Mar 202021
 
 March 20, 2021  Posted by at 9:01 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  26 Responses »


Gilles Mostaert Sodom and Gomorrah 1597

 

Joe Biden’s Dire Opening Chapter On The World Stage (Kimball)
Biden And Blinken’s Unprovoked Attacks On Russia And China Backfire (Ritter)
SecDef Austin Warns North Korea: US “Ready To Fight Tonight” (ZH)
Moscow Snubs Biden At UN, Only Sends Junior Diplomat To Virtual Summit (RT)
Putin Challenges Biden To Stair-Climbing Contest (BBee)
Erdogan Says Biden Comments On Putin ‘Unacceptable’ (R.)
Erdogan Fires Second Central Bank Chief In 4 Months (ZH)
Fauci Claims Babies, Toddlers Need To Be Vaccinated For Herd Immunity (SN)
Drugmakers Promise Investors They’ll Soon Hike Covid-19 Vaccine Prices
ONS Admits Ignoring Manufacturer Instructions in PCR Testing (LDS)
The ‘Independent’ Report Claiming Uyghur Genocide (CN)
UK Government Borrowing Hits February Record (BBC)
Toxic Chemicals, Plummeting Sperm Counts, Shrinking Penises (Erin Brockovich)

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I am not sure whether air-sickness bags were deployed. It was Alaska, after all, so maybe they just opened the window.”

Joe Biden’s Dire Opening Chapter On The World Stage (Kimball)

Consider, to take a very recent example, the exchange between the United States secretary of state, Antony Blinken, and the Chinese director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs Yang Jiechi, known to admirers and lackeys as ‘Tiger Yang’. The venue was Anchorage, Alaska, where Messrs. Blinken and Yang, along with assorted colleagues and retainers, met for a free and frank exchange of views. On the run up to the meeting, Blinken talked tough. ‘This is an important opportunity for us to lay out in very frank terms,’ he said, ‘the many concerns we have with Beijing’s actions and behavior that are challenging the security, prosperity and values of the US and our allies.’ Very frank. It was the first high-level meeting between members of the Biden administration and their Chinese counterparts. To say that it was a public relations disaster for the US is to understate the case.

Blinken and his sidekick, Jake Sullivan, a Hillary Clinton factotum who is now national security adviser, sat down to read China the riot act. It was not a success. Blinken emitted carefully polished clichés about our ‘deep concern’ over Chinas actions with regard to Hong Kong, Taiwan and other hot spots, its bullying of various European countries, and its campaign of cyber attacks against the US. This behavior, said Blinken, consulting that great compendium of diplomatic nostrums he learned in school, threatens ‘the rules-based order that maintains global stability’. I am not sure whether air-sickness bags were deployed. It was Alaska, after all, so maybe they just opened the window. Yang, speaking through a translator, shot back: ‘You can’t blame this problem on somebody else.’ Blinken went on to say that now, under Joe Biden, the United States was ‘back’ (where did it go, Tony?) and was ‘reengaging’ with its allies on the world stage.

Here’s where that short imperative I mentioned came in. The United States, said Yang, in one of the most dismissive diplomatic rejoinders I have ever heard, does not have the ‘qualifications’ to address China ‘from a position of strength’. F, my dear Blinken, you. [..] The Anchorage outrage was not an isolated incident. On the contrary, though it is early days yet in the Biden-Harris (or Harris-Biden) administration, a pattern of contempt for America and its leaders seems to be taking hold. In the course of a ‘what-flavor-is-your-milkshake’ valen- er, interview with George ‘I <3 Hillary’ Stephanopoulos, Biden was asked if he thought Russian president Vladimir Putin was a ‘killer’. He answered yes, in response to which Putin said he wished Biden the best of health and suggested they livestream a debate. Can you imagine what that would be like?

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It’s not fully impossible that they got what they wanted.

Biden And Blinken’s Unprovoked Attacks On Russia And China Backfire (Ritter)

In attacking the moral character of Russia’s president and China’s human rights record, the Biden administration opened the door for a critical examination of America’s own troubled history.President Joe Biden has defined his administration with the mantra of “America is back,” hinting at a return to what he and his supporters believe to be the halcyon days of President Barack Obama’s two-term tenure as president, as well as a sharp departure from the policies and practices of the man who usurped Hillary Clinton’s bite at the presidential apple, Donald Trump. In an effort to “build back better,” as Biden is wont to exclaim, his administration has embraced an ambitious agenda that aggressively seeks to both promote and install America as the world’s indispensable nation.

And yet, in the span of less than 24 hours, the president and his primary foreign policy advisor, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, managed to undermine the very policies they sought to promote through a combination of narcissistic posturing and plain diplomatic incompetence. By labeling Russian President Vladimir Putin a “soulless killer,” Biden put US-Russian relations in their worst posture since the Cold War. And Blinken, during the Biden administration’s initial meeting between the US and China, managed to unleash the ire and rage of Beijing by forgoing any pretense at diplomatic norms and aggressively calling out China on a host of issues which touched upon its sovereignty. The collapse of what passed for a coordinated position of diplomatically confronting both Russia and China has left the US scrambling to navigate through the detritus of its own policy shipwreck.

[..] If Biden and Psaki believed that US-Russian relations would return to square one following Biden’s undiplomatic insult, Putin quickly put that notion to bed. “The US authorities in general seek certain relations with us but only in areas the US is interested in, and on their own terms,” Putin said. “They think that we are just like them but we aren’t. Our genetic, cultural and moral codes are different. However, we know how to protect our interests. We will work with them [the US], but only in areas we are interested in and on terms we find favorable. They will have to take it into account, despite attempts to stop our development, sanctions and insults. We will be guided by our national interests when boosting relations with all countries, including the United States,” he concluded.

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The plan: Biden does Putin, Blinken does China, Austin does North Korea. Coincidence?

SecDef Austin Warns North Korea: US “Ready To Fight Tonight” (ZH)

In an unusually blunt threat and warning even for the Pentagon, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said that US forces are ready to “fight tonight” in comments aimed at North Korea after an angry Pyongyang denounced the resumption of joint military exercises between the US and South Korea. “Our force remains ready to fight tonight, and we continue to make progress toward the eventual transition of wartime Operational Control to a [Republic of Korea]-commanded, future Combined Forces Command,” Austin said on Thursday.

He issued the words from Seoul at the tail end of his Asia trip this week alongside Secretary of State Antony Blinken and South Korean leaders. Secretary Blinken had continued his denuclearization of the peninsula message, saying, “We are committed to the denuclearization of North Korea, reducing the broader threat the DPRK poses to the United States and our allies, and improving the lives of all Koreans, including the people of North Korea who continue to suffer widespread and systematic abuses at the hands of their repressive government.”

Pyongyang on Thursday slammed what DPRK first vice foreign minister Choe Son Hui called a “lunatic” and “hostile” policy. The senior North Korean diplomat said of the question of denuclearization talks that there will be no contact with Washington “unless the US rolls back its hostile policy towards the DPRK.” She said further: “Therefore, we will disregard such an attempt of the US in the future, too.” The “new regime” in the US, she added, had only put forward a “lunatic theory of ‘threat from north Korea’ and groundless rhetoric about ‘complete denuclearisation'”. The Biden administration has reportedly been attempting to reach out to the North via various diplomatic channels since mid-February, but to no avail.

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“Russia’s diplomatic mission was the only one that did not send its top figure to greet the American president.”

Moscow Snubs Biden At UN, Only Sends Junior Diplomat To Virtual Summit (RT)

Russia was the only nation that refused to send its top UN representative to talks with US President Joe Biden on Thursday, electing instead to dispatch a junior envoy, as a diplomatic row between Moscow and Washington worsens. President Biden had invited permanent representatives from the United Nations Security Council, on which Moscow has continuous representation, to discuss his country’s “commitment to values-based global leadership.” In addition, the president called for action on crises in regions across the world, including Myanmar, Ethiopia, Syria, and Yemen. However, Dmitry Polyanskiy, second-in-command to Russia’s permanent representative, Vassily Nebenzia, confirmed on Friday that neither had attended the meeting.


Instead, he revealed, Anna Evstigneeva, one of three more junior deputies, had joined the talks with Biden in their place. She reportedly made no remarks. RIA Novosti reports that Russia’s diplomatic mission was the only one that did not send its top figure to greet the American president. The decision comes amid a week in which Biden and his Russian counterpart, President Vladimir Putin, have traded barbs in the press. In an explosive interview with ABC earlier this week, Biden was asked whether he thought Putin was a killer. “Mmm hmm, I do,” Biden replied. On Thursday, the Russian leader responded, arguing that judging other countries is often “like looking in a mirror.” “When I was a kid, when we were arguing with each other in the playground, we used to say, ‘Whatever you say [about others] is what you are yourself,’” Putin said.

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“The winner of the contest will gain control of the other country.”

Putin Challenges Biden To Stair-Climbing Contest (BBee)

Vladimir Putin has challenged Joe Biden to a contest of wits, strength, and cunning: a stair-ascending contest. The winner of the contest will gain control of the other country. “Stair-ascending contest, me and you, right now, let’s go,” said Putin as he met with the American president. “He who wins become supreme glorious leader forever of other puny weak man.” Biden agreed to the contest, though it wasn’t clear he knew who this man was or where they were. “3… 2… 1… climb!” shouted the referee before firing off a pistol. Biden got off to a rocky start as he was startled by the gunshot and scurried off in the wrong direction. Putin, meanwhile, just walked up the stairs.


Biden started gaining on him as his handlers corralled him and pointed him in the right direction, but he kept falling over and tumbling down the stairs. It all looked good for Russia until Putin had to stop a few times to sign execution papers for journalists who criticized him, squandering his lead. Finally, Biden jumped in a stair lift and started to close the gap, but it was too little, too late, and Putin emerged at the top of the 30-step staircase victorious. Well, thanks to Biden losing the stair contest, we are now part of Russia. We also just want to say that Vladimir Putin is one fine fellow and a fantastic man, and he deserved to win and we welcome him as our new leader for life.

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Easy.

Erdogan Says Biden Comments On Putin ‘Unacceptable’ (R.)

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that Joe Biden’s comments about Russia’s Vladimir Putin, in which he said he thought he was a killer, were “unacceptable” and unfitting of a U.S. president. In a TV interview broadcast on Wednesday, Biden said “I do” when asked if he believed Putin was a killer, prompting U.S.-Russia ties to sink to a new low. Putin later responded that “he who said it, did it.” “Mr. Biden’s statements about Mr. Putin are not fitting of a president, and a president coming out and using such remarks against the president of a country like Russia is truly unacceptable, not something that can be stomached,” Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul.


“In my opinion, Mr. Putin has done what is necessary by giving a very, very smart and elegant answer,” he added. Ties between Ankara and Washington, NATO allies, have been strained over a host of issues in recent years including Turkey’s record on human rights and freedoms, its acquisition of Russian defence systems and policy differences in Syria. The United States, which along with other western allies has accused Ankara of straying from NATO and the western bloc, last year imposed sanctions on Turkey over the Russian defences. Turkey called that a “grave mistake”.

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Not so easy. Erdogan still wants to control what he can’t.

Erdogan Fires Second Central Bank Chief In 4 Months (ZH)

On Thursday, moments after the Central Bank of Turkey unexpectedly hiked rates by a whopping 200bps – double the consensus expectation – to 19% from 17%, the highest rate since the country’s panicked scramble to contain the collapse of the Turkish lira during the economic turmoil of 2018, we said that “unfortunately for Turkey – whose economy will now grind to yet another halt – it had no choice: inflation had accelerated for a fifth month in February as oil rallied and the impact of last year’s lira weakness lingered, while capital outflows soared. The upward trend fueled expectations the central bank would try to rein in prices by raising interest rates… but nobody had expected a 200 bps rate hike.”

Also in our kneejerk response to the rate hike decision, we said that the relatively new CBRT head, Agbal, “was damned if he did and damned if he didn’t: on one hand the lira was plunging angering Erdogan, so he had to stabilize it… on the other the only way to do so was by hiking rates, which would anger Erdogan even more.” We also quoted from the CBRT’s decision, noting that the bank has decided “to implement a front-loaded and strong additional monetary tightening,” explicitly stating that this “statement is guaranteed to enrage Turkey’s dictator.” Bottom line: Erdogan would be furious either way.

Finally, we quoted SocGen EM strategist Phoenix Kalen who tried to justify the rate hike with some lofty sleight of logic by saying that “in a challenging context of domestic business and political pressure against further interest rate hikes, the CBRT has stepped up to the plate and delivered a resounding home run to underline its commitment to an inflation-targeting framework.” Kalen then said that the move “will go a long way toward bolstering both retail and foreign investor confidence that the CBRT under Governor Agbal will stay engaged in addressing deterioration in inflation expectations.” While we were impressed with Kalen’s attempt to make 5-D chess out of what was basically total chaos, our take was far more cynical Maybe… or maybe it will just force Erdogan to replace yet another CBRT governor.

Two days later, our cynical view proved correct again, because shortly after midnight on Saturday, and just two days after the larger than expected rate hike, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan fired the country’s third central bank governor in less than two years and replaced him with a fan of lowering interest rates. Naci Agbal, Turkey’s former finance minister who was appointed central bank chief last November, was fired by Erdogan and was replaced with Sahap Kavcioglu, according to a decree published after midnight on Saturday in the Official Gazette. Agbal’s abrupt termination is a clear retaliation by Erodgan for last week’s unexpectedly big rate hike, one which does not fit within the absurd confines of “Erdoganomics” whereby lower rates are somehow needed to fight inflation.

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How scary would you like it?

Fauci Claims Babies, Toddlers Need To Be Vaccinated For Herd Immunity (SN)

Dr Anthony Fauci has claimed that in order for herd immunity against coronavirus to be reached in the US, children and even babies will have to be vaccinated. Speaking during a Senate hearing, the chief medical adviser to the Biden administration said “I think we should be careful about wedding ourselves to this concept of herd immunity because we really do not know precisely, for this particular virus, what that is.” “We don’t really know what that magical point of herd immunity is, but we do know that if we get the overwhelming population vaccinated, we’re going to be in good shape. We ultimately would like to get and have to get children into that mix,” Fauci added. Appearing later on CBS News, Fauci outlined plans to vaccinate children as young as six month old babies early next year.


On Wednesday, Fauci dismissed concerns that mRNA COVID-19 vaccines could impact children’s genetics. “We’re going to be looking at multiple aspects of safety,” Fauci told reporters, adding “There is really no biological reason at all to indicate or even predict that you would even see any modification of a genetic profile when you’re dealing with mRNA, which has no way of integrating into the genome of a cell.” Vaccine manufacturers Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are both currently running tests of their mRNA vaccines in children. Moderna has also revealed that it has a study underway in children under 12 that will eventually include those as young as six month old babies. CDC figures show that of almost 400,000 US deaths counted as from COVID-19, just 93 were children 4-years-old and younger.

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“As this shifts from pandemic to endemic, we think there’s an opportunity here for us..”

Drugmakers Promise Investors They’ll Soon Hike Covid-19 Vaccine Prices (IC)

THE U.S. pharmaceutical firms behind the approved coronavirus vaccines — Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, and Pfizer — have quietly touted plans to raise prices on coronavirus vaccines in the near future and to capitalize on the virus’s lasting presence. While the companies have enjoyed a boost in goodwill from the rush to develop vaccines, drug industry executives have noted, the public is still sensitive to drug pricing and the reputational risk has, so far, curtailed their ability to reap large financial rewards. But that environment, they hope, will change once the pandemic ends: a date that drugmakers themselves reserve the right to declare. Pharmaceutical officials, speaking at recent conferences and on calls with investors, say they expect the virus will linger, morphing from a pandemic into a perennial endemic.

