by the EU after reports of thrombosis and death in those receiving the vaccine, the drug regulator admitted that it found a “possible link” between the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine and a rare clotting disorder.

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Chronic inflammation.

Obesity Increases Risk Of Severe Covid-19, Particularly In Young People (RT)

People who are overweight are more likely to suffer from serious cases of coronavirus, with the associated risk especially prevalent among those younger than 40, according to a new study. Researchers from Oxford University used data from a database of nearly seven million English patients aged 20 years and older to examine whether there was a correlation between body mass index (BMI) and severe cases of the virus. They found that the likelihood of Covid-19 leading to hospitalization, intensive care unit (ICU) admission and death increased with weight. However, the risk was far greater for overweight patients between the ages of 20 and 39. On the other hand, high BMI did not appear to affect whether those aged 80 to 100 suffered from serious cases of the virus.

People with a BMI above 23 – the upper limit of the health range – are at risk of a more serious infection, while each one-point increase in BMI raises the chances of hospitalization by 5% and of ICU admission by 10%, the study concluded. The findings were published on Thursday in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology journal, and represent one of the largest studies to date on how body weight affects Covid outcomes. The study’s lead author, Carmen Piernas, said that it’s possible that body fat may potentially cause a higher viral load for younger patients, but that more research was needed into the matter. Severe cases among the elderly are likely linked to weakened immune systems or pre-existing conditions, making weight a less noticeable factor.

Piernas and her colleagues noted that their observations could be used to guide public health initiatives aimed at curtailing serious cases of the disease. “Excess weight is a modifiable risk factor, and investment in the treatment of overweight and obesity and long-term preventive strategies could help reduce the severity of Covid-19 disease,” they wrote. Paul Aveyard, a co-author of the study, said that it was “highly plausible” that weight loss reduces the risk of serious coronavirus infection. The research adds to a growing list of scientific literature pointing to a correlation between weight and likelihood of severe Covid-19. A study published last year in Nature found that obesity significantly increased the risk of coronavirus-linked death. People with a BMI over 40 were at 92% higher risk of dying from the virus compared with people with a healthy BMI between 18.5-25.

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Adapted from Niall Ferguson’s new book, “Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe,”

Ike’s 1950s America Beat The ‘Asian Flu’ With Science & Common Sense (NF)

The first cases of Asian flu in the U.S. occurred early in June 1957, among the crews of ships berthed at Newport, R.I. Cases also appeared among the 53,000 boys attending the Boy Scout Jamboree at Valley Forge, Penn. As Scout troops traveled around the country in July and August, they spread the flu. In July there was a massive outbreak in Tangipahoa Parish, La. By the end of the summer, cases had also appeared in California, Ohio, Kentucky and Utah. It was the start of the school year that made the Asian flu an epidemic. The Communicable Disease Center, as the CDC was then called, estimated that approximately 45 million people—about 25% of the population—became infected with the new virus in October and November 1957. Younger people experienced the highest infection rates, from school-age children up to adults age 35-40.

Adults over 65 accounted for 60% of influenza deaths, an abnormally low share. Why were young Americans disproportionately vulnerable to the Asian flu? Part of the explanation is that they had not been as exposed as older Americans to earlier strains of influenza. But the scale and incidence of any contagion are functions of both the properties of the pathogen itself and the structure of the social network that it attacks. The year 1957 was in many ways the dawn of the American teenager. The first baby boomers born after the end of World War II turned 13 the following year. Summer camps, school buses and unprecedented social mingling after school ensured that between September 1957 and March 1958 the proportion of teenagers infected with the virus rose from 5% to 75%.

The policy response of President Dwight Eisenhower could hardly have been more different from the response of 2020. Eisenhower did not declare a state of emergency. There were no state lockdowns and, despite the first wave of teenage illness, no school closures. Sick students simply stayed at home, as they usually did. Work continued more or less uninterrupted. With workplaces open, the Eisenhower administration saw no need to borrow to the hilt to fund transfers and loans to citizens and businesses. The president asked Congress for a mere $2.5 million ($23 million in today’s inflation-adjusted terms) to provide additional support to the Public Health Service. There was a recession that year, but it had little if anything to do with the pandemic. The Congressional Budget Office has described the Asian flu as an event that “might not be distinguishable from the normal variation in economic activity.”

President Eisenhower’s decision to keep the country open in 1957-58 was based on expert advice. When the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) concluded in August 1957 that “there is no practical advantage in the closing of schools or the curtailment of public gatherings as it relates to the spread of this disease,” Eisenhower listened. As a CDC official later recalled: “Measures were generally not taken to close schools, restrict travel, close borders or recommend wearing masks….ASTHO encouraged home care for uncomplicated influenza cases to reduce the hospital burden and recommended limitations on hospital admissions to the sickest patients….Most were advised simply to stay home, rest and drink plenty of water and fruit juices.”

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“By March 8, 2021, for example, New Jersey had recorded 2,656 deaths per 1 million residents, while New York had 2,500 per 1 million residents. South Dakota had 2,149 deaths per 1 million residents, but loose-rules Utah had just 617.”

Covid Lockdowns Cost Countless Jobs, Don’t Appear To Have Saved Lives (NYP)

We’ve locked down the economy instead of the virus. Jobs are recovering slower in New York and other states holding on to stringent COVID-19 restrictions than in states that fully reopened their economies, even though continued lockdown measures don’t appear to be saving lives, an ongoing study by WalletHub shows. Measures like limiting travel, keeping restaurants operating below capacity and leaving non-essential businesses closed have kept unemployment in New York State among the highest in the nation, while states with fewer restrictions are seeing jobs bounce back faster from the pandemic-induced recession, the study shows. Tragically, the data also suggests lockdowns didn’t do much to help save lives throughout the pandemic, while it’s clear that they sent millions to the unemployment line.

WalletHub started ranking states’ lockdowns in May 2020, using a formula that assigns a numerical value to mask mandates, large-gathering limits, school closings, “shelter in place” requirements and other measures put in place to try to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus. The rankings did not account for things like population density, the close quarters in urban households or use of public transportation, all of which play a role in virus transmission. At the beginning of the pandemic, with the metro area besieged by the virus, WalletHub scored New Jersey’s lockdown measures the strictest in the country, followed closely by New York.

On the other end of the rankings, South Dakota, which imposed almost no restrictions, sat on top of the openness ranking, with Utah second. Over the course of the year, states imposed and eased a variety of restrictions in response to the level of virus cases and COVID-19 deaths. Where lockdowns were lifted, unemployment fell, but the restrictions didn’t seem to nudge death rates. By March 8, 2021, for example, New Jersey had recorded 2,656 deaths per 1 million residents, while New York had 2,500 per 1 million residents, according to the Covid Tracking Project. South Dakota had 2,149 deaths per 1 million residents, but loose-rules Utah had just 617.

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“[T]he Constitution does not have an asterisk that says only certain speech is free and protected..”

Florida To Impose Hefty Fines On Tech Giants That Deplatform Politicians (RT)

Florida is expected to become the first state to penalize social media companies for banning politicians from their platforms. Proponents have hailed the bill as a victory for free speech, while critics call it a political ploy. Under SB 7072, tech giants like Facebook and Twitter will be prohibited from “permanently” blacklisting a candidate running for political office. Fines of $250,000 per day will be issued for knowingly deplatforming a candidate for statewide office, while $25,000-per-day fines will be imposed for banning other office-seekers. The bill only applies to platforms with more than 100 million monthly users, and companies will still be allowed to sanction politicians with 14-day suspensions. Individual posts can also be removed if they violate the platform’s guidelines.


The bill passed both houses of Florida’s legislature on Thursday and is expected to be signed into law by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis in the coming days. DeSantis advocated for the new law as part of a pledge to take on the “Big Tech cartel.” In February, he called for measures to be taken against the “monopoly of communications platforms” that “monitor and control” Floridians. State lawmakers who backed the legislation echoed similar sentiments. Republican state Rep. John Snyder said the bill would make it clear to Silicon Valley that they are not the “absolute arbiters of truth.” “[T]he Constitution does not have an asterisk that says only certain speech is free and protected,” he said.

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“I was put into Twitter jail for citing a peer-reviewed scientific paper. Cancel science is real.”

Twitter Censors Accounts To Spoon-Feed The World Establishment Narratives (RT)

It’s one thing to have policies against violence, abuse, and harassment. But in “protecting” users, Twitter is hell-bent on censoring voices that rock the boat, even when all they have tweeted is a peer-reviewed scientific paper. Last week, Simon Goddek, who has a PhD in biotechnology and researches system dynamics, tweeted a link to a scientific study titled, “Is a Mask That Covers the Mouth and Nose Free from Undesirable Side Effects in Everyday Use and Free of Potential Hazards?” Some time later, his account was frozen and he received a notice from Twitter that it would remain frozen until he deleted the offending tweet, and for the 12 hours following that. In his Telegram group, he wrote: “I was put into Twitter jail for citing a peer-reviewed scientific paper. Cancel science is real.

“What’s especially concerning is that I didn’t make any personal comment on the paper’s content. I only said that regarding that paper, masks CAN lead to massive health damages. It’s the conclusion of a scientific piece of work that has been peer-reviewed by at least 2 experts in the field.” According to Twitter, Goddek violated their policy on, “spreading misleading and potentially harmful information related to Covid-19.” The article in question wasn’t even as risqué as others and merely addressed undesirable side effects of mask wearing. How is that “misinformation”? [..] On April 17, Naomi Wolf tweeted she had been locked out of Twitter for the fourth time for sharing a Stanford study, “proving the lack of efficacy of masks.” That study was also peer-reviewed.

This isn’t merely a case of Twitter deciding that Goddek and Wolf were not in the position to be discussing the efficacy or dangers of masks. Twitter is censoring pretty much anything about Covid that doesn’t match the narrative promoted by the WHO, CDC, and other such bodies. Even a well-known epidemiologist has faced Twitter’s wrath. An article in the American Institute for Economic Research noted: “Harvard Professor Martin Kulldorff and co-creator of the Great Barrington Declaration, one of the most cited epidemiologists and infectious -disease experts in the world has been censored by Twitter. His tweet on how not everyone needs a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 was not taken down. He had a warning slapped on it and users have been prevented from liking or retweeting the post.”

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One scary girl.

Victoria Nuland Is Now Highest-Ranking Member of US Foreign Service

On Thursday the US Senate confirmed Victoria Nuland as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, which has been described as the fourth most important position in the State Department. Though as the first three are filled by political appointees and the other by a career foreign service officer, the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs is the highest-ranking member of the US Foreign Service. In an appearance before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in April as part of her confirmation process, she reflected on her thirty-two years in the Foreign Service working for five presidents of both parties and nine secretaries of state. She retailed some of her “historic moments” in that career, among them “working on tough arms control problems and conflicts from Rwanda to Haiti to Bosnia and Kosovo.”

But what she expressed as her last-listed and perhaps proudest moment was, while she served as Deputy Chief of Mission at NATO, the military bloc for the first time activating its Article 5 collective defense clause, which contributed to the now twenty-year-old war in Afghanistan, a comprehensive naval interdiction mission in the Mediterranean Sea (Operation Active Endeavor) and European AWACS flights over the U.S. along with several other missions. A major part of her career has been spent at NATO headquarters: she was Deputy Permanent Representative (ambassador) to NATO from 2000-2003 and Permanent Representative from 2005-2008. In both positions she was instrumental in recruiting military forces from NATO allies and partners for the war in Afghanistan, with NATO military personnel also stationed in Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Pakistan.

At one point 130,000 of the 150,000 foreign troops in the country served under NATO command in the International Security Assistance Force: service members from 54 countries. Never before or since have troops from so many nations fought in a war, much less in one theater of war or one country. She also worked on promoting seven nations to NATO membership at the historic Istanbul, Turkey summit in 2004: Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovenia and Slovakia. All are in Eastern Europe; all but Slovenia were members of the defunct Warsaw Pact; three – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – were Soviet republics. Bulgaria and Romania provided the U.S. and NATO with eight military bases in the following two years. NATO has flown fighter jets from air bases in Latvia and Lithuania for years, in the case of the second nation since 2004.

[..] Yesterday no doubt there was rejoicing and exultation in Kiev. There should have been weeping and gnashing of teeth in the Donbass and Crimea. And grave concern in Moscow. Nuland like her boss Joe Biden may have unfinished business in Ukraine.

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“It is completely unacceptable for U.S. public agencies to be doing the bidding of pesticide corporations like Bayer, who are solely concerned with maintaining their bottom-line profits.”

US Interferes in Mexico’s Phaseout of Glyphosate and GMO Corn (CD)

A coalition of 80 U.S. agricultural, consumer, environmental, public health, and worker groups sent a letter Thursday to key figures in the Biden administration calling for them to “respect Mexico’s sovereignty and refrain from interfering with its right to enact health-protective policies”—specifically, the phaseout of the herbicide glyphosate and the cultivation of genetically modified corn. “Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador quietly rocked the agribusiness world with his New Year’s Eve decree,” Timothy A. Wise of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (ITAP) noted earlier this year. “His administration sent an even stronger aftershock two weeks later, clarifying that the government would also phase out GM corn imports in three years and the ban would include not just corn for human consumption but yellow corn destined primarily for livestock.”

“Mexico imports about 30% of its corn each year, overwhelmingly from the United States,” Wise added. “Almost all of that is yellow corn for animal feed and industrial uses. López Obrador’s commitment to reducing and, by 2024, eliminating such imports reflects his administration’s plan to ramp up Mexican production as part of the campaign to increase self-sufficiency in corn and other key food crops.” The groups’ letter on the Mexican policies and U.S. interference is addressed to recently confirmed U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai. Its lead author is Kristin Schafer, executive director of Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA). “We call on Secretary Vilsack and Trade Representative Tai, as key leaders in the new administration, to respect Mexico’s decision to protect both public health and the integrity of Mexican farming,” Schafer said in a statement.

Read more …

 

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Apr 142021
 


Edgar Degas Leaving the paddock1866
Stolen from Gardner Museum March 18 1990, the single largest art theft in the world. Never recovered

 

Nearly A Quarter Of Registered Covid Deaths Are Not Caused By The Virus (DM)
More Brands Are Putting Money And Clout Behind Covid-19 Vaccine Ads (F.)
Big Pharma Uses Big Tobacco’s Strategy To Defeat Ivermectin (DR)
How Bill Gates Impeded Global Access to Covid Vaccines (TNR)
Russia Accuses US, NATO Of Moving Troops To Its Border (AA)
Biden Urges Russia To De-Escalate Ukraine Tensions In Call With Putin (G.)
Russia Warns US Warships To Stay Far Away From Crimea “For Their Own Good” (ZH)
Biden To Withdraw US Troops From Afghanistan By September 11 (G.)
Joe Biden Is Proceeding With Donald Trump’s Biggest Arms Deal (HuffPo)
The Absentee Vote Logic of the New York Times (RCI)
CNN Staffer Admits Network’s Focus Was To ‘Get Trump Out Of Office’ (Fox)
Crackdown On Cryptocurrencies May Be Coming, Warns Kraken CEO (RT)
Republican Antitrust Bill Would Block All Big Tech Acquisitions (TC)
Mexico’s War on Obesity Sends Junk-Food & Sugary-Drink Giants Scrambling (WS)
Airborne Plastic Pollution ‘Spiralling Around The Globe’ (G.)

 

 

 

 

The indoctrination is so deep that educated people think they’re being objective.
– Noam Chomsky

 

 

We will never ever know the real numbers.

But 50% of under 25s having antibodies doesn’t seem to point to lockdowns as the main “success” factor.

Nearly A Quarter Of Registered Covid Deaths Are Not Caused By The Virus (DM)

Nearly a quarter of registered Covid-19 deaths are now people who are not being killed by the virus, new official figures show as Boris Johnson comes under renewed pressure from Tory backbenchers to end the third lockdown sooner than planned. The latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveals that 23 per cent of coronavirus deaths which are registered are now people who have died ‘with’ the disease rather than ‘from’ an infection. This means that the person who has died will have tested positive for Covid-19 at some point, but that the disease was not recorded as the victim’s primary cause of death on their death certificate. Even though just 23 deaths were announced yesterday, the Prime Minister is continuing to resist calls from his own party to lift all coronavirus curbs ahead of schedule as he warned that cases will rise in the coming weeks as people meet with friends and family in pubs and parks.

Outdoor hospitality and non-essential retail reopened on Monday under the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown. Thousands of people rushed to high streets to splurge their cash on drinks, haircuts and clothes as economists predict a mini-boom fuelled by pent-up demand. However, in his downcast interview with Sky News, Mr Johnson even appeared to dismiss the efficacy of the vaccines his government has been busily rolling out this winter, as he claimed the shutdown – not jabs – had reduced the number of cases, hospitalisations and deaths. ‘It is very, very important for everybody to understand that the reduction in these numbers – in hospitalisations and in deaths and in infections – has not been achieved by the vaccination programme,’ he said.

‘People don’t, I think, appreciate that it’s the lockdown that has been overwhelmingly important in delivering this improvement in the pandemic and in the figures that we’re seeing. So yes of course the vaccination programme has helped, but the bulk of the work in reducing the disease has been done by the lockdown.’ Conservative backbenchers led by Steve Baker, deputy chairman of the Covid Research Group of Tory MPs, have mounted a campaign to get the country opened up sooner than planned.

Boris
https://twitter.com/i/status/1381922550154981377

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A giant PR campaign for Pfizer, that’s all it is, paid for by the state.

More Brands Are Putting Money And Clout Behind Covid-19 Vaccine Ads (F.)

As the Covid-19 vaccine becomes more widely available, well known companies ranging from tech giants to beer brands are rolling out public service announcements to encourage people to get their shot. This past week, The Boston Beer Company debuted a new Sam Adams campaign promoting the vaccine featuring the brand’s “Cousin From Boston” character. The ad—created by the advertising agency Goodby, Silverstein and Partners—shows the “Cousin” getting vaccinated by a real healthcare worker at Fenway Park’s mega site. But right before getting his jab, he passes out from his fear of needles and dreams of the day he can once again meet up with friends at a bar. (Sam Adams is also offering $7 toward a celebratory beer to the first 10,000 people to share proof of vaccination with the hashtag #ShotForSam on social media.)

According to GS&P cofounder Jeff Goodby—the legendary creative behind the iconic “Got Milk” campaign and countless Super Bowl ads—humor is a good way to reach younger audiences, especially after a year as emotionally draining as 2020. “You know what humor did for me is it puts this in perspective,’ Goodby says. “It’s just an inoculation. We’ve had a million of them in our lifetime, and this one is actually for the good of the community around you as well as for yourself and I think we tried to get that across. And it leads to a certain liberation and togetherness. And beer of course, is central to togetherness. One of the great things about getting inoculated is you can drink beer with people.” While Sam Adams went with humor, it wasn’t without first testing the ad to make sure it would be well-received, despite the serious nature of the topic, says Boston Beer Company CMO Lesya Lysyj.

Before introducing the “Cousin” last year, Sam Adams had been taking a more serious tone, even before the pandemic began. “We felt like it was important to show him showing it since he’s so relatable,” Lysyj says. “And if that guy can do it, anybody can do it . . . We did feel like you could put yourself in the shoes of this guy.” Sam Adams isn’t alone in its messaging. In fact The Ad Council—a nonprofit with a long history of collaborating with marketers to create PSAs for a variety of causes—has raised more than $50 million to fund Covid-19 PSAs and other related initiatives with a goal of appealing to a wide audience. To promote mask-wearing, it teamed up with Warner Media and the CDC in February for “Mask Up America,” a PSA featuring characters—from Harry Potter to the Joker to hobbits from Lord of the Rings—all wearing face masks in iconic scenes.

And in March, it released a vaccine PSA featuring former Presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George Bush. Heidi Arthur, the Ad Council’s chief campaign officer, says the Covid-19 vaccine effort is the most complicated initiative undertaken by the organization, which also led polio vaccine efforts in the 1950s. “The amount of change can happen so quickly as the medical community learns more about the efficacy of vaccines and making sure that all of our messages and the content we’re creating is really where the science is because it can get very confusing for people with the flip of a switch,” she says.

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It’s about your money, not your health.

Big Pharma Uses Big Tobacco’s Strategy To Defeat Ivermectin (DR)

The Marlboro Man, as Dr. Mukherjee wrote in his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Emperor of All Maladies, was the most successful smoking icon by 1955. Dr. Mukherjee describes how the Tobacco Industry fought back by twisting science against the public, first by arguing that an association does not prove cause and effect, and later by offering to perform the studies. The tobacco scientists argued that lung cancer was caused by genetics: if you were born with cancer genes, you developed cancer, and if you weren’t, you didn’t get it. Cigarettes might be associated with cancer, but they argued that more studies were needed if one were to actually “prove a causal link” between cigarettes and cancer. The actual cause of lung cancer, the tobacco scientists concluded, was faulty genetics and not cigarettes.

To assist with these studies, the generous Big Tobacco even offered to fund the research by founding the Tobacco Industry Research Committee. The TIRC is described further in The Emperor of All Maladies, a book I strongly recommend everyone read. The author writes how this ingenious strategy kept the tobacco companies in business and record-breaking profits for the next 50 years despite causing many millions of lung cancer deaths. Blurring or confusing the facts as a tactic proved remarkably effective. But by far, the craftiest ruse was for the Tobacco Industry to pretend to embrace the research and set up their own studies. Because by controlling the study design, they could control the outcome. The same strategy is now used against the public in this pandemic.

Their first victim was Hydroxychloroquine, which proved easy to discredit given that Donald Trump sounded unhinged in his praise for the drug. Later studies seemed to reinforce the belief that HCQ was ineffective; however when academic misconduct was found, it threatened to expose the effort. Big Pharma successfully distanced itself when the fraudulent articles were retracted and blamed on lone scientists acting by themselves. Dr. Tess Lawrie is a highly-respected and independent research consultant to the World Health Organization and NHS. Her work is routinely relied upon in the formation of International Practice Guidelines. She has found HCQ to have an effect against the coronavirus. Most tellingly, when Dr. Tess Lawrie performed her independent review of the data on Ivermectin, she removed the Fonseca study, which purported to show no benefit against COVID with Ivermectin use.

Dr. Lawrie explained, “They (The Fonseca Group) didn’t find that much of a difference between Ivermectin and the control arm. But the control arm received HCQ. So basically, there’s a comparison between two fairly active treatments.” Dr. Lawrie explained that there were many reasons to consider HCQ active against the virus. Thus, two patient groups were compared in Fonseca, both of which received effective drugs against COVID-19, and this was not considered a valid controlled trial of Ivermectin. Therefore the study was eliminated from the meta-analysis.

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Stay away from Bill.

How Bill Gates Impeded Global Access to Covid Vaccines (TNR)

In April [2020], Bill Gates launched a bold bid to manage the world’s scientific response to the pandemic. Gates’s Covid-19 ACT-Accelerator expressed a status quo vision for organizing the research, development, manufacture, and distribution of treatments and vaccines. Like other Gates-funded institutions in the public health arena, the Accelerator was a public-private partnership based on charity and industry enticements. Crucially, and in contrast to the C-TAP, the Accelerator enshrined Gates’s long-standing commitment to respecting exclusive intellectual property claims. Its implicit arguments—that intellectual property rights won’t present problems for meeting global demand or ensuring equitable access, and that they must be protected, even during a pandemic—carried the enormous weight of Gates’s reputation as a wise, beneficent, and prophetic leader.


How he’s developed and wielded this influence over two decades is one of the more consequential and underappreciated shapers of the failed global response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Entering year two, this response has been defined by a zero-sum vaccination battle that has left much of the world on the losing side. Gates’s marquee Covid-19 initiative started relatively small. Two days before the WHO declared a pandemic on March 11, 2020, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced something called the Therapeutics Accelerator, a joint initiative with Mastercard and the charity group the Wellcome Trust to identify and develop potential treatments for the novel coronavirus. Doubling as a social branding exercise for a giant of global finance, the Accelerator reflected Gates’s familiar formula of corporate philanthropy, which he has applied to everything from malaria to malnutrition.