And as Covid-19 mutations continue to spread and booster shots may be required on a regular basis, leaders from the three companies are enthusiastic about cashing in. “As this shifts from pandemic to endemic, we think there’s an opportunity here for us,” said Frank D’Amelio, the chief financial officer for Pfizer, at a conference. Additional factors, such as the need for booster shots, present “a significant opportunity for our vaccine from a demand perspective, from a pricing perspective, given the clinical profile of our vaccine.” Moderna and Johnson & Johnson have also pledged affordability for their vaccines for the duration of the pandemic but have indicated to investors that they plan to return to more “commercial” pricing as early as later this year.

The vaccines are already poised to be some of the most lucrative drugs of all time. The companies are expecting to bring in billions in profit this year alone, and all the major drugmakers with approved coronavirus vaccines received investments and backorders from government agencies. The U.S. government has fully financed the research and development of several coronavirus vaccines, including those produced by Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, to the tune of over $2 billion. The U.S. has also provided nearly $2 billion in payments to secure doses of Pfizer’s vaccine, which was developed in partnership with BioNTech, a company that received nearly $500 million in development assistance from the German government.

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“..it has been reporting PCR tests as positive when only a single coronavirus gene is detected..”

“Between a quarter and two thirds of positive results were affected..”

ONS Admits Ignoring Manufacturer Instructions in PCR Testing (LDS)

The Office for National Statistics has admitted that in its Covid infection survey it has been reporting PCR tests as positive when only a single coronavirus gene is detected, despite this being contrary to the instructions of the manufacturer that two or more target genes must be found before a positive result can be declared. According to a rapid response in the BMJ this week by Dr Martin Neil, a statistics professor at the University of London, targeting only a single gene in this way massively increases the risk of a false positive because of the possibility of cross-reactivity with other coronaviruses as well as prevalent bacteria or other contamination. Digging into the detail of the methods followed by the lighthouse laboratories which process the tests for the ONS, Professor Neil writes:

“The kit used by the Glasgow and Milton Keynes lighthouse laboratories is the ThermoFisher TaqPath RT-PCR which tests for the presence of three target genes from SARS-COV-2. Despite Corman et al originating the use of PCR testing for SARS-CoV-2 genes there is no agreed international standard for SARS-COV-2 testing. Instead, the World Health Organisation (WHO) leaves it up to the manufacturer to determine what genes to use and instructs end users to adhere to the manufacturer instructions for use. The WHO’s emergency use assessment for the ThermoFisher TaqPath kit includes the instruction manual and contained therein is an interpretation algorithm describing an unequivocal requirement that two or more target genes be detected before a positive result can be declared.

The latest revision of ThermoFisher’s instruction manual contains the same algorithm. The WHO have been sufficiently concerned about correct use of RT-PCR kits that on January 20th 2021 they issued a notice for PCR users imploring them to review manufacturer instructions for use carefully and adhere to them fully. The ONS’s report of December 5th 2020 lists SARS-CoV-2 positive results for valid two and three target gene combinations and the report of December 21st does the same, for samples processed by the Glasgow and Milton Keynes lighthouse laboratories. However, it also lists single gene detections as positive results.” Between a quarter and two thirds of positive results were affected, Professor Neil found.

“Over the period reported the maximum weekly percentage of positives on a single gene is 38% for the whole of the UK for the week of February 1st. The overall UK average was 23%. The maximum percentage reported is 65%, in East England in the week beginning October 5th. In Wales it was 50%, in Northern Ireland it is 55% and in Scotland it was 56%. The full data including averages and maxima/minima are given in.”

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We need more questions for this narrative.

The ‘Independent’ Report Claiming Uyghur Genocide (CN)

The report relies most substantially on the “expertise” of Adrian Zenz, the far-right evangelical ideologue, whose “scholarship” on China has been demonstrated to be flawed, riddled with falsehoods and dishonest statistical manipulation. The reliance on the voluminous but demonstrably fraudulent work of Zenz is not surprising, given that the report was financed by the Newlines Institute’s parent organization, the Fairfax University of America (FXUA). FXUA is a disgraced institution that Virginia state regulators moved to shut down in 2019 after finding that its “teachers weren’t qualified to teach their assigned courses”, academic quality was “patently deficient,” and plagiarism was “rampant” and ignored.

Just days before the Newlines Institute published its “expert” report accusing China of genocide, an advisory board to the U.S. Department of Education recommended terminating recognition of FXUA’s accreditor, placing its license in jeopardy. The Newlines report presents no new material on the condition of Uyghur Muslims in China. Instead, it claims to have reviewed all of “the available evidence” and applied “international law to the evidence of the facts on the ground.” Rather than conducting a thorough and comprehensive review of “the available evidence,” the report restricted its survey to a narrow range of flawed pseudo-scholarship along with reports by U.S. government-backed lobbying fronts for the exiled Uyghur separatist movement. It was upon this faulty foundation that the report applies legal analysis related to the UN Genocide Convention.

Newlines’ report relies primarily on the dubious studies of Zenz, the U.S. government propaganda outlet, Radio Free Asia, and claims made by the U.S.-funded separatist network, the World Uyghur Congress. These three sources comprise more than one-third of the references used to construct the factual basis of the document, with Zenz as the most heavily relied upon source – cited on more than 50 occasions. Many of the remaining references cite the work of members of Newlines Institute’s “Uyghur Scholars Working Group,” of which Zenz is a founding member and which is made up of a small group of academics who collaborate with him and support his conclusions.

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Well, well. Get your MMT at the BBC.

UK Government Borrowing Hits February Record (BBC)

Ultimately, if it’s consistently spending much more than it has in the past, the state has to raise more money in taxes. But the key word there is “ultimately”. There is no urgency to repaying the government’s debt. More urgent are the debts of small businesses and poorer households. Ordinary households rightly fear getting into too much debt because if interest rates rise, lenders can close in and deploy lawyers and bailiffs with all the attendant unpleasantness. But it is profoundly wrong and misleading to infer that it’s like that for governments who issue their own sovereign currency. Unlike households, governments controlling their own currency can borrow without limit money that they have freshly created.


They therefore can’t go bankrupt. Because almost all of the money borrowed by the government in this financial year (by issuing gilts) will be owed to another public sector body, the Bank of England, it’s nothing like a household borrowing from a bank. And in fact, as the government tacitly acknowledged in its recent Budget, it makes sense in the midst of an economic contraction for the government to spend more, not less – not least because other parts of the economy (households and businesses) aren’t spending anything like what they normally would. Without the additional government spending the economic contraction would, without a shadow of a doubt, be worse.

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We’ll defeat ourselves yet.

Toxic Chemicals, Plummeting Sperm Counts, Shrinking Penises (Erin Brockovich)


The end of humankind? It may be coming sooner than we think, thanks to hormone-disrupting chemicals that are decimating fertility at an alarming rate around the globe. A new book called Countdown, by Shanna Swan, an environmental and reproductive epidemiologist at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, finds that sperm counts have dropped almost 60% since 1973. Following the trajectory we are on, Swan’s research suggests sperm counts could reach zero by 2045. Zero. Let that sink in. That would mean no babies. No reproduction. No more humans. Forgive me for asking: why isn’t the UN calling an emergency meeting on this right now? The chemicals to blame for this crisis are found in everything from plastic containers and food wrapping, to waterproof clothes and fragrances in cleaning products, to soaps and shampoos, to electronics and carpeting.

Some of them, called PFAS, are known as “forever chemicals”, because they don’t breakdown in the environment or the human body. They just accumulate and accumulate – doing more and more damage, minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day. Now, it seems, humanity is reaching a breaking point. Swan’s book is staggering in its findings. “In some parts of the world, the average twentysomething woman today is less fertile than her grandmother was at 35,” Swan writes. In addition to that, Swan finds that, on average, a man today will have half of the sperm his grandfather had. “The current state of reproductive affairs can’t continue much longer without threatening human survival,” writes Swan, adding: “It’s a global existential crisis.” That’s not hyperbole. That’s just science.

As if this wasn’t terrifying enough, Swan’s research finds that these chemicals aren’t just dramatically reducing semen quality, they are also shrinking penis size and volume of the testes. This is nothing short of a full-scale emergency for humanity. Swan’s book echoes previous research, which has found that PFAS harms sperm production, disrupts the male hormone and is correlated to a “reduction of semen quality, testicular volume and penile length”. These chemicals are literally confusing our bodies, making them send mix messages and go haywire.

Read more …

 

 

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Feb 212021
 


Rembrandt van Rijn Abraham and the angels 1646

 

 

A little thought experiment that should have been much more, but for which time now has passed: What would various governments and their science advisers have done if lockdowns would have been impossible, due to a legal decision or some other reason? Presumably, they would have had to think of other means to stop COVID from spreading.

They would have had to be creative, which feels like the opposite of lockdown. Seen in that way, a lockdown is simply an extremely lazy way to approach a problem such as COVID. And though lockdowns are not new or unique, they have never, or very rarely, been used to lock up/down entire populations of perfectly healthy people.

Whether these people will still be healthy once the lockdown is lifted remains to be seen. It’s also very lazy to just assume that everyone will be mentally tip-top after seeing their social lives ground to a halt for a year or more. Humans live in herds, they do not live alone; it’s one of the most defining characteristics of the species.

Why all that laziness? It would appear to be due to a combination of panic, incompetence and lack of knowledge. If and when politicians get their “expert” advice only from virologists and epidemiologists, it’s obvious that most science falls by the wayside. To assess the effects of a lockdown, before, during and after it is implemented, you would need a much broader level of expertise.

Still, how many psychologists and psychiatrists have you seen in all the government “expert” committees? I’ve said before, they’re not listening to “the science”, they’re at best listening to “a science”, and in reality to just a very little bit of science.

 

Of course, the blunt refusal to do any kind of research into the mental health threats posed by lockdowns does not stand alone. There’s also the evenly blunt refusal to look at substances that can serve as prophylaxis. A topic the Automatic Earth has covered to such an extent that it feels almost embarrassing to bring it up yet another time.

And we still don’t know why there is no large scale investigation of the potential of vitamin D, HCQ and ivermectin to counter COVID infections and mortality. Premeditated murder? That’s a big term, can you use it when deaths are the result of sheer incompetence?

But there’s certainly a serious possibility that the absence of prophylactics has caused thousands of deaths and millions of infections. We will probably never know for sure, because no-one will research it. It’s a vicious circle of blunt incompetence justifying its own mistakes and laziness.

And make no mistake: if these cheap prophylactics, proven harmless through decades of being provided to 10s or 100s of millions of people, would have been only half as successful as their advocates claim, not only would more lives have been saved than we can count, but the entire lockdown policies may well have been avoided. Health care systems might not have been under strain, entire industries, indeed the whole economy, might have been able to keep functioning.

 

Instead, we are told to get vaccinated -or else-, injecting substances into our veins that have never been properly tested. Can we offer 100% evidence that vitamin D, HCQ and ivermectin would have -mostly- prevented the pandemic? No, we can’t, but in the same way that we have no proof the vaccines are safe or successful: a refusal to do proper testing. It all hangs together from laziness and lack of knowledge.

Similarly, perhaps the experimental vaccines will solve part of the COVID problem. But so would the prophylactics have. We can discuss how big a part either would have solved, but not only is that in the future, we will also be told only half a story, because we never tested the prophylactics.

There are plenty negative stories about all of them, but those are mostly based on faulty experiments, on giving people large doses of HCQ and vit. D when they’re already gravely ill. These stories don’t prove anything other than bad intentions on the part of those who tell them.

One thing is for sure: the vaccines will be challenged by new strains of the virus at some point, and there’s no guarantee they can be adapted for those strains. The prophylactics have no such issue. Boosting your immune system provides you with overall protection. And you don’t need 100%: bring down infections by 50%, and everything changes.

 

To get back to lockdowns: the way I personally experience the one here in Athens is that life itself is standing still. And that feels weirder by the day. If you ask people how it affects them, they can’t really answer, because it’s the first time they’ve ever lived through one. How would they know how it will affect them long term? The best they can do is say that it sucks.

For the elderly it means having to spend their last years and days in near absolute solitude. If you would ask them, many would say: just give me the virus, as long as I can see my children and grandchildren and friends while I’m still alive. But nobody asks them. They spent their entire lives just to be silenced. In order to eradicate a virus, we eradicate the very people who built the world we inherited from them.

For the very young it means stunted development. There is a ton of literature about how the first 5 or 10 years shape a child for life. Well, we just took a full year and counting away from that shape. We have no way of knowing to what extent that will affect them, but it won’t be zero. People are adaptive, sure, but that can be a negative thing just as much as a positive one. Caged animals adapt too; with neurosis. Children need to interact with each other, and with adults, to find their place in the world. How are they going to find that place now? For all of the rest of us, we don’t know either. We can only guess.

Meanwhile, there’s not only the prophylactics that are ignored, we also have the exact same PCR tests used for a year, whose own inventor says they’re not fit for the purpose, we have facemasks on every weak immune system for which it’s doubtful that they have much effect, unless they’re N95, FFP2-3, and even then.

And we have an almost complete lack of attention for the fact that we now know the virus is airborne, and doesn’t stick to surfaces. From which follows the lack of scrutiny of air filtration systems, HVAC, HEPA, that might actually help, and perhaps allow schools, restaurants etc. to open up again. Lazy, shoddy, hardly science.

 

There can be no doubt that at some point in the future we will define something as the Lockdown Syndrome. What it will look like, we don’t know. It will be somethinng similar to what Long Covid is today. But it will be sold as inevitable, and that is a very doubtful take. Because it’s man made. We made the syndrome. We’re creating it as we speak. Day by empty, lazy and incompetent day.

We’ve basically accepted that a virus is superior to us, we threw the towel, even if just temporarily. And then we say we rely on science to beat it, but only if that science is brand new. Older science need not apply. We’re not a very confident species, then, are we? If we were, we’d have said: screw you, we’ll keep on doing what we did before.

 

 

 

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Jan 212021
 


Jackson Pollock Man with knife 1938-40

 

WHO Warns That PCR COVID Tests Are More Likely To Give False Positives (PM)
No Decline In Very High COVID Rates During 1st Week Of UK’s 3rd Lockdown (ITV)
France Issues Warning Over Use Of Homemade Masks Against New Variants (G.)
Biden To Sign 53 Executive Orders In First 10 Days (Hill)
Inaugural Display Symbolizing 56 US States, Territories (JTN)
Globalist “Manifesto” For Post-Trump Economic “Reset” (ZH)
Biden Will Recognize Guaido As Venezuela’s Leader – Blinken (R.)
US To Keep Embassy In Jerusalem – Blinken (AlJ)
John Brennan’s ‘List’ Of Ideologies Biden Intel Community Should Go After (ZH)
Call For New “Secret Police” Force to Spy on Trump Supporters (SN)
Silicon Valley CEOs Can’t Decide Laws And Rules – EU Commission President (RT)
Germany Enacts Major Overhaul of Its Competition Regime for the Digital Era (WSGR)
The Fed’s Inconvenient Truth: Inflation Is “M.I.A.” (RIA)

 

 

We went from 24/7 negative about Trump to 24/7 positive about Joe Biden. And then they’ll find out that 24/7 positive does not induce clickbait. And then what happens after that?

And really? J-Lo singing Woody Guthrie to celebrate the DC culture?

 

 

Here’s the state of your media for the next 4 years:

 

 

Today’s best meme:

 

 

They’re actually going to do it, they’re going to lower the PCR cycle threshold as soon as Biden comes in? That would be hilarious.

“The notice was released only one hour after President Joe Biden was sworn into office..”

WHO Warns That PCR COVID Tests Are More Likely To Give False Positives (PM)

The World Health Organization issued a notice on Wednesday warning medical professionals to follow instructions of PCR tests for coronavirus to avoid getting false positive results. The notice was released only one hour after President Joe Biden was sworn into office, leading some observers to question the timing of the release. If the PCR tests are resulting in false-positives, and that information is now used to mitigate the large positivity numbers, the number of case counts will begin to drop. The optics of a decreasing COVID-case count would be a boon for the launch of the Biden administration. The new guidance states that the “WHO reminds IVD users that disease prevalence alters the predictive value of test results; as disease prevalence decreases, the risk of false positive increases (2).”