In retrospect, it was a strong indicator that Gates’s dedication to monopoly medicine would survive the pandemic, even before he and his foundation’s officers began to say so publicly. This was confirmed when a bigger version of the Accelerator was unveiled the following month at the WHO. The Access to Covid-19 Tools Accelerator, or ACT-Accelerator, was Gates’s bid to organize the development and distribution of everything from therapeutics to testing. The biggest and most consequential arm, COVAX, proposed to subsidize vaccine deals with poor countries through donations by, and sales to, richer ones. The goal was always limited: It aimed to provide vaccines for up to 20 percent of the population in low-to-middle-income countries. After that, governments would largely have to compete on the global market like everyone else. It was a partial demand-side solution to what the movement coalescing around a call for a “people’s vaccine” warned would be a dual crisis of supply and access, with intellectual property at the center of both.

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“Over 40,000 people and 15,000 units of military equipment and weapons will be deployed on Russia’s western border in the near future..”

“In the spring of this year, the joint armed forces of NATO began the largest exercise in the last 30 years, Defender Europe 2021..”

Russia Accuses US, NATO Of Moving Troops To Its Border (AA)

The US is moving its troops to Russia’s borders, a top Russian official said on Tuesday. Over 40,000 people and 15,000 units of military equipment and weapons will be deployed on Russia’s western border in the near future, Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu said in a video conference with other military chiefs in the northern city of Severodvinsk. “In Poland and the Baltic states, US forces are being reinforced … the intensity of aerial reconnaissance has been doubled compared to last year, and the intensity of naval reconnaissance has increased by one-and-a-half times,” he said.


The minister accused the US and its allies of carrying out active military activities “with a clear anti-Russian orientation,” including up to 40 major military training events in Europe every year. “In the spring of this year, the joint armed forces of NATO began the largest exercise in the last 30 years, Defender Europe 2021,” he said. According to Shoygu, Russia redeployed two army and three airborne units to its western border “to counter the threat.”

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This is propaganda theater. It’s very obviously NATO that’s escalating tensions.

Biden Urges Russia To De-Escalate Ukraine Tensions In Call With Putin (G.)

In a phone call with Vladimir Putin, Joe Biden has called on Russia to de-escalate tensions with Ukraine and proposed a summit between the two leaders amid growing concern over a Russian military buildup on Ukraine’s border. The president emphasized the United States’s unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and expressed concern about Russia’s military buildup, the White House said. “President Biden reaffirmed his goal of building a stable and predictable relationship with Russia consistent with US interests, and proposed a summit meeting in a third country in the coming months to discuss the full range of issues facing the United States and Russia.” Biden expressed concern about Russia’s military buildup in the Crimea region of Ukraine and on Ukraine’s border, the White House said in a statement.


It said Biden also made clear that the United States will act “firmly” to defend its national interests in response to Russia’s actions, such as cyber intrusions and election interference. Biden also proposed holding a summit with Putin in a third country in coming months. The phone call came hours after Nato’s secretary general called on Russia to halt its military buildup around Ukraine, describing it as “unjustified, unexplained and deeply concerning”. Flanked by Ukraine’s foreign minister at a press conference on Tuesday morning, Nato’s Jens Stoltenberg said Russia had moved thousands of combat troops to Ukraine’s borders in “the largest massing of Russian troops since the illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014”.

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“The trend in the behavior of the Ukrainian side creates the risk of a resumption of full-scale military action.”

Russia Warns US Warships To Stay Far Away From Crimea “For Their Own Good” (ZH)

At a moment the United States appears poised to send its warships near Ukraine as a strong ‘deterrent message’ against Russian forces built up near the east Ukrainian border, Russia on Tuesday warned that US vessels better stay away from Crimea “for their own good”. A Kremlin statement further called the new US deployment into the Black Sea a serious “provocation” which serves no other purpose but to test Russia’s “strength” and “nerves”. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov issued the Tuesday warning as follows: “There is absolutely nothing for American ships to be doing near our shores, this is purely a provocative action. Provocative in the direct sense of the word: they are testing our strength, playing on our nerves. They will not succeed.”

“We warn the United States that it will be better for them to stay far away from Crimea and our Black Sea coast. It will be for their own good,” he added. It was late last week that Turkey’s foreign ministry confirmed that it’s granted permission for US warships to use the Bosporus and Dardanelles straits to enter the Black Sea. The Pentagon has downplayed the deployment by keeping mostly mum about it, only saying that it’s “routine” for US warships to patrol the Black Sea. The Kremlin has warned that it’s Kiev’s own actions and initial troop build-up in and near Donbass that is risking “broader war” in the region. Days ago Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, “The trend in the behavior of the Ukrainian side creates the risk of a resumption of full-scale military action.”

Russia’s newest warning that US ships better not come near Crimea likely also have in mind Joe Biden’s first words addressing the long-simmering Ukraine crisis issued early in his presidency. He said in a February 26 statement that the US “will never” recognize Russia’s claims over Crimea: The United States does not and will never recognize Russia’s purported annexation of the peninsula, and we will stand with Ukraine against Russia’s aggressive acts. We will continue to work to hold Russia accountable for its abuses and aggression in Ukraine.

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Trump wanted to do it but got obstructed by the Pentagon. So Biden can get all the glory. On 9/11, no less. Oh boy.

“The president has judged that a conditions based approach, which has been the approach of the past two decades, is a recipe for staying in Afghanistan forever.”

No, seriously, that’s not about Trump, it’s about Biden. Don’t try to make this up at home, they have professionals to do it for you.

Biden To Withdraw US Troops From Afghanistan By September 11 (G.)

Joe Biden will withdraw all the remaining US troops from Afghanistan by September 11, the 20th anniversary of the al-Qaida terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, a senior administration official has confirmed. The president is expected to make a formal announcement on Wednesday. There are currently about 2,500 US troops in the country, serving alongside 7,000 other foreign troops as part of a Nato coalition. Most, if not all, Nato allies are likely to withdraw in coordination with the US. “We will remain in lockstep with them as we undergo this operation. We went in together, adjusted together and now we will prepare to leave together,” a US official said. The drawdown of US troops will begin by 1 May, the withdrawal deadline the Trump administration agreed with the Taliban last year, and will be completed by the 9/11 anniversary.

“We went to Afghanistan to deliver justice to those who attacked us on September 11th and to disrupt terrorists seeking to use Afghanistan as a safe haven to attack,” a senior administration official said. “We believe we achieved that objective some years ago. We judge the threat against the homeland now emanating from Afghanistan to be at a level that we can address it, without a persistent military footprint in the country and without remaining at war with the Taliban.” The only remaining US military presence after September 11 this year will be security for the US embassy, a task normally carried out by marines. The Biden administration has said it will negotiate with the Afghan government over the precise security arrangements for the diplomatic mission in Kabul.

About 800,000 US soldiers and other military personnel have served at least once in Afghanistan since the US invasion in 2001, launched in the wake of the September 11 attacks. More than 2,300 have been killed, and 20,000 wounded. The US military orthodoxy until recently has been that any withdrawal from Afghanistan would have to be “conditions based”, meaning it was dependent on the security situation and the threat posed by the Taliban to the democratic and social gains of the past 20 years. The senior US official briefing reporters on the decision said: “The president has judged that a conditions based approach, which has been the approach of the past two decades, is a recipe for staying in Afghanistan forever.”

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“$23.4 billion in sophisticated weaponry”, but only after commitments to human rights.

Joe Biden Is Proceeding With Donald Trump’s Biggest Arms Deal (HuffPo)

President Joe Biden is advancing controversial Trump-era plans to transfer $23.4 billion in sophisticated weaponry to the United Arab Emirates, a State Department spokesperson told HuffPost on Tuesday – despite concerns from influential lawmakers and progressive activists, as well as the Biden administration’s promise to review the package. The news came amid an ongoing lawsuit by a nonprofit group called the New York Center for Foreign Policy Affairs, which echoed criticism of the deal as potentially destabilizing for the Middle East. “While we will not comment on ongoing litigation, we can confirm that that the Administration intends to move forward with these proposed defense sales to the UAE, even as we continue reviewing details and consulting with Emirati officials to ensure we have developed mutual understandings with respect to Emirati obligations before, during, and after delivery,” the spokesperson said.

Last December, nearly all Senate Democrats voted to try and block the sale, citing President Donald Trump’s rushed attempt to push it through and the UAE’s alarming violations of human rights at home and around the region. Biden put the deal – which would give the UAE the F-35 fighter jet, armed drones and associated bombs and missiles — under review shortly after becoming president. The administration has since been vague about that process. The transfers are incredibly complex and will take years to complete, so it was clear that they were not occurring yet. In January, an official told the Wall Street Journal that the UAE sales “were not frozen while they are being examined” – in contrast to Trump-era arms deals for Saudi Arabia, a UAE ally which has also faced growing criticism in Washington.

Still, many observers believed there was an effective pause on the deal and that at some point the administration would offer a public explanation of how it would handle the agreement. Democratic lawmakers and activists, who opposed to the deal because of the UAE’s aggressive activities across the Middle East, wanted to ensure the Biden administration was serious about the review, to the extent of possibly shrinking the package to pressure the Emiratis to respect human rights standards. U.S. officials will continue raising rights and geopolitical concerns with the Emiratis, the State Department spokesperson told HuffPost. “The estimated delivery dates on these sales, if implemented, are scheduled for after 2025 or later. Thus, we anticipate a robust and sustained dialogue with the UAE to [ensure] any defense transfers meet our mutual strategic objectives to build a stronger, interoperable, and more capable security partnership,” the spokesperson wrote in an email.

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“..what of the Times’s cautions over decades that the most common sort of election fraud involves absentee voting?”

The Absentee Vote Logic of the New York Times (RCI)

To pass a law limiting the use of absentee ballots, as Georgia recently did, is no longer to choose a side in a legitimate debate over how to balance ballot integrity and ease of voting. Instead, to express concern about the risk of election fraud is seen as being engaged in a different sort of fraud — an illegitimate effort to disenfranchise the poor and minorities. The New York Times has aggressively insisted the last several months that worries over absentee and mail-in ballots, in particular, are dishonest violations of voting rights. Times staff opinion editor Spencer Bokat-Lindell wrote late in October that “[t]he effort to discredit and discourage mail-in voting” was the “culmination of a decades-long disinformation campaign by the Republican Party and others to suppress votes, especially those cast by Black and Latino Americans.”

Spencer Bokat-Lindell: Times opinion editor: Efforts to discredit mail voting are aimed at suppressing votes, “especially those cast by Black and Latino Americans.” Then what of the Times’s cautions over decades that the most common sort of election fraud involves absentee voting? But what of the Times itself, which for over two decades has warned readers that the most common sort of election fraud involves absentee voting? As recently as September, Times reporters Stephanie Saul and Reid Epstein quoted Richard Hasen, who teaches election law at the University of California, Irvine, saying that “[e]lection fraud in the United States is very rare, but the most common type of such fraud in the United States involves absentee ballots.”

In 2018 operatives working for the Republican candidate for North Carolina’s Ninth Congressional District seat, falsified absentee ballots. Times reporters Alan Blinder and Michael Wines told readers that the state’s long history of election fraud was “under a spotlight.” They quoted lawyer Bill Gilkeson saying that “absentee ballots” were “where the fraud really happens.” In 2019 Blinder wrote, “The Ninth District controversy ranks among the highest-profile examples of modern election fraud,” one that “underscores how absentee ballots remain susceptible to abuse.”

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What comes below fake news on the scale?

CNN Staffer Admits Network’s Focus Was To ‘Get Trump Out Of Office’ (Fox)

A staffer for CNN spoke candidly to an undercover journalist about the political motivations the network had during the 2020 presidential election, boasting the left-leaning outlet helped defeat former President Donald Trump and even calling his own employer “propaganda.” In the first installment of what’s billed as a three-part #ExposeCNN campaign from the right-wing guerilla news outlet Project Veritas, network technical director Charles Chester shed light on how the network wanted to remove its nemesis from the White House and help now-President Biden. “Look at what we did, we got Trump out,” Chester said in a celebratory tone. “I am 100% going to say it. And I 100% believe it that if it wasn’t for CNN, I don’t know that Trump would have got voted out.”

While similar videos are sometimes deceptively edited and taken out of context, many comments made by Chester throughout the video are longer clips that feature him speaking in clear, complete sentences. In a series of sitdowns with an undercover journalist over the past month, Chester — who bragged he was “one step down” from a director — claimed CNN was “creating a story” that questioned Trump’s health that “we didn’t know anything about,” calling it “propaganda” to help remove Trump from office. “Trump was, I don’t know, like shaking his hand or whatever… we brought in like so many medical people to like all tell a story that, like, it was all speculation that he was like neurologically damaged, that he was losing it, he’s unfit to, you know, whatever,” Chester said. “We were creating a story that we didn’t know anything about.”

While Chester claimed CNN wanted to help remove Trump from office, he also said the network wanted to promote the health and fitness of Biden. “We would always show shots of him jogging… him in his aviator shades and like you paint him as a young geriatric,” Chester said of Biden, before dismissing concerns that he wouldn’t make it a full term because he’s a fan of Vice President Kamala Harris. “I think we got him through this term,” Chester said “He’s not going to f—–g die, but I’m OK with that. [Harris] probably could be like a b—-h in like a board meeting and you’d hate her as a boss, but she’s f—–g real and better than what we got regardless.”

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“It would certainly send a message that the government sees this as a superior alternative to their own currency.”

Crackdown On Cryptocurrencies May Be Coming, Warns Kraken CEO (RT)

Governments around the world could start clamping down on the use of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, according to Jesse Powell, the chief executive of the Kraken exchange. “I think there could be some crackdown,” the CEO told CNBC, adding that regulatory uncertainty around crypto isn’t going away anytime soon. Powell’s words follow a recent anti-money laundering rule proposed by the US government that would require people who hold their cryptocurrencies in a private digital wallet to undergo identity checks if they make transactions of $3,000 or more. “Something like that could really hurt crypto and kind of kill the original use case, which was to just make financial services accessible to everyone,” Powell said.


He expressed hopes that “the US and international regulators don’t take too much of a narrow view on this,” noting that “Some other countries, China especially, are taking crypto very seriously and taking a very long-term view.” The chief executive said he feels the US is more “shortsighted” than other nations and is “susceptible” to the pressures of incumbent legacy businesses – in other words, the banks – that “stand to lose from crypto becoming a big deal.” “I also think it might be too late,” Powell added. “Maybe the genie’s out of the bottle and just trying to ban it at this point would make it more attractive. It would certainly send a message that the government sees this as a superior alternative to their own currency.

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The CIA will stop it. Big Tech=Big Intel.

Republican Antitrust Bill Would Block All Big Tech Acquisitions (TC)

There are about to be a lot of antitrust bills taking aim at Big Tech, and here’s one more. Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) rolled out a new bill this week that would take some severe measures to rein in Big Tech’s power, blocking mergers and acquisitions outright. The “Trust-Busting for the Twenty-First Century Act” would ban any acquisitions by companies with a market cap of more than $100 billion, including vertical mergers. The bill also proposes changes that would dramatically heighten the financial pain for companies caught engaging in anti-competitive behavior, forcing any company that loses an antirust suit to forfeit profits made through those business practices.

At its core, Hawley’s legislation would snip some of the red tape around antitrust enforcement by amending the Sherman Act, which made monopolies illegal, and the Clayton Act, which expanded the scope of illegal anti-competitive behavior. The idea is to make it easier for the FTC and other regulators to deem a company’s behavior anti-competitive — a key criticism of the outdated antitrust rules that haven’t kept pace with the realities of the tech industry. The bill isn’t likely to get too far in a Democratic Senate, but it’s not insignificant. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), who chairs the Senate’s antitrust subcommittee, proposed legislation earlier this year that would also create barriers for dominant companies with a habit of scooping up their competitors. Klobuchar’s own ideas for curtailing Big Tech’s power similarly focus on reforming the antitrust laws that have shaped U.S. business for more than a century.

The Republican bill may have some overlap with Democratic proposals, but it still hits some familiar notes from the Trump era of hyperpartisan Big Tech criticism. Hawley slams “woke mega-corporations” in Silicon Valley for exercising too much power over the information and products that Americans consume. While Democrats naturally don’t share that critique, Hawley’s bill makes it clear that antitrust reform targeting Big Tech is one policy area where both political parties could align on the ends, even if they don’t see eye to eye on the why.

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“In Mexico City, the local government has proposed a law that would ban the sale, delivery and distribution of packaged foods with a high caloric and energy content and sugary drinks to children..”

Mexico’s War on Obesity Sends Junk-Food & Sugary-Drink Giants Scrambling (WS)

Since Mexico’s government has passed one of the strictest food labeling laws on the planet in October last year, all soft drinks cans and bottles, bags of chips and other processed food packages must bear black octagonal labels warning of “EXCESS SUGAR”, “EXCESS CALORIES”, “EXCESS SODIUM” or “EXCESS TRANS FATS” — all in big bold letters that are impossible to miss. Many states have also introduced legislation making it much more difficult for retailers to sell junk food and sugary drinks to children. Evidence from other countries suggests that warning labels can be effective. Chile started requiring them in 2016. It also limited cartoon food packaging, prevented schools from selling unhealthy foods, restricted TV adverts, and banned promotional toys.

Over the next two years, sugary drink sales in Chile plunged by 23%. According to one study, the labels reduced the likelihood of people choosing sugary breakfast cereals by 11% and sugary juices by almost 24%. A nightmare for the companies affected. The prospect of something similar transpiring in Mexico, a country almost seven times larger than Chile and that consumes more processed food than any other country in Latin America, unnerved global food and beverage companies. The United States, EU, Canada and Switzerland, home to some of the world’s biggest food companies, tried to derail the new legislation. But to no avail. The arrival of Covid-19, which has proven to be particularly lethal to people with three comorbidities — obesity, diabetes, and hypertension — has strengthened the government’s case and resolve.

Over a dozen of Mexico’s 36 state governments have banned or are in the process of banning the sales of soft drinks and junk food to children. In Mexico City, the local government has proposed a law that would ban the sale, delivery and distribution of packaged foods with a high caloric and energy content and sugary drinks to children. The law will also ban the presence of soft drink vending machines in schools. Mexico’s Senate also recently passed a law that will compel educational authorities to prohibit the sale of foods with low nutritional value and high caloric content in the vicinity of school facilities while promoting the establishment of healthy food outlets. There are also moves afoot to restrict the advertising of foods high in fat, salt, sugar and saturated fats on children’s television channels.

These moves have raised concerns that the government is overstepping its bounds. The business lobby group Coparmex said that banning the sale of junk food and sugary drinks to minors represents a frontal attack on commercial freedom and freedom of choice. It will also have serious economic consequences for businesses in the retail sector. But those consequences are dwarfed by the economic and health impact of widespread obesity. This is particularly true in the time of Covid when the risk of death from the virus is about 10 times higher in countries where more than half of the population is overweight, according to a report released in March by the World Obesity Federation.

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Either our bodies find a way to incorporate plastics, or we’re doomed.

Airborne Plastic Pollution ‘Spiralling Around The Globe’ (G.)

Microplastic pollution is now “spiralling around the globe”, according to a study of airborne plastic particles. The researchers said human pollution has led to a global plastic cycle, akin to natural processes such as the carbon cycle, with plastic moving through the atmosphere, oceans and land. The result is the “plastification” of the planet, said one scientist. The analysis calls plastic pollution one of the most pressing environmental issues of the 21st century. It indicates that the billions of tonnes of plastic discarded into the oceans and land and being broken down into tiny pieces are being thrown back into the air by road traffic and winds over seas and farmland. People are already known to breathe, drink and eat microplastics and the other research suggests levels of pollution will continue to rise rapidly.

The scientists said this “raises questions on the impact of accumulating plastics in the atmosphere on human health. The inhalation of particles can be irritating to lung tissue and lead to serious diseases.” Prof Natalie Mahowald, at Cornell University in the US and part of the research team, said: “What we’re seeing right now is the accumulation of mismanaged plastics just going up. Some people think it’s going to increase by tenfold [per decade]. “But maybe we could solve this before it becomes a huge problem, if we manage our plastics better, before they accumulate in the environment and swirl around everywhere.” She said clearing up ocean plastic could help reduce the amount that gets thrown back up into the atmosphere, and that more biodegradable plastics could be part of the solution.

The research, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, examined airborne microplastics, which have been far less studied than plastic in oceans and rivers. The team had more than 300 samples of airborne microplastics from 11 sites across the western US, the best dataset available globally. These were the basis for atmospheric modelling that estimated the contribution from different sources, the first such study to do so. Virtually none of the airborne microplastics came directly from plastic being discarded in cities and towns, the scientists found, but were the result of road traffic and winds across oceans and farmland whipping up plastic particles already in the environment. “We thought population centres would be a much better source, obviously, but it just didn’t work out that way,” Mahowald said. “Resuspension [of microplastics] makes the most sense with this set of data.”

[..] Microplastic pollution has been detected across the planet, from the summit of Mount Everest to the deepest oceans. The revelation in December of small plastic particles in human placentas was described by scientists as “a matter of great concern”.

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We try to run the Automatic Earth on donations. Since ad revenue has collapsed, you are now not just a reader, but an integral part of the process that builds this site. Thank you for your support.

 

 

 

 

Mick Jagger’s take on Covid. Easy Sleazy. With Dave Grohl.

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in virustime. Click at the top of the sidebars to donate with Paypal and Patreon.

 

Mar 092021
 
 March 9, 2021  Posted by at 9:58 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  40 Responses »


Keith Haring Untitled 1983

 

Overweight, Obese Americans Make Up 8 in 10 Covid Hospitalizations (F.)
Mutant COVID Strains In Florida, New York Threaten US Recovery – BofA (ZH)
Covid Outbreak In BC Care Home Where Residents, Staff Already Vaccinated (CBC)
Fully Vaccinated People Can Gather Without Masks – CDC (AP)
CDC About To Be Canceled By Google and Facebook for COVID Heresy (Black)
US Says Russia-Backed Outlets Spread Covid Vaccine ‘Disinformation’ (CNBC)
Propaganda About ‘Vaccine Disinformation’ Is Just Another Russiagate (Malic)
Pfizer Seeks Sovereign Assets As Collateral For Vaccine Injury Lawsuits (TN)
Brazil Supreme Court Ruling Annuls Ex-President Lula’s Convictions (RT)
UK Supported Coup In Bolivia To Gain Access To Its ‘White Gold’ (DUK)
The Prophet Of The Trump Era (Taibbi)
Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Kaboom (Kunstler)
The Past Is Another Country – Enforcing Orthodoxy (Lawrence)
The Self-silencing Majority (Bari Weiss)

 

 

People say the Burger King International Women’s Day campaign “backfired”. But I’m thinking: look at all the free publicity they’re getting.

 

 

 

Burger King gets a lot more attention than the president.

 

 

 

Where’s the huge nationwide campaign to prevent this?

Overweight, Obese Americans Make Up 8 in 10 Covid Hospitalizations (F.)

Nearly 8 in 10 people who were hospitalized for coronavirus were either overweight or obese, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study released Monday, which also found a higher body mass index is associated with serious coronavirus outcomes, such as hospitalization, being placed on a ventilator and even death. The study found obese patients with BMIs higher than 30 made up about half of all coronavirus hospital admissions between March and December of 2020. Overweight patients, or people with BMIs higher than 25 but lower than 30, accounted for 28.3% of hospitalized coronavirus patients during the same time frame.

Researchers also found an association between BMI and patients requiring admission to an intensive care unit, invasive mechanical ventilation and death, especially in people aged 65 and older. According to the CDC, obesity may contribute to serious coronavirus illness because excess weight impairs lung function and may also disrupt the body’s immune system. The CDC study looked at 71,491 coronavirus patients who tested positive for the virus during emergency room or inpatient visits at 238 American hospitals that tracked patients’ height and weight. 42.4%. That’s how much of the U.S. population is considered obese based on BMI, according to a 2018 CDC study, the most recent of its kind.