The notice reads: “This means that the probability that a person who has a positive result (SARS-CoV-2 detected) is truly infected with SARS-CoV-2 decreases as prevalence decreases, irrespective of the claimed specificity.” Former President Donald Trump has been heavily criticized for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, with the United States leading the world in both total cases and total deaths, although not per capita, according to official statistics. A big problem for Trump had been the continuous increase in COVID-case counts. If many of those cases were established as extant with the help of PCR tests that were resulting in false-positives, that would mean that the case count for which Trump was criticized was not a factual number.

Read more …

In the UK, this will be a bitter fight.

No Decline In Very High COVID Rates During 1st Week Of UK’s 3rd Lockdown (ITV)

The spread of coronavirus did not decline during the first week of England’s third lockdown, a study has shown. The latest React study, from Imperial College London and Ipsos Mori, states that during the initial 10 days of the third Covid-19 lockdown in England, “prevalence of coronavirus was very high with no evidence of decline”. Researchers also found that the prevalence of Covid-19 across England increased by 50% between early December and the second week of January. After testing more than 142,900 volunteers in England between January 6 and 15, they found that one in 63 people were infected. The report, which researchers said does not yet reflect the impact of the national lockdown, also showed there were “worrying suggestions of a recent uptick in infections”.


National prevalence of the virus increased by half, from 0.91% in early December to 1.58%, the latest React study showed. While there was a rise in prevalence across all adult age groups, it was highest in 18- to 24-year-olds, and more than doubled in the over 65s age group. London saw the highest regional prevalence, jumping from 1.21% to 2.8%, while there were also rises in the south east, east of England, West Midlands, south west and north west. The only region to see a decrease was Yorkshire and the Humber, and prevalence remained stable in the East Midlands and north east, but the researchers warned infection numbers are still high even in these areas. Additionally, they found large household sizes, living in a deprived neighbourhood, and areas with higher numbers of black and Asian individuals were associated with increased prevalence.

Read more …

Better masks only make sense when a virus is more easily transmitted? None of the below makes sense.

France Issues Warning Over Use Of Homemade Masks Against New Variants (G.)

French health officials have advised people against wearing home-made fabric masks as they offer less protection against highly contagious new Covid-19 variants. The scientific committee, which reports back to the French government, says category 2 masks are unlikely to halt the spread of the “English variant” or new coronavirus strains from Brazil and South Africa. The experts’ advice, presented to ministers on Monday but not published, also suggested France double its social distancing rule from 1m to 2m. France’s Haut Conseil de Santé Publique (high council for public health – HCSP) decided over the weekend that many cloth masks, often preferred because they can be washed and reused, did not guarantee protection against the new variants. “Category 2 or material masks only filter 70%, while category 1 masks, like surgical masks, can go as high as 95% if worn properly.


As the variant is more easily transmitted, it is logical to use masks with the highest filtering power,” Daniel Camus, of the Pasteur Institute in Lille and a HCSP member told France Info. “We are not questioning the masks used up to now … but as we have no new weapons against them (new strains) the only thing we can do is to improve the weapons we already have,” Camus added. Home-made barrier masks made under Europe-wide established specifications are consider category 1. However, even though they are subject to making them more efficient filters, the HSPC said they may not guarantee the correct level of protection. Didier Lepelletier, the co-president of the committee’s Covid-19 working group, said everyone should now choose category 1 masks adding that home-made masks “have not been tested in terms of their performance”.

Read more …

“Restoring America’s Place in the World”

-Rejoin Paris accord
-Fortify DACA
-Undo Muslim ban
-Stop border wall
-Order unified Covid response
-Eviction/foreclosure freeze —> 3/31
-Extend student loan pause —> 9/30
-Rescind Trump’s 1776 commish
-Undo Trump EO on Census

Biden To Sign 53 Executive Orders In First 10 Days (Hill)

President Biden is poised to take action on 53 executive items over the next 10 days as he seeks to rapidly reverse some Trump administration policies and implement his own, according to a document outlining the schedule for Biden’s first two weeks in office. The document, which was circulated to individuals close to the administration and obtained by The Hill, shows that Biden will take executive action each weekday through the end of January, with each day centered around specific themes such as climate, economic relief, health care and immigration. The timetable lays out which days Biden is expected to act on anticipated items such as reversing the Mexico City policy, creating a task force to reunite separated migrant families and establishing a policing commission.

The schedule notes that the specifics of certain executive actions are to be determined, reflecting how the Biden team is still hashing out details as it takes office following delays in the transition after the November election. The themes are expected to extend into February, which has been designated around the idea of “Restoring America’s Place in the World,” according to the document. This week, Wednesday’s theme is focused on the inauguration and addressing “four crises” — the coronavirus pandemic, climate, the economy and equity. Among the items Biden will sign are an order mandating masks be worn on federal lands, an extension of eviction moratoriums, a repeal of Trump’s travel ban and a proclamation halting border wall construction.

Thursday’s theme will focus on the pandemic, according to the document. Biden is expected to sign off on executive orders to review the supply chain ahead of any use of the Defense Production Act and to implement public health measures on public transportation, airplanes and trains. Friday’s theme is economic relief, with two executive orders expected to be signed, according to the document. One will direct agencies to take action on Medicaid, Pell grants and unemployment insurance, while the other will restore collective bargaining rights to federal employees and initiate a rollback of a Trump administration rule on Schedule F. The theme for Monday is “Buy American,” and Biden will sign one executive order seeking to ensure agencies use U.S. suppliers.

Read more …

Or it may be nothing.

Inaugural Display Symbolizing 56 US States, Territories (JTN)

President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration decor touting 56 U.S. states and territories provokes new questions about whether Biden will push for new statehood for six U.S. territories, which could aid the Democratic Party in the Electoral College. Under the U.S. Constitution, statehood requires only a simple majority in Congress, which could be achieved if Democrats decide to remove the 60-vote filibuster threshold currently in place in the Senate. As part of the “Field of Flags” display at the National Mall ahead of Biden’s inauguration, the Presidential Inaugural Committee planted nearly 200,000 state and territory flags on Monday night, meant to represent the American people unable to travel to Washington, D.C., for Inauguration Day due to the COVID-19 pandemic and security threats.

Fifty-six pillars of neon blue light, representing the U.S. states and territories, were also lit up for 46 seconds to mark the inauguration of the 46th president of the United States, Joe Biden. The prominent light beams were reminiscent of the grounds of the 9/11 Memorial in Manhattan. Biden has said he supports statehood for Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. Other U.S. territories with permanent civilian populations include Guam, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

[..] Historian Jason Steinhauer told Just the News on Tuesday that the National World War II Memorial “serves as a useful reference point for the Field of Flags display” because it contains 56 pillars representing each state and territory from its period, including the District of Columbia. Those 56 pillars represented a different assortment of states and territories from that time period: 48 states, plus the territories of Alaska and Hawaii, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Steinhauer noted that memorial opened in 2004, during the George W. Bush administration.

Read more …

In case you wondered who won.

Globalist “Manifesto” For Post-Trump Economic “Reset” (ZH)

Proponents of the QAnon “conspiracy theory,” which the NYT can’t seem to stop writing about, are going to love seeing this. A memo that has reportedly been circulating among policymakers on both sides of the aisle for weeks was finally released to the press on Tuesday when Dealbook editor and CNBC “Squawk Box” host Andrew Ross Sorkin got the scoop: a memo penned by a group of senior-level bureaucrats, including – who else? – Henry Kissinger and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has provided a kind of “blueprint” for the Biden Administration to undo all of President Trump’s trade-war tactics and other policies that didn’t exactly help promote free trade.

As Trump recounted in his farewell video published earlier Tuesday afternoon, his administration dramatically altered the American trade landscape, pulling the US out of the TPP, renegotiating Nafta into the USMCA, and – most consequentially, at things would turn out – the trade war with China, which inspired waves of hysterical lobbying by the Chamber of Commerce and special-interest groups from Big Tech to Wal-Mart and other major retailers, and others. So, as Biden prepares his first 100-day blitz of policy directives, many of the architects of the globalist system created by groups like the Trilateral Commission are joining with a gaggle of former cabinet-level officials (both Dems and GOP) along with the CEO of one of America’s largest banks, former British Labour Party Prime Minister Tony Blair and – who else? – Henry Kissinger, have essentially penned a manifesto that is being circulated among lawmakers, along with top-level officials in the cabinet and the West Wing, to help restore the globalist system that Trump helped to disrupt.

Who better to leak the story to than Andrew Sorkin, who first brought up the existence of the memo during an interview during Tuesday morning’s episode of “Squawk Box” on CNBC during a conversation with Harvard economist Austan Goolsbee. According to Sorkin’s column, “the memo comes from an under-the-radar group of global boldfaced names that act as a private advisory committee to JPMorgan Chase. They include Tony Blair, the former British prime minister; Condoleezza Rice and Henry Kissinger, two former secretaries of state; Robert Gates, the former secretary of defense; Alex Gorsky, chief executive of Johnson & Johnson; Bernard Arnault, chairman of LVMH; and Joseph C. Tsai, executive vice chairman of Alibaba, among others.” The group, which even Sorkin concedes is exclusively staffed with members of the “globalist part of the globalist establishment that fell out of favor during the Trump years, typically meets once a year in a far-flung location with JPMorgan’s chief, Jamie Dimon.”

Read more …

But we’ll keep the craziest stuff.

Biden Will Recognize Guaido As Venezuela’s Leader – Blinken (R.)

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s administration will continue to recognize Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the South American country’s president, Anthony Blinken, Biden’s nominee for secretary of state, said on Tuesday. Blinken told members of the U.S. Senate that Biden would seek to “more effectively target” sanctions on the country, which aim to oust President Nicolas Maduro – who retains control of the country. Blinken said the new administration would look at more humanitarian assistance to the country. The United States, along with dozens of other countries, recognized Guaido – the leader of Venezuela’s opposition-held National Assembly – as the country’s president in January 2019, arguing Maduro’s 2018 re-election was rigged.


“We need an effective policy that can restore Venezuela to democracy, starting with free and fair elections,” Blinken said. Guaido’s push to oust Maduro – who has overseen a collapse in the once-prosperous OPEC nation’s economy and stands accused of corruption and human rights violations – has stalled. Maduro calls Guaido a U.S.-puppet seeking to oust him in a coup. His allies have expressed a desire to engage in negotiations with the Biden administration after years of tensions and escalating U.S. sanctions.

Read more …

Remember the loud protests?

US To Keep Embassy In Jerusalem – Blinken (AlJ)

The incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden will keep the US embassy in Israel in Jerusalem, his nominee for secretary of state affirmed at his Senate confirmation hearing. “Do you agree that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and do you commit that the United States will keep our embassy in Jerusalem?” asked Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. “Yes and Yes,” said Antony Blinken in testimony on Tuesday. Outgoing President Donald Trump announced the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017. The US moved its embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May of the following year.


Jerusalem remains at the heart of the decades-long Middle East conflict, with the Palestinian Authority (PA) insisting that East Jerusalem – illegally occupied by Israel since 1967 – should serve as the capital of a Palestinian state. “The only way to ensure Israel’s future as a Jewish, democratic state and to give the Palestinians a state to which they are entitled is through the so-called two-state solution,” Blinken said. “I think realistically, it’s hard to see near-term prospects for moving forward on that. What would be important is to make sure that neither party takes steps that make the already difficult process even more challenging,” he added.

Read more …

The scariest face of them all. And that’s saying something.

John Brennan’s ‘List’ Of Ideologies Biden Intel Community Should Go After (ZH)

Well this is alarming and ominous to say the least… Former CIA Director John Brennan told MSNBC in an interview on inauguration day that the intelligence community under newly sworn in President Biden is “moving in laser-like fashion” to try and uncover dangerous plots against the country. Naturally, there’s been much of this worrisome commentary about what political ideologies should be targeted and monitored coming out of NatSec hawks in the wake of the Capitol Hill mayhem of January 6. But this is the first time such a broad array of groups have been so bluntly lumped into a Pro-Trump “insurgency” by an influential media pundit and former spook. Brennan expressly said they are “violent” and remain a domestic threat.


He said in the MSNBC interview without the least concern for violation of Americans’ rights that intelligence agencies should look into “religious extremists, authoritarians, fascists, bigots, racists, nativists, even libertarians…”. He said these belief systems have come together under the umbrella of a supposed pro-Trump movement capable of committing violence. Ah yes, “even libertarians”… “I had white knuckles because of the nature of the threats,” he began by recalling his days as CIA Director. We’ve seen “the growth of this polarization in the United States and domestic violence and White supremacist groups,” he continued. Comparing this “threat” to a foreign insurgency which the US has lately battled overseas, he said it— “brings together an unholy alliance of religious extremists, authoritarians, fascists, bigots, racists, nativists, even libertarians.”

Read more …

“Neither the FBI nor the NSA has the culture of brutal hostility toward their own country’s population needed to efficiently repress dissidents in the unfolding police state.”

Call For New “Secret Police” Force to Spy on Trump Supporters (SN)

Perhaps channeling the spirit of the Soviet NKVD, leftists are now literally calling for a new “secret police” unit to be created at the federal level to spy on Trump supporters. In an article published by the Daily Beast, Jeff Stein argues that existing federal agencies like the FBI are ill-equipped to stop “white terror” because they missed signs of the the pre-planning of the Capitol building siege. The solution is to create a new “secret police” (yes, he literally uses those words) in order to “infiltrate and neutralize armed domestic extremists,” which according to the media’s latest narrative potentially includes 70 million Trump voters.

Stein even compares the Capitol breach to 9/11, an attack that killed nearly 3,000 people, and argues that a similar response to that should be directly inwardly against American citizens directed by a new “domestic spy agency.” “One response to the 9/11 tragedy may well get renewed attention after the Capitol assault—especially if armed white nationalists are successful in carrying out more attacks in the coming days and weeks: The call for a secret police,” he writes. The existence of a “secret police” force that subverts constitutional norms to repress the population is of course a hallmark of all dictatorial regimes, but that doesn’t appear to bother self-proclaimed “progressives.”

“Hundreds of Black Lives Matter/Antifa riots, some of which entailed firing mortars at, firebombing, or burning down police stations, did not qualify as domestic terrorism. But the Capitol Riot was terrorism, due to the usual double standard,” points out Dave Blount. He also hits the nail on the head about the real reason why the creation of a new secret police unit would be necessary. “Neither the FBI nor the NSA has the culture of brutal hostility toward their own country’s population needed to efficiently repress dissidents in the unfolding police state.”

Read more …

Told, you, they will regret the Trump ban. Genie’s out of the bottle.

Mind you, she also said: “After four long years, Europe has a friend in the White House.”

Silicon Valley CEOs Can’t Decide Laws And Rules – EU Commission President (RT)

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has sent a message to US tech companies ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, warning that Silicon Valley CEOs can’t decide their own laws and rules.
During a speech delivered in the European Parliament, von der Leyen laid out a series of areas in which the European Union (EU) is hoping to work with the incoming Biden administration, including climate change and the regulation of American-based tech companies that have an international reach. The EU has been working to introduce global standards for digital companies that provide a clear set of rules and responsibilities for the way they operate and the content that is distributed via their sites. However, rebuffing suggestions from tech giants to allow them to moderate themselves, von der Leyen was clear that governments must now intervene.


“This kind of decision must be taken in accordance with laws and rules…not by an arbitrary decision in the power of Silicon Valley CEOs.” Citing the recent attack on the US Capitol and linking the behavior of those President Donald Trump supporters to division and disinformation that appeared online, von der Leyen said in a tweet that regulation must be imposed on social media sites to “ensure that hate & fake news can no longer spread unchecked.” This is not the first time that the EU has sought to control the power of social media companies and tech giants. Google has been a target of the EU’s antitrust body in recent years, with the search engine having been hit with over $9 billion of fines, and further investigations are underway.