Black and Hispanic Americans, whose communities have been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus pandemic, are also more likely to live with obesity. Nearly 40% of Black adults reported having a BMI of higher than 30, followed by Hispanics (33.8%) and Whites (29.9%), according to CDC data from 2017-2019. Last week, the World Obesity Federation released a study based on Johns Hopkins University data that found “a dramatic correlation” between obesity rates and international death rates. Countries like the U.S. and U.K, where more than half of the population is classified as either overweight or obese, see more deaths per capita. Meanwhile, Vietnam, the country with the world’s lowest coronavirus death rate, has an adult obesity rate of only 18.3%, the second-lowest globally.

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Because bankers are experts on diseases.

Mutant COVID Strains In Florida, New York Threaten US Recovery – BofA (ZH)

Dr. Fauci and other health experts are warning about the prospect of a “4th wave” of COVID infections as mutated strains of the virus comprise a growing share of new COVID infections in the US, even as the JNJ one-shot vaccine promises to accelerate the pace of vaccinations. Worries about spreading mutant strains are being amplified by research showing that B.1.1.7 (first identified in the UK, also known as the “Kent” strain, after where it was first isolated and identified) might be on the cusp of becoming the most prevalent strain in the US. According to research cited in a note published Monday by a team of researchers at BofA, Florida is on the cusp of seeing the UK variant become the “dominant” strain in the state.


And although hospitalizations, new cases and deaths have slowed in the Sunshine State, researchers are concerned that the variants are slowing the ebb of the pandemic in the state – and could possibly supercharge it. Cases and hospitalizations are still slowing in the state, just not as quickly as they were in January. The team of analysts at BofA said these trends have raised concerns about Florida becoming a bellwether state for the spread of the new variants, which many fear could surge as states from Texas to Connecticut move to loosen at least some (or in Texas’s case, practically all) virus-related restrictions. The fact that the state’s positivity ratio has declined since the start of the year suggests that the virus truly is receding (in other words, the lower case numbers aren’t due to solely to a pullback in testing).

Perhaps counterintuitively, the analysts at BofA are worried that the UK variant might not be as dominant in Florida as they believe. They also gamed out two additional scenarios that they said would lead to a greater outlook. “We see three possible explanations for Florida’s continued improvement. First, the spread of the new variant might not be as far along as estimated. So the old variant might still be contracting off a much larger base, while the new variant is growing off a small base. This would not be good news as it would suggest an imminent increase in cases as the new variant continues to spread.


Second, vaccines might be more effective at containing the virus than we thought, by making both vaccinated people and their close contacts less vulnerable. This would be good news because the cumulative effect of vaccines should increase quickly as the roll-out gains momentum. The third explanation, which is least likely in our view, is that the B.1.1.7 variant is significantly less contagious than widely estimated. This would probably be the best news of all.”

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Lovely.

Covid Outbreak In BC Care Home Where Residents, Staff Already Vaccinated (CBC)

A new outbreak of COVID-19 has been declared at the Cottonwoods Care Centre in the Interior Health region where staff and residents had already received vaccines, B.C’s provincial health officer announced Monday. In a live news conference, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said being vaccinated doesn’t mean transmission will be stopped and that precautions must remain in place for seniors and care homes. “You can have transmission even when people are fully vaccinated,” she said. “The illness seems to be milder and doesn’t transmit as much [and we] won’t see rapid explosive outbreaks.”


Two staff members and 10 residents have tested positive at the Cottonwoods long-term care facility in Kelowna which has 221 publicly-funded beds. Henry said that all staff and residents at the home were offered immunizations and that there was very high uptake of the vaccine. She said some of the cases were among people who had received two doses of the vaccine. “This serves to remind us that while we are confident is very effective and prevents severe illness and death it doesn’t necessarily mean that all transmission will be stopped.” Henry added the province will give new guidance by the end of month that will allow for increased visits at long-term care centres.

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The CDC is on a roll: fresh from reporting that facemasks prevent 1.32% of infections, ignores outbreaks like the one in BC, and also ignores the WHO stating we have no idea if vaccines reduce transmission.

But let us, in turn, NOT ignore how dangerous it is to discriminate against people who are simply not infected.

Fully Vaccinated People Can Gather Without Masks – CDC (AP)

Fully vaccinated Americans can gather with other vaccinated people indoors without wearing a mask or social distancing, according to long-awaited guidance from federal health officials. The recommendations also say that vaccinated people can come together in the same way — in a single household — with people considered at low-risk for severe disease, such as in the case of vaccinated grandparents visiting healthy children and grandchildren. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the guidance Monday. The guidance is designed to address a growing demand, as more adults have been getting vaccinated and wondering if it gives them greater freedom to visit family members, travel, or do other things like they did before the COVID-19 pandemic swept the world last year.

“With more and more people vaccinated each day, we are starting to turn a corner,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky. During a press briefing Monday, she called the guidance a “first step” toward restoring normalcy in how people come together. She said more activities would be ok’d for vaccinated individuals once caseloads and deaths decline, more Americans are vaccinated, and as more science emerges on the ability of those who have been vaccinated to get and spread the virus. The CDC is continuing to recommend that fully vaccinated people still wear well-fitted masks, avoid large gatherings, and physically distance themselves from others when out in public. The CDC also advised vaccinated people to get tested if they develop symptoms that could be related to COVID-19.

The CDC guidance did not speak to people who may have gained some level of immunity from being infected, and recovering from, the coronavirus. Officials say a person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the last required dose of vaccine. About 31 million Americans — or only about 9% of the U.S. population — have been fully vaccinated with a federally authorized COVID-19 vaccine so far, according to the CDC.

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“..the difference between mask mandates and no mask mandate is literally just a 1.32% difference..”

CDC About To Be Canceled By Google and Facebook for COVID Heresy (Black)

On Friday afternoon, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (still called the CDC, even though they added a ‘P’) released a heretical report about mask-wearing and COVID-19. The report, authored by at least a dozen medical doctors, PhD researchers, and, bizarrely, a handful of attorneys, examined how mask mandates across the US affected COVID cases and death rates. You’d think with all of the media propaganda about mask effectiveness… and all the virtue signaling, with politicians and reporters appearing on live TV wearing masks… that the data would prove incontrovertibly and overwhelmingly that masks have saved the world. But that’s not what the report says. According to the CDC’s analysis, between March 1 and December 31 last year, statewide mask mandates were in effect in 2,313 of the 3,142 counties in the United States.

And, looking at the county-by-county data, the CDC concludes that mask mandates were associated with an average 1.32% decrease in the growth rates of COVID-19 cases and deaths during the first 100 days after the mask policy was implemented. Wait, what? Only 1.32%? You read that correctly, they didn’t misplace the decimal: according to the federal government agency that is responsible for managing the COVID-1984 pandemic, the difference between mask mandates and no mask mandate is literally just a 1.32% difference. And bear in mind, it’s entirely possible that the real figure is even lower than that, given all the questionable COVID statistics. For example, the CDC reports that influenza cases in the United States have dropped to almost zero in the 2020-2021 flu season, down from 56 MILLION the previous year.

It’s amazing they expect anyone to take this data seriously. Are we honestly supposed to believe that the flu has been eradicated? Or is it possible, that, maybe just maybe, at least some influenza cases have been misdiagnosed as COVID? If that’s the case, then the real impact of masks on COVID growth rates is potentially much lower than 1.32%. Even the CDC seems to understand this, because at the end of its report, they inspidly conclude by stating that mask mandates “have the potential to slow the spread of COVID-19. . .” Really? “Potential”? That’s HERESY! And an obvious contradiction to WHO guidance. It makes we wonder whether Google and Facebook are gearing up to censor this report, given they have self-appointed themselves as the Ministry of Truth.

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Why does the Kremlin bother to deny this?

US Says Russia-Backed Outlets Spread Covid Vaccine ‘Disinformation’ (CNBC)

The United States has identified three online publications directed by Russia’s intelligence services that it says are seeking to undermine Covid-19 vaccines produced by Pfizer and Moderna, a State Department spokeswoman said on Sunday. The outlets “spread many types of disinformation, including about both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, as well as international organizations, military conflicts, protests, and any divisive issue that they can exploit,” the spokeswoman said. The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) first reported on the identification of the alleged campaign on Sunday. A Kremlin spokesman denied the U.S. claim Russia was spreading false information about vaccines to the WSJ.


[..] Russia approved its Sputnik V vaccine in August, before a large-scale trial had begun, saying it was the first country to do so for a Covid-19 shot. Peer-reviewed trials months later proved it was almost 92% effective in fighting the virus. Pfizer, headquartered in New York, and Germany’s BioNTech, produced the first vaccine that was authorized in the United States, which regulators approved in December. The second, made by Moderna, headquartered in Massachusetts, was authorized later that month. The State Department’s Global Engagement Center, set up to counter propaganda and disinformation campaigns, identified the three outlets, the spokeswoman said.

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Well, obviously.

Propaganda About ‘Vaccine Disinformation’ Is Just Another Russiagate (Malic)

By accusing Moscow of spreading disinformation about Covid-19 vaccines, US propagandists that spread the original ‘Russiagate’ conspiracy are doing it again, stoking fear and hatred and projecting amid a pandemic. Over the weekend, the Wall Street Journal quoted an unnamed State Department official to claim that Russia is using four websites “linked to” intelligence agencies to “inject false narratives” about Western vaccines against Covid-19 that “can be amplified” by other media. Asked about this on Monday, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the Biden administration is “monitoring” and “taking steps to address” these efforts. Meanwhile, the WSJ report was being, well, amplified on Twitter by prolific influencers declaring the alleged Russian behavior to be a “crime against humanity.”

Thing is, all of this amounts to a disinformation and influence operation itself – by the very methodology the people involved are using. The WSJ source is someone from the Global Engagement Center, set up in 2016 as a propaganda shop against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) terrorists, which was later expanded to advancing “fact-based narratives that support United States allies and interests” and countering “Russian disinformation.” The claim that the four websites were Russian spy cutouts was “a result of a joint interagency conclusion,” the Journal cited an unnamed State Department spokesman as saying. In other words, just like the infamous ‘Intelligence Community Assessment’ that made Russiagate official.

The WSJ article also previews a “report” – published Monday – by the Alliance For Securing Democracy, a project of the German Marshall Fund NGO notorious for their ‘Hamilton68 dashboard’ that promoted and amplified Russiagate by seeing ‘Kremlin bots and trolls’ everywhere. Now we’re getting somewhere! Except the report itself ends up being full of qualifications, weasel-words and hair-splitting parsing of how certain headlines in the media are “coded,” in an effort to, well, promote a narrative. ASD analyzed tweets – of course they did – from Russian, Chinese and Iranian media and concluded that “there were few instances of any studied country promoting verifiably false information about vaccines” but that reports about certain Western vaccines “were often sensationalized while downplaying or completely omitting key contextual information.”

Keep in mind that demanding “context” is a favorite trick of so-called fact-checkers to argue that something is false even when factually true. As ASD itself admits, Russia, China and Iran sought to persuade their own public that their vaccines were “safer, more effective, and more affordable than certain vaccines produced in the West.” Except, that’s what clinical trial results published in reputable Western medical journals such as Lancet literally say when it comes to Sputnik V. Doesn’t matter, it’s now “disinformation” to point out facts that the Russian vaccine costs less than the mRNA vaccines made in the West, or doesn’t require their expensive cold storage.

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It’s like a CIA operation.

Pfizer Seeks Sovereign Assets As Collateral For Vaccine Injury Lawsuits (TN)

As reported by New Delhi-based World Is One News (WION), Pfizer is demanding countries put up sovereign assets as collateral for expected vaccine injury lawsuits resulting from its COVID-19 inoculation. In other words, it wants governments to guarantee the company will be compensated for any expenses resulting from injury lawsuits against it. WION reports that Argentina and Brazil have rejected Pfizer’s demands. Initially, the company demanded indemnification legislation to be enacted, such as that which it enjoys in the U.S. Argentina proposed legislation that would restrict Pfizer’s financial responsibility for injuries to those resulting from negligence or malice. Pfizer rejected the proposal. It also rejected a rewritten proposal that included a clearer definition of negligence.

Pfizer then demanded the Argentinian government put up sovereign assets — including its bank reserves, military bases and embassy buildings — as collateral. Argentina refused. A similar situation occurred in Brazil. Pfizer demanded Brazil: • “Waive sovereignty of its assets abroad in favor of Pfizer” • Not apply its domestic laws to the company • Not penalize Pfizer for vaccine delivery delays • Exempt Pfizer from all civil liability for side effects. Brazil rejected Pfizer’s demands, calling them “abusive.” As noted by WION, Pfizer developed its vaccine with the help of government funding, and now it — a private company — is demanding governments hand over sovereign assets to ensure the company won’t lose a dime if its product injures people, even if those injuries are the result of negligent company practices, fraud or malice.

[..] In the U.S., vaccine makers already enjoy full indemnity against injuries occurring from this or any other pandemic vaccine under the PREP Act. If you’re injured, you’d have to file a compensation claim with the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program (CICP),6 which is funded by U.S. taxpayers via Congressional appropriation to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). While similar to the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP), which applies to nonpandemic vaccines, the CICP is even less generous when it comes to compensation. For example, while the NVICP pays some of the costs associated with any given claim, the CICP does not. This means you’ll also be responsible for attorney fees and expert witness fees.

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Well, the rich got rid of him anyway.

Brazil Supreme Court Ruling Annuls Ex-President Lula’s Convictions (RT)

A Brazilian Supreme Court judge has cancelled all sentences against the country’s former leftist president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, restoring his political rights to run again for office ahead of next year’s election.
Supreme Court judge Edson Fachin ruled on Monday that the 13th Federal Court of Curitiba, which had convicted Lula of money laundering and corruption, actually had no jurisdiction over the cases. The judge annulled all sentences handed to the 75-year-old in relation to ‘Operation Lava Jato’ (Car Wash) – a major anti-graft investigation in which three ex-presidents and numerous officials were indicted. Monday’s ruling means that Lula’s political rights have been restored, making him eligible to run against Brazil’s current leader, Jair Bolsonaro, in the presidential election in 2022.


The country’s so-called ‘Clean Record Act’ bars those with convictions from holding public office, a measure which already cost the veteran politician a spot in the 2018 presidential race. The judge’s decision was procedural and didn’t focus on the validity of the earlier cases against Lula. A lower court will now have to decide if he should be retried on those charges. Brazil’s Prosecutor General, Augusto Aras, has already announced that he intends to appeal the Supreme Court ruling. Lula served as Brazil’s president between 2003 and 2011, a period of rapid economic growth for the country which saw millions getting out of poverty through social welfare programs.

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Lithium.

UK Supported Coup In Bolivia To Gain Access To Its ‘White Gold’ (DUK)

On 10 November 2019, after the head of the army called for his resignation, Bolivia’s socialist president, Evo Morales, stepped down. It followed weeks of protests after the release of a report by the Organisation of American States (OAS) alleging irregularities in the election Morales had won the previous month. Persecution from the new regime forced Morales to flee the country and an “interim president”, Jeanine Áñez, was installed. Widely condemned as a coup, resulting protests were met with lethal force. Days after taking power, on 14 November, the Áñez regime forced through Decree 4078 which gave immunity to the military for any actions taken in “the defence of society and maintenance of public order”. The following day, on 15 November, Bolivian military forces shot and killed eight protesters in the city of Sacaba.

On 21 November, regime forces killed another 10 protesters in the neighbourhood of Senkata just outside the capital La Paz. Despite the deadly violence, which was condemned by human rights groups, the British embassy in La Paz moved quickly to support Bolivia’s new regime, Declassified can reveal from documents we have obtained. We have seen a project list for a Foreign Office programme in Bolivia called “Frontline Diplomatic Enabling Activity”, which the UK government describes as a “small pot of money that [embassies] receive and have authority over to spend on projects supporting [embassy] activity”. Bolivia has the world’s second-largest reserves of lithium, a metal that is used to make batteries and which has become increasingly important due to the burgeoning electric car industry.

The UK government has stated that lithium battery technology is a priority for its “industrial strategy”. In June 2019, it announced it was investing £23-million in “electric car battery development”. The government has further noted: “It’s estimated that South America holds 54% of the world’s lithium resources, which are increasingly in demand to manufacture batteries for electric vehicles and energy diversification programmes.” It added: “The UK aims to have a thriving, sustainable battery industry, which would translate to a £2.7 billion opportunity … and our bilateral partnerships are essential to ensure this.”

In February 2019, Evo Morales’ government had chosen a Chinese consortium to be its strategic partner on a new $2.3-billion lithium project which would focus on production from the Coipasa and Pastos Grandes salars (salt flats under which the lithium is deposited). But after the coup, the regime’s new minister for mining cast doubt on whether the deal would be honoured by the new government.

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“Kids ran around him like he was a shrubbery.”

The Prophet Of The Trump Era (Taibbi)

I entered Martin Gurri’s world on August 1, 2015. Though I hadn’t read The Revolt of the Public, at the time a little-known book by the former CIA analyst of open news sources, I hit a disorienting moment of a type he’d described in his opening chapter. There are times, he wrote, “when tomorrow no longer resembles yesterday… the compass cracks, by which we navigate existence. We are lost at sea.” Gurri’s book is about how popular uprisings are triggered by collapses of faith in traditional hierarchies of power. I felt such a collapse that day in Waterloo, Iowa, covering the Republican presidential primary. The first debate was five days away and the man expected to occupy center stage, Donald Trump, held a seemingly inexplicable six-point lead.

Two weeks before, on July 18th, Trump lashed out against former Republican nominee John McCain. Even McCain’s critics considered his physical and mental scars from years as a Vietnam war prisoner to be unassailable proofs of his patriotic gravitas, but the service-evading Trump was having none of it. “I don’t like losers,” he said, adding, “He’s only a war hero because he was captured.” It was the universal belief among colleagues in campaign journalism that this was an unsurvivable gaffe, a “Dean scream” moment. We expected him to apologize and wash out. Instead, he called McCain a “dummy” and kept a firm grasp on the lead.

A different candidate, New Jersey governor Chris Christie, was in Waterloo. Two years before, Time all but dubbed Christie the favorite for 2016 with a silhouette cover portrait, over the nastily shallow (but publicity-generating) double-entendre headline, THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM. Christie was every Washington consultant’s idea of a “crossover” superstar. I’d describe the concept in Rolling Stone as someone “mean enough for the right-wing, but also knows a gay person or once read a French novel.” Christie parked himself in the middle of Waterloo’s annual “Irish fest” street fair, waiting for an Iowan to ask for a souvenir campaign handshake. He had his hand out and thumb stuck upwards, like an Iguanodon. Nobody came. Kids ran around him like he was a shrubbery.

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“Even the news media may seek to know who is actually in charge of the executive branch before much longer..”

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Kaboom (Kunstler)

One-time $1,400 handouts and even regular $300 unemployment subsidies won’t pay the mortgages or feed families very long, and every day there are fewer families bringing in anything close to that mythical $150,000. For many, it’s more like… nothing. The one-time bailouts of recklessly insolvent city and state governments and pension funds will only postpone their collapse. The varying guaranteed basic income schemes, enhanced child credits, advances on tax refunds, and other gimmicks would turn the former working class into sub-lumpenproles with nothing to occupy them but crime and vice. In fact, we already have a sizable underclass demonstrating exactly what you’ll get from enlarging the social group dependent on government support.

The only other question for now is when do the different population groups in this land explode in violence? The group loosely bundled as “Red” is angry enough with the ongoing insults of Wokery, failed rule-of-law, and abridgments of basic constitutional rights. The states where they dominate are likely to resist any more fiats by the federal government, like the imminent attempt to confiscate firearms. The “Blue” auxiliary armies are beyond their creators’ control. Antifa will be ready to rock-and-roll in the streets with good weather because so many young people have absolutely no prospects to thrive in the collapsing economy, and the streets have become their social space, with so little money for lattes and beers. And BLM need look no further than the Derrick Chauvin trial in Minnesota, starting today, for an excuse to resume its characteristic activities.

Does anyone seriously believe that the husk of Joe Biden will remain in office more than another few weeks? It’s obvious that he doesn’t have the mental mojo to work an authentic press conference, and surely not the customary address to a joint session of Congress. Even the news media may seek to know who is actually in charge of the executive branch before much longer. Pay close attention to events unspooling. Get ready for trouble. It’s coming every which way, from money to public order to rollicking spring weather.

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This is our exceptionalist consciousness at work: “It can’t happen here..”

The Past Is Another Country – Enforcing Orthodoxy (Lawrence)

To censor is an act of deprivation, a taking away. To enforce an intolerant orthodoxy is an act of imposition. The two cannot be understood separately from one another.

[..] It is time, then, to sit up and look squarely at the grave threats with which a creeping, apple-pie authoritarianism now faces us. Censorship and its sibling, official propaganda, have lately come to imperil our civil liberties, our civil rights — especially our right to express ourselves freely— and altogether our right to knowledge, our right to understand the world we live in and the events that shape it, and at last our right to shape those events. Compared to these, the supposed threats of the Jan. 6 protests on Capitol Hill and the running, no-evidence business of the Russians having intruded into hundreds of corporate and government computer systems are nothing. Numerous are the voices raised in opposition to this menacing, corrosive drift in America. But too few grasp the gravity of our shared predicament.

Complacency — complacency induced by propaganda, indeed — is another of our urgent problems. One can read in any history book about suppression and repression and the incessant repetition of officially approved perspectives to the exclusion of all dissenting views. But the past is another country in the American mind, ever distant. Such circumstances are supposed to befall others but never Americans. We customarily identify grim polities of this kind and blighted pubic space with the Soviets, or the Latin American dictators, or the too-numerous-to-name despotic regimes that fill history texts. This is our exceptionalist consciousness at work: “It can’t happen here,” as Sinclair Lewis titled the anti-fascist novel he published — note the date — in 1935.

It has not happened here — let us not succumb to language inflation — but we are now on notice that it can. Overcoming exceptionalism, even among those who purport to reject its ideology, is where the project must begin. When we are sitting up, we owe it to ourselves and those around us to get up. If we are to defend our rights as just enumerated, it is up to each of us to act. And taking part in a patently broken electoral system — this is my personal view —can no longer be considered acting: It amounts to acquiescing. “Aux armes, citoyens!” is a thought I leave to other sorts of columnists. My salutation is simpler: “Arise!” will do. We had better wake up, this is to say, if we are to avert a very dark age and reinvent the country and its institutions—which, forget about reform or restoration, is what must be considered the imperative now.

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Why she left the NYT.

The Self-silencing Majority (Bari Weiss)

I was born in 1984, which puts me among the last generation born into America before the phrase “cancel culture” existed. That world I was born into was liberal. I don’t mean that in the partisan sense, but in the classical and therefore the most capacious sense of that word. It was a liberal consensus shared by liberals and conservatives, Republicans and Democrats. The consensus view relied on a few foundational truths that seemed as obvious as the blue of the sky: the belief that everyone is created in the image of God; the belief that everyone is equal because of it; the presumption of innocence; a revulsion to mob justice; a commitment to pluralism and free speech, and to liberty of thought and of faith.

As I’ve observed elsewhere, this worldview recognized that there were whole realms of human life located outside the province of politics, like friendships, art, music, family and love. It was possible for Supreme Court justices Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg to be the best of friends, because, as Scalia once said, some things are more important than votes. Most importantly, this worldview insisted that what bound us together was not blood or soil, but a commitment to a shared set of ideas. Even with all of its failings, the thing that makes America exceptional is that it is a departure from the notion, still prevalent in so many other places, that biology, birthplace, class, rank, gender, race are destiny. Our second founding fathers, abolitionists like Frederick Douglass, were living testimonies to that truth.

This old consensus — every single aspect of it — has been run over by the new illiberal orthodoxy. Because this ideology cloaks itself in the language of progress, many understandably fall for its self-branding. Don’t. It promises revolutionary justice, but it threatens to drag us back into the mean of history, in which we are pitted against one another according to tribe. The primary mode of this ideological movement is not building or renewing or reforming, but tearing down. Persuasion is replaced with public shaming. Forgiveness is replaced with punishment. Mercy is replaced with vengeance. Pluralism with conformity; debate with de-platforming; facts with feelings; ideas with identity.

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Mar 062021
 


Vincent van Gogh Lane near Arles 1888

 

The Trial of Winnie the Pooh (Jim Kunstler)
88% Of COVID Deaths Are In Countries With Over Half Of People Overweight (ZH)
UK Scientist: Substantial Degree Of Covid Mortality Inevitable In Future (G.)
Russia’s 3rd Vaccine Uses Classic ‘Dead Virus’ Technology (RT)
Ivermectin Does Not Alleviate Mild Covid-19 Symptoms – Study (NYT)
Europe Divided Over Covid Passports (Kern)
The Political Economy of Covid-19 Vaccines (IF)
Senate Clears Pathway To Passing COVID-19 Relief Bill (JTN)
Lessons From Today’s Doomed Effort To Save The $15 Minimum Wage
The Myths Of Green Energy (CHS)
100,000 Illegal Immigrants Arrested At US Mexico Border in February (ZH)
Legislature Strips Cuomo Of Emergency Powers (ZH)
US, Allies Drop 46 Bombs Per Day for 20 Years (MPN)
‘Shia Backed’, ‘Iran Backed’ Nonsense And Other Warmongering Journalism (MoA)
Neoclassical Economics III: A Machine To Destroy The World (RWER)
Love, politics, and Universal Basic Income (Meaden)

 

 

 

 

Jim gets his mojo back. Love it.

The Trial of Winnie the Pooh (Jim Kunstler)

A solemn silence turned collective gasp in the District of Columbia Woke Circuit courtroom as two bailiffs entered the door beside the jury box with the small cream-colored bear suspended between them, his stumpy hind legs wheeling fruitlessly to seek purchase in the unavailing air. The Queen of Hearts, presiding, banged her gavel as the little bear was seated at the table for the defense beside another rather small, darkish, furtive figure. The Queen of Hearts peered over her half-glasses at the defendant and snarled, “State your full name and residence.” “Winnie-the-Pooh,” the defendant said. “From the Hundred Acre Wood.” “What is your personal pronoun?” The bear looked perplexed. “Oh, bother,” he said. “Nobody I know has such a thing?”

“Of course they do,” the Queen said. “Perhaps it’s ‘the’,” the bear said. “That is a definite article, not a pronoun!” the Queen barked. “Are you an imbecile?” “I’m not sure. Maybe it’s ‘dear’”— “That’s enough out of you!” the Queen said. “And let’s have no more impertinence! Do you have counsel?” “Why, yes,” the bear said. “Mr. Kafka, who is seated beside me.” “You are mistaken,” the Queen said. “That is a cockroach seated beside you, and the court is displeased to see it. Bailiff, please remove that disgusting cockroach from my court.” Mr. Kafka, gesticulating in protest with all six arms and legs, had to be dragged out. “First witness!” the Queen screeched. “Counsel for the prosecution….” “Calling Uncle Remus,” said the prosecutor, Andrew Weissmann, famous for his exploits in the Enron case and with The Mueller Team in the old Russia collusion days.

An elderly gentleman-of-color with white beard and a kindly face limped forward and took the witness stand. “Do you know this bear?” Weissmann asked. “I knows a Brer B’ar,” Uncle Remus said. “But he a black b’ar. Dishyere one a white b’ar.” “Exactly!” Weissmann said. “Dismissed.” “Dat all?” Uncle Remus asked. “It’s plenty,” Weissmann retorted and smirked at the jury, composed of members from the United Federation of Teachers, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and Antifa, who all nodded amongst themselves. “A white bear!” Weissmann repeated for emphasis, shaking his head. “And not a polar bear, either. A white bear. From England. Think about it…!” The jurors emitted growls of opprobrium. “Next witness,” the Queen cried. “Calling N-Word Jim,” Weissmann said.

A strapping middle-aged gentleman-of-color, dressed in ragged clothes, strode to the witness chair. “You reside in libraries all over the world, is that correct?” the attorney asked. “Yassuh, dat is so. But I’se originally fum Hannibal, Missouri.” “Are you acquainted with the defendant?” “I done seen him on many a shelf ‘round de worl’.” “How much shelf space does he occupy compared to you?” “Well, fur as I knows, ‘bout double.” “Does that seem fair to you?” “Way I sees it, he in mebbe twice as minny books as me and Huck.” “Huck! Who is this Huck?” “White boy I done made a journey down de ribber wif one time.” “What is your experience with white folks, Jim?” “Well, dey runs mos’ everything, I ‘spect. Leas’ as fur as I kin see.”

“Exactly!” Weissmann argued. “Is it not white privilege to — as you say — run everything?” he added, shaking his head gravely. “Hegemonizing and colonizing literature everywhere you look.” “Say, what…?” the witness rejoined and pulled his chin. “You can go back to your raft, Jim,” Weissmann said. “Dismissed. Calling Mr. Christopher Robin.”

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“..obesity is a “global pandemic in its own right.”

But we’ll keep promoting corn syrup.

88% Of COVID Deaths Are In Countries With Over Half Of People Overweight (ZH)

A new report by the World Obesity Federation found that 88% of deaths in the first year of the pandemic occurred in countries where over half of the population is classified as overweight – which is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) above 25. Of note, BMI values above 30 – considered obese – are associated with ‘particularly severe outcomes,’ according to the Washington Post. On the other hand, in countries where less than half of the adult population is considered overweight account, the risk of death from COVID-19 is around one-tenth of countries with the higher proportion of overweight adults. Higher BMIs are also associated with an increased risk of hospitalization, ICU admissions, and the need for mechanically assisted ventilation.


The ‘overweight’ countries in question include Britain, Italy and the United States – the latter of which has seen over 517,000 COVID deaths out of a total of 2.5 million globally. Hilariously, the Post also suggests that “correlations between coronavirus severity and weight are also tied to racial and ethnic inequality.” How, you might ask? Because “Hispanic and non-Hispanic Black adults have a higher prevalence of obesity and are more likely to suffer worse outcomes from COVID-19,” according to the CDC. In the UK, overweight COVID-19 patients were 67% more likely to require intensive care, while obese patients were three times more likely. The findings by the World Obesity Federation were “near-uniform across the globe,” according to the Post, which notes that the report found that increased body weight is the second greatest predictor of poor outcomes after old age. According to the United Nations, contrary to what the woke fashion industry tells us, obesity is a “global pandemic in its own right.”

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More measures, more vaccines, we’re truly stuck in one dimension.

UK Scientist: Substantial Degree Of Covid Mortality Inevitable In Future (G.)

Prof Andrew Hayward, a member of the UK government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), has said society will have to live with a degree of mortality that will be “substantial”, but added that we will “get back to normal”.He told Times Radio: “I think, you know, given the societal trade-offs, we are going to have to live with a degree of mortality that will be substantial … it will get less over time as more people get vaccinated and as more people get immune, and I do believe that we’ve been through the worst of this.” Hayward said he did not think new variants of Covid-19 would completely evade vaccine-related immunity. “The vaccines will still take the sting out of it, if you like, and reduce the case fatality rates,” he said.


“Of course, we have the technology to update the vaccines and I think that’s where we’re going really, a situation that will be much more like flu, the numbers of deaths will be much more like flu, the approach to surveillance of new strains and development of new vaccines and regular annual vaccinations will be like that. And we will get back to normal.” Looking back on the beginning of the pandemic, Hayward, a professor of infectious disease epidemiology at UCL, said: “I think one of the reasons that we’ve had so many deaths is that we left things far too late, in terms of taking more restrictive measures. “We should have been taking social distancing measures – if not a full lockdown then other measures that were trying to separate people – much earlier. At that time, of course, we also didn’t really have the same mechanisms to measure how much disease there was in the community, so we were largely only really seeing the tip of the iceberg of cases.

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“The most important thing is that at this point we have a vaccine that definitely has no side effects..”

Russia’s 3rd Vaccine Uses Classic ‘Dead Virus’ Technology (RT)

The third Covid-19 vaccine registered in Russia is based on a “perfectly conventional” platform, and those who have been injected experienced no side effects, the head of the Chumakov Scientific Center, which created it, told RT. The CoviVac vaccine received national approval in Russia on February 20. The first batch of doses is expected to be available to the public in mid-March, according to the government. The vaccine is based on the most traditional technology that has been around for a long time and is widely used throughout the world, Aidar Ishmukhametov, the director general of the Chumakov Scientific Center, told RT.

“Globally, almost 100% of vaccines contain either deactivated or live pathogens,” he said, adding that the one developed by his center contains an ‘inactivated’ (dead) coronavirus. This type of vaccine simulates a natural infection process, introducing the immune system to the virus and “teaching” the body to fight the pathogen without the risk of it spreading through the body and causing disease, he explained. “Two weeks after the first shot, we give a person another jab to reinforce the immune response. As a result, the body becomes fully capable of fighting off the virus on its own,” Ishmukhametov said, adding that this vaccine involves two shots, as is the case with all other currently existing Covid-19 vaccines.

It is based on a particular specimen of the coronavirus that was found to be more susceptible to inactivation and controlled reproduction in the center. Nevertheless, Ishmukhametov believes that the vaccine will be effective against all Covid-19 strains, including the South African variant, which reportedly proved to be resistant to the AstraZeneca vaccine. “Since we are talking about a whole-virion vaccine, the deviations in the genetic sequence – something one is calling different strains or different variants – are insignificant and amount to less than one percent. So… it would be weird to think that a whole-virion vaccine might fail to work against new strains, considering how small the differences are,” he said.

CoviVac received national approval in Russia while still in the second phase of clinical trials. It now has to go through the third phase so the developers can precisely assess its effectiveness, according to Ishmukhametov. However, the first trials have already shown that it has no side effects, he said. “The most important thing is that at this point we have a vaccine that definitely has no side effects,” he said, adding that, out of 300 volunteers, none reported any symptoms except for occasional soreness around the injection site. [..] “We have been doing this for 60 years, and we’ve defeated polio and yellow fever,” he said, adding that the Chumakov Center hosts the Collaborating Centre for Poliovirus and Enterovirus Surveillance and Research of the World Health Organization (WHO) and actively cooperates with the UN health watchdog.

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The propaganda machine speaks…

Ivermectin Does Not Alleviate Mild Covid-19 Symptoms – Study (NYT)

Ivermectin, a controversial anti-parasitic drug that has been touted as a potential Covid-19 treatment, does not speed recovery in people with mild cases of the disease, according to a randomized controlled trial published on Thursday in the journal JAMA. Ivermectin is typically used to treat parasitic worms in both people and animals, but scientific evidence for its efficacy against the coronavirus is thin. Some studies have indicated that the drug can prevent several different viruses from replicating in cells. And last year, researchers in Australia found that high doses of ivermectin suppressed SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, in cell cultures. Such findings had spurred use of the drug against Covid-19, especially in Latin America.


“Ivermectin is currently being used widely,” said Dr. Eduardo López-Medina, a doctor and researcher at the Center for Pediatric Infectious Diseases in Cali, Colombia, who led the new trial. “In many countries in the Americas and other parts of the world, it’s part of the national guidelines of treating Covid.” But the drug has also proved divisive. While some scientists see potential, others suspect that effectively inhibiting the coronavirus may require extremely high, potentially unsafe doses. Health officials have also worried that people desperate for coronavirus treatments might take versions of the drug that have been formulated for pets. (It is commonly used to prevent heartworm in dogs.) “There’s been a lot of conflicting views on this, sometimes extreme conflicting views,” said Dr. Carlos Chaccour, a researcher at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health who was not involved in the new study. “I think it has become another hydroxychloroquine.”

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What a lousy idea, executed even lousier. Ergo … a winner.

Europe Divided Over Covid Passports (Kern)

Professor Christopher Dye, Professor of Epidemiology in the Department of Zoology at the University of Oxford and co-author of the Royal Society report, added: “An effective vaccine passport system that would allow the return to pre-Covid-19 activities, including travel, without compromising personal or public health, must meet a set of demanding criteria — but it is feasible. First there is the science of immunity, then the challenges of something working across the world that is durable, reliable and secure. There are the legal and ethical issues and if you can crack all that, you have to have the trust of the people. “Huge progress has been made in many of these areas, but we are not there yet. At the most basic level, we are still gathering data on exactly how effective each vaccine is in preventing infection and transmission and on how long the immunity will last.”

The Reuters News Agency reported that there are still many unanswered questions about immunity to Covid-19: “EU officials also point out there is no guidance yet from the WHO and EU agencies whether people who have received two shots of the Covid-19 vaccine can still carry the coronavirus and infect others, even if no longer vulnerable themselves. “It was also not clear if people could be infectious having already fought off the coronavirus themselves, for how long they remained immune and if they too should get certificates.” Professor Carsten Maple, a cyber security expert at the Alan Turing Institute, the UK’s national institute for data science, warned that criminals could exploit the demand from prospective travelers for vaccine passports:

“This really gives that kind of incentive. You’ll get people who’ve got these rights, especially if it’s mandatory. Other people will be excluded. People, where it is mandatory and really offers a significant difference, will be incentivized to create a market of forged documents. “We know that in Israel they’ve made statements about anybody who tries to forge will face criminal proceedings and possibly be imprisoned. So, they really think that this is a risk that could happen.”

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Mostly about “fair distribution” of as much mRNA as we can produce, but these details are interesting.

The Political Economy of Covid-19 Vaccines (IF)

[..] for Covid-19 vaccines, many big pharma companies received massive subsidies from governments that have mostly and in some cases completely covered research and development costs. In the US alone, the six major vaccine companies received over $12 billion in public subsidies for developing Covid-19 vaccines (MSF 2021). Other rich country governments have provided similar subsidies. Private pharma companies also benefited from prior public research (Scientific American 2020) and reduced costs of clinical testing, because of more unpaid volunteers for trials. The ‘leader’ vaccines may have already received what could be considered as reasonable returns on their own investment, and more. For example, while Pfizer did not receive direct subsidies from the US government, I received pre-orders for 100 million doses for $1.95 billion (Industry Week 2020).

Moreover, it relied on technology from BioNTech, which had received $445 million from the German government for their research (Bloomberg 2020). Pfizer claims costs of $3.1 billion to develop this vaccine (BBC 2020), while estimated sales in 2021 will be worth $15 billion (Quartz, 2020). Developing the Moderna vaccine cost $2.5 billion, apparently entirely funded by the US federal government (USA Today, 2020). The recently approved Johnson and Johnson vaccine benefited from US government subsidies and a pre-order of 100 million doses likely to cover costs (Johnson and Johnson 2020). The original distribution model [for the Oxford vaccine] was for an open-licence platform, designed to make the vaccine freely available for any manufacturer.

The case of the AstraZeneca vaccine is particularly instructive, also because it is seen as viable for developing country use. (Significant quantities of this vaccine are being produced by the Serum Institute of India under a collaboration agreement.) The vaccine was entirely developed by a publicly funded lab at Oxford University. The original distribution model was for an open-licence platform, designed to make the vaccine freely available for any manufacturer. However, the Gates Foundation, which had clout because it had donated $750 million to Oxford for vaccine development, persuaded the university to change course completely and sign “an exclusive vaccine deal with AstraZeneca that gave the pharmaceutical giant sole rights and no guarantee of low prices” (Jay Hancock 2020).

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Dysfunctionality like in the last days of Rome. Marie Antoinette.

Senate Clears Pathway To Passing COVID-19 Relief Bill (JTN)

The Senate broke a logjam Friday night and reached agreement on an issue that had stopped debate for approximately nine hours, and which paves the way for a continuation of the “vote-a-rama” of amendments to the Democrats’ $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. The agreement was to provide $300 a week in unemployment benefits through Sept. 6, plus $10,200 in tax relief for people who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic. Democrats had been fighting for $400 a week, instead of $300. The key figure in the negotiations was Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). He represented the 50th vote for Democrats, which is what they need to prevail, considering that Vice President Kamala Harris represents the 51st vote.


Manchin has indicated he will support the rest of the Democrats’ bill, making its passage in the Senate on Saturday a near certainty. Republicans have pointed out that approximately 90% of the bill, which passed the House along party lines, has nothing to do with COVID-19 relief. One of the largest components of the bill is $350 billion for states and cities, which Republicans have argued is a way to bail out poorly run and profligate states and cities at the expense of well run, mostly Republican states. Since there have been changes to the House bill that was originally introduced in the Senate, the Senate version will go back to the House where it is expected to easily pass, again along party lines. It would then go to President Biden for his signature, making it the law of the land.

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“Harris wasn’t even in the Senate chair today during the vote on Sanders’ amendment.”

Lessons From Today’s Doomed Effort To Save The $15 Minimum Wage

There was another way Democrats could have moved forward with the $15 minimum wage in their COVID-19 relief bill: Vice President Harris, as presiding Chair of the Senate, could have ruled against the parliamentarian’s advice and kept the provision in the legislation. While the Senate could vote to overturn the ruling, it would take 60 of the Senate’s 100 members to do so. A confidential memo obtained by The Daily Poster that circulated on Capitol Hill last week detailed exactly how that scenario would play out: “What would probably happen is a senator would appeal the ruling of the chair and then the full Senate would vote on whether to sustain the appeal,” the memo stated. “The Chair’s ruling would be upheld as long as there are not 60 affirmative votes to sustain the appeal. So, if the majority could hold enough members together (less than 60 affirmative votes to sustain the appeal), the ruling that runs counter to the Parliamentarian’s advice would be upheld.”

In other words, if at least 41 Democrats refused to overturn Harris’ ruling, the minimum wage provision would have remained in the bill. Today, 42 Democrats voted in support of a $15 minimum wage. That is one more than would have been necessary for the alternative approach to work. It’s fair to wonder whether some of these Democrats would have wimped out in a situation where their votes weren’t simply a symbolic gesture, as they were today. Colorado freshman John Hickenlooper, for example, was a late, surprise yes vote on the minimum wage amendment on Friday.

But these 42 Senators voted in favor of considering a $15 minimum wage even after the Biden administration signaled again and again that passing such legislation was less of a priority than, say, trying to get Neera Tanden, a scandal-plagued, union-busting, rage-tweeting apparatchik, confirmed as the head of the White House budget office. Imagine if the Biden administration had fought for the $15 minimum wage as hard as it fought for Tanden’s doomed confirmation. Instead, Harris wasn’t even in the Senate chair today during the vote on Sanders’ amendment.

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Charles cites my friend Nate Hagens, but it’s unclear to me how much of this is from Nate.

The Myths Of Green Energy (CHS)

Finance is often cloaked in arcane terminology and math, but the one dynamic that governs the future is actually very simple. Here it is: “All debt is borrowed against future supplies of affordable hydrocarbons (oil, coal and natural gas).” Since global economic activity is ultimately dependent on a continued abundance of affordable energy, it follows that all money borrowed against future income is actually being borrowed against future supplies of affordable energy. Many people believe that alternative “green” energy will soon replace most or all hydrocarbon energy sources, but this belief is not realistic. All the “renewable” energy sources are about 3% of all energy consumed, with hydropower providing another few percent. There are unavoidable headwinds to this appealing fantasy…

1. All “renewable” energy is actually “replaceable” energy, analyst Nate Hagens points out. Every 15-25 years (or less) much or all of the alt-energy systems and structures have to be replaced, and little of the necessary mining, manufacturing and transport can be performed with the “renewable” electricity these sources generate. Virtually all the heavy lifting of these processes require hydrocarbons and especially oil.

2. Wind and solar “renewable” energy is intermittent and therefore requires changes in behavior (no clothes dryers or electric ovens used after dark, etc.) or battery storage on a scale that isn’t practical in terms of the materials required.

3. Batteries are also “replaceable” and don’t last very long. The percentage of lithium-ion batteries being recycled globally is near-zero, so all batteries end up as costly, toxic landfill.

4. Battery technologies are limited by the physics of energy storage and materials. Moving whiz-bang exotic technologies from the lab to global scales of production is non-trivial.

5. The material and energy resources required to build alt-energy sources that replace hydrocarbon energy and replace all the alt-energy which has broken down or reached the end of its life exceeds the affordable reserves of materials and energy available on the planet.

6. Externalized costs of alt-energy are not being included in the cost. Nobody’s adding the immense cost of the environmental damage caused by lithium mines to the price of the lithium batteries. Once the full external costs are included, the cost is no longer as affordable as promoters claim.

7. None of the so-called “green” “replaceable” energy has actually replaced hydrocarbons; all the alt-energy has done is increase total energy consumption. This is what’s called Jevons Paradox: every increase in efficiency or energy production only increases consumption.

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“We are weeks, maybe even days, away from a crisis on the southern border. Inaction is simply not an option..”

More kids, more cages facilities.

100,000 Illegal Immigrants Arrested At US Mexico Border in February (ZH)

This may come as a shock to Joe Biden supporters. Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), whose Congressional district lies near the U.S.-Mexico border, warned that more than 10,000 illegal immigrants have been apprehended in a single border sector in Texas in about a week, with Reuters adding that a stunning 100,000 migrants were detained at the border in February, the highest arrest total for the month of February since 2006. “We are weeks, maybe even days, away from a crisis on the southern border. Inaction is simply not an option,” the Texas Democrat said in a news release on Thursday. “Our country is currently unprepared to handle a surge in migrants in the middle of the pandemic.”

As The Epoch Times’ Jack Phillips notes, in recent days, Cuellar has issued warnings about what appears to be a looming humanitarian crisis at the border, adding that it will spread COVID-19 in southern Texas and other border communities. But now, his office has released figures showing Border Patrol in the Rio Grande Valley arrested about 10,000 illegal immigrants in the past week alone, according to the release, while adding that some 2,500 illegal immigrants have been apprehended in the past two days since the press statement was released. According to Border Patrol data, agents also apprehended 5,700 unaccompanied child illegal immigrants in January. Illegal immigrants are “potentially exposing border communities to the coronavirus and putting us at risk,” Cuellar said, guaranteeing the triggering of progressives everywhere. “Right now, none of the migrants are being tested for COVID-19 by Border Patrol.”

“As a border representative, I will continue to fight in Washington for my community to ensure they have the necessary funding and resources to properly care for these migrants and to keep American families safe. I urge the Biden administration to listen and work with the communities on the southern border who are dealing with the surge of migrants,” he added. Cuellar isn’t the only Texas member of Congress who is sounding the alarm. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, another Democrat, did not mince words in how he described the current White House’s immigration policy and said a proposed bill is “catastrophic.” “I can assure you, it won’t be long before we have tens of thousands of people showing up to our border, and it’ll be catastrophic for our country, for my region, for my district,” he told CNN. “In the middle of a pandemic, in an area where we’ve lost over 3,000 people in my small congressional district … I think we need to have a better plan in place.”

Read more …

Drip drip.

Legislature Strips Cuomo Of Emergency Powers (ZH)

In November, the TV Academy presented Cuomo with the International Emmy Founders Award “in recognition of his leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic and his masterful use of TV to inform and calm people around the world.” It sure wishes it could take that day back. Late on Friday, three days after NY legislators reached a deal to strip disgraced NY governor Andrew Cuomo – who now finds himself in a vortex of potentially criminal scandals involving both nursing home deaths and alleged sexual assaults – of his emergency powers, and two days after an “embarrassed” Cuomo told a disgusted TV audience (well everyone except for the virtue-signaling sycophants at CNN and MSNBC) that he was “very sorry” but was “not resigning” in the aftermath of his own sexual assault scandal, late on Friday, the New York legislature approved a bill to repeal the pandemic-era emergency powers afforded to the scandal-plagued Governor Cuomo.

The measure, which received final passage from the Assembly on Friday evening, revoked temporary powers given to Cuomo in March that effectively gave him dic(k)tator powers, allowing him to supersede the legislature, as well as local laws, to issue hundreds of sweeping emergency directives on everything from closing businesses and schools to mandating the use of masks. In retrospect, this was the worst – and deadliest – decision the legislature had made who may be just as culpable of crimes as Cuomo.

[..] As Bloomberg reports, the rebuke from lawmakers, where Democrats hold a supermajority in both chambers, follows public outcry over sexual-harassment claims by what are now three women against Cuomo and allegations that his administration deliberately covered up Covid-19 deaths of nursing-home residents. In the latest twist which emerged late in the week, Cuomo’s administration said Thursday that officials had altered a July report of data on the deaths to exclude those who had died outside the facilities. The administration was responding to a New York Times report that said these changes show that the state had a fuller accounting of the deaths at the time, despite resisting requests for that data.