Read more …

Germany does it “gründlich”.

Germany Enacts Major Overhaul of Its Competition Regime for the Digital Era (WSGR)

On January 18, 2021, the 10th amendment of the German Act against Restraints of Competition (ARC) entered into force. The so-called “ARC Digitization Act,” designed to modernize German competition law enforcement for the era of big-data, i) creates sweeping new powers for the Federal Cartel Office (FCO) to regulate digital platform companies; ii) expands prohibitions on abuses of market power by firms with “relative market power” and firms that refuse access to data, networks, or infrastructure; and iii) raises the thresholds for German merger control. Because of the potential that large technology companies could be required to make dramatic changes to their current business practices, the FCO is poised to become one of the most consequential competition agencies for large technology companies.

Indeed, FCO President Mundt has repeatedly emphasized the willingness and readiness of his authority “not to squander the head start” and to apply the new rules soon after their entry into force. Under the new Section 19a of the ARC, the FCO gains novel powers to designate certain companies as having “paramount significance for competition across markets.” Upon making such a designation, the FCO can then order such companies to cease engaging in prohibited types of conduct, such as self-preferencing. The ARC Digitization Act also introduces changes to the burden of proof and the appeals process, designed to enhance the FCO’s ability to take swift action. The FCO may issue a decision declaring an undertaking to be of paramount significance for competition across markets.

The factors the FCO may consider in making this determination include:
• its dominant position in one or more markets;
• its financial strength or its access to other resources;
• its vertical integration and its activities on otherwise related markets;
• its access to data relevant for competition; and
• the importance of its activities for third parties’ access to supply and sales markets and its related influence on third parties’ business activities.

The qualitative nature of these factors provides the FCO with considerable discretion in making Section 19a declarations. As clarified by the German legislators’ explanatory memo, only a small number of (digital) “ecosystems” is likely to fulfill the threshold of having such “paramount significance.”2 The intended targets of the new rules are large and “often dominant” digital platform companies “with the resources and strategic position to significantly influence the commercial activities of third parties or expand their own activities to new markets and sectors.”3 We expect that the FCO will initially target “GAFA” and a few other (mostly U.S.-based) digital platforms.

Read more …

An old favorite theme of mine: What if money doesn’t move?

The Fed’s Inconvenient Truth: Inflation Is “M.I.A.” (RIA)

“The amount of money in the US economy is 25% higher than it was at the start of 2020, eclipsing any pace of money growth seen since the Federal Reserve was established (1913)” RB Advisors Deputy CIO Dan Suzuki. In recent weeks we have seen a non-stop flow of ominous statements like the one above. The author is 100% factual and it should be a cause for deep concern. Historically, such surges in the money supply were often met with significant inflation. While the sharp increase in the money supply provides context to the depth of our economic problems, our inflation warning bells are not ringing, at least not yet. Here is why.


Inflation, or aggregate price increases, results from economic activity, along with the amount of money and its velocity. A famous economic formula called the Monetary Exchange Equation uses those factors to create a mathematical identity that precisely determines the inflation rate. We co-authored an article with Brett Freeze entitled Stoking The Embers of Inflation. The article went into great detail about the monetary exchange equation. We summarize a few key points here: Per the inflation identity, the rate of inflation or deflation (%P) is equal to the rate of money growth (%M), plus the change in velocity (%V), less the rate of output growth (%Q).

• %M – As noted earlier, the change in the monetary base is a direct function of the Fed’s monetary policy actions. To increase or decrease the monetary base, the Fed buys and sells securities, typically U.S. Treasuries and more recently Mortgage-Backed Securities (MBS). • %V – Velocity is nominal GDP divided by the monetary base (Q/M). Velocity measures people’s willingness to hold cash or how often cash turns over. Lower velocity means that people are hoarding cash, which usually happens during periods of economic weakness, credit stress, and fear for banking institutions’ going-concern.

So if we exclude GDP, inflation is dependent on money supply and velocity changes. Money supply data is published weekly and easily forecastable with the Fed’s QE schedule. Velocity, on the other hand, is posted once a quarter and much more challenging to forecast. As such, let’s dive into velocity. Velocity is a measure of how fast cash circulates in an economy. We consider two extreme examples of money printing and monetary velocity to appreciate the interaction of money supply and velocity. • The Fed prints $10 trillion and buries it in a hole. • The Fed prints $10 trillion, sends each American a $30,000 check, and tells them they have five days to spend it or lose it The two examples have polar opposite effects on prices, despite the same massive increase in the money supply.

In example 1, the Fed does not affect inflation. The $10 trillion is not fungible as long as it stays buried. In example 2, hyperinflation would result as the new money rapidly circulates through the economy and dwarfs the economic system’s production capacity. Essentially, the demand for goods and services outstrips the supply. The amount of money greatly matters, but equally important is how it moves through the economy. The graph below compares the money supply chart above with the velocity of money and inflation.

Read more …

 

 

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Medhurst – America Just Replaced One Monster With Another
https://twitter.com/i/status/1325622342370922496

 

 

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Dec 182020
 


Egon Schiele Meadow, Church and Houses 1912

 

Twitter To Remove Tweets That Spread Lies About COVID Vaccines (G.)
“Who Wants To Be A Guinea Pig?”: Health Workers Balk At Vaccine (ZH)
How Virtual Learning Has Traumatized Their Children (DC)
WHO -Finally- Admits PCR Tests Create False Positives (OffG)
Joe Biden Calls His Son Hunter ‘The Smartest Man I Know’ (DC)
They Won’t Take “No” For An Answer (Ward)
Georgia Announces Signature Matching Review For Election Ballots (JTN)
Where Bill Barr Failed the President (ET)
Trump Takes Bipartisan Criticism For Silence On Massive Cyber Attack (F.)
Google Secretly Gave Facebook Perks, Data In Ad Deal: US States (R.)
Pentagon Training Equates Whistleblower Chelsea Manning With Terrorists (IC)
Q3 Share Buybacks Plunged 42% YoY, Big Banks Are Gone (WS)
Facebook To Require Masks In All Profile Pictures (BBee)

 

 

 

 

Awfully close to thought police. “Spreading lies about vaccines” here means “questioning vaccines”.

Twitter To Remove Tweets That Spread Lies About COVID Vaccines (G.)

Twitter will remove tweets that spread harmful misinformation, starting with the Covid-19 vaccine, the company has announced – and from 2021 it will begin to label tweets that push conspiracy theories. The move sees the company follow Facebook and YouTube in tightening up policies around the coronavirus vaccination as the rollout of the jab begins across the world. “Starting next week, we will prioritise the removal of the most harmful misleading information,” the US company said in a blogpost. “And during the coming weeks, we will begin to label tweets that contain potentially misleading information about the vaccines.”

Examples of posts that may be removed include false claims “that suggest immunisations and vaccines are used to intentionally cause harm to or control populations”, and claims “that Covid-19 is not real or not serious, and therefore that vaccinations are unnecessary”. Tweets that do not reach the level of potential harm will not be removed, but may receive a label linking through to authoritative public health information, the company said. Examples of that sort of claim include unsubstantiated rumours, disputed claims, as well as incomplete or out-of-context information about vaccines. The labelling will have a similar visual appearance to the company’s notorious labels about the US election, regularly placed on tweets from Donald Trump in which he falsely claimed victory in the US election.

Twitter said it would enforce the policy “using a combination of technology and human review”. Confusingly, the company has no way for users to report Covid misinformation, or misinformation about vaccines, despite the content being banned on the site. Instead, Twitter says users who think a particular tweet breaks the company’s rules on the topic should report it for any other offence – such as “threatening harm” – and use the text box to add that it is banned misinformation. The move comes two weeks after Facebook tightened its own policy about Covid vaccines. The larger social network will remove claims that rise to the level of imminent physical harm, as well as claims that have been debunked by public health experts, even if they do not reach that level. Chinese network TikTok has also strengthened its policies on vaccine misinformation, announcing on Tuesday that it has policies in place that prohibit misinformation “that could cause harm to an individual’s health or broader public safety”.

Tucker Don’t question the Coronavirus vaccine.

Read more …

“until I see that it’s actually safe for myself or my kids to take, I’m not going to take it.”

“Who Wants To Be A Guinea Pig?”: Health Workers Balk At Vaccine (ZH)

As tens of thousands of doses of the new Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine make their way across the country, some health workers – first on the list to receive the two-stage jab – are leery of the emerging treatment which mainstream pundits warned would take a ‘miracle’ to produce before the end of the year. And while public concerns over the vaccine have eased compared to polling conducted before the November election, a not-insignificant number of health workers are unwilling to take the shot. Perhaps they’re concerned about taking the fastest vaccine developed in Western history, developed to treat a mysterious new virus which primarily kills the elderly (though can have lasting effects on people of all ages save for children).

As Bloomberg notes, the initial vaccines have few serious side effects (aside from a handful of serious allergic reactions), though nobody knows what long-term effects it has, if any. For example, nobody can possibly know what it does to a gestating fetus for nine months, or whether it affects fertility – yet, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend that pregnant women take the vaccine. “At one Chicago hospital where the city’s first COVID-19 vaccine was administered on Tuesday, 40% of the staff said in a survey earlier this month that they would not take it. Sherrie Burch, 56, a ward clerk at Loretto, is baffled by how quickly the Covid-19 vaccine was developed, given how long medical developments typically take. And that makes her nervous.

“It just happened too fast for me,” Burch said, adding that her children, grandchildren and 76-year-old mother aren’t planning to get it either. “It’s the fear of the unknown.” Burch wants more details about the vaccine’s research and longer-term side effects. She plans to wait at least a couple of months to see how co-workers respond to the shot. Until then, she’ll keep masking, distancing and hand washing. Some nurses, respiratory therapists and technicians at Loretto also are opting out, said Nikhila Juvvadi, the hospital’s chief clinical officer who was the first person to administer the vaccine in Chicago. At a staff town-hall meeting on Wednesday, she explained the science of how the mRNA Covid-19 vaccine works.” -Bloomberg

In Maine, 40% of staff and 30% of residents at the state’s larger nursing homes won’t take the jab, according to an “informal discussion” conducted by the Maine Health Care Association. “Without official polling, it’s hard to know how accurate a picture this paints, and we fully expect these percentages to increase with greater education and awareness,” said the organization’s director of communications, Nadine Grosso. “Ultimately, we know that vaccination is key to safely reopening our long term care facilities.” And if these are all the people who will admit to refusing the vaccine, how many lied and said they will?

Still, some remain unpersuaded. Jonathan Damato, 41, a New York City paramedic for 21 years, is not an anti-vaxxer. He gets an annual flu shot, and he trusts the life-saving potential of vaccines against measles, mumps, polio. His station does about 50 or 60 Covid ambulance runs a week — people presenting high fevers and shortness of breath. “I know the virus is real,” said Damato, who has a 4-year-old son with health issues. But “until I see that it’s actually safe for myself or my kids to take, I’m not going to take it.” -Bloomberg In short, nobody wants to be a guinea pig.

Tucker Don’t question the Coronavirus vaccine. Part 2

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More reports coming out on this theme. Good. Don’t know that missed education is the big thing here, though. Missed social life might be bigger.

How Virtual Learning Has Traumatized Their Children (DC)

Data accumulated globally has shown that infections did not surge when schools reopened, and the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said as much in late November when he called on schools to reopen. While many private schools have reopened completely or partially, some of the nation’s largest school districts are still closed. In Washington, D.C., the city’s teachers union rejected an agreement with the public school system to reopen campuses in November. In Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, Topeka, San Diego and multiple other cities, districts put off their plans to reopen in mid-November and gave no set date for reopening.

Eileen, a Latin teacher at a Christian Classical school in Maryland, has been able to teach in her regular classroom since Sept. 3, when her school reopened with health and sanitation protocols implemented to prevent COVID-19 spread. Eileen’s 15-year-old daughter, who is a sophomore at a public school, has been learning virtually for 14 weeks. She goes to school with her mother once a week just to “be part of normal life,” Eileen tells the Caller. In an essay Eileen’s daughter wrote about her virtual learning experience, she describes the despondency and defeat students and teachers feel. In some classes, students mute their audio feature to hide the fact that they’re playing video games instead of paying attention.

Teachers have difficulty holding students accountable, making flouting the rules easier. Eileen’s daughter, an aspiring writer and accomplished student, also faces her own waning motivation. “Every minute I sit at my desk I am being erased. It started with one of my dimensions. Then my voice was replaced by the chat, my face with a logo, and my life with progress checks,” Eileen’s daughter writes. “Virtual school is not real school. They are not giving us an education. They are teaching us how to not get caught using google translate. They are teaching us which websites will do your algebra homework for you. And if the Board of Education doesn’t take my education seriously, then why should I?”

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“We have a vaccine now. We don’t need false positives anymore. Notionally, the system has produced its miracle cure.”

“all the PCR tests being done will be done “under the new WHO guidelines”, and running only 25-30 cycles instead of 35+. Lo and behold, the number of “positive cases” will plummet..”

WHO -Finally- Admits PCR Tests Create False Positives (OffG)

The World Health Organization released a guidance memo on December 14th, warning that high cycle thresholds on PCR tests will result in false positives. While this information is accurate, it has also been available for months, so we must ask: why are they reporting it now? Is it to make it appear the vaccine works? The “gold standard” Sars-Cov-2 tests are based on polymerase chain reaction (PCR). PCR works by taking nucleotides – tiny fragments of DNA or RNA – and replicating them until they become something large enough to identify. The replication is done in cycles, with each cycle doubling the amount of genetic material. The number of cycles it takes to produce something identifiable is known as the “cycle threshold” or “CT value”. The higher the CT value, the less likely you are to be detecting anything significant.

This new WHO memo states that using a high CT value to test for the presence of Sars-Cov-2 will result in false-positive results. To quote their own words [our emphasis]: “Users of RT-PCR reagents should read the IFU carefully to determine if manual adjustment of the PCR positivity threshold is necessary to account for any background noise which may lead to a specimen with a high cycle threshold (Ct) value result being interpreted as a positive result.” They go on to explain [again, our emphasis]: “The design principle of RT-PCR means that for patients with high levels of circulating virus (viral load), relatively few cycles will be needed to detect virus and so the Ct value will be low. Conversely, when specimens return a high Ct value, it means that many cycles were required to detect virus. In some circumstances, the distinction between background noise and actual presence of the target virus is difficult to ascertain.”

Of course, none of this is news to anyone who has been paying attention. That PCR tests were easily manipulated and potentially highly inaccurate has been one of the oft-repeated battle cries of those of us opposing the “pandemic” narrative, and the policies it’s being used to sell. Many articles have been written about it, by many experts in the field, medical journalists and other researchers. It’s been commonly available knowledge, for months now, that any test using a CT value over 35 is potentially meaningless. Dr Kary Mullis, who won the Nobel Prize for inventing the PCR process, was clear that it wasn’t meant as a diagnostic tool, saying: “..with PCR, if you do it well, you can find almost anything in anybody.” And, commenting on cycle thresholds, once said: “If you have to go more than 40 cycles to amplify a single-copy gene, there is something seriously wrong with your PCR.”

The MIQE guidelines for PCR use state: Cq values higher than 40 are suspect because of the implied low efficiency and generally should not be reported,” This has all been public knowledge since the beginning of the lockdown. The Australian government’s own website admitted the tests were flawed, and a court in Portugal ruled they were not fit for purpose. Even Dr Anthony Fauci has publicly admitted that a cycle threshold over 35 is going to be detecting “dead nucleotides”, not a living virus. Despite all this, it is known that many labs around the world have been using PCR tests with CT values over 35, even into the low 40s. So why has the WHO finally decided to say this is wrong? What reason could they have for finally choosing to recognise this simple reality?