[..] Earlier this week, Cuomo said he had brokered the emergency-power deal with lawmakers to focus just on curbing new directives. Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, a fellow Democrat, disputed Cuomo, saying lawmakers didn’t work with the governor to cut a deal. Senate Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris said on the floor that the governor lied to the public and was not involved in negotiations. Asked if he was bothered by the lie, Gianaris said: “There is so much that this governor has done that I’m bothered by.” Asked if he trusts the governor, Gianaris said: “I haven’t trusted this governor in a long time.” Gianaris is a democrat. Imagine if he was republican. Currently, only the governor may declare and end a state of emergency. “For the first time ever, we are adding a power for the Legislature to nullify a state of emergency,” Gianaris said.

Read more …

Costs? Lives?

US, Allies Drop 46 Bombs Per Day for 20 Years (MPN)

The United States and its allies have dropped at least 326,000 bombs and missiles on countries in the greater Middle East/ North Africa region since 2001. That is the conclusion of new research by Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J.S. Davies of anti-war group CODEPINK. Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Yemen are the countries that have felt the worst of the violence, but Lebanon, Libya, Pakistan, Palestine and Somalia have also been targeted. The total amounts to an average of 46 bombs dropped per day over the last 20 years. CODEPINK’s numbers are based primarily on official U.S. military releases, as well as data from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the Yemen Data Project, and the New America Foundation.

As striking as the figure of 326,000 is, it is an underestimate, as the Trump administration ceased publishing figures of its bombing campaigns in 2020, meaning there is no data for Iraq, Syria or Afghanistan for either of the previous two years. Also not counted are bombs or missiles used in helicopter strikes, AC-130 gunship attacks, strafing runs from U.S. bombers, or any counterinsurgency or counter-terrorism operations in other parts of the world. Last week President Joe Biden gave the order to attack Iraqi militias in Syria, dropping 1.75 tons of bombs on a border village and killing 22 people — something that brought cheers from Washington insiders and corporate media pundits alike. The move was reportedly in response to strikes on U.S. military bases in Iraq — bases that, last year, the Iraqi parliament unanimously demanded be closed.

Yesterday, anonymous administration officials claimed that Biden called off a second Syria strike after being warned that women and children were in the area. Though no evidence was offered and the officials refused to go on record, corporate media diligently parroted the State Department line, allowing the new administration to simultaneously present itself as getting tough on its enemies and as a champion of human rights. The United States has been at war for nearly every year of its existence as an independent nation, fighting in 227 years of its 244-year history. While both Barack Obama and Donald Trump offered up anti-war rhetoric when they were on the campaign trail, both moved steadfastly away from that position once in office.

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The bombs were dropped in Iraq, not Syria. And they’re trying to hide that fact.

‘Shia Backed’, ‘Iran Backed’ Nonsense And Other Warmongering Journalism (MoA)

The recent U.S. airstrike at the Syrian-Iraqi border and the missile attacks on U.S. bases in Iraq were followed by many examples of bad journalism. U.S. media, as FAIR documents, have purged inconvenient facts from their coverage of Biden’s ‘first’ airstrike: “The less clear the US population is about the frequency and scale of murderous violence its government carries out, the easier it is for the US ruling class to go about its wars. Fortunately for the US state, corporate media help manufacture collective amnesia by expunging US aggression from the record…. Securing consent for running a lethal, worldwide empire requires unremitting propaganda: Redacting the historical record and playing the victim are two useful strategies.”

The dozens of examples in the FAIR piece are telling. FAIR gets one thing wrong though. The attack was not in Syria, as the U.S. claimed, but on the Iraqi side of the border. Elijah J. Magnier @ejmalrai – 6:01 UTC · Mar 3, 2021 “Analysts keep making this mistake: 1st Biden’s bombing was in #Iraq not #Syria. An Iraqi military delegation sent by @MAKadhimi verified & confirmed that the #US bombed Iraqi security forces on the Iraqi borders with #Syria and not on Syrian territory. Nearly all U.S. media use ‘Iran-backed militia’ when describing the groups that allegedly launched the missiles. The Pentagon now wants to change that. A press briefing with spokesman John F. Kirby had several exchanges about that:

“Q: Just going back to — to the rocket attack, could you describe roughly the distance that the rockets were coming from? And what does that say about the tactics — and how does that — of the — whoever fired those? And to what degree does this resemble previous attacks by the Iranian-backed militia? MR. KIRBY: I’m not qualified to do the forensics, Dan, on — on — on how this equates to previous attacks, other than obviously it’s a rocket attack and we have seen rocket attacks come from Shia-backed militia groups in the past. So in that way, it certainly — it certainly coincides with our past experience here.”

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“Unchecked growth has no place, outside of the microbial world. Unchecked growth is called a plague, an epidemic or a cancer..”

Neoclassical Economics III: A Machine To Destroy The World (RWER)

Growth has a fundamental place in the biological world, of which we humans are a part. Unchecked growth has no place, outside of the microbial world. Unchecked growth is called a plague, an epidemic or a cancer. Growth, among mainstream economists, has become a reflexive, mindless goal, specifically growth of the Gross Domestic Product. Growth of the GDP is the dominant global criterion for allegedly successful management of an economy. GDP is an indiscriminate measure of what we spend money on: some things good, some useless, some bad and, increasingly, some attempting to repair damage from previous spending. GDP is not a useful measure of our quality of life, whose improvement should be the real goal, but it does correlate with resource use and resource waste, also known as pollution.

The claim that unchecked competitive markets are the most efficient way to increase material wealth has no basis, as I explained in Part II. Nor have free markets worked in practice. Australia’s economic performance post-1983 has never come close to that in the 1950s and 60s when it averaged over 5% annual GDP growth and 1.3% unemployment. However economists and the self-interested rich have promoted a system based on unrestrained markets that in turn promotes anything that yields short-term profit. Thus we have unsustainable extraction of natural resources, and for-profit aged care that consigns our grandparents to disgusting neglect. We also have potent and dangerous new technologies like face recognition, meta-data analysis, artificial ‘intelligence’ and various biotechnologies including, imminently, the suspension of biological ageing.

The planet really needs a plague of demanding, smart-aleck old farts. The surveillance state is a reality, and rapidly gaining in power and pervasiveness. I am only mentioning war making and killer robotics. Some older people occasionally wonder why the forecasts of our childhood have not come to pass. We were told that by the year 2000 no-one would work more than 15 hours a week. The reason is that we have been kept on the treadmill so as to keep the GDP increasing. A major motivator has been ‘labour market flexibility’, the notion that your labour is just a free-market disposable commodity that needs to be used to maximum efficiency and effect. One difficulty of course is that your labour comes with you attached. The primary effects have been to keep the employed insecure and to enrich the rich and empower the powerful.

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The Catholic church promotes UBI. What do catholics think though?

Love, politics, and Universal Basic Income (Meaden)

London mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey recently said that if people were given a Universal Basic Income (UBI) they would spend it on ‘lots of drugs’. This was widely reported. Less widely reported was the response of Dr Simon Duffy, speaking in the same meeting, where he helped to persuade the Economic Committee of the London Assembly to vote in favour a pilot of UBI in the capital. Dr Duffy said: “What the UK has become is an increasingly mean-spirited society. What we’ve seen is a decline in respect for people on low incomes, and a concomitant decline in the value of basic benefits. So now, the poorest 10 per cent of people in the UK receive, after tax, about £40 to £50 per person [per week]. There’s a reason why they get less and less – it’s to do with the political choices that we make, it’s to do with the way the political system has been able to stigmatise those people as somehow unworthy.

And that’s why we increasingly move away from cash and economic security and move to increased sanctions and conditionality, and even talk of vouchers. It’s all interconnected. And what we really need to do – and this is about politics, not economics – we need to move towards a universal approach that says every citizen is entitled to economic security, every citizen is worthy of respect. And that’s where the love is, Shaun.” The idea that an economic or political policy could be an expression of love, and a recognition of the innate dignity and worth of every human being may sound unusual to our ears, but it really shouldn’t. As the Archbishop of York said recently, “Loving your neighbour is a profoundly political statement.”

This connection, between truly loving our neighbour and its and implications for politics is explored in a profound way in Catholic Social Teaching, and there we find a single phrase which fundamentally challenges the way our society and our economy are organised. That phrase is “the universal destination of goods”. The universal destination of goods means, quite simply, that as the world was created for all of us, and as we are all equal in human dignity and worth, then we are all entitled to a share of what the world has to offer. And this right does not have to be earned – it is the automatic right of every human being, by virtue of being human.

The phrase first appeared in the foundational document of CST, Rerum Novarum, written by Pope Leo XIII in 1891. The principle has largely remained in the realm of the abstract, underpinning a belief in social justice, but with no specific policy application endorsed by the church. Recently however, Pope Francis has been quite vocal in his insistence that the time has come to put such beliefs into practice, in order to protect the planet and human dignity. [..] UBI is an idea which is the logical outcome of looking at the world through a lens of love and justice. To be implemented properly it will, as Dr Duffy acknowledges, involve some redistribution of wealth. This will no doubt meet resistance, particularly from those who have most, and therefore have most to lose.

But as the Catechism of the Catholic Church says: “The right to private property is secondary to the right of everyone, without exception, to their share in the goods of creation. The right to private property, acquired or received in a just way, does not do away with the original gift of the earth to the whole of mankind. The universal destination of goods remains primordial, even if the promotion of the common good requires respect for the right to private property and its exercise” (Catechism 2403).

Read more …

 

 

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Nov 112020
 


Rembrandt van Rijn Student at a table by candlelight c.1642

 

 

We would by now have expected the narrative surrounding COVID19 to be simpler to understand, but it’s not. We may understand much more about the disease and everything that has to do with it, but we’re finding there is so much that has been left unsaid, not discussed, neglected.

The discussion has been stuck in an All Else Being Equal (Ceteris Paribus) mode, but all things do not remain equal. It’s not even as if you get rid of the disease, all your problems go away. Not only do various COVID measures inflict huge damage on economies, on people’s jobs and incomes, they also cause entire new sets of health problems.

Epidemiologists and virologists are not equipped for such massive problems. They may be able to say the odd wise word in their field -and even that will be 90% rear-view mirror stuff, because they must compare what they see to what happened in the past-, but the disease doesn’t only affect their field. It affects many fields they have no knowledge of.

Their ideas are then taken on board by economists, not exactly the most scientific of sciences, and off go the government policies. But that was 6-7 months ago, and we learned so much since, right? By now we have involved for instance mental health experts on a large scale, right? Yeah, sure.

The point is, you can’t force lockdowns, masks etc. onto people, without looking at what the consequences of that will be. Because all things do not remain equal for 6-7 months.

A nice example comes from a July 2020 study published in the Lancet, which indicates that “..the number of smokers in a population was correlated with a 3% decrease in covid deaths.. Wow, that’s great. Let’s get everybody smoking, said … nobody. But if your sole focus is COVID19, and for many governments it is, why not? That’s of course because smoking is one thing people recognize as “bad”. But how about other things, that are not?

That same Lancet study, as interpreted by a Sebastian Rushworth MD, also says there is no proof that lockdowns work:

 

Does Lockdown Prevent COVID Deaths?

The factors that most strongly predicted the number of people who died of covid in a country were rate of obesity, average age, and level of income disparity. Each percentage point increase in the rate of obesity resulted in a 12% increase in covid deaths. Each additional average year of age in the population increased covid deaths by 10% . On the opposite end of the spectrum, each point in the direction of greater equality on the gini-coefficient (a scale used to determine how evenly resources are distributed across a population) resulted in a 12% decrease in covid deaths. All these results were statistically significant.


Another factor that had an effect that was significant, but more weakly so, was smoking. Each percentage point increase in the number of smokers in a population was correlated with a 3% decrease in covid deaths. Ok, let’s get to the most important thing, which the authors seem to have tried to hide, because they make so little mention of it. Lockdown and covid deaths. The authors found no correlation whatsoever between severity of lockdown and number of covid deaths. And they didn’t find any correlation between border closures and covid deaths either. And there was no correlation between mass testing and covid deaths either, for that matter. Basically, nothing that various world governments have done to combat covid seems to have had any effect whatsoever on the number of deaths.

Which is intriguing, because countries like France, Belgium, Netherlands appear to have had spectacular success with their recent new lockdowns.

 

 

 

Problem is, you can’t lock down countries and people forever. And if the coronavirus has become endemic in the population, the “success” would seem to be inevitably short-lived. In the Netherlands just now, numbers were announced that already are 15% or so up from the 24 hours before. What if a lockdown is not the answer, or not anymore at least? I don’t have the impression that there is a Plan B.

But it would appear to be useful to by now stop throwing all “cases” on one heap, and find a better definition, for instance “positive PCR tests”. Or even “positive PCR tests that require medical attention.” And you will also have to define much better who requires that attention, and who dies. If you’re talking, say 90%, only about people who are either very old and/or have severe underlying conditions, maybe a general lockdown is not your thing.

Maybe you should aim to protect these vulnerable groups, and leave the rest alone. Maybe obese people, who are very much at risk, should be locked down, but not their fit and slimmer neighbors. Maybe you should ban food that causes obesity and diabetes, maybe you should hand out Vitamin D to everybody. Maybe you should simply accept that some people are going to die of the disease.

Whatever else you do, maybe you should prepare for the risk that the virus is endemic, and it’s here to stay. And then take it from there. Because, for one thing, it’s not all that obvious, it’s all still riddled with misconceptions. Renowned medical site medrxiv.org has this:

 

Association Between Living With Children And Outcomes From COVID-19

Close contact with children may provide cross-reactive immunity to SARs-CoV-2 due to more frequent prior coryzal infections from seasonal coronaviruses. Alternatively, close contact with children may increase risk of SARs-CoV-2 infection. We investigated whether risk of infection with SARs-CoV-2 and severe outcomes differed between adults living with and without children.

This is the first population-based study to investigate whether the risk of recorded SARS-CoV-2 infection and severe outcomes from COVID-19 differ between adults living in households with and without school-aged children during the UK pandemic. Our findings show that for adults living with children there is no evidence of an increased risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes although there may be a slightly increased risk of recorded SARS-CoV-2 infection for working-age adults living with children aged 12 to 18 years.

Working-age adults living with children 0 to 11 years have a lower risk of death from COVID-19 compared to adults living without children, with the effect size being comparable to their lower risk of death from any cause. We observed no consistent changes in risk of recorded SARS-CoV-2 infection and severe outcomes from COVID-19 comparing periods before and after school closure. [..] Our results demonstrate no evidence of serious harms from COVID-19 to adults in close contact with children, compared to those living in households without children. This has implications for determining the benefit-harm balance of children attending school in the COVID-19 pandemic.

And yesterday we had this from Reuters: “Anxiety, depression and insomnia were most common among recovered COVID-19 patients…and the researchers also found significantly higher risks of dementia…”

One of the Automatic Earth’s in-house doctors, Doc Robinson, rightly said qualifying insomnia as a mental illness is a very broad stroke. Whereas my attention was drawn to this line:

“.. people with a pre-existing mental illness were 65% more likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19..”

How does that work? Why would you be 65% more likely to catch COVID, or be diagnosed with it, if you’re already depressed? Depressed people are more likely to attend Trump rallies? Or Biden celebrations?

 

One In Five COVID19 Patients Develop Mental Illness Within 90 Days

Many COVID-19 survivors are likely to be at greater risk of developing mental illness, psychiatrists said on Monday, after a large study found 20% of those infected with the coronavirus are diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder within 90 days. Anxiety, depression and insomnia were most common among recovered COVID-19 patients in the study who developed mental health problems, and the researchers also found significantly higher risks of dementia, a brain impairment condition. “People have been worried that COVID-19 survivors will be at greater risk of mental health problems, and our findings … show this to be likely,” said Paul Harrison, a professor of psychiatry at Britain’s Oxford University.


[..] The study also found that people with a pre-existing mental illness were 65% more likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19 than those without. Mental health specialists not directly involved with the study said its findings add to growing evidence that COVID-19 can affect the brain and mind, increasing the risk of a range of psychiatric illnesses. “This is likely due to a combination of the psychological stressors associated with this particular pandemic and the physical effects of the illness,” said Michael Bloomfield, a consultant psychiatrist at University College London.

As I said two days ago: “Just lovely! If you catch COVID, you get mental health issues. And if you go into lockdown so you don’t catch COVID….you also get mental health issues.”

 

Children Regressing And Struggling Mentally In Lockdown

Children hardest hit by Covid-19 measures have regressed during the pandemic, with some who were potty-trained pre-lockdown reverting to nappies and dummies, and others forgetting basic numbers or how to use a knife and fork, according to the schools watchdog Ofsted. Older children have lost physical fitness as well as reading and writing skills, and some are showing signs of mental distress, which can be seen in an increase in eating disorders and self-harm, according to Ofsted’s chief inspector, Amanda Spielman. [..]


The findings, based on 900 visits to schools and social care settings by Ofsted inspectors since schools fully reopened in September, paint a worrying picture of the impact of the pandemic on children at every stage of the education system in England. While children with good support structures have coped well, those whose parents were unable to work flexibly and have therefore been less available to help have lost out most. Children with special educational needs and disabilities have been “seriously affected” across all age groups, both in their care and education, losing vital support including speech and language services.

Lockdowns are based on pretending we can make time stand still. That, like in one of those slick videos, everything else stops moving while you can walk around it. All Else Being Equal. It never is, not for 6-7 months. And that the first lockdown didn’t work, at least not for long, should perhaps be a lesson. Maybe you should look for answers elsewhere. Because the damage just goes on, economically, psychologically, physically.

I’m not pretending I have the answers. I do have questions though. While the situation reminds me of Sisyphus, forced by Zeus to roll a boulder up a hill for eternity. Every time he nears the top of the hill, the boulder rolls back down.

We need to find a balance between the threat of COVID19 and the threat of everything else, very much including those things that are caused by our approach to COVID.

 

 

 

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Aug 272020
 


Boris Ignatovich Moscow At the Hermitage, Leningrad 1930

 

Hurricane Laura Makes Landfall as Cat. 4 Storm, Moves Inland (WC)
Biden’s Polling Lead Has Collapsed (Palumbo)
Trump Job Approval Rating Hits Record At 52%, Up With Blacks, Even Dems (WE)
DOJ Asks Four States For COVID Data On Nursing Home Deaths (JTN)
Obesity Increases Risk Of COVID19 Death By Almost 50% (G.)
Non-Woven Masks Better To Stop COVID19, Says Japanese Supercomputer (G.)
6 Feet May Not Always Be Enough Distance To Protect From COVID19 (NBC)
The Tragic Hydroxychloroquine Debate and Dr. Fauci’s Denial of Evidence (RCP)
What Is Gilead’s Role In The War On Hydroxychloroquine? (Chaves)
Airlines Threaten October Jobs Massacre Unless they Get 2nd Bailout (WS)
France & Italy Throw Weight Behind Greece As Naval War Games Kick Off (RT)
The New Media Elite Are Rapacious Monopolists, And We Are Their Food (Lewis)
Good News for Birds – and Wind Power (Adler)
Your Dreams Are A Continuation Of Your Reality (RT)

 

 

US new daily cases look sort of okay, as a trendline, when you watch the past 2 months. But they have crossed the 6 million figure now, as global cases are gunning for 25 million, and the trend there is much less positive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We don’t do jobs

 

 

Be safe.

Hurricane Laura Makes Landfall as Cat. 4 Storm, Moves Inland (WC)

Laura is near the extreme southwest Louisiana coast and tracking to the north-northwest at about 15 mph. The hurricane is a Category 4 and steady weakening is now expected through the morning hours. Laura’s maximum sustained winds jumped from 75 mph to 140 mph in the 24 hours ending 1 p.m. CDT Wednesday. That increase in maximum sustained winds easily meets the definition of rapid intensification in a hurricane. Hurricane conditions are ongoing in southwestern Louisiana. More than 9 feet of storm surge is inundating the coast near Cameron, Louisiana. A water level station at Eugene Island, Louisiana reported about 3.2 feet of inundation above ground level early Wednesday afternoon and a wind gust of 45 mph.

A 133 mph gust and an 85 mph sustained wind were measured in Lake Charles early Friday morning. A 127 mph wind gust was measured early Thursday morning at Calcasieu Pass, Louisiana and a sustained wind of 93 mph was recently measured in Cameron, Louisiana. NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center has issued a tornado watch valid until 8 a.m. CDT for parts of Louisiana and southeastern Texas. The watch area includes Baton Rouge, Alexandria, Lake Charles and Beaumont. Laura has prompted hurricane and storm surge warnings for the northwest Gulf Coast.


A storm surge warning is in effect from Freeport, Texas, to the mouth of the Mississippi River in southeast Louisiana, including Galveston Bay and areas inside the Port Arthur, Texas, hurricane flood protection system. This means a life-threatening storm surge is expected in the next 36 hours. Residents in these areas should heed all evacuation orders and instructions from local emergency management and take necessary precautions to protect life and property.

Read more …

Rasmussen is changing fast.

Biden’s Polling Lead Has Collapsed (Palumbo)

Just a month and a half ago, Rasmussen Reports had Joe Biden 10-points ahead of President Donald Trump in the polls. Now he’s only ahead by one point, within the margin of error. Even if Biden’s now-slim lead in the polls were to remain frozen as of today, Trump would still have a clear path to an electoral college victory, as Hillary Clinton lead Trump in the popular vote by just over two points in the 2016 election. While it is impossible to know the exact reason (or reasons) for Biden’s polling collapse, it comes as the economy continues to rebound from the coronavirus, riots continue to ravage liberal run cities longer than anyone expected (to no condemnation from Joe Biden and Kamala Harris), and a Democrat National Convention widely viewed to be a snoozefest was held.


It’s hard to imagine how anyone could’ve had their mind changed by the extended Zoom meeting that was the DNC, but the RNC is changing hearts and minds – or at least some. Of note, Rasmussen was among the closest mainstream pollster in approximating the popular vote in the 2016 election. Rasmussen had Hillary Clinton up 1.7 points over Trump on election day 2016, while she ended up winning the popular vote by 2.1 points above him (48.2% vs. 46.1%). The Real Clear Politics average of polls had Hillary up for six points. Unlike the other polls, Rasmussen correctly saw Trump had a path to victory in the electoral college.

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The tables are starting to turn. Is it just the riots? Or should I ask again if Dems really want to win?

Trump Job Approval Rating Hits Record At 52%, Up With Blacks, Even Dems (WE)

Buoyed by blacks and independent voters, as well as urban dwellers shocked by the Black Lives Matter protest violence raging in some cities, President Trump’s approval rating has hit a new high, according to a survey heavy with minority voters. The latest Zogby Analytics poll just shared with Secrets had Trump’s approval at 52%. “The president has recorded his best job approval rating on record,” said pollster Jonathan Zogby. What’s more, his approval rating among minorities was solid and, in the case of African Americans, shockingly high. Zogby said 36% of blacks approve of the president, as do 37% of Hispanics and 35% of Asians. Approval among independent voters is also up, to 44%. And “intriguingly,” said Zogby, 23% of Democrats approve of Trump.

It was the latest to show that Trump’s approval went up during the Democratic National Convention. Rasmussen Reports had it at 51% at the end of the convention. In a shock from past election years, Joe Biden got no convention poll bounce, according to a newly released Reuters/Ipsos poll. The Republican National Convention still has two days to go. Last night’s address by first lady Melania Trump won good reviews. Tonight, Vice President Mike Pence speaks, and Thursday is Trump’s night. Pollsters have been somewhat at a loss to explain the rise of Trump’s approval ratings, considering that there has been little positive news to help his standings other than the peace deal he helped negotiate between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.


Zogby, in his analysis, took a stab at the reasoning. First, he said, his and other polls are confirming that the nation is nearly evenly divided politically and that despite some showing a big Biden lead, the race is extremely close. He suggested that the battle is for the “10%-20%” who haven’t made their minds up on whom to vote for and who likely won’t make up their minds until Election Day, just like in 2016. “We are as polarized a nation, on a level not seen since the Civil War,” said Zogby. He also said that the violence playing out in cities such as Kenosha, Wisconsin, and Portland, Oregon, are pushing urban voters to Trump.

Rasmussen

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This should happen in many countries. Familes have a right to know.

DOJ Asks Four States For COVID Data On Nursing Home Deaths (JTN)

The Justice Department on Wednesday requested COVID-19 data from four states it says required nursing homes to accept residents infected with the coronavirus, policies that may have rendered elderly Americans “unnecessarily put at risk.” The department said in a Wednesday press release that it was seeking “COVID-19 data from the governors of states that issued orders which may have resulted in the deaths of thousands of elderly nursing home residents.” The department named New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan as the states in question.

Data indicate that a significant percentage of all COVID-19 deaths worldwide—possibly approaching half of all fatalities—have been in long-term care facilities, locations where advanced ages and chronic medical conditions make patients much more vulnerable to infectious diseases. The Justice Department notes that in late March New York State ordered that “no resident shall be denied re-admission or admission to [a nursing home] solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19.” “Protecting the rights of some of society’s most vulnerable members, including elderly nursing home residents, is one of our country’s most important obligations,” Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Division Eric Dreiband said in the press release.

“We must ensure they are adequately cared for with dignity and respect and not unnecessarily put at risk.” The requests “are not accusations of fault or wrongdoing by the states or any other individual or entity, and the department has not reached any conclusions about these matters,” the department noted. The letters to the four state governors request various types of state-run nursing home-related data, including the number of residents and staff of such homes that contracted COVID-19, the number of deaths at the homes, and “all State-issued guidance, directives, advisories, or executive orders regarding admission of persons to Public Nursing Homes.”

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Keto. Ditch sugar, ditch carbs. Someone open a chain of keto restaurants.

Obesity Increases Risk Of COVID19 Death By Almost 50% (G.)

Obesity increases the risk of dying of Covid-19 by nearly 50% and may make vaccines against the disease less effective, according to a comprehensive study using global data. The findings, which the lead researcher described as “scary”, show that the risks for people with obesity are greater than previously thought. The study, commissioned for the World Bank, will increase pressure on governments to tackle obesity, including in the UK where Boris Johnson has put himself at the head of a drive to reduce the nation’s weight. The prime minister hit out last year at “sin taxes” such as the UK’s sugary drinks levy, but his own spell in intensive care with Covid-19, which he blames on his weight, has convinced him that tough measures are needed to reduce obesity levels.


It is understood that even taxes are no longer off the table. The US and UK have some of the highest obesity rates in the world. US government data shows that more than 40% of Americans are obese. The figure in England is more than 27% of adults. The new study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill into the effects of Covid-19 on people with obesity, defined as a BMI over 30, finds they are at greater risk from the virus in every way. Their risk of ending up in hospital with Covid-19 increases by 113%, of needing intensive care by 74%, and of dying of the virus by 48%. The study was led by Prof Barry Popkin, of the department of nutrition at the UNC Gillings Global School of Public Health, who said he was shocked by the findings. The risk of dying of Covid-19 for people with obesity was significantly higher than anyone had thought.

“That’s a pretty big effect for me,” he said. “It is a 50% increase essentially. That’s a pretty high scary number. All of it is actually, much higher than I ever expected.” The risk of being admitted to hospital for people with obesity was doubled, he said. “That, ICU admission and mortality are really high. They all shocked me, to be honest.” The study, published in the journal Obesity Reviews, is a meta-analysis, bringing together data from many studies carried out around the world, including China, France, Italy, the UK and the US. Obesity is a global problem that no country has yet successfully tackled. People with obesity often have underlying medical conditions that put them at greater risk from the coronavirus, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Obesity can also cause metabolic changes, such as insulin resistance and inflammation which make it harder for the body to fight off infections.

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“Cotton and polyester masks were slightly less effective, but were still able to block at least 80% of droplets.”

“Polyester and cotton masks allowed up to 40% of the smaller droplets to escape.”

The whole mask thing is made so complex by the “experts” and the media that nobody understands it anymore, so you got all these people walking the steets with masks on, where they serve zero purpose, and people in confined spaces, where they do, wearing none and clamoring about their liberty and birth rights. Some things we can still figure out ourselves. Wear the things where they are appropriate, but only there.

Non-Woven Masks Better To Stop COVID19, Says Japanese Supercomputer (G.)

Face masks made from non-woven fabric are more effective at blocking the spread of Covid-19 via airborne respiratory droplets than other types that are commonly available, according to modelling in Japan by the world’s fastest supercomputer. Fugaku, which can perform more than 415 quadrillion computations a second, conducted simulations involving three types of mask, and found that non-woven masks were better than those made of cotton and polyester at blocking spray emitted when the wearer coughs, the Nikkei Asian Review said. Non-woven masks refer to the disposable medical masks that are commonly worn in Japan during the flu season, and now during the coronavirus pandemic.

They are made from polypropylene, and are relatively cheap to make in large numbers. Woven masks, including those used in the Fugaku simulation, are typically made from fabrics such as cotton, and appeared in some countries after non-woven versions were temporarily in short supply. They can be reused and generally offer more breathability but, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), should be washed in soap or detergent and water of at least 60C at least once a day. The non-woven variety blocked nearly all droplets emitted in a cough, according to experts at Riken, a government-backed research institute in the western city of Kobe.

Cotton and polyester masks were slightly less effective, but were still able to block at least 80% of droplets. Non-woven “surgical” masks were slightly less effective at blocking smaller droplets measuring 20 micrometres or less, with more than 10% escaping through gaps between the edge of the mask and the face, according to the computer model. One micrometre is one millionth of a metre. Polyester and cotton masks allowed up to 40% of the smaller droplets to escape. [..] Makoto Tsubokura, team leader at Riken’s centre for computational science, encouraged people to cover up despite the heatwave gripping large parts of Japan.

“What is most dangerous is not wearing a mask,” Tsubokura said, according to the Nikkei. “It’s important to wear a mask, even a less effective cloth one.” Fugaku, which was named the world’s fastest supercomputer last month, has also run simulations on how respiratory droplets spread in partitioned office spaces and on packed trains when the carriage windows are open. Although it will not be fully operational until next year, experts are hoping the 130bn yen ($1.2bn) supercomputer will help identify treatments for Covid-19 from about 2,000 existing drugs, including those that have yet to reach the clinical trial stage.

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No, you don’t get to change your ideas every other day just because you call yourself an expert.

This has nothing to do with COVID19 specifically. This is a general virus issue, and we could have defined these things well before the pandemic. And some people did.

6 Feet May Not Always Be Enough Distance To Protect From COVID19 (NBC)

The current guidance for safe social distancing may not be enough to stop the spread of COVID-19, a new analysis suggests. In the report, researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Oxford say other factors, such as ventilation, crowd size, exposure time and whether face coverings are worn, need to be considered, as well. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the advice has been to keep at least 6 feet away from other people indoors and outdoors. “COVID-19 spreads mainly among people who are in close contact (within about 6 feet) for a prolonged period of time,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

However, in the report, published Tuesday in The BMJ, the researchers wrote that “physical distancing should be seen as only one part of a wider public health approach to containing the covid-19 pandemic.” Lydia Bourouiba, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at MIT and co-author of the report, said, “It’s not just 6 feet and then everything else can be ignored or just mask and everything else can be ignored or just ventilation and everything else can be ignored.” It’s important to distinguish between high-risk and low-risk exposure, Bourouiba said.

Some evidence suggests that the coronavirus may travel more than 6 feet through activities like coughing and shouting, the researchers wrote. In the highest-risk situations, such as indoors with poor ventilation, large crowds, prolonged contact time and no face coverings, distancing beyond 6 feet should be considered. Locations that fall under this category include bars, stadiums or restaurants. In low-risk scenarios, such as in outdoor spaces with few people nearby, less stringent social distancing should be adequate.

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Nobody is testing HCQ, azithromycin or doxycycline, and zinc (“triple therapy”) appropriately.

The Tragic Hydroxychloroquine Debate and Dr. Fauci’s Denial of Evidence (RCP)

There are well-established criteria for when an observed association can be ascribed to causation, which Dr. Risch meticulously took into consideration. These criteria were originally developed by the pioneering British epidemiologist Sir Austin Hill. Thus Dr. Risch’s scientific inference of the treatment efficacy of administering HCQ, azithromycin or doxycycline, and zinc (“triple therapy”), as early as possible in outpatient settings to people at greatest risk, in order to prevent the SARS-CoV-2 infection from turning into a dangerous life-threatening “florid disease” is sound. In an open letter to Dr. Anthony Fauci, George C. Fareed, MD, of Brawley, California, Michael M. Jacobs, MD, MPH, of Pensacola, Florida, and Donald C. Pompan, MD, of Salinas, California, demonstrate the flaws in the positions adopted by NIH and FDA and give strong support to Dr. Risch. In particular, they criticize the nihilism of demanding proof of efficacy from randomized clinical trials (RCTs), when time is short and when highly suggestive observational proof of the efficacy of these inexpensive drugs exists.

In the past, the FDA has approved many drugs without RCTs; penicillin was so efficacious in the treatment of pneumonia that there was no need for an RCT to have penicillin registered. Perhaps most disturbing is that not a single RCT is designed to test the efficacy of the triple therapy in outpatient settings as early as possible among those most at risk. Nevertheless, the official position is that “the overwhelming evidence from properly conducted RCTs indicates no therapeutic efficacy of HCQ,” though the RCTs are simply designed not to answer the right question: whether the triple therapy prevents deaths among the elderly and those with comorbidities when taken in outpatient settings, even before people are notified about the lab result as to whether they have Covid-19. It cannot be ethical for public health bodies to demand impossible standards of proof for potential lifesaving therapies.

[..] Dr. Fauci’s position seems remarkably similar to that of the famous English statistician Ronald A. Fisher, who, in 1957, denied that tobacco smoking caused lung cancer, despite evidence of the strong statistical relationship. Fisher argued vehemently that observational data cannot prove causality. It is disturbing that Dr. Fauci does not engage in honest scientific debate based on observational evidence but rather resorts to personalized attacks. As Dr. Risch put it: “The pushback has been furious. Dr. Anthony Fauci has implied that I am incompetent, notwithstanding my hundreds of highly regarded, methodologically relevant publications in peer-reviewed scientific literature.”

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Yes, the Lancet screwed up badly.

What Is Gilead’s Role In The War On Hydroxychloroquine? (Chaves)

Is Gilead, the maker of Remdesivir, waging war on HCQ (hydroxychloroquine)? Attacks on the drug have been continuous ever since Dr. Didier Raoult used this quinine derivative to save the lives of COVID-19 patients last March. The first attempt to discredit HCQ was a hastily compiled Veterans’ Administration hospital system study last April. Notably, one of the study’s authors had in the past received numerous grants from Gilead, with one grant in 2018 totaling nearly a quarter of a million dollars. After deep flaws in the V.A. study were exposed, Surgisphere came to the rescue in May with a “15,000 patient” megastudy allegedly compiled from hospitals all over the world.

This strategy succeeded: following its publication in the Lancet and the NEJM, all outpatient use of HCQ was severely restricted in the U.S., Australia, and most of Europe. When the Surgisphere scam was exposed, both articles were quietly retracted, and the editor-in-chief of the Lancet tried to wash his hands of this embarrassing incident by denouncing Surgisphere’s “monumental fraud.” However only a few days earlier, Lancet editors played a major role in persuading the WHO to suspend all trials for HCQ. Who put them up to it? The study’s main author, Mandeep Mehra, also apologized for his reliance on a third party for the data. He may not have known that the data were fabricated, but the hospital he directed was conducting two trials for Remdesivir. Was he under pressure from his sponsors?

These are the stakes: a five-day treatment with Remdesivir costs around $3,000. A five-day supply of generic HCQ costs around $10. Drug companies have every right to recoup their cost of research and development, but lobbying to suppress access to a life-saving treatment that is both cheaper and more effective is a crime against humanity. Progressives mistakenly believe that socialized medicine protects patients from the abuses of big pharma, but the first nation to severely restrict access to HCQ was France. This policy compelled Dr. Raoult to testify against Gilead’s disproportionate leverage over the medical community during a meeting of the French National Assembly last June.

Notably in the U.S., a third of the FDA’s budget comes from pharmaceutical user fees, and according to the NIH’s website, eight out of 55 members of the panel responsible for COVID-19 treatment guidelines are currently affiliated with Gilead. These government ties to Gilead more than triple when you include panel members with past associations.

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We need to stop looking in the rear view mirror only. Some things will never return. And the more we try to hold on to them, the harder it gets to replace them with other things.

Airlines Threaten October Jobs Massacre Unless they Get 2nd Bailout (WS)

October 1 and the days that follow are going to be rough in terms of tens of thousands of well-paid service jobs – that’s what airlines are threatening unless they get another $25-billion bailout. Airlines have been trying to shed employees by offering packages that induce employees to depart voluntarily because the $25-billion bailout package under the CARES Act banned “involuntary” furloughs or layoffs through the end of September. The air passenger business is still down roughly 70% in the US, six months after the initial collapse of traffic began, according to TSA airport screenings of air travelers entering into security zones. And demand has hardly improved any since early July, and airlines continue to slash costs and cash-burn to survive:

“It was assumed that by Sept. 30, the virus would be under control and demand for air travel would have returned. That is obviously not the case,” American Airlines CEO Parker and President Robert Isom told employees in a grim message on Tuesday. Under its buyout, early retirement, and long-term leave-of-absence programs, 23,500 employees had already voluntarily departed. But that wasn’t enough. So the executives told employees what the next step would be: 19,000 “involuntary” furloughs on October 1. American, which started the year out with about 140,000 employees, expects to have fewer than 100,000 employees in October. “The one possibility of avoiding these involuntary reductions on Oct. 1 is a clean extension” of the bailout package, they said.


So if given another bailout, American, which received $5.8 billion under the first bailout package, will then not lay off those employees on October 1 – but instead on the date when the second bailout package would expire? In the fourth quarter, American expects to fly only one-fourth of its usual international schedule and less than half of its usual domestic schedule. Last week, it announced that it would pull out of 15 smaller cities in October, “as a result of low demand and the expiration of the air service requirements associated with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. This is the first step as American continues to evaluate its network and plans for additional schedule changes in the coming weeks.”

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Greece is not impressed with EU and US support so far.

France & Italy Throw Weight Behind Greece As Naval War Games Kick Off (RT)

France, Italy, Greece and Cyprus are staging a massive maritime exercise in the Eastern Mediterranean, in an apparent veiled nod to Turkey, which recently began researching oil and gas deposits in the area, raising ire in Athens. Codenamed ‘Eunomia’, the aeronautical exercises launched on Wednesday off the southern shores of Cyprus, the host nation of the war games. Athens’ defense minister announced the start of the drills earlier in the day, saying they are to reinforce “the rule of law as part of the policy of de-escalating tensions.” France, in turn, also confirmed the news, having dispatched its ‘Lafayette’ frigate, as well as three Rafale fighter jets. Italian and Cypriot vessels were also said to have joined the exercise in the eastern part of the Mediterranean.


A day prior, separate drills kicked off near the Greek island of Crete, this time involving Hellenic and US armed forces. The string of military exercises appears to be upping the ante in the festering feud between Greece and Turkey. Formally allies within NATO, the two nations have been at loggerheads over a number of issues, from historical discords to overlapping territorial claims in the Eastern Mediterranean. Tensions recently flared up when a trove of gas and oil was discovered in the contentious waters. This week, Ankara announced that its Oruc Reis research vessel will carry on navigating the disputed waters between Cyprus and Crete. The news has caused outrage in Greece which views the research activities as unlawful and considers them an affront to its sovereignty.

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More revolving doors. Just what we needed. Taleb has addressed this.

The New Media Elite Are Rapacious Monopolists, And We Are Their Food (Lewis)

The likes of Facebook & Google are spending tens of millions on lobbying and buying up government insiders. We need to call their bluff and bring in controls over their ever-growing financial and networked empires. In recent weeks, there has been heightened media concern that Facebook is cultivating a close relationship between government and big tech monopolies by poaching and recruiting former senior policy officials. The findings reveal a systematic hiring of government insiders with knowledge of regulation by offering them huge incentives to join. Three senior regulatory staff at the UK’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport are among those who recently joined Facebook. Other policy officials joined from the Cabinet Office, the Home Office and UK Counterterrorism Policing.

And earlier this year, it was revealed that Facebook had recruited Tony Close as their new director of content regulation. Close was Ofcom’s director of content standards, who had been heavily involved with drawing up rules to rein in the tech giants and protect the public. And, of course, do not forget the fact that Facebook recruited former UK Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg as its vice president for global affairs and communications, who has been leading Facebook’s policy and communications work, as part of a concerted effort to preach and lobby against Big Tech breakups. But it is not only Facebook that is behaving like this. The Times reports that at least 14 special advisers had moved to tech companies, including Uber, Google and Facebook, in the past five years after a stint in ministerial offices.

These officials have had access to departmental chiefs and the policy formation process. In the face of growing concern about online content and antitrust investigations, the monopolistic positions of Silicon Valley’s Big Tech giants have increasingly come under scrutiny. As a result, they have all been ramping up their lobbying capacities by recruiting well-connected insiders. The Wall Street journal revealed that in 2019, Facebook increased its expenditure on lobbying by nearly 25 percent, to $12.3 million, through the first nine months of the year. Amazon notched a 16 percent jump in lobbying outlays, to $12.4 million. Apple boosted its spending by eight percent, and Microsoft by nine percent.

The main goal of this is the protection of their existing and future businesses. When Facebook announced its move into the financial sphere by unveiling plans for a global cryptocurrency, it drew a barrage of trenchant criticism. Undaunted, it hired seven new outside lobbying firms to work on financial issues, including two former aides to the GOP chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. Amazon, too, has brought on seven additional outside lobbying shops since the middle of 2018, including former members of Congress and congressional aides who work to influence federal spending.

Taleb Carney

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Got to love the simplicity: “Painting one blade black dramatically reduces bird kills by wind turbines..”

Good News for Birds – and Wind Power (Adler)

Birds have been a problem for wind power. Wind turbines, whatever their other merits, have the tendency to kill birds, and possibly bats. This has been a longstanding problem, particularly because those areas best for wind power are often important for birds, particularly those species that tend to ride on wind currents. The bird problem has meant that environmental organizations have been inconsistent advocates of wind power, endorsing the such carbon-free power in the abstract, but often opposing particular wind power development proposals. I wrote about this problem over twenty years ago in The Weekly Standard, and it has not gone away.


New research suggests that one solution to the bird problem is rather simple: Painting one blade black dramatically reduces bird kills by wind turbines–70 percent in one location under study. This is an important development because the effect appears quite large, and it’s a relatively inexpensive fix. Assuming this research pans out, there is a cheap way to address the biggest environmental drawback of wind power, and that’s a big deal.

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“..everyday life influences what you dream about and vice versa..”

Your Dreams Are A Continuation Of Your Reality (RT)

A groundbreaking new study of over 24,000 dreams has provided the strongest evidence yet that our dreams are a continuation of our waking lives, with certain recurring elements shared between our sleeping and everyday selves. “Most dreams are a continuation of what is happening in everyday life,” say the researchers led by computer scientist Alessandro Fogli from Roma Tre University in Italy. The scientist explained that everyday life influences what you dream about and vice versa. So anxiety in life leads to anxious dreams, while on the positive side, dreaming can help solve problems that present themselves during waking hours.

On the one hand, traditional psychological analysis of dreams dates back to the days of Freud, who posited that the hidden meanings of dreams could be revealed through analysis of their waking experiences in the real world. On the other hand, modern dream analysis looks for symbols, metaphors, structures and characters which might correspond to other parts of a person’s life. Such methodologies include the Hall and Van de Castle system, which codifies all of the aforementioned elements and explores how they interact with each other in the dreamworld. This is, however, an extremely slow and time-consuming process, as evidenced by Christopher Nolan’s film Inception.

Dream scientists have long sought an algorithmic solution to automate the task of sifting through dream reports, the academic equivalent of counting sheep, which is exactly what Fogli and his team undertook to accomplish at scale. The researchers devised a way to track large numbers of dreams at scale, by parsing the language from dream reports of 24,000 dreams contained in a giant public database called DreamBank. More specifically, they honed in on characters, social interactions, and emotional words to search for recurring patterns. These three dimensions are considered the most important aspects of dream interpretation, defining the overall “plot.”

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We try to run the Automatic Earth on donations. Since ad revenue has collapsed, your support is now an integral part of the process.

Thank you for your ongoing support.

 

 

Zschaepitz USD debasement

 

 

Biden clown. Don’t know who made it, but it’s done well.

 

 

And this is just some stupid fun:

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in virustime.

 

Aug 142020
 


Marlon Brando screentest 1951

 

US Obesity Epidemic Threatens Effectiveness of Any COVID Vaccine (KHN)
Israeli Hospital Trials Fast Saliva Test for COVID-19 (R.)
The Pandemic and Medicare for All (TMI)
NYC Is Dead Forever. Here’s Why (Altucher)
What Kamala Harris Really Thinks of WikiLeaks (Lauria)
Some Questions About Kamala Harris’ Eligibility (NW)
China’s Banks At Risk As $500 Billion In Non-Performing Loans Revealed (SCMP)
China’s Debt Collectors Flourish As Consumers Flounder (R.)
US Seizes $2 Million From Terror-Linked Cryptocurrency Accounts (CNBC)
United Arab Emirates Sells Out Palestine For Israel (EI)
Experts Debunk Claims of GMO Crops Success (OffG)
Ford Is Slashing 10,000 Jobs, 6 Factories In Europe (ZH)
7 Million Jobs At Risk, European Airlines Could See “Further Declines” (ZH)
Volume of Greek Air Traffic Plunged 74.3% in 2020 (GR)

 

 

I was reading a piece by law professor John Eastman yesterday, before the entire left stumbled over each other to condemn it. I was thinking in my innocence that it’s interesting to know if questions over who’s a “natural born citizen” in America have ever truly been settled by politics or courts.

But I’m naive, and it’s attack time. They will defend Kamala Harris with all they got, with the entire MSM serving as their bullhorns. Which means Trump and his people have no choice but to go after her with all they got. Still, remembering the Obama birther fiasco, do they really want to die on this hill? Can’t we just leave it to the court system and legal experts? Or simply answer Eastman’s questions?

It’s all among signs of things to come between here and Nov. 3. Bill Barr yesterday promised that a first news flash from the Durham investigation into Russiagate origins will come out today, and that all of it will before Nov. 3. US elections are really just entertainment. Opium for the masses. Clickbaits, drama, anger, scandal. And I always thought it should be about people.

 

 

Not much movement in the numbers. We’re stuck in a broken record, with no progress anywhere. Not good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are 328 million Americans. 74 million of them are children. That leaves 254 million adults, of which 107 million are obese, or 42%. 42.4% have a BMI over 30. 9% are morbidly obese.

From this point of view, COVID is hardly the worst threat to either the people or the health care system. Or, to put it another way, it’s the people themselves that are the threat to the health care system.

Again, take high fructose corn syrup out of the diet, and you solve a huge chunk of that problem. Ban stuff that kills people, or make it much harder to get.

US Obesity Epidemic Threatens Effectiveness of Any COVID Vaccine (KHN)

For a world crippled by the coronavirus, salvation hinges on a vaccine. But in the United States, where at least 4.6 million people have been infected and nearly 155,000 have died, the promise of that vaccine is hampered by a vexing epidemic that long preceded COVID-19: obesity. Scientists know that vaccines engineered to protect the public from influenza, hepatitis B, tetanus and rabies can be less effective in obese adults than in the general population, leaving them more vulnerable to infection and illness. There is little reason to believe, obesity researchers say, that COVID-19 vaccines will be any different. “Will we have a COVID vaccine next year tailored to the obese? No way,” said Raz Shaikh, an associate professor of nutrition at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

“Will it still work in the obese? Our prediction is no.” More than 107 million American adults are obese, and their ability to return safely to work, care for their families and resume daily life could be curtailed if the coronavirus vaccine delivers weak immunity for them. In March, still early in the global pandemic, a little-noticed study from China found that heavier Chinese patients afflicted with COVID-19 were more likely to die than leaner ones, suggesting a perilous future awaited the U.S., whose population is among the heaviest in the world. And then that future arrived.