The answer to that is potentially shockingly cynical: We have a vaccine now. We don’t need false positives anymore. Notionally, the system has produced its miracle cure. So, after everyone has been vaccinated, all the PCR tests being done will be done “under the new WHO guidelines”, and running only 25-30 cycles instead of 35+. Lo and behold, the number of “positive cases” will plummet, and we’ll have confirmation that our miracle vaccine works.

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“Joe Biden defends his son — who is under federal investigation, was kicked out of the Navy for cocaine, and was sued by a stripper for paternity — as “the smartest man I know.”

“It’s used to get to me. I think it’s kind of foul play, but, look, it is what it is. And he’s a grown man. He is the smartest man I know. I mean, in a pure intellectual capacity.”

And boy, whatever happened to Stephen Colbert?

Joe Biden Calls His Son Hunter ‘The Smartest Man I Know’ (DC)

President-elect Joe Biden says he is “not concerned” about a federal investigation into his son, Hunter, and accused his opponents of weaponizing the probe for political points. Biden said that Hunter, who has been involved in a string of high-profile personal and business controversies in recent years, as “the smartest man I know.” Hunter Biden announced last Wednesday that he is under investigation by the U.S. attorney’s office in Delaware over his “tax affairs.” A source familiar with the investigation told the Daily Caller News Foundation that the investigation began in 2018, before Joe Biden launched his presidential campaign.


The Associated Press reported that prosecutors subpoenaed Biden for his records with more than two dozen businesses, including companies in China and Ukraine. (RELATED: Joe Biden Says He Is ‘Confident’ His Son Did Nothing Wrong) Biden, who was interviewed by CBS’s Stephen Colbert, accused his political opponents of “foul play” by seizing on the investigation. “We have great confidence in our son. I am not concerned about any accusations made against him. It’s used to get to me,” Biden said in the interview, which he conducted with his wife Jill Biden at his side. “I think it’s kind of foul play,” said Biden, adding, “look, it is what it is.” “He’s a grown man. He is the smartest man I know. I mean, in a pure intellectual capacity. And as long as he’s good, we’re good.”

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“The US Shadow State and its creatures are of the Soviet school of information: top-down tell, and censor the ‘show’ part.”

They Won’t Take “No” For An Answer (Ward)

There are many issues facing us today both personally and globally. But they all boil down to one thing: those who have captured power through either electoral desperation or corporacratic subterfuge simply will not take no for an answer. We must look beyond the issue to the principle, and learn to say no in a forcefully peaceful and organised manner. It does seem eternally odd, does it not, that the US judicial system seems happy to throw out Republican affidavits giving evidence of electoral fraud, but at the same time the US has a media set that suffixes every report on what President Trump says about it with “although he has no evidence to support his claims”….and the world anglosphere falls lamely into line.

It is truly Pythonic, with just a dash of Catch22: “We’re not going to review these affidavits because they’re worthless,” said the Ostriches, “so will you stop saying you were cheated, because you haven’t got any evidence – we know this, because we don’t need to look at it”. My view is simple: it is entirely possible that Trump is lying his fat head off. But the common sense rejoinder to that pov is: 1) Why press ahead so vigorously with a case if (privately) you know it to be BS? And 2) If you the State know it to be BS, why not investigate every affidavit thoroughly and enumerate their lack of worth instance by instance? In short, we have a plaintiff behaving like a guy who’s done his homework, and the State dismissing everything out of hand for fear of finding magic bullets flying backwards, and Presidential Heads exploding in the wrong direction.

Show not tell: it’s an old adage, but still universally applicable. The ‘Tell’ approach: “Laugh at me because believe me, I’m funny….boy, am I funny”. The ‘Show’ approach: Tell a very funny joke with timing and élan. The US Shadow State and its creatures are of the Soviet school of information: top-down tell, and censor the ‘show’ part. When it doesn’t convince, smear the doubters as ill-educated, delusional and deviant.

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“After the third and final recount, Biden won Georgia by 11,779 votes, or 0.2%.”

Georgia Announces Signature Matching Review For Election Ballots (JTN)

After three recounts, Georgia certified the 2020 presidential election. But on Thursday, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced a statewide move to match signatures to their absentee ballots in all 159 counties in the state. The announcement comes just weeks before two Georgia Senate runoff elections on Jan. 5 will determine which party controls the Senate. Raffensperger announced that the signature matching will be done in partnership with the University of Georgia. The study will review a random sample of signatures for mail-in ballots that were cast in the presidential election. “We are confident that elections in Georgia are secure, reliable and effective,” Raffensperger said.


“Despite endless lawsuits and wild allegations from Washington, D.C., pundits, we have seen no actual evidence of widespread voter fraud, though we are investigating all credible reports. Nonetheless, we look forward to working with the University of Georgia on this signature match review to further instill confidence in Georgia’s voting systems,” he also said. Earlier this week, Georgia officials announced an audit of signatures for mail-in ballots in Cobb County, a suburb of Atlanta. The Trump campaign claimed that Cobb County did not properly conduct signature match in June,” said Jordan Fuchs, Georgia’s deputy secretary of state. “After the countywide audit, we will look at the entire state. We will look at the entire election to make sure signature match was executed properly.” After the third and final recount, Biden won Georgia by 11,779 votes, or 0.2%.

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The Durham probe comes to mind. Where is it?

Where Bill Barr Failed the President (ET)

Barr’s most significant achievement during his tenure was perhaps his role in the final stages of the Mueller investigation, leading to his joint conclusion with Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein that evidence compiled by Robert Mueller failed to establish that the president had obstructed justice. But a series of curious missteps then followed. The investigation being conducted by U.S. Attorney John Huber disappeared entirely, although a portion of that investigation may have been folded into U.S. Attorney John Durham’s still ongoing investigation. Durham was appointed as special counsel by Barr, but reports indicate that Durham’s investigative scope has been narrowed, and the investigation’s long-promised results remain delayed.

Trump found himself impeached by the House in December 2019, despite evidence within the DOJ that might have prevented the politically driven result. Indeed, it now appears that Trump may have been impeached for making inquiries into the very crimes for which Hunter Biden, the son of Joe Biden, is now formally under investigation. Said differently, Trump may have effectively been impeached for being right about Biden. To date, only one person has been formally charged from the multi-year probe into the FBI’s handling of their investigation of the Trump campaign. Although two FISA warrants on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page were deemed as invalid—and thus illegal—there have been no prosecutions or convictions of high-level individuals involved in the surveillance conducted on members of the Trump campaign.

Barr remained concerned, perhaps rightly, about exhibiting any overt signs of interference in the 2020 presidential election. Unfortunately, while he studiously avoided disclosing any evidence regarding the Hunter Biden investigation, so did the mainstream media. The impact of the general public’s lack of knowledge on this matter may have been material to the election outcome. Barr also made what might generously be termed a material strategic error by speaking with The Associated Press in the weeks following the election. Barr’s comments that the DOJ had yet to uncover fraud on a level sufficient to affect the outcome of the election reverberated throughout the nation and caused material damage to the case being made by the president’s lawyers. Why Barr would choose to speak to the media, let alone the AP, at this critical juncture in post-election events remains unknown.

Barr, no political novice, has more than enough political acumen to comprehend the manner in which his comments would be interpreted and relayed to a nation in post-election turmoil. That he apparently held the belief there was no material evidence of election fraud strikes many who have been wading through court evidence for weeks as curious. Durham’s efforts may yet produce tangible results, but nearly four years of investigation has surely been long enough to bring forth something material. With each passing month, the lack of tangible results has allowed for unspoken discrediting of the president’s claims. And with the possibility of a politically motivated Biden administration, concerns over potential interference in Durham’s results—special counsel status notwithstanding—are valid.

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In case you didn’t notice: the neocons won. So Russiagate is alive and kicking.

Trump Takes Bipartisan Criticism For Silence On Massive Cyber Attack (F.)

President Donald Trump is taking heat from members of Congress in both parties in recent days for his continued silence on a massive cybersecurity breach linked to Russia, even as the president’s own officials say the U.S. is highly vulnerable to further attacks. Through a weakness in software from SolarWinds Orion, an IT firm that services numerous U.S. government agencies, hackers – that U.S. officials say are tied to Russia – were reportedly able to infiltrate the Department of Homeland Security, the Pentagon, the Treasury Department, the National Institutes of Health and various other departments. Democrats have been vocal about the breach and critical of the president’s actions, with Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) noting the president fired Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) head Chris Krebs for debunking his election fraud conspiracy theories just one month before the attack occurred.

Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) called Trump’s silence “unacceptable,” adding, “For 4 years, Congress has been urging him to take Russian threats seriously,” while Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) suggested the silence is because Trump has “cozied up to” Russian President Vladimir Putin. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), one of Trump’s most prolific Republican detractors, compared the breach to “Russian bombers… repeatedly flying over our entire country,” and slammed the “inexcusable silence and inaction from the White House.” Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-Va.) was critical of Trump’s silence as well, alleging a “leadership vacuum” in the administration and telling Forbes that Trump’s reticence to weigh in is because doing so “could highlight his firings” of cybersecurity, defense and intelligence officials in recent weeks.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) and outgoing Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) both took aim at Trump for his threat to veto a defense bill that includes cyber protections and would create a National Cyber Security Director, with Hurd adding, “We need to find the inaugural director ASAP because he/she is going to have a full plate on day one.” “No statement, no tweet, nothing from [Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.)] on Russia hack of Federal agencies,” tweeted Rep. Debbie Mucarsel Powell (D-Fla.), echoing Democrats who have alleged not just Trump, but many Republicans in Congress have shied away from weighing in on the hack. “As Chair of Senate Intelligence his silence=complicity,” she added. “CISA has determined that this threat poses a grave risk to the Federal Government and state, local, tribal, and territorial governments as well as critical infrastructure entities and other private sector organizations,” the agency said in a statement on Thursday.

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Is this even illegal?

Google Secretly Gave Facebook Perks, Data In Ad Deal: US States (R.)

Facebook Inc and Alphabet’s Google, the two biggest players in online advertising, used a series of deals to consolidate their market power illegally, Texas and nine other states alleged in a lawsuit against Google on Wednesday. Google and Facebook compete heavily in internet ad sales, together capturing over half of the market globally. The two players agreed in a publicized deal in 2018 to start giving Facebook’s advertiser clients the option to place ads within Google’s network of publishing partners, the complaint alleged. Executives at the highest level of the companies signed off on the deal, according to the complaint. For example, a sneaker blog that uses software from Google to sell ads could end up generating revenue from a footwear retailer that bought ads on Facebook.

Google reached similar partnerships with other advertising companies as part of an effort to maintain market share that was internally codenamed Project Jedi, a source with direct knowledge of the matter said. But what Google did not announce publicly is that it gave Facebook preferential treatment, the complaint alleged. Facebook agreed to back down from supporting competing software, which publishers had developed to dent Google’s market power, the complaint said. “Facebook decided to dangle the threat of competition in Google’s face and then cut a deal to manipulate the auction,” it said, citing internal communications. In exchange, the states said, Facebook received various benefits, including access to Google data and policy exceptions that enabled its clients to unfairly get more ads placed than clients of other Google partners could.

[..] The complaint also alleged that Google and Facebook engaged in fixing prices of ads and have continued to cooperate, though the section was heavily redacted and left it unclear just how and when the companies allegedly used their “market allocation agreement.” However, it said that “given the scope and extensive nature of cooperation between the two companies, Google and Facebook were highly aware that their agreement could trigger antitrust violations. The two companies discussed, negotiated, and memorialized how they would cooperate with one another.”

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The Pentagon needs enemies.

Pentagon Training Equates Whistleblower Chelsea Manning With Terrorists (IC)

In the decade since her historic transfer of secret military and diplomatic materials to WikiLeaks, Chelsea Manning has consistently and across party lines been condemned as a traitor. Less common, and absent entirely from the government’s efforts to imprison her, are allegations that her leak was an act of terrorism. But anti-terrorism training materials obtained by The Intercept show that the Pentagon is teaching defense workers exactly that. Both civilian contractors and enlisted personnel are commonly required to complete JS-US007, a Pentagon course designed to “increase your awareness of terrorism and to improve your ability to apply personal protective measures,” according to Joint Knowledge Online, a Department of Defense education portal. JS-US007 covers a variety of grimly serious topics, from detecting roadside bombs to surviving active shooter scenarios and skyjackings.

The training also covers so-called insider threat attacks, acts of terroristic violence in which members of a group strike the group itself, like the 2009 Fort Hood, Texas, shooting in which Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan shot and killed 13 individuals on the base, wounding 30 more. The Department of Homeland Security defines insider threat terrorism as “an unlawful use of force and violence by employees or others closely associated with organizations, against those organizations to promote a political or social objective.” Other definitions may differ on technicalities, but like other acts of terrorism, the unifying theme is the violence of the acts.

But unclassified JS-US007 materials obtained by The Intercept show that the Pentagon’s anti-terrorism trainees are learning a far broader definition of terrorism, one that includes the entirely nonviolent acts of Manning. On a slide listing “Examples of attacks by individuals thought to be loyal to the US,” Manning’s “2010 leaking of over 500,000 documents concerning operations in Iraq and Afghanistan” is listed first, followed by three examples of murder: the “2009 active shooter attack at Fort Hood,” the “2003 active shooter attack at Camp Pennsylvania,” and the “2001 anthrax attacks against Government facilities” that closely followed the attacks of September 11. Another slide in the presentation lists Manning’s alleged “anti-American statements” as a “pre-attack indicator.”

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“..down 54% from peak share-buyback mania in Q4 2018..”

Q3 Share Buybacks Plunged 42% YoY, Big Banks Are Gone (WS)

The big four banks are out. And other companies are out. But Big Tech is in, as big as ever, and Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, after pooh-poohing share buybacks for years, is now the second largest share buyback queen. In the third quarter 2020, companies in the S&P 500 Index bought back $101.8 billion of their own shares, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices this morning. While this still sounds like a lot of share buybacks, it’s down 42% from Q3 last year, and down 54% from peak share-buyback mania in Q4 2018 following the corporate tax cuts:

Since the beginning of 2012, the S&P 500 companies have bought back nearly $5 trillion of their own shares. How much is $5 trillion? It’s nearly one-quarter of US 12-month GDP in current dollars. It’s about equal to the amount by which the US government debt has exploded over the past 12 months. These $5 trillion could have been invested in expansion projects in the US, and in labor, and in training, or God forbid, in reducing the debt that Corporate America has loaded up on in a historic manner.

[..] Corporate debt levels have been showing up in the Fed’s Financial Stability Reports. The corporate “debt overhang,” as the Fed calls it, frazzled Fed researchers in 2019 and it is now again cropping up in Fed research papers, including by the New York Fed a few days ago. “We find that the economic costs of corporate debt booms rise when inefficient debt restructuring and liquidation impede the resolution of corporate financial distress and make it more likely that corporate zombies creep along,” summarize the researchers at the New York Fed. It was another research paper duly ignored by Fed Chair Powell.


Last year, the four big banks – Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, and Citigroup – occupied the #2, #3, #4, and #7 spots on the Top 20 list of our share buyback queens. Now they’re gone from the list, having been told by regulators to stop share buybacks to preserve capital to absorb the coming losses from the Crisis. Big Tech and, ironically, Warren Buffett dominate the list. Apple retains its top spot with $17.6 billion in share buybacks in Q3, bringing the 12-month total to $76 billion.

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I don’t normally include 4-month old articles in Debt Rattles, but this could just as well be from today.

Facebook To Require Masks In All Profile Pictures (BBee)

Facebook confirmed today that to prevent the spread of coronavirus and promote a safe space to virtue-signal, masks will be required on all profile pictures going forward. If you log in to Facebook you will be prompted to change your profile picture to one where you are wearing a mask. If you don’t have a mask, Facebook offers digital mask filters to give the appearance that you’re wearing one. Those who refuse the mask will be asked to delete their accounts.


“This is an issue of public safety,” said Mark Zuckerberg. “We were seeing people just commenting on things and posting memes and stuff while their face was clearly visible. The CDC currently says that masks are good, and therefore, you must wear a mask.” An assistant then whispered in Zuckerberg’s ear. “Oh, uh, this just in: the CDC now says that masks are bad. So we’ll take this all back.” But, before he could reverse the mask order, the CDC issued another update saying that masks were good again. “Anyway, yes, a mask for everyone. It’s a small thing to do to make everyone feel safe.”

Read more …

 

 

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UK MPs ask for a meeting with Assange.

 

 

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Dec 032020
 


Walter Langley Never morning wore to evening but some heart did break 1894

 

One In Six Covid-19 Deaths In Vermont Came From A Single Nursing Home (IC)
Possible HHS Pick Shielded Nursing Homes From Liability In COVID Outbreak (DP)
First In Line For Covid Vaccine? Some US Health Care Workers Say No (Y!)
Obama, Bush and Clinton Volunteer To Get Coronavirus Vaccine Publicly (CNN)
10 Fatal Flaws In The Main Test For COVID (RT)
Study Finds 98% Of COVID Patients Still Have Antibodies 6 Months Later (ZH)
Fed and Treasury Urge Congress To Approve More Virus Relief (AP)
Trump Demands Social Media Giants’ Liability Shield Be Scrapped (JTN)
CNN Caught Burying The Post’s Hunter Biden Exposé (NYP)
Congress Passes Bill To Target Foreign Businesses Blocking US Auditors (JTN)
Here Comes the Trucking Boom in the Weirdest Economy Ever (WS)
Assad’s Syria Is Starving Like Saddam’s Iraq (FP)
Humans Waging ‘Suicidal War’ On Nature – UN Chief Antonio Guterres (BBC)

 

 

CNN Democrats’ corona hypocrisy

 

 

“The nursing home has about 90 residents…”

One In Six Covid-19 Deaths In Vermont Came From A Single Nursing Home (IC)

One in six Covid-19 deaths in Vermont have come from a single nursing home, owned by a troubled for-profit chain, Genesis HealthCare. The novel coronavirus began to spread like wildfire in Burlington Health and Rehab in March, leading to 12 deaths in the first wave of the virus. The pandemic arrived just a few weeks after the state’s attorney general, T.J. Donovan, a Democrat, had settled an investigation into the facility for “allegations of neglect that resulted in serious injury to three residents and the death of a fourth.” The nursing home has about 90 residents. Federal nursing home staffing records reveal that registered nurse staffing in the facility failed to meet minimum levels even after the settlement, suggesting that the settlement failed to protect nursing home residents.


Lobbyists for the chain have donated to Donovan’s reelection campaign, as they have for Vermont Gov. Phil Scott, a Republican, whose administration collaborated with Donovan on the settlement. The Covid-19 outbreaks in these facilities showcase not just the failed national approach to nursing home oversight, but a cozy relationship between state regulators and nursing homes. As another wave of Covid-19 hits the state, a massive outbreak has occurred at another Genesis facility in Rutland, Vermont, with 41 cases. Seven more cases have appeared at another Genesis facility in Berlin, Vermont. Nationwide, over 100,000 residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities have died from Covid-19, accounting for 40 percent of the total. The new wave of nursing home Covid-19 cases is not unique to Vermont; many other states are again seeing significant outbreaks at their nursing homes.

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Things will be so much better under Biden…

Possible HHS Pick Shielded Nursing Homes From Liability In COVID Outbreak (DP)

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo has presided over one of the deadliest COVID outbreaks in the country — and new documents obtained by The Daily Poster detail how she helped nursing home lobbyists shield health care companies from coronavirus-related lawsuits. Now, Raimondo — a former Wall Street executive — is reportedly being considered for the nation’s top health care policy job in the incoming Biden administration. Politico reported last week that Raimondo, who made her name slashing state workers’ pensions, is one of the finalists to lead the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under President-elect Joe Biden. Raimondo was also previously considered for Treasury Secretary, according to the American Prospect.

As governor, Raimondo has slammed proposals to expand Medicare to cover everyone. Amid the pandemic in August, her administration approved health insurance companies’ steep premium increases that were criticized by the state’s Democratic attorney general as “unnecessary and ill-advised.” Health insurers have been raking in record profits, with fewer people seeking care because of the pandemic. Raimondo has also pushed for Medicaid cuts that nursing home workers warned would result in unsafe staffing levels — and in April, she issued an executive order sought by health care industry lobbyists that shielded nursing homes from lawsuits when their business decisions injure or kill people. The order was later expanded to shield nursing homes, hospitals, and other health care providers.


While the Biden transition is reportedly considering Raimondo for HHS Secretary, residents and workers in Rhode Island’s nursing homes have faced deadly consequences. Documents obtained by The Daily Poster show that Raimondo quickly responded to lobbyists’ demands for an executive order granting them legal immunity during the pandemic. “What immunity has done is allow nursing homes to act unreasonably without accountability,” one personal injury lawyer told the Providence Journal last month.

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“They failed miserably with PPE (personal protective equipment) and testing and now they want you to be guinea pigs for the vaccine..”

First In Line For Covid Vaccine? Some US Health Care Workers Say No (Y!)

They can move to front of the line for a Covid-19 vaccine if they want, but some US health care workers are skeptical about taking a vaccine that was developed in record time — even as the pandemic rages on. Some want more time, despite assurances from experts that they trust the vaccine vetting process carried out by the US Food and Drug Administration. “I think I would take the vaccine later on, but right now I am a little leery of it,” nurse Yolanda Dodson, 55, told AFP. Dodson works at the Montefiore Hospital in New York City and spent the spring in the heart of the deadly fight against the virus. Vaccine studies so far “look promising but I don’t think there is enough data yet,” Dodson said.

“We have to be grateful to those who are willing to subject themselves to take that risk” to participate in the studies, she said. “It is a very personal decision.” Diana Torres is a nurse at a Manhattan hospital who saw several of her co-workers die of the novel coronavirus this spring. She is particularly suspicious of vaccines rushed for approval under the Trump administration, which she says has handled the entire pandemic like “some sort of joke.” “This is a vaccine that was developed in less than a year and approved under the same administration and government agencies that allowed the virus to spread like a wildfire,” Torres said. “They didn’t have enough time and people to study the vaccine,” she said. “This time around I will pass and watch how it unfolds.”


Data from clinical trials have shown that two vaccines — one developed by Pfizer and BioNtech, the other by Moderna and the US National Institutes of Health — are about 95 percent effective. Normally the FDA requires six months of follow up, but if no adverse reactions appear in the first two months, it is rare to see anything in the next four — and the raging pandemic has altered the risk-benefit calculations. There were 44,000 volunteers in the Pfizer trial, and 30,000 in Moderna’s, and the data was firewalled from the companies and analyzed by experts free from political pressure. Fellow nurses commenting on Torres’s Facebook page seemed just as skeptical. “They failed miserably with PPE (personal protective equipment) and testing and now they want you to be guinea pigs for the vaccine,” one friend wrote.

Read more …

So not the health care workers, but the presidents do.

Obama: “I trust this science, and what I don’t trust is getting Covid”

Maybe someone should tell him the vaccine doesn’t protect him from getting COVID. It was never meant to do that.

Obama, Bush and Clinton Volunteer To Get Coronavirus Vaccine Publicly (CNN)

Former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton are volunteering to get their Covid-19 vaccines on camera to promote public confidence in the vaccine’s safety once the US Food and Drug Administration authorizes one. The three most recent former presidents hope an awareness campaign to promote confidence in its safety and effectiveness would be a powerful message as American public health officials try to convince the public to take the vaccine. Freddy Ford, Bush’s chief of staff, told CNN that the 43rd President had reached out to Dr. Anthony Fauci — the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the nation’s top infectious disease expert — and Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, to see how he could help promote the vaccine.

“A few weeks ago President Bush asked me to let Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx know that, when the time is right, he wants to do what he can to help encourage his fellow citizens to get vaccinated,” Ford told CNN. “First, the vaccines need to be deemed safe and administered to the priority populations. Then, President Bush will get in line for his, and will gladly do so on camera.” Clinton’s press secretary told CNN on Wednesday that he too would be willing to take the vaccine in a public setting in order to promote it. “President Clinton will definitely take a vaccine as soon as available to him, based on the priorities determined by public health officials. And he will do it in a public setting if it will help urge all Americans to do the same,” Angel Urena said.


Obama, in an interview with SiriusXM host Joe Madison scheduled to air Thursday, said that if Fauci said a coronavirus vaccine is safe, he believes him. “People like Anthony Fauci, who I know, and I’ve worked with, I trust completely,” Obama said. “So, if Anthony Fauci tells me this vaccine is safe, and can vaccinate, you know, immunize you from getting Covid, absolutely, I’m going to take it. “I promise you that when it’s been made for people who are less at risk, I will be taking it,” he said. “I may end up taking it on TV or having it filmed, just so that people know that I trust this science, and what I don’t trust is getting Covid,” he added. CNN has reached out to representatives for former President Jimmy Carter to see if he would be willing to take the vaccine publicly as well.

Read more …

“It’s cheap, fast – and absolutely useless.”

10 Fatal Flaws In The Main Test For COVID (RT)

A peer review from a group of 22 international experts has found 10 “major flaws” in the main protocol for such tests. The report systematically dismantles the original study, called the Corman-Drosten paper, which described a protocol for applying the PCR technique to detecting Covid. The Corman-Drosten paper was published on January, 23, 2020, just a day after being submitted, which would make any peer review process that took place possibly the shortest in history. What is important about it is that the protocol it describes is used in around 70 percent of Covid kits worldwide. It’s cheap, fast – and absolutely useless. Among the fatal flaws that totally invalidate the PCR testing protocol are that the test:

• is non-specific, due to erroneous primer design • is enormously variable • cannot discriminate between the whole virus and viral fragments • has no positive or negative controls • has no standard operating procedure • does not seem to have been properly peer reviewed. Oh dear. One wonders whether anything at all was correct in the paper. But wait – it gets worse. As has been noted previously, no threshold for positivity was ever identified. This is why labs have been running 40 cycles, almost guaranteeing a large number of false positives – up to 97 percent, according to some studies. The cherry on top, though, is that among the authors of the original paper themselves, at least four have severe conflicts of interest. Two of them are members of the editorial board of Eurosurveillance, the sinisterly named journal that published the paper.

And at least three of them are on the payroll of the first companies to perform PCR testing! The 22 members of the consortium that has challenged this shoddy science deserve huge credit. The scientists, from Europe, the USA, and Japan, comprise senior molecular geneticists, biochemists, immunologists, and microbiologists, with many decades of experience between them. They have issued a demand to Eurosurveillance to retract the Corman-Drosten paper, writing: “Considering the scientific and methodological blemishes presented here, we are confident that the editorial board of Eurosurveillance has no other choice but to retract the publication.’’ Talk about putting the pressure on.

It is difficult to overstate the implications of this revelation. Every single thing about the Covid orthodoxy relies on ‘case numbers’, which are largely the results of the now widespread PCR tests. If their results are essentially meaningless, then everything we are being told – and ordered to do by increasingly dictatorial governments – is likely to be incorrect. For instance, one of the authors of the review is Dr Mike Yeadon, who asserts that, in the UK, there is no ‘second wave’ and that the pandemic has been over since June. Having seen the PCR tests so unambiguously debunked, it is hard to see any evidence to the contrary.

Read more …

Since the vaccines are useless, maybe getting infected is the only protection available?!

Study Finds 98% Of COVID Patients Still Have Antibodies 6 Months Later (ZH)

In another example of how COVID-19 research has painted a complex, and sometimes conflicting, picture of the virus and the ability of the human immune system to fight it off, a team of researchers at Japan’s Yokohama City University published research showing that antibodies in COVID-19 patients persist for six months or more, even amid a preponderance of reports warning about the risk of reinfection for many particularly vulnerable patients. A Japanese research team said Wednesday that it has detected neutralizing antibodies in 98% of people six months after they were infected with SARS-CoV-2. Another study performed in the UK found that antibodies found evidence that antibody levels start to degrade within six months.


The team, led by Yokohama City University professor Takeharu Yamanaka, is already planning to conduct a follow-up study to see whether these people will still have such antibodies a year after their infections. But in the survey data released Wednesday, researcher checked blood samples from 376 people who had already recovered – the largest study of its type in Japan. The samples were collected six months after the patients were infected. According to a report on the study published by Nippon, Yamanaka said that “in general, people with neutralizing antibodies are believed to carry a low risk of reinfection…This gives some hope” for the effectiveness of the vaccines that are soon to be delivered to the public. As the west prepares to roll out the first wave of COVID-19 vaccinations, scientists will be watching closely for more data to try an ascertain whether COVID-19 can truly be defeated, or whether it might morph into a flu-like seasonal infection.

Read more …

Yes, but: horse, barn.

Fed and Treasury Urge Congress To Approve More Virus Relief (AP)

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin urged Congress to approve COVID-19 relief funds without further delay, though Democrats continued to attack a decision by Mnuchin to allow five Fed lending programs to expire during the pandemic. In his most direct comments so far, Powell told the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday that it’s “very important” for Congress to provide economic support. New funding would serve as a “bridge” for the economy to get from the current environment in which virus infections are spiking, to next year when vaccines should be widely available, Powell said.

“We are trying to get as many people across that bridge as we can,” Powell said. Without more assistance, Powell said, people will lose their homes and small businesses will fail. “You could lose parts of the economy,” which would slow any recovery next year, he said. “We are hearing from all over that small businesses are really under pressure,” Powell told lawmakers. For a second day a number of Democratic lawmakers on the committee challenged Mnuchin’s decision to allow five Fed lending programs to expire at the end of this year, contending that his reading of the law was incorrect. They say it’s a political maneuver to hobble the incoming Biden administration financially.

[..] In a rare split with Treasury last month, the Fed issued a statement saying that it believed it was important to continue providing an economic backstop after Mnuchin said he was terminating the programs. Mnuchin has repeatedly insisted that he was just following the CARES Act law. When Powell was asked if he agreed with that interpretation, Powell deferred to Mnuchin. Powell did say Wednesday that the Fed had issued its statement to make it clear that the central bank was committed to providing further support to the economy. “We were concerned that the public might misinterpret (Mnuchin’s action) as the Fed stepping back and thinking our work is done,” Powell said.

Asked what Congress should put in a relief bill that could pass in the lame-duck session this month, Mnuchin said his priority would be an authorization allowing the Treasury to use $140 billion in left-over funds to provide small businesses with a second round of Paycheck Protection Program loans.

Read more …

Again: Yes, but: horse, barn.

Trump Demands Social Media Giants’ Liability Shield Be Scrapped (JTN)

President Trump said in a Tuesday night tweet that he will veto the National Defense Authorization Act if it does not eliminate Section 230 of the Communication Decency Act. Section 230 protects companies like Twitter from a range of laws and being held liable for what is said on their platform, as long as they don’t attempt to censor or enforce what speech is acceptable and what isn’t. “Section 230, which is a liability shielding gift from the U.S. to “Big Tech” (the only companies in America that have it – corporate welfare!), is a serious threat to our National Security & Election Integrity,” the president tweeted. “Our Country can never be safe & secure if we allow it to stand.”


“Therefore, if the very dangerous & unfair Section 230 is not completely terminated as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), I will be forced to unequivocally VETO the Bill when sent to the very beautiful Resolute desk,” Trump wrote. “Take back America NOW. Thank you!”

Read more …

“On no planet is that not news.”

CNN Caught Burying The Post’s Hunter Biden Exposé (NYP)

The collusion of mainstream media and Big Tech to censor The Post’s Hunter Biden story now is laid bare in leaked recordings of CNN’s news meetings from the time. CNN boss Jeff Zucker is heard instructing his staff to downplay the bombshell story which implicated Joe Biden in a shady foreign-influence peddling scheme, according to audio released Tuesday by undercover news outlet Project Veritas. On the morning of Oct. 14, the day we published an e-mail from Hunter’s abandoned laptop in which a top executive from corrupt Ukrainian energy company Burisma thanked Hunter for arranging a meeting with his then-VP father, CNN political director David Chalian is heard telling Zucker and his underlings that the news network would not cover the story.