As intensive care units in New York, New Jersey and elsewhere filled with patients, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that obese people with a body mass index of 40 or more — known as morbid obesity or about 100 pounds overweight — were among the groups at highest risk of becoming severely ill with COVID-19. About 9% of American adults are in that category. As weeks passed and a clearer picture of who was being hospitalized came into focus, federal health officials expanded their warning to include people with a body mass index of 30 or more. That vastly expanded the ranks of those considered vulnerable to the most severe cases of infection, to 42.4% of American adults.

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More rapid testing. Good. Bring it. Test yourself everyday at breakfast.

Israeli Hospital Trials Fast Saliva Test for COVID-19 (R.)

A newly developed saliva test aims to determine in less than a second whether or not you are infected with the novel coronavirus, Israel’s largest medical center said Thursday. Patients rinse their mouth with a saline wash and spit into a vial. This is then examined by a small spectral device that, in simple terms, shines light on the specimen and analyzes the reaction to see if it is consistent with COVID-19. With machine learning it gets more accurate over time. Eli Schwartz of the Center for Geographic Medicine and Tropical Diseases at Sheba Medical Center, who is leading the trial, said it was easier to use than PCR swabs commonly used to detect COVID-19.


“So far we have very promising results in this new method which will be much more convenient and much cheaper,” he said. The center said in an initial clinical trial involving hundreds of patients, the new artificial intelligence-based device identified evidence of the virus in the body at a 95% success rate. Amos Panet, an expert in molecular virology at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University, said he would like to see more data and comparisons with existing tests before making a final judgment. The amount of virus present in saliva increases as patients get sicker, he said, and a big challenge is to detect in “people who are borderline.” “It will be a game changer only if we see validation of this technology against the current technology,” he said.

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Would M4A benefit the obese and hence diabetic? A long time ago, someone said: we’re raising a generation of blind amputees. How would a health care system deal with that?

The Pandemic and Medicare for All (TMI)

When the novel coronavirus first arrived in the United States, it spurred on remarkable message discipline among America’s political class. The consensus that emerged on both sides of the aisle dictated that no matter what happened, Americans ought to be glad they do not live in a country with socialized medicine. At the final Democratic presidential debate on March 15, former Vice President Biden pointed to COVID numbers in Italy as evidence that not only was Medicare for all not a solution to the crisis, but it would put the country at greater risk. “With all due respect for Medicare for all, you have a single-payer system in Italy,” the former vice president said. “It doesn’t work there. It has nothing to do with Medicare for all. That would not solve the problem at all.”

Weeks later, in early April, Center for American Progress president Neera Tanden echoed the sentiment in a Twitter spat with a Medicare for All supporter. “You might want to check out the death rate in France before you think the form of health system is the answer here,” she tweeted. Not long after, the Washington Post ran an op-ed by former George W. Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen declaring the COVID-19 pandemic was “an indictment of socialized medicine.” “If you think today’s pandemic bolsters the case for socialized medicine, then ask yourself a simple question: If you came down with a serious case of COVID-19, would you rather be in an Italian hospital or an American one?” the piece opens, before lauding Biden’s debate answer.

Such arguments were never fair — the pandemic was only just starting in the United States, while COVID-19 had indeed rampaged across Europe, there were contributing factors like years of austerity and a lack of supply chain redundancy in the modern globalized economy. But now, just a few months later, these arguments completely and utterly fail. New infections are still surging in the U.S. while countries with national health care programs have long since gotten a handle on the virus. On Tuesday, the U.S. reported more new COVID cases in a single day than Italy, France, and the U.K. reported last month combined, and roughly 45 percent of their total deaths.

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Nice account from James Altucher. is he just getting old, or is New York really beyond salvation?

NYC Is Dead Forever. Here’s Why (Altucher)

People say, “NYC has been through worse” or “NYC has always come back.” No and no. First, when has NYC been through worse? Even in the 1970s, and through the 80s, when NYC was going bankrupt, and even when it was the crime capital of the US or close to it, it was still the capital of the business world (meaning: it was the primary place young people would go to build wealth and find opportunity), it was culturally on top of its game – home to artists, theater, media, advertising, publishing, and it was probably the food capital of the US. NYC has never been locked down for five months. Not in any pandemic, war, financial crisis, never. In the middle of the polio epidemic, when little kids (including my mother) were going paralyzed or dying (my mother ended up with a bad leg), NYC didn’t go through this.

This is not to say what should have been done or should not have been done. That part is over. Now we have to deal with what IS. In early March, many people (not me), left NYC when they felt it would provide safety from the virus and they no longer needed to go to work and all the restaurants were closed. People figured, “I’ll get out for a month or two and then come back.” They are all still gone. And then in June, during rioting and looting a second wave of NYC-ers (this time me) left. I have kids. Nothing was wrong with the protests but I was a little nervous when I saw videos of rioters after curfew trying to break into my building. Many people left temporarily but there were also people leaving permanently. Friends of mine moved to Nashville, Miami, Austin, Denver, Salt Lake City, Austin, Dallas, etc.

Now a third wave of people are leaving. But they might be too late. Prices are down 30-50% on both rentals and sales no matter what real estate people tell you. And rentals soaring in the second and third-tier cities. I’m temporarily, although maybe permanently, in South Florida now. I also got my place sight unseen. Robyn was looking at listings around Miami and then she saw an area we had never been to before. We found three houses we liked. She called the real estate agent. Place #1. Just rented that morning 50% higher than the asking price. Place #2. Also rented (New Yorkers – “they came from New York for three hours, saw the place, got it, went back to pack.”). Place #3. “Available.” “We’ll take it!” The first time we physically saw it was when we flew down and moved in. “This is temporary, right?” I confirmed with Robyn. But…I don’t know. I’m starting to like the sun a little bit. I mean, when it’s behind the shades. And when I am in air conditioning.

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All US politics is united against Julian Assange.

What Kamala Harris Really Thinks of WikiLeaks (Lauria)

During a September 2017 U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee debate on an intelligence bill a line was inserted that said WikiLeaks “resembles a non-state hostile intelligence service” and that the U.S. “should treat it as such.” “This language would help investigators secure the authorization needed to surveil those U.S. citizens thought to be associated with WikiLeaks,” a McClatchy report quoted a government lawyer as saying. “You need to show that someone is an agent of a foreign power,” said the lawyer, Robert Deitz, who held senior legal positions at the Pentagon, the CIA and the National Security Agency. “It’s possible that Assange has colleagues in this country that they need to focus on,” McClatchy quoted Deitz as saying, “noting that such action can only be done under court order.”

The non-state hostile agency phrase was directly lifted from a scurrilous speech by Mike Pompeo in his first address as CIA director. The language survived the committee and made it into the bill voted on by the full Senate. But before it did two senators raised objections to it. One was Ron Wyden of Oregon. The other was Sen. Kamala Harris of California, the presumptive Democratic vice presidential candidate in November’s election. According to the McClatchy report, “Harris declared that she is ‘no supporter of WikiLeaks,’ which she said had done ‘considerable harm’ to the United States. But the clause on the group is ‘dangerous’ because it ‘fails to draw a bright line between WikiLeaks and legitimate news organizations that play a vital role in our democracy,’ according to her remarks for the record.”

Harris left no doubt that she is an enemy of WikiLeaks, as is her running mate, Joe Biden, who agreed it was more like a high-tech terrorist organization that Daniel Ellsberg’s release of the Pentagon Papers. Harris made clear she cared only about establishment media (which almost universally undergirds aggressive U.S. foreign policy) and was worried about it getting caught up in a WikiLeaks dragnet. She said she wants a “bright line” between publications such as The New York Times and WikiLeaks. Except, there can be no such legal line drawn as both establishment papers, like the Times, and WikiLeaks have done the exact same thing: possessed and published classified material.

Because there is no legal distinction, the Obama administration, which desperately wanted to indict WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, backed away citing its “New York Times problem.” The Trump administration had no such qualms and had Assange arrested in April 2019 and indicted on conspiracy to commit computer intrusion and 17 counts of the Espionage Act. The only bright line that can be drawn is political: a decision by the Department of Justice to not prosecute big media but to prosecute WikiLeaks for the same “crime”, which conflicts with First Amendment press freedoms. This is what Harris was calling for: Protect the state-managed corporate media but go after a serious publication that dares to reveal crimes of the U.S. government, which Harris wants to protect. In other words, for the same activity, the Times is afforded First Amendment protections, but WikiLeaks is not.

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There are questions one can’t ask.

Some Questions About Kamala Harris’ Eligibility (NW)

The fact that Senator Kamala Harris has just been named the vice presidential running mate for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has some questioning her eligibility for the position. The 12th Amendment provides that “no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.” And Article II of the Constitution specifies that “[n]o person except a natural born citizen…shall be eligible to the office of President.” Her father was (and is) a Jamaican national, her mother was from India, and neither was a naturalized U.S. citizen at the time of Harris’ birth in 1964. That, according to these commentators, makes her not a “natural born citizen”—and therefore ineligible for the office of the president and, hence, ineligible for the office of the vice president.

“Nonsense,” runs the counter-commentary. Indeed, PolitiFact rated the claim of ineligibility as “Pants on Fire” false, Snopes rated it simply “False,” and from the other side of the political spectrum, Conservative Daily News likewise rated it “False.” All three (and numerous others) simply assert that Harris is eligible because she was born in Oakland—and is therefore a natural-born citizen from location of birth. The 14th Amendment says so, they all claim, and the Supreme Court so held in the 1898 case of U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark. But those claims are erroneous, at least as the Citizenship Clause of the 14th Amendment was originally understood—an error to which even my good friend, renowned UCLA School of Law professor Eugene Volokh, has fallen prey.

The language of Article II is that one must be a natural-born citizen. The original Constitution did not define citizenship, but the 14th Amendment does—and it provides that “all persons born…in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens.” Those who claim that birth alone is sufficient overlook the second phrase. The person must also be “subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States, and that meant subject to the complete jurisdiction, not merely a partial jurisdiction such as that which applies to anyone temporarily sojourning in the United States (whether lawfully or unlawfully). Such was the view of those who authored the 14th Amendment’s Citizenship Clause; of the Supreme Court of the United States in the 1872 Slaughter-House Cases and the 1884 case of Elk v. Wilkins; of Thomas Cooley, the leading constitutional treatise writer of the day; and of the State Department, which, in the 1880s, issued directives to U.S. embassies to that effect.

The Supreme Court’s subsequent decision in Wong Kim Ark is not to the contrary. At issue there was a child born to Chinese immigrants who had become lawful, permanent residents in the United States—”domiciled” was the legally significant word used by the Court. But that was the extent of the Court’s holding (as opposed to broader language that was dicta, and therefore not binding). Indeed, the Supreme Court has never held that anyone born on U.S. soil, no matter the circumstances of the parents, is automatically a U.S. citizen.

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I’ve said it often before: none of this means much without also tallying shadow banks’ numbers.

China’s Banks At Risk As $500 Billion In Non-Performing Loans Revealed (SCMP)

China’s top banking regulatory official said on Thursday that the country’s banks have to deal with 3.4 trillion yuan (US$489.5 billion) worth of non-performing loans in 2020 – flagging a big risk for the banking system in the world’s second-largest economy. The total marks a hefty increase from 2.3 trillion yuan in 2019, and the value of bad loans could be even higher in 2021. Guo Shuqing, chairman of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, said in an interview with the official Xinhua News Agency that the increase in non-performing loans (NPLs) – loans in default or close to default – will put huge pressure on the country’s banks, especially small and regional ones.

“As many loans are rolled over [in 2020], some problems will only emerge next year,” Guo was quoted by Xinhua as saying, adding that a rebound in bad loans is “inevitable” since the coronavirus shock has adversely affected so many companies. The warning by Guo, who is also the Communist Party secretary at the People’s Bank of China, came at a time when many of the country’s small banks are facing a moment of reckoning after years of undisciplined balance sheet expansion, as well as instances of fraud and corruption. Meanwhile, Guo said, Chinese banks have improved their loan structure – with more lending going toward manufacturing, infrastructure, technology and small businesses.

Guo added that Chinese banks are now being told to enhance their support of small businesses. In addition, he said he will encourage banks to invest more in corporate bonds. According to official statistics from Guo’s agency, the NPL ratio in China was among the lowest in the world. The ratio for Chinese commercial banks rose 0.03 percentage points in the second quarter to 1.94 per cent at the end of June. But hidden bad loans, if exposed, could easily wipe out bank profits and erode capital bases. In the first half of this year, the combined profits of Chinese banks dropped for the first time in more than a decade – falling 9.4 per cent to 1 trillion yuan in the first half of the year, government data shows.

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So, question is: who are the shadow banks’ debt collectors? Vinnie the Kneecapper and his friends?

China’s Debt Collectors Flourish As Consumers Flounder (R.)

It’s not a good sign for any economy when debt collectors are booming and in China right now, the industry is on a hiring spree. Whole Scene Asset Management, a debt recovery firm based in the southern province of Hunan, plans to double staff numbers to 400 people this year as it expands into new cities. “Debt collection companies have been mushrooming,” said company founder Zhang Haiyan. “And with bad loans growing this year, everyone is adding new hands.” Rival Bricsman is also hiring – hoping to boost headcount of around 1,000 by 400-500 this year after landing a deal to collect delinquent consumer loans for China Minsheng Bank (600016.SS), people with knowledge of the matter said, declining to identified as they were not authorised to talk to media.

Bricsman, which is based in the eastern province of Jiangsu and counts other large banks amongst its clients, did not respond to a request for comment. As increasing numbers of consumers struggle with lost income in an economy battered by the coronavirus and U.S-China tensions, a burgeoning wave of non-performing loans is sparking concern among lenders – both at specialist consumer financing firms and traditional banks – and even among debt collectors. China is the midst of “an unfolding debt crisis”, says Joe Zhang, a business consultant and until last month vice chairman at the country’s largest debt collector YX Asset Recovery. The delinquency rate for consumer debt is climbing and collecting on those loans has become much harder, he added, estimating that at some weaker non-bank consumer lenders, soured loans may account for 30% to 50% of their portfolios.

[..] Chinese consumer debt has ballooned over the past five years, fuelled in part as banks scrambled to issue credit cards, with outstanding debt for bank-issued cards doubling to 17.6 trillion yuan ($2.5 trillion). Internet-based consumer financing, which is only lightly regulated, has also grown – by a dizzying 400 times to nearly 8 trillion yuan since 2014, according to the Guanghua School of Management. And Chinese household debt – including mortgages and unsecured consumer loans – has swollen to levels equivalent to nearly 60% of GDP, up from 18% in 2008, the peak of the global financial crisis.

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300 anonymous accounts?!

US Seizes $2 Million From 300 Terror-Linked Cryptocurrency Accounts (CNBC)

The Justice Department said it dismantled an elaborate cyber campaign used by overseas terror organizations to finance their operations and seized $2 million from more than 300 cryptocurrency accounts in what it described as the largest-ever seizure of its kind. The Justice Department said three overseas terrorist groups — al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military wing; al-Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, also known as ISIS — used cryptocurrencies and social media to raise funds for their terror campaigns. “It should not surprise anyone that our enemies use modern technology, social media platforms and cryptocurrency to facilitate their evil and violent agendas,” Attorney General William Barr said in a release.


“As announced today, we will seize the funds and the instrumentalities that provide a lifeline for their operations whenever possible,” he added. “Terrorist networks have adapted to technology, conducting complex financial transactions in the digital world, including through cryptocurrencies. IRS-CI special agents in the DC cybercrimes unit work diligently to unravel these financial networks,” Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin said in a release. In one of the cases, the U.S. secretly took over websites that were operated by al-Qassam Brigades and monitored those who thought they had opened up their cyber wallets to the terror group but instead donated money to an account controlled by the U.S. government, according to court documents unsealed Thursday in the District of Columbia.

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Successfully dividing the Arab world’s support for Palestinians.

United Arab Emirates Sells Out Palestine For Israel (EI)

The United Arab Emirates and Israel have agreed to full normalization of relations, bringing their decades-long clandestine dealings proudly into the open. The so-called “Abraham Accords” sealing the deal were brokered by US officials. The deal is named for “the father of all three great faiths,” David Friedman, the US ambassador to Israel, told reporters at the Oval Office on Thursday. Religious and cultural tolerance is often used by Arab states and Israel to mask their efforts to normalize ties. Painting conflict in the region as stemming from a lack of understanding among religions is also a way to obscure its true origin: Israel’s violent dispossession of Palestinians and ongoing military occupation and steady ethnic cleansing of their land.

In exchange for normalization, Israel agreed to suspend plans to annex large swaths of the occupied West Bank “and focus its efforts now on expanding ties with other countries in the Arab and Muslim world,” according to the joint statement. However, this is spin. In reality, it was the United States that put Israel’s annexation plans on ice weeks ago. In fact, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reaffirmed his commitment to annexation shortly after the announcement of the agreement. The UAE is merely using the American-imposed freeze as an opportunity to bring its secret ties with Israel dating back to the 1990s into the open. These secret relations have included military and intelligence cooperation and even joint military exercises.

[..] Relations between Israel and Gulf States including Saudi Arabia and the UAE are founded on a mutual enmity towards Iran. Liquidating Palestinian rights and bypassing the Palestinian issue is seen as key to building up this anti-Iran alliance under American oversight. Annexation, moreover, would only be a formal rubber stamp for what Israel has been doing on the ground for decades: stealing land, forcibly displacing Palestinians and building colonies in flagrant breach of international law. This violent colonization has never ceased and will not stop as a result of this agreement.

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India is Monsanto’s wet dream.

Experts Debunk Claims of GMO Crops Success (OffG)

On 6 July 2020, an article extolling the benefits of genetically modified (GM) crops appeared on the BloombergQuint website based on an interview with Dr Ramesh Chand, a member of the key Indian Government think tank Niti Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India) . On 17 July, another piece that placed a positive spin on GM crops and gene-editing technology (Feeding 10 Billion People will Require Genetically Modified Food) appeared on the same site. According to Prof Andrew Paul Gutierrez, Dr Hans R Herren and Dr Peter E Kenmore, internationally renowned agricultural researchers, the pieces reported “sweeping unsupported claims” about the benefits of and need for genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and related technologies in agriculture in India.

The three academics felt that “a responsible and factual response” was required and have written a letter – containing what could be described as the definitive analysis of Bt cotton in India – to Dr Ramesh Chand, Dr Rajiv Kumar (Niti Aayog Vice Chancellor) and Dr Amitabh Kant (Niti Aayog CEO). Chand is reported as saying that there is no credible study to show any adverse impact of growing Bt cotton in the last 18 years in the country (India’s only officially approved GM crop). This is simply not the case. Moreover, Gutierrez et al argue that all of the credible evidence shows any meagre increases in cotton yield after the introduction of Bt cotton in 2002 were largely due to increases in fertiliser use. Before proceeding, it is pertinent to address the claim that ‘feeding 10 billion people will require genetically modified food’.

If we take the case of India and its 1.3 billion-plus population, it has achieved self-sufficiency in food grains and has ensured that, in theory at least, there is enough food available to feed its entire population. It is the world’s largest producer of milk, pulses and millets and the second-largest producer of rice, wheat, sugarcane, groundnuts, vegetables and fruit. However, food security for many Indians remains a distant dream. Hunger and malnutrition remain prevalent. But that is not because farmers don’t produce enough food. These problems result from other factors, including inadequate food distribution, social and economic policies, inequality and poverty. It is a case of ‘scarcity’ amid abundance (reflecting the situation globally). India even continues to export food while millions remain hungry. Productivity is not the issue.

And while proponents say GM will boost productivity and help secure cultivators a better income, this too ignores crucial political and economic contexts; with bumper harvests, Indian farmers still find themselves in financial distress. India’s farmers are not experiencing hardship due to low productivity. They are reeling from the effects of neoliberal policies and years of neglect. It’s for good reason that the calorie and essential nutrient intake of the rural poor has drastically fallen. Yet the pro-GMO lobby has wasted no time in wrenching these issues from their political contexts to use the notions of ‘helping farmers’ and ‘feeding the world’ as lynchpins of its promotional strategy.

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Everything travel related is getting hammered. There is no telling when it all will be back, or if it ever will. Bailing out the firms involved seems an awful waste of money. You do that for firms that have a future, not those that have a past.

Ford Is Slashing 10,000 Jobs, 6 Factories In Europe (ZH)

The auto industry continues to grapple with one of the worst recessions ever for the notoriously capital intensive sector. Ford, which feels like it has been in the midst of a yearslong “restructuring” that has never fully panned out or ended (and has involved numerous CEOs), continues to make major changes to its global personnel to try and find the right mix for its business going forward. This means that 10,000 positions are now being cut across Europe, the automaker disclosed yesterday. Ford is also going to be reducing the number of its plants in Europe to 17 from 23, the company revealed in a JP Morgan conference presentation on Wednesday.

In a slide called “Ford Euope: Road to Sustainable Profitability”, the company also disclosed it would be discontinuing underperforming vehicles, like its C-MAX and Grand C-Max. The company also plans on “leveraging” its relationship with VW. The company says it is on track to deliver on its 2020-2021 CO2 targets without credits or penalties and 13 new electic vehicles will be on sale by the end of 2020, up from just 5. This news comes days after it was announced that Ford would be replacing its CEO on relatively short notice. Ford said days ago it had tapped Jim Farley to replace a relatively still-newly appointed Jim Hackett as CEO. Hackett replaced former CEO Mark Fields and, for the most part, has failed to inspire confidence during his tenure at Ford.

Ford is currently in the middle of an $11 billion restructuring that is supposed to help to accelerate its development of new vehicles, including hybrids and EVs. Hackett had only just started with Ford back in 2017 and has said he will retire effective October. General Motors is following with a C-suite shakeup of its own, as its CFO leaves after just two years to work at a fintech startup. The company announced earlier this week that John Stapleton, GM North America chief financial officer, has been named its acting global chief financial officer, effective Aug. 15, after the resignation of the company’s current CFO, Dhivya Suryadevara.

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Isn’t that what we wanted? Less flying, less pollution?

7 Million Jobs At Risk, European Airlines Could See “Further Declines” (ZH)

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) published a new report Thursday that warns the virus-induced downturn will continue to pressure air passenger numbers, employment and economies across Europe. IATA said passenger flights are expected to decline by 60% in 2020, resulting in millions of job losses in the aviation and tourism industries. IATA issued a similar warning of what has been announced by airlines, of which, complete recovery in passenger demand might not be seen until 2024. “The near-term outlook for recovery in Europe remains highly uncertain with respect to the second wave of the pandemic and the broader global economic impact it could have. Passenger demand in Europe is expected to recover gradually and will not reach 2019 levels until 2024. -IATA

IATA’s job loss estimate was increased by 17% from its June report, from 6 million to 7 million, mostly because the highly anticipated V-shaped recovery has failed to materialize. “It is desperately worrying to see a further decline in prospects for air travel this year, and the knock-on impact for employment and prosperity. said Rafael Schvartzman, IATA’s Regional Vice President for Europe. Schvartzman said, “It shows once again the terrible effect that is being felt by families across Europe as border restrictions and quarantine continue. It is vital that governments and industry work together to create a harmonized plan for reopening borders.”

If another wave of the virus were to hit Europe, justifying nationwide lockdowns, it could intensify the recession. Though the German tabloid newspaper Bild has said: “There will be no second hard lockdown in Europe because that would lead to a monster recession that would not be accepted by the population.”

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20% of Greek GDP is tourism. So are at least 20% of jobs.