“Obviously, we’re not going with the New York Post story right now on Hunter Biden,” said Chalian. “We’ll just continue to report out this is the very stuff that the President was impeached over . . . that Senate Committees looked at and found nothing wrong in Joe Biden’s interactions with Ukrainians.” Chalian, who oversees all CNN’s political coverage, was not being straight with his colleagues. This was new evidence reflecting on Joe Biden’s integrity, suggesting that despite repeated denials, he had met with an executive of the company which was paying his wayward son up to $83,000 a month to sit on its board, at a time when Burisma was looking for favors from the US government and he was vice president.


This was the first concrete link between Joe and his family’s shady foreign business deals and there was much more to come over the next few days, all ignored or pooh-poohed by CNN in a naked bid to protect the Biden campaign from legitimate scrutiny. Most of the rest of the media followed suit. Twitter locked the Post account for two weeks and Facebook throttled our audience reach. What made our story all the more compelling that first day was the feeble response from Joe’s campaign. Initially, they said there was no record of any such meeting on his “official schedule” but finally admitted that an “informal” meeting with Burisma may have occurred. On no planet is that not news.

Read more …

Makes sense.

Congress Passes Bill To Target Foreign Businesses Blocking US Auditors (JTN)

The U.S. House of Representatives approved legislation Wednesday that would boot businesses from China and other foreign countries from U.S. stock exchanges if they failed to give American auditors access to examine financial reports. The legislation would obligate foreign businesses to give access to U.S. auditors to scrutinize financial reports or be in danger of getting barred from trading on an American stock exchange or over-the-counter market. Politico described the bill as an aspect of a larger crackdown regarding Chinese engagement with Wall Street that has been building steam in the U.S. legislature, the White House and the financial industry.


The bill calls for the Securities and Exchange Commission to make rules to block trading the stock of businesses that have barred inspectors for three years in a row, the outlet said. “Communist China is right now using U.S. stock exchanges to exploit American workers and families—people who put their retirement and college savings in public companies,” U.S. Sen. John Kennedy said in a statement. “U.S. policy is letting China flout rules that American companies play by, and it’s dangerous.” During a press conference earlier on Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying expressed opposition to the U.S. bill, stating that it demonstrates “the United States applies discriminatory policies to Chinese companies and launches political oppression against them.”

Read more …

Odd consequences.

Here Comes the Trucking Boom in the Weirdest Economy Ever (WS)

Boom and bust cycles are guaranteed in this business. And now, this is the Weirdest Economy Ever, powered by the $3 trillion the Fed threw at the markets, and by $3 trillion in government stimulus and bailout spending, and by a huge shift to work-from-home and learning-at-home that required all kinds of spending on laptops, network equipment, office chairs, desks, and, well, hot-tubs, and powered also by huge shifts on what consumers actually spent their money on. Spending shifted from services, such as plane tickets, hotels, gyms, haircuts, manicures, rent (encouraged by eviction bans), and mortgage payments (made possible by forbearance), to stuff.


And ecommerce is booming, and this stuff needs to be transported, much of it from overseas, and so imports are booming, and all this stuff has to then be shipped by truck or rail, and so all heck has broken loose in the container shipping business. Trucking companies, which had cut their equipment orders to the bone during the two-year-long freight recession, are now grappling with the notion of equipment shortages. And starting in September, they started ordering large numbers of class-8 trucks that haul the goods across America, and in November, orders for class 8 trucks exploded to 52,600 orders, according to FTR Transportation Intelligence, matching the prior two historic records of July and August 2018:

“The tremendous volume reflects several large fleets placing their requirement orders for the entirety of 2021 to lock up build slots, which they perceive could be in short supply next year,” FTR said in the note. Truckers are dealing with the current flood of consumer-oriented freight. And they expect the industrial-oriented freight, which is still lagging, to hopefully pick up soon. “Fleets are placing big orders anticipating needing more trucks throughout next year,” FTR said. This boom in orders was triple the number of orders in November last year, the biggest year-over-year percentage gain (199%) in years. This chart of percentage changes from the same month a year earlier also depicts the whiplash-inducing boom-and-bust nature of the industry:

Read more …

Huh, what? “..much of Syria’s infrastructure was destroyed by the blind bombing of the regime and its Russian allies..”

Assad’s Syria Is Starving Like Saddam’s Iraq (FP)

Thirty-year-old Ayman fled Damascus, Syria, for Beirut at the beginning of the Syrian civil war. Over the last year, while Lebanon’s economy collapsed and it became harder for him to find work, the conflict back home seemed to be subsiding. So he called several of his friends, all living in regime-controlled territory, to inquire if it was time to return. They were unequivocal. “They said, ‘Stay wherever you are, there’s not even enough to eat here,’” Ayman said, on condition of anonymity because of security concerns. During the nine-year civil war, much of Syria’s infrastructure was destroyed by the blind bombing of the regime and its Russian allies, as well as front-line fighting. Food production, power generation, and other industries fell by the wayside.

Syria’s economy, tethered to Lebanon’s, hobbled on for a while. However, early this year, as Lebanon’s monetary policy unraveled and capital controls were imposed to avoid a run on the banks, billions of dollars of deposits by Syrian businesses were also blocked. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad claims Lebanese banks hold at least $20 billion of Syrians’ earnings, which, if they were accessible, would resolve the Syrian economic crisis all at once. The currencies of Lebanon’s neighbors plummeted simultaneously as prices of basic commodities skyrocketed, in Syria by more than 200 percent. Life became hard for the Lebanese, but harder still for war-ravaged Syrians.


Read more …

Does he still fly, drive, buy stuff wrapped in plastic? If so, what’s the message here exactly?

Humans Waging ‘Suicidal War’ On Nature – UN Chief Antonio Guterres (BBC)

“Our planet is broken,” the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, has warned. Humanity is waging what he describes as a “suicidal” war on the natural world. “Nature always strikes back, and is doing so with gathering force and fury,” he told a BBC special event on the environment. Mr Guterres wants to put tackling climate change at the heart of the UN’s global mission. In a speech entitled State of the Planet, he announced that its “central objective” next year will be to build a global coalition around the need to reduce emissions to net zero. Net zero refers to cutting greenhouse gas emissions as far as possible and balancing any further releases by removing an equivalent amount from the atmosphere.

Mr Guterres said that every country, city, financial institution and company “should adopt plans for a transition to net zero emissions by 2050”. In his view, they will also need to take decisive action now to put themselves on the path towards achieving this vision. The objective, said the UN secretary general, will be to cut global emissions by 45% by 2030 compared with 2010 levels. Here’s what Mr Guterres demanded the nations of the world do: • Put a price on carbon • Phase out fossil fuel finance and end fossil fuel subsidies • Shift the tax burden from income to carbon, and from tax payers to polluters • Integrate the goal of carbon neutrality (a similar concept to net zero) into all economic and fiscal policies and decisions


Help those around the world who are already facing the dire impacts of climate change It is an ambitious agenda, as Mr Guterres acknowledged, but he said that radical action is needed now. “The science is clear,” Mr Guterres told the BBC, “unless the world cuts fossil fuel production by 6% every year between now and 2030, things will get worse. Much worse.” Climate policies have yet to rise to the challenge, the UN chief said, adding that “without concerted action, we may be headed for a catastrophic three to five-degree temperature rise this century”. The impact is already being felt around the world. “Apocalyptic fires and floods, cyclones and hurricanes are the new normal,” he warned. “Biodiversity is collapsing. Deserts are spreading. Oceans are choking with plastic waste.”

Read more …

 

 

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Dec 022020
 


John French Sloan McSorley’s Bar 1912

 

 

If you’re enthusiastic about the impact of the newly arriving COVID vaccines, and you expect to “go back to normal” soon, don’t. You’re being fed fairy tales and other narratives. I won’t talk too much here, my quotes are plenty long enough as is.

After first reading an absolute decomposition of the PCR tests this morning, I figured out that the new vaccines being rolled out are equally useless. One has to wonder what goes on here. Just a few days ago, I quoted an article about a Portuguese court saying the PCR tests are 97% unreliable:

Landmark Legal Ruling Finds That Covid PCR Tests Are Not Fit For Purpose

This is not the first challenge to the credibility of PCR tests. Many people will be aware that their results have a lot to do with the number of amplifications that are performed, or the ‘cycle threshold.’ This number in most American and European labs is 35–40 cycles, but experts have claimed that even 35 cycles is far too many, and that a more reasonable protocol would call for 25–30 cycles. (Each cycle exponentially increases the amount of viral DNA in the sample).


[..] The Portuguese judges cited a study conducted by “some of the leading European and world specialists,” which was published by Oxford Academic at the end of September. It showed that if someone tested positive for Covid at a cycle threshold of 35 or higher, the chances of that person actually being infected is less than 3%, and that “the probability of… receiving a false positive is 97% or higher.”

The writer of that article, Peter Andrews, an Irish science journalist, today at RT writes an even more convincing take-down. The Corman-Drosten paper, upon which “our” entire attitude towards the PCR test is based, was written by a number of highly compromised authors, with interests in both the journal that published it, and the companies that perform the tests.

The people now criticizing the paper are a group that includes senior molecular geneticists, biochemists, immunologists, and microbiologists from Europe, the US and Japan. Not some Portuguese judges. Not that there’s anything wrong with Portuguese judges; they seem more sane to me than many other parties.

A Global Team Of Experts Has Found 10 Fatal Flaws In The Main Test For Covid And Is Demanding It’s Urgently Axed

A peer review from a group of 22 international experts has found 10 “major flaws” in the main protocol for such tests. The report systematically dismantles the original study, called the Corman-Drosten paper, which described a protocol for applying the PCR technique to detecting Covid. The Corman-Drosten paper was published on January, 23, 2020, just a day after being submitted, which would make any peer review process that took place possibly the shortest in history. What is important about it is that the protocol it describes is used in around 70 percent of Covid kits worldwide. It’s cheap, fast – and absolutely useless. Among the fatal flaws that totally invalidate the PCR testing protocol are that the test:

• is non-specific, due to erroneous primer design • is enormously variable • cannot discriminate between the whole virus and viral fragments • has no positive or negative controls • has no standard operating procedure • does not seem to have been properly peer reviewed. Oh dear. One wonders whether anything at all was correct in the paper. But wait – it gets worse. As has been noted previously, no threshold for positivity was ever identified.

This is why labs have been running 40 cycles, almost guaranteeing a large number of false positives – up to 97 percent, according to some studies. The cherry on top, though, is that among the authors of the original paper themselves, at least four have severe conflicts of interest. Two of them are members of the editorial board of Eurosurveillance, the sinisterly named journal that published the paper.

And at least three of them are on the payroll of the first companies to perform PCR testing! The 22 members of the consortium that has challenged this shoddy science deserve huge credit. The scientists, from Europe, the USA, and Japan, comprise senior molecular geneticists, biochemists, immunologists, and microbiologists, with many decades of experience between them. They have issued a demand to Eurosurveillance to retract the Corman-Drosten paper, writing: “Considering the scientific and methodological blemishes presented here, we are confident that the editorial board of Eurosurveillance has no other choice but to retract the publication.’’ Talk about putting the pressure on.

It is difficult to overstate the implications of this revelation. Every single thing about the Covid orthodoxy relies on ‘case numbers’, which are largely the results of the now widespread PCR tests. If their results are essentially meaningless, then everything we are being told – and ordered to do by increasingly dictatorial governments – is likely to be incorrect. For instance, one of the authors of the review is Dr Mike Yeadon, who asserts that, in the UK, there is no ‘second wave’ and that the pandemic has been over since June. Having seen the PCR tests so unambiguously debunked, it is hard to see any evidence to the contrary.

[..] Why was this paper rushed to publication in January, despite clearly not meeting proper standards? Why did none of the checks and balances that are meant to prevent bad science dictating public policy kick into action? And why did it take so long for anyone in the scientific community to challenge its faulty methodology? These questions lead to dark ruminations, which I will save for another day.

Even more pressing is the question of what is going to be done about this now. The people responsible for writing and publishing the paper have to be held accountable. But also, all PCR testing based on the Corman-Drosten protocol should be stopped with immediate effect. All those who are so-called current ‘Covid cases’, diagnosed based on that protocol, should be told they no longer have to isolate. All present and previous Covid deaths, cases, and ‘infection rates’ should be subject to a massive retroactive inquiry.

And lockdowns, shutdowns, and other restrictions should be urgently reviewed and relaxed.

Because this latest blow to PCR testing raises the probability that we are not enduring a killer virus pandemic, but a false positive pseudo-epidemic.

 

And that wasn’t enough to “make my day”. Next up, we see that the newly crafted vaccines are not only potentially dangerous, at least the Pfizer and Moderna ones, they are utterly useless too. They are not designed to keep you from being infected, they merely aim to decrease the impact of the symptoms of infections. Back in September William A. Haseltine, healthcare contributor at Forbes, wrote the following.

Where was the follow-up? Why did Britain proudly announce they’ll start using the Pfizer test by next week, with other countries soon to follow? What’s going on? Why are they all spending billions on vaccines that are utterly useless -and dangerous? The vaccines don’t even pretend to stop you from getting infected, or dying. They only pretend to make you somewhat less sick once you are infected. They fight symptoms, not the infection, not the disease.

Covid-19 Vaccine Protocols Reveal That Trials Are Designed To Succeed

Moderna, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson are leading candidates for the completion of a Covid-19 vaccine likely to be released in the coming months. These companies have published their vaccine trial protocols. This unusually transparent action during a major drug trial deserves praise, close inspection of the protocols raises surprising concerns. These trials seem designed to prove their vaccines work, even if the measured effects are minimal. What would a normal vaccine trial look like?

Prevention of infection must be a critical endpoint. Any vaccine trial should include regular antigen testing every three days to test contagiousness to pick up early signs of infection and PCR testing once a week to confirm infection by SARS-CoV-2 test the ability of the vaccines to stave off infection. Prevention of infection is not a criterion for success for any of these vaccines. In fact, their endpoints all require confirmed infections and all those they will include in the analysis for success, the only difference being the severity of symptoms between the vaccinated and unvaccinated.

Measuring differences amongst only those infected by SARS-CoV-2 underscores the implicit conclusion that the vaccines are not expected to prevent infection, only modify symptoms of those infected. We all expect an effective vaccine to prevent serious illness if infected. Three of the vaccine protocols—Moderna, Pfizer, and AstraZeneca—do not require that their vaccine prevent serious disease only that they prevent moderate symptoms which may be as mild as cough, or headache.

[..] Vaccine efficacy is typically proved by large clinical trials over several years. The pharmaceutical companies intend to do trials ranging from thirty thousand to sixty thousand participants. This scale of study would be sufficient for testing vaccine efficacy. The first surprise found upon a closer reading of the protocols reveals that each study intends to complete interim and primary analyses that at most include 164 participants. These companies likely intend to apply for an emergency use authorization (EUA) from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with just their limited preliminary results.

Interim analysis success requires a 70% efficacy. The vaccine or placebo will be given to thousands of people in each trial. For Moderna, the initial interim analysis will be based on the results of infection of only 53 people. The judgment reached in interim analysis is dependent upon the difference in the number of people with symptoms, which may be mild, in the vaccinated group versus the unvaccinated group.

Moderna’s success margin is for 13 or less of those 53 to develop symptoms compared to 40 or more in their control group. For Johnson & Johnson, their interim analysis includes 77 vaccine recipients, with a success margin of 18 or less developing symptoms compared to 59 in the control group. For AstraZeneca, their interim analysis includes 50 vaccine recipients, with a success margin of 12 or less developing symptoms compared to 19 in the 25 person control group. Pfizer is even smaller in its success requirements. Their initial group includes 32 vaccine recipients, with a success margin of 7 or less developing symptoms compared to 25 in the control group.

The primary analyses are a bit more expanded, but need to be less efficacious for success: about sixty percent. AstraZeneca, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and Pfizer have primary analyses that distribute the vaccine to only 100, 151, 154, and 164 participants respectively. These companies state that they do not “intend” to stop trials after the primary analyses, but there is every chance that they intend to pursue an EUA and focus on manufacturing the vaccine rather than further thorough testing.

The second surprise from these protocols is how mild the requirements for contracted Covid-19 symptoms are. A careful reading reveals that the minimum qualification for a case of Covid-19 is a positive PCR test and one or two mild symptoms. These include headache, fever, cough, or mild nausea. This is far from adequate. These vaccine trials are testing to prevent common cold symptoms.

These trials certainly do not give assurance that the vaccine will protect from the serious consequences of Covid-19.Johnson & Johnson is the only trial that requires the inclusion of severe Covid-19 cases, at least 5 for the 75 participant interim analysis.

One of the more immediate questions a trial needs to answer is whether a vaccine prevents infection. If someone takes this vaccine, are they far less likely to become infected with the virus? These trials all clearly focus on eliminating symptoms of Covid-19, and not infections themselves. Asymptomatic infection is listed as a secondary objective in these trials when they should be of critical importance.

It appears that all the pharmaceutical companies assume that the vaccine will never prevent infection. Their criteria for approval is the difference in symptoms between an infected control group and an infected vaccine group. They do not measure the difference between infection and noninfection as a primary motivation.

A greater concern for the millions of older people and those with preexisting conditions is whether these trials test the vaccine’s ability to prevent severe illness and death. Again we find that severe illness and death are only secondary objectives in these trials. None list the prevention of death and hospitalization as a critically important barrier.

If total infections, hospitalizations, and death are going to be ignored in the preliminary trials of the vaccines, then there must be phase four testing to monitor their safety and efficacy. This would be long term massive scale monitoring of the vaccine. There must be an indication that the authorized vaccines are reducing infection, hospitalization, and death, or else they will not be able to stop this pandemic.

 

Sometimes I just don’t get this world. If you would like to argue that all of the above is false, that PCR and vaccines are all fine, and they will lift us out of this misery, hey, I’m your man, I can do with some good news. But I’m afraid we’re being played for billions.

Are our politicians and “experts” complicit or are they simply incompetent? Why don’t I leave that choice to you as well?

 

 

 

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Nov 282020
 


Hieronymus Bosch The Conjurer 1502

 

Lockdowns Destroy What Makes Us Human (Yost)
Johns Hopkins Posted Then Deleted Article Questioning US COVID Death Rate (JTN)
A Closer Look At US Deaths Due To COVID-19 (Gu)
Landmark Legal Ruling Finds That Covid PCR Tests Are Not Fit For Purpose (RT)
Chinese Academics Say Coronavirus Spread In India Months Before Wuhan (RT)
Russia’s 2nd COVID19 Vaccine ‘EpiVacCorona’ Set For Release In December (RT)
Side Effects From COVID19 Vaccine Won’t Be A ‘Walk In The Park’ (JTN)
President Swamp (Jim Kunstler)
Renowned Expert Concludes 2020 Election Results Were Fraudulent (CTH)
Jill Stein Won Right to Examine Voting Machine Source Code (GP)
Claims The UK Has ‘Maxed Out’ Its Credit Card Are Bad Economics (Gabor)
19 Million Americans Could Face Eviction When Limits Expire Dec. 31 (CBS)
China To Impose Temp Anti-Dumping Measures On Australian Wine Imports (R.)

 

 

 

 

Hacking democracy

 

 

Along the lines of “if a tree falls in a forest”, people are not alive without other people.

Lockdowns Destroy What Makes Us Human (Yost)

Nearly every culture and religion throughout human history has held that humans are both material and spiritual beings. However, living in the secular age as we do, the material aspect of our existence has supplanted the spiritual to such an extent that it is barely recognized to exist. Russell Kirk goes so far as to claim that the dividing line in contemporary politics hinges on this difference in understanding, stating that “on one side of that line are all those men and women who fancy that the temporal order is the only order, and that material needs are their only needs, and that they may do as they like with the human patrimony. On the other side of that line are all those people who recognize an enduring moral order in the universe, a constant human nature, and high duties toward the order spiritual and the order temporal.”

A purely material outlook on human existence will of course lead to certain policy prescriptions, especially in the face of a pandemic. To deny the spiritual existence of man is to deny the possibility of life after death—only the void of annihilation awaits. From this perspective, it makes sense that one might conclude that earthly life must continue on at any cost—that no tradeoff is too high to put off the coming oblivion. In contrast, those who retain a more traditional conception of human nature, no matter the specific religion or creed to which they belong, can easily see an entire world of costs to lockdowns that those with a purely materialist perspective are not even capable of understanding. Humans are social beings. Our very existence and development as human persons rests upon this social nature.

Social contract thinkers like Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau may fantasize about a solitary human existence, but all evidence from feral or isolated children indicates that without other humans a solitary individual would swiftly perish, not to mention fail to develop self-awareness or the ability to think and speak with language. Some personalist scholars, such as political theorist David Walsh, argue that our entire conception of self can only be formed in relation to other persons. In contrast to Descartes’s famous line that “I think, therefore I am” a personalist would argue that we are not even capable of understanding the existence of “I” until we have first understood the existence of an “I” in others. Much like we can never truly see our own face, but only the faces of others, which in turn allows us to understand our own unseen face, we cannot become aware of ourselves until we find ourselves in the context of others, and through them recognize the mutual nature of our interior lives that makes us persons.

Read more …

More on that Johns Hopkins paper.

Johns Hopkins Posted Then Deleted Article Questioning US COVID Death Rate (JTN)

Last week, Johns Hopkins University published a now-deleted article explaining a study examining the effects of the novel coronavirus on United States death totals using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Genevieve Briand, the assistant program director of the Applied Economics master’s degree program at Johns Hopkins, determined, in the study, that there have been 1.7 million deaths in the U.S. between March 2020 and September 2020, 12% (or roughly 200,000) of which have been coronavirus-related. Briand posits that the only way to understand the significance of the U.S. coronavirus death rate is by comparing it to the number of total deaths in the country.

According to Briand, who compared the total deaths per age category from both before and after the onset of the global pandemic, the death rate of older people stayed the same before and after coronavirus. “The reason we have a higher number of reported COVID-19 deaths among older individuals than younger individuals is simply because every day in the U.S. older individuals die in higher numbers than younger individuals,” wrote Briand. She also noted that between 50,000 and 70,000 deaths are seen both before and after the emergence of the virus, meaning that, according to her analysis, coronavirus has had no effect on the percentage of total deaths of older people, nor has it increased the total number of deaths in the category.

These results contradict the way most people see the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, which disproportionately affects the elderly population. Briand believes, after reviewing the numbers, that coronavirus deaths are being over-exaggerated. After seeing that in 2020, coronavirus-related deaths exceeded deaths from heart disease — the leading cause of death in the U.S. for many years prior — Briand began to suspect that the coronavirus death toll figure may be misleading. Briand found that “the total decrease in deaths by other causes almost exactly equals the increase in deaths by COVID-19,” according to the original JHU newsletter.

“If [the COVID-19 death toll] was not misleading at all, what we should have observed is an increased number of heart attacks and increased COVID-19 numbers. But a decreased number of heart attacks and all the other death causes doesn’t give us a choice but to point to some misclassification,” said Briand.

Read more …

And here’s the original Newsletter that was deleted. Because it “could lead to misinformation”?!

A Closer Look At US Deaths Due To COVID-19 (Gu)

According to new data, the U.S. currently ranks first in total COVID-19 cases, new cases per day and deaths. Genevieve Briand, assistant program director of the Applied Economics master’s degree program at Hopkins, critically analyzed the effect of COVID-19 on U.S. deaths using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in her webinar titled “COVID-19 Deaths: A Look at U.S. Data.” From mid-March to mid-September, U.S. total deaths have reached 1.7 million, of which 200,000, or 12% of total deaths, are COVID-19-related. Instead of looking directly at COVID-19 deaths, Briand focused on total deaths per age group and per cause of death in the U.S. and used this information to shed light on the effects of COVID-19.

She explained that the significance of COVID-19 on U.S. deaths can be fully understood only through comparison to the number of total deaths in the United States. After retrieving data on the CDC website, Briand compiled a graph representing percentages of total deaths per age category from early February to early September, which includes the period from before COVID-19 was detected in the U.S. to after infection rates soared. Surprisingly, the deaths of older people stayed the same before and after COVID-19. Since COVID-19 mainly affects the elderly, experts expected an increase in the percentage of deaths in older age groups. However, this increase is not seen from the CDC data. In fact, the percentages of deaths among all age groups remain relatively the same.

“The reason we have a higher number of reported COVID-19 deaths among older individuals than younger individuals is simply because every day in the U.S. older individuals die in higher numbers than younger individuals,” Briand said. Briand also noted that 50,000 to 70,000 deaths are seen both before and after COVID-19, indicating that this number of deaths was normal long before COVID-19 emerged. Therefore, according to Briand, not only has COVID-19 had no effect on the percentage of deaths of older people, but it has also not increased the total number of deaths.

Read more …

From yesterday’s article.

Landmark Legal Ruling Finds That Covid PCR Tests Are Not Fit For Purpose (RT)

Four German holidaymakers who were illegally quarantined in Portugal after one was judged to be positive for Covid-19 have won their case, in a verdict that condemns the widely-used PCR test as being up to 97-percent unreliable. Earlier this month, Portuguese judges upheld a decision from a lower court that found the forced quarantine of four holidaymakers to be unlawful. The case centred on the reliability (or lack thereof) of Covid-19 PCR tests. The verdict, delivered on November 11, followed an appeal against a writ of habeas corpus filed by four Germans against the Azores Regional Health Authority. This body had been appealing a ruling from a lower court which had found in favour of the tourists, who claimed that they were illegally confined to a hotel without their consent.

The tourists were ordered to stay in the hotel over the summer after one of them tested positive for coronavirus in a PCR test – the other three were labelled close contacts and therefore made to quarantine as well. The deliberation of the Lisbon Appeal Court is comprehensive and fascinating. It ruled that the Azores Regional Health Authority had violated both Portuguese and international law by confining the Germans to the hotel. The judges also said that only a doctor can “diagnose” someone with a disease, and were critical of the fact that they were apparently never assessed by one. They were also scathing about the reliability of the PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test, the most commonly used check for Covid.

The conclusion of their 34-page ruling included the following: “In view of current scientific evidence, this test shows itself to be unable to determine beyond reasonable doubt that such positivity corresponds, in fact, to the infection of a person by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.” In the eyes of this court, then, a positive test does not correspond to a Covid case. The two most important reasons for this, said the judges, are that, “the test’s reliability depends on the number of cycles used’’ and that “the test’s reliability depends on the viral load present.’’ In other words, there are simply too many unknowns surrounding PCR testing.

This is not the first challenge to the credibility of PCR tests. Many people will be aware that their results have a lot to do with the number of amplifications that are performed, or the ‘cycle threshold.’ This number in most American and European labs is 35–40 cycles, but experts have claimed that even 35 cycles is far too many, and that a more reasonable protocol would call for 25–30 cycles. (Each cycle exponentially increases the amount of viral DNA in the sample). [..] The Portuguese judges cited a study conducted by “some of the leading European and world specialists,” which was published by Oxford Academic at the end of September. It showed that if someone tested positive for Covid at a cycle threshold of 35 or higher, the chances of that person actually being infected is less than three percent, and that “the probability of… receiving a false positive is 97% or higher.”

Read more …

Just as the WHO team is set to start investigating the origin. Good timing.

Chinese Academics Say Coronavirus Spread In India Months Before Wuhan (RT)

The coronavirus did not start in Wuhan, but instead emerged in India last summer, Chinese academics have boldly claimed, as tensions continue to flare between the two states and amid the ongoing search for the origins of Covid-19. Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences claim the pandemic actually originated in India, explaining that a heatwave there from May to June 2019 spawned a water crisis, which in turn led to increased close contact between humans and wild animals such as monkeys. In a preprint paper with the Lancet medical journal – meaning it has yet to be formally peer reviewed – the Chinese researchers outline their explanation of the “zoonotic transmission” of the SARS-CoV-2 virus from monkeys to humans as they shared water resources.


The researchers also say that India’s poor hygiene conditions and “less efficient” public medical system, as well as its “tropical climate” and “very young population”, were all contributing factors in the virus’s spread. They estimate that the first “human-to-human transmission” of Covid-19 in India was in July or August. Back in March, Chinese officials blamed the coronavirus outbreak on US soldiers visiting Wuhan, while last week China pointed the finger at Italy after a study from Milan suggested the virus had been circulating locally since last year. The identification of India as the possible source of the virus comes after New Delhi last week fortified its military capabilities in Eastern Ladakh, the region by the Chinese border, by building camps for tens of thousands of soldiers. In June, 20 Indian soldiers and an undisclosed number of Chinese were killed as the two sides engaged in a skirmish in the contested border area.

Read more …

What’s the technology behind this one?

“As for the immune response that it creates, there is a lot of hope for the vaccine, in contrast to the immunity formed as a result of infection..”

Russia’s 2nd COVID19 Vaccine ‘EpiVacCorona’ Set For Release In December (RT)

With Sputnik V set for launch after its phase-three trial is completed, another Russian Covid-19 vaccine, EpiVacCorona, will be made available to the public next month. It is hoped that mass inoculation can begin in the New Year. Developed by Siberia’s Vector Center, results from testing are ready to be presented, and an international publication is being sought to publish them, according to the head of the research body’s zoonotic infections and influenza department. “I think that in 2021 it will appear in almost all regions of Russia,” Alexander Ryzhikov explained. “The earliest date of receipt of the vaccine in civil circulation is December 10. In the future, mass vaccination will begin in 2021.”

On November 17, EpiVacCorona began third-phase, post-registration trials. Batches of the formula were delivered to nine medical centers around the country, with 30,000 volunteers due to receive the jab. Another separate trial for over 60s is taking place simultaneously, which will involve 150 people. Once the vaccine is received, a second booster jab is necessary six to 10 months later, with the current plan to revaccinate patients again every three years. “As for the immune response that it creates, there is a lot of hope for the vaccine, in contrast to the immunity formed as a result of infection,” Ryzhikov explained. “Immunity created as a result of infection and recovery has already been shown to be insufficient. After five to seven months, antibodies disappear.”

Unlike many other potential Covid-19 vaccines, EpiVacCorona does not need to be stored at sub-zero temperatures. The vector vaccine can be stored between two and eight degrees, significantly reducing the logistical burden. In contrast, the formula proposed by American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer needs to be kept at -70 degrees Celsius.

Read more …

Which vaccine though?

Side Effects From COVID19 Vaccine Won’t Be A ‘Walk In The Park’ (JTN)

Doctors are suggesting that the CDC warn the public that the new coronavirus vaccines, which are expected to be approved by the FDA in the next few weeks, will have unpleasant effects on patients. Pfizer and Moderna each have acknowledged that their vaccines could induce side effects similar to the virus itself, with possible muscle pains, chills and headache. In a Monday meeting with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisers, doctors said public health officials and drugmakers need to warn people about the rough side effects so they are prepared and not scared away from getting the second dose.

Both vaccines that are in the process of approval by the Federal Drug Administration require two doses, according to Dr. Sandra Fryhofer of the American Medical Association. Fryhofer says she’s warned that her patients won’t come back for the second dose if the side effects are bad enough. “We really need to make patients aware that this is not going to be a walk in the park,” Fryhofer said during a virtual meeting with the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, an outside group of medical experts that advise the CDC. “They are going to know they had a vaccine. They are probably not going to feel wonderful. But they’ve got to come back for that second dose.”

Participants in the September vaccine trials reported symptoms including a high fever, body aches and daylong exhaustion after receiving the vaccine. The side effects also raise the question about whether