Volume of Greek Air Traffic Plunged 74.3% in 2020 (GR)

A report came out on Thursday confirming the worst fears of Greek economic experts, stating that the country had seen a drop of 74.3% in the number of passengers who had traveled through their airports so far this year. This amounts to only 9 million air travelers who had used airports in the country so far in 2020, a staggering drop of almost three-quarters of its business. The number of international visitors coming into Greek airports this year so far amounts to 1,126,429, a stunning decrease from last year’s banner tourism season, which saw a total of 4,096,657 international arrivals. Although very disappointing, the numbers did not come as a shock to any in the sector, due to the punishing effects of travel bans imposed on many nations because of the coronavirus pandemic.


According to Greek media reports, the Civil Aviation Authority, or CAA, reported the precipitous drop in business in the first seven months of this year relative to the numbers seen in 2019. For the month of July 2020 alone, the high season for summertime travel to the country, passenger traffic at Greek airports had decreased 72.6%. During the month of July, a total of only 2,722,854 million passengers came through Greece’s airports; in that same period, there was a precipitous drop of 72.5% in the number of foreign arrivals. This means that there were fewer passengers overall in the first seven months of 2020 than there had been in the month of July only in 2019.

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Support the Automatic Earth in virustime.

 

Aug 052020
 


Workmen next to the screws of the RMS Titanic at Belfast shipyard, 1911

 

Victoria Records Australia’s Worst Day Of COVID19- 15 Deaths, 725 New Cases (G.)
Failing the Coronavirus-Testing Test (Harvard)
Big Pharma Giants GSK, Sanofi Get $2.1 Billion to Develop COVID Vaccine (MPN)
An Effective COVID Treatment the Media Continues to Besmirch (RCP)
Authors of Pro-HCQ Study Defend Their Work From Fauci Attack(BLP)
US Jobless Claims Rise To 1.43 Million, Crisis Total Tops 54 Million (NYP)
US Plans to Relocate Factories from Asia to Latin America (PPost)
New Guidelines Call For Fundamental Shift In Obesity Treatment (CTV)
Understanding The Gravity Of The Russia Hoax (Widburg)
Trump: DOJ Found ‘Breathtaking’ Evidence Of Wrongdoing In Russia Probe (JTN)
86% Of Americans Say Media Is Biased, To Blame For Political Division (Fed.)
Bias And Commercialism Is Killing MSM, Journalists Have Had Enough (RT)

 

 

Just the other day, I watched an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown series he did for CNN, in which he visited Beirut and called it his favorite city in the world, one which he kept coming back to whenever he could. Maybe it’s good that he can’t see anymore what happened yesterday.

 

 

Numbers look somewhat mixed. New cases are not too bad, but deaths up are sharply, let’s hope that’s because they weren’t reported over the weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yaneer

 

 

Australia was doing fine. It no longer is.

Victoria Records Australia’s Worst Day Of COVID19- 15 Deaths, 725 New Cases (G.)

Wednesday marked Victoria’s most devastating day of Covid-19 cases and deaths, with a man in his 30s among 15 people who died overnight including many from aged care, and 725 new cases of the virus identified. Three men and a woman in their 70s, three women and a man in their 80s, and a woman in her 90s were among the deaths. Twelve deaths were linked to outbreaks in aged care. There are 538 Victorians in hospital, 42 of them in intensive care. The premier, Daniel Andrews, confirmed the man in his 30s – who is the youngest person to die from Covid-19 in Australia – was not a healthcare worker. There are currently more than 700 health workers with active cases of the virus. He said he could not provide further details about those who died without permission from families.


“Can I send my heartfelt condolences and sympathies to each of those families,” Andrews said on Wednesday. “This will be a terrible time and any and all support we can provide to you we will, and we are with you in this very difficult time.” The deputy chief health officer, Prof Allen Cheng, said when there was an outbreak in aged care, an assessment was made as to whether residents would be better off in hospital or aged care. But sending many patients to hospital could not continue indefinitely because “everything has a limit”. “The number of people in hospital has increased primarily but not only because of transfers from aged care and a lot of those transfers are not for clinical [reasons], not because they’re sick but because of infection control reasons,” Cheng said.

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Everyone tested everyday with a non-invasive less-sensitive testing method.

Failing the Coronavirus-Testing Test (Harvard)

At the moment, the United States has no semblance of public-health testing” for the coronavirus, says Michael Mina, an assistant professor of epidemiology at both Harvard Medical School and the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. What does Mina—an expert in viral testing protocols—mean by that? Current tests for active infection with SARS-CoV-2 are highly sensitive—but most are given to suspected COVID-19 patients long after the infected person has stopped transmitting the virus to others. That means the results are virtually useless for public-health efforts to contain the raging pandemic. These PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests, which amplify viral RNA to detectable levels, are used by physicians, often in hospital settings, to help guide clinical care for individual patients. In general, members of the public have not had access to such tests outside clinical settings, but even if they did, would find them too expensive for frequent use.

Furthermore, such tests detect tiny fragments of viral RNA even after the patient has recovered. Mina says that means “the vast majority of PCR positive tests we currently collect in this country are actually finding people long after they have ceased to be infectious.” In that sense, a positive result can be misleading, because the results can’t be relied on to guide the epidemiological efforts of public-health officials, which are focused on preventing transmission and controlling outbreaks: “The astounding realization is that all we’re doing with all of this testing is clogging up the testing infrastructure,” with results arriving a week or more after tests are administered, “and essentially finding people for whom we can’t even act because they are done transmitting.” In fact the testing backlog is so dire, and so “absolutely horrendously useless as system for public-health surveillance” that Mina believes the United States should at the very least throw away the millions and millions of samples that are waiting to be tested—and perhaps even halt the current testing regime and just start over.

“We need to change the whole script of what it means to test people,” he says. “In our country, we have always assumed that testing belongs in the clinical sphere, in the diagnostic sphere, and has to be run by laboratories or diagnosticians. The result is that we have a system for coronavirus testing…which is flailing, with raging outbreaks occurring.” What the country needs instead are rapid tests, widely deployed, so that infectious individuals can be readily self-identified and isolated, breaking the chain of transmission. To do that, Mina says, everyone must be tested, every couple of days, with $1, paper-based, at-home tests that are as easy to distribute and use as a pregnancy test: wake up in the morning, add saliva or nasal mucous to a tube of chemicals, wait 15 minutes, then dip a paper strip in the tube, and read the results.

Such tests are feasible—a tiny company called E25Bio, and another called Sherlock Biosciences (a startup spun out of Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and the Broad Institute in 2019) can deliver such tests—but the they have not made it to the marketplace because their sensitivity is being compared to that of PCR. But Mina says that is beside the point. “Imagine you are a fire department,” he says, “and you want to make sure that you catch all the fires that are burning so you can put them out. You don’t want a test that’s going to detect every time somebody lights a match in their house—that would be crazy: you’d be driving everywhere and having absolutely no effect. You want a test that can detect every time somebody is walking the streets with a flame thrower.”

FOR PUBLIC-HEALTH PURPOSES, speed and frequency of testing are vastly more important than sensitivity: the best test would actually be less sensitive than a PCR test. As Mina explains, when a person first becomes infected, there will be an incubation period when no test will reveal the infection, because the viral loads are so low. About “three to five days later, the PCR test will turn positive, and once that happens the virus is reproducing exponentially in a very predictable fashion.” At that point, critically, “even if a rapid test is 1,000 times less sensitive than a PCR test,” Mina says, the virus is increasing so rapidly that the test “will probably turn positive within eight to 15 or 24 hours.

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First, you pay for the research; then you play for the product.

Big Pharma Giants GSK, Sanofi Get $2.1 Billion to Develop COVID Vaccine (MPN)

The Trump administration’s “Manhattan project” for a COVID-19 vaccine has topped its biggest award given only two weeks ago to Novavax, Inc with its latest grant of $2.1 billion to pharmaceutical giant, GlaxoSmithKline, and partner Sanofi Pasteur to “speed up clinical development and manufacturing” of its recombinant vaccine candidate for the novel coronavirus. The deal clocks in at over $400 million more than the program’s previous investment of $1.6 billion earlier this month. Most of the GSK/Sanofi grant will be used for clinical trials and the rest to “scale-up and delivery” of 100 million vaccine doses destined for the U.S. population. The deal also offers the USG an option to buy a “supply of 500 million doses over the long term.”

This latest infusion of tax-payer money into Big Pharma’s hands by the Trump administration comes on the heels of the rumored failure of an early vaccine candidate. Moderna’s SARS-CoV-2 mRNA-1273 vaccine has received nearly a billion in federal funds, but recent reports of the company’s CMO, Tal Zaks, selling almost all of his shares as the vaccine is set to begin late-stage trials have sparked speculation that the “pre-fusion stabilized Spike protein” vaccine is dead in the water. Neither Novavax or Moderna, however, have ever had a single product go to market despite years in the business. GSK and Sanofi, in contrast, have plenty. Sanofi produces an FDA-approved flu shot and GSK, producer of some of the most recognizable pharmaceutical brand names like Binaca and Paxil, also produced a flu vaccine for the H1N1 “bird flu” called Pandermix.

Nevertheless, the fact that these large pharmaceutical firms have had some market success doesn’t necessarily mean anything in terms of the safety of their vaccines. GSK’s Pandermix turned out to induce narcolepsy and after studies confirmed the association between the drug and the chronic sleeping disorder, it has not been used since.

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Sometimes I feel like an HCQ advocate. But I really only thought it was crazy to label it lethal after 200 million people had been given chloroquine over 65 years without even a hint of mortality risks.

An Effective COVID Treatment the Media Continues to Besmirch (RCP)

On Friday, July 31, in a column ostensibly dealing with health care “misinformation,” Washington Post media critic Margaret Sullivan opened by lambasting “fringe doctors spouting dangerous falsehoods about hydroxychloroquine as a COVID-19 wonder cure.” Actually, it was Sullivan who was spouting dangerous falsehoods about this drug, something the Washington Post and much of the rest of the media have been doing for months. On May 15, the Post offered a stark warning to any Americans who may have taken hope in a possible therapy for COVID-19. In the newspaper’s telling, there was nothing unambiguous about the science — or the politics — of hydroxychloroquine: “Drug promoted by Trump as coronavirus game-changer increasingly linked to deaths,” blared the headline.

Written by three Post staff writers, the story asserted that the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine in treating COVID-19 is scant and that the drug is inherently unsafe. This claim is nonsense. Biased against the use of hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 — and the Washington Post is hardly alone — the paper described an April 21, 2020, drug study on U.S. Veterans Affairs patients hospitalized with the illness. It found a high death rate in patients taking the drug hydroxychloroquine. But this was a flawed study with a small sample, the main flaw being that the drug was given to the sickest patients who were already dying because of their age and severe pre-existing conditions. This study was quickly debunked. It had been posted on a non-peer-reviewed medical archive that specifically warns that studies posted on its website should not be reported in the media as established information.

Yet, the Post and countless other news outlets did just the opposite, making repeated claims that hydroxychloroquine was ineffective and caused serious cardiac problems. Nowhere was there any mention of the fact that COVID-19 damages the heart during infection, sometimes causing irregular and sometimes fatal heart rhythms in patients not taking the drug. To a media unrelentingly hostile to Donald Trump, this meant that the president could be portrayed as recklessly promoting the use of a “dangerous” drug. Ignoring the refutation of the VA study in its May 15 article, the Washington Post cited a Brazil study published on April 24 in which a COVID trial using chloroquine (a related but different drug than hydroxychloroquine) was stopped because 11 patients treated with it died. The reporters never mentioned another problem with that study: The Brazilian doctors were giving their patients lethal cumulative doses of the drug.

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Time to lose Fauci. But he’ll stay.

Authors of Pro-HCQ Study Defend Their Work From Fauci Attack(BLP)

The doctors responsible for a controversial pro-hydroxychloroquine study are defending their work after it was attacked by National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) director Dr. Anthony Fauci at a recent Congressional hearing. Drs. Adnan Munkarah and Steven Kalkanis wrote in an open letter that “a whole scientific field exists in which scientists examine how a drug is working in the real world to get as best an answer as they can as soon as possible,” which Dr. Fauci did not acknowledge in his complete dismissal of their work. Munkarah works as the chief clinical officer of the Henry Ford Health System while Kalkanis works as the chief academic officer for the system. They are standing by their findings and refusing to buckle under the political pressure.

“Our promising Henry Ford treatment study should be considered as another important contribution to the other studies of hydroxychloroquine that describes what the authors found in our patient population,” Munkarah and Kalkanis wrote. “We — along with all doctors and scientists — eagerly support the need for randomized clinical trials.” “Unfortunately, the political climate that has persisted has made any objective discussion about this drug impossible, and we are deeply saddened by this turn of events,” they wrote, noting they they believe that the science should “speak for itself.” “To that end, we have made the heartfelt decision to have no further comment about this outside the medical community,” the doctors said.

Munkarah and Kalkanis call for more research to take place but believe that their findings could save lives and should not be discounted. “As an early hot spot for the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen and lived its devastating effects alongside our patients and families,” Munkarah and Kalkanis wrote. “Furthermore, it is not unusual that results from such studies vary in different populations and at different times, and no one study can ever be considered all by itself,” they added. Big League Politics reported on how Dr. Fauci disregarded the Henry Ford Health System study, which appeared in a scholarly journal, because it wasn’t approved by the federal Big Pharma cartel. “We know from another study (corticosteroids) gives benefit in reducing deaths with advanced disease,” Fauci said during a House subcommittee hearing on Friday.

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It’s going to take a long time. Meanwhile, the economy must keep going. Nobody has a plan for that other than return to a time we can’t go back to.

US Jobless Claims Rise To 1.43 Million, Crisis Total Tops 54 Million (NYP)

Some 1.43 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, pushing the number of initial jobless claims filed during the coronavirus pandemic above 54 million, new data show. Last week marked the second consecutive week with an increase in new jobless filings, a further indication that the economic recovery from the pandemic is faltering. “Jobs are a key part to this recovery and this shows yet again how bumpy the recovery is going to be,” said Ryan Detrick, chief investment strategist at LPL Financial. The uptick came as surging coronavirus infections forced some states to renew lockdowns that led to massive layoffs in March and April, raising questions about how quickly the labor market can rebound from its worst collapse in a century.

New jobless claims have now remained above 1 million for 19 consecutive weeks, a level that would have been unprecedented before the pandemic caused a record spike in unemployment as government lockdown orders shuttered restaurants, theaters, hotels, and even some offices. At 54 million, the number of people who have filed for unemployment claims during the course of the pandemic is now greater than the population of South Korea, which boasts 51 million people — and has long since surpassed the 37 million jobs lost over 18 months during the Great Recession.

Bloomberg reported Thursday that Wal-Mart has laid off hundreds of workers in store planning, logistics, merchandising and real estate as part of a larger consolidation effort, while Reuters said Exxon Mobil Corp is gearing up for job cuts to preserve an 8-percent shareholder dividend in the face of a multi-billion-dollar quarterly loss to be reported Friday. Continuing claims, which measure sustained joblessness on a one-week lag, also climbed to about 17 million in the week ending July 18 after falling by more than 1 million the prior week, the US Department of Labor said.

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American jobs?!

US Plans to Relocate Factories from Asia to Latin America (PPost)

The campaign slogan “Make America Great Again” could soon go beyond the borders of the United States. The Trump administration has announced that it is preparing a financial incentive plan to encourage U.S. companies with factories in Asia to return to the Americas, including Latin America and the Caribbean. “We are essentially creating a ‘Back to the Americas’ initiative,” said Mauricio Claver-Carone, the White House national security advisor for Latin America and an aspiring president of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).


This project could generate investments ranging from 30 to 50 billion USD across the continent. Although Claver-Carone did not name any particular company, he said that talks had already begun, but the pandemic helped convince them that it was time to get on board. Infrastructure, energy, and transport could be the first potential focus areas for this initiative. In this way, the United States seeks to gain ground in Latin America, where China has been positioning itself since 2015 with large investments and loans of over 40 billion USD, according to the Inter-American Dialogue.

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Oh c’mon, weight loss pills… Start by banning high fructose corn syrup from your country. Then we can talk.

New Guidelines Call For Fundamental Shift In Obesity Treatment (CTV)

A new guideline to treat obesity in Canada recommends a fundamental shift in how doctors and physicians address people living with the condition. The new guideline, published Tuesday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal and in partnership with Obesity Canada, suggests doctors begin focusing on goals that patients consider to be important, rather than focusing on weight loss alone, while also shifting away from the “diet and exercise” weight loss model to instead address the root causes of someone’s excessive weight. “We’re no longer going to be focusing on speaking about calories when we talk about decreasing weight,” Dr. Sean Wharton, co-lead author of the guideline and adjunct professor at McMaster University, said in an phone interview with CTVNews.ca.

“We’re going to more so focus on healthy eating, something we call medical nutrition therapy.” Wharton said simply cutting calories and increasing exercise is not a sustainable way to lose weight and can ultimately lead to the patient regaining the weight. “We know that willpower and motivation will allow for a dietary plan that lasts for a short period of time and then our body compensates and regains the weight,” he said. “Any time we look at lowering calories, we always activate a very strong biological compensatory mechanism, which is why we are doing our best to deemphasize diet.” In the past 30 years, the rate of obesity in Canada has tripled, while the rate of severe obesity has increased tothe point that it includes more than 1.9 million Canadians today.

When it comes to treating obesity, the new guidelines suggest expanding the options to include cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), weight loss medication and bariatric surgery, depending on the each patient’s individual needs. Wharton calls these the “three pillars” of effective long-term weight loss. “Most people understand diet and exercise,” he said. “They don’t understand that the pillars that are necessary to keep the diet and the exercise going.” Cognitive therapy, Wharton said, is essentially teaching the patient to be more cognisant of what they’re eating, especially when it comes to snacking on impulse. One strategy is to wait five minutes before eating a desired snack, to make sure you still want it. “Some people can do that skill without even being taught that skill, but the majority of people have to be taught those skills and that’s where CBT treatment and psychological intervention is coming from,” Wharton said.

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How can people understand when their media completely ignores the story?

Understanding The Gravity Of The Russia Hoax (Widburg)

One of the claims Democrats love to tout about the Obama administration is that it was “scandal free.” For those who paid attention to the IRS targeting, Benghazi, Fast & Furious, and the cash smuggled to Iran, to name just a few illegal and/or immoral activities, that was always a peculiar boast. The Obama administration was up to its eyeballs in scandals. It was Obama who finally said what had really happened, which was that “We didn’t have a scandal that embarrassed us.” In other words, the issue wasn’t that the administration was scandal-free. The issue was that the media protected the administration from voters’ wrath should they learn about those scandals.

The Russia Hoax has benefitted from the media’s continued unwillingness to report on Obama-era scandals. When it looked as if the Russia Hoax could achieve a coup against the Trump presidency, members of the press developed a form of Tourette syndrome that saw them obsessively mouth “Russia, Russia, Russia” all day, every day. However, when Robert Mueller’s handpicked Democrat-friendly team, despite two years and 35 million dollars, was unable to find a smidgen of proof that Trump or his administration had colluded with the Russians, leftists inside and outside of the media fell silent. Sure, they’ll still raise the fact that Trump, at a press conference, said, “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 [Hillary Clinton] emails that are missing,” but their hearts aren’t in it.

They know that normal people understand that Trump was making a pointed joke about the fact that the Russians, the Chinese, and every other hacker on earth had read through Hillary’s emails for years. Aside from leftists being utterly humorless, the media learned that raising this statement periodically was chum to the true believers but not very interesting to anyone else. When it came to burying the whole Russia Hoax, the Democrats and their media lackeys were helped by the fact that the story is so gosh-darned complicated. It involved dozens of people (some genuinely bad actors and some useful idiots), several countries, thousands of pages of cryptic papers, and a dizzying timeline. It’s hard to get people who aren’t political junkies excited about something like that, and even harder to arouse them to a sense of outrage over what the Obama administration did.

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It’ll be discarded by the media, if they even mention it, as politically driven.

Trump: DOJ Found ‘Breathtaking’ Evidence Of Wrongdoing In Russia Probe (JTN)

President Trump said Tuesday night that he believes the Justice Department has uncovered “breathtaking” evidence of misconduct during its investigation of the bungled Russia collusion probe, and he expect results to be released soon. “I caught them, we caught them spying, using the intelligence apparatus of our country to spy on an opponent or an opposing party’s campaign both before and after the election,” Trump said when asked during an interview with Fox Business host Lou Dobbs what he expects U.S. Attorney John Durham to have found during his investigation. Attorney General William Barr named Durham, a prosecutor from Connecticut, to be special prosecutor for reviewing the FBI and DOJ’s conduct in the Russia collusion fiasco.


Trump said he didn’t want to “get overly involved” in the Durham review but expects a dramatic conclusion to the investigation of the investigators. “I do hear it is breathtaking what they found. That’s all I can say, breathtaking. And hopefully it will come out soon. But it is beyond what anybody ever thought even possible,” the president said. Trump also addressed the state of relations with China since the coronavirus pandemic struck, saying Beijing’s failure to stop the virus before it reached U.S. shores has had “a negative impact.” “Well, it’s been very badly hurt by what happened because I really believed they could have stopped it in Wuhan,” the president said. “…It’s been such a horrible thing.”

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They understand. But then where do they get their news?

86% Of Americans Say Media Is Biased, To Blame For Political Division (Fed.)

Eighty-six percent of Americans believe there is “a great deal” or “a fair amount” of political bias in the way the media covers news, according to a Knight Foundation/Gallup poll released on Tuesday. The number of Americans that see bias in the media is up almost 25 percentage points from 62 percent in 2007. Almost half of Americans — 49 percent — now say there’s a great deal of political bias in news coverage. While Republicans are more likely to say there’s a “great deal” of bias and Democrats more often said there was a “fair amount,” large majorities of both political parties believed that some bias existed: 78 percent of Democrats and 94 percent of Republicans.


These numbers were collected from polling of more than 20,000 Americans between November and February, even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the death of George Floyd, and the resulting media coverage of both events. Not only do most Americans recognize media bias, they also believe it’s intentional. When asked about their views of news organizations they distrust, 79 percent of poll respondents said those outlets were “trying to persuade people to adopt a certain viewpoint.” When news is inaccurate, 54 percent of Americans think it’s because reporters are “misrepresenting the facts,” while 28 percent assume they’re “making them up entirely.” And more than 8 in 10 Americans — 84 percent — assign the media either a great deal (48 percent) or a moderate amount (36 percent) of blame for political division.

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Everything has turned into clickbait.

Bias And Commercialism Is Killing MSM, Journalists Have Had Enough (RT)

An MSNBC producer has quit the network, lamenting an editorial process that chases approval and ratings rather than presenting facts. When even employees label the MSM as a “cancer with no cure”, we should all be concerned. If you were to ask your mother who Ariana Pekary is, more than likely she’s not going to know unless she’s already met her. That’s because Ariana was a producer at MSNBC. Although she wasn’t someone who’d be in front of the camera, she is definitely someone who’s an expert on what goes on behind it. But now she’s left the TV network and, on her exit, wrote an extremely scathing letter about the nature of its programming. Although she described her colleagues as intelligent people with good intentions, she lamented the way the news has gone, blaming an overemphasis on the chase for ratings as opposed to straight reporting.

Specifically, she stated that it “forces skilled journalists to make bad decisions on a daily basis.” And she went so far as to reference an unnamed colleague who described what they were doing as “a cancer with no cure”. Pekary also admitted that fringe voices are constantly given airtime because it boosts those ratings, even if those guests’ views are divisive and offer little in the way of solutions. And we’ve recently seen two other major figures cite similar problems within the news industry. On leaving the New York Times, Bari Weiss described a hostile work environment in which her colleagues would much rather ‘cancel’ her than allow her to express a different opinion. She even made the extraordinary claim that Twitter has become “the ultimate editor” of the New York Times. This would explain why so much of the Times’ content seems to cater for Twitter’s woke extremists.

Andrew Sullivan, formerly of New York Magazine, had a similar lament. He spoke of his endless frustration at the lack of diversity of thought: “If the mainstream media will not host a diversity of opinion, or puts the ‘moral clarity’ of some self-appointed saints before the goal of objectivity in reporting, if it treats writers as mere avatars for their race and gender or gender identity, rather than as unique individuals whose identity is largely irrelevant, then the non-mainstream needs to pick up the slack.”

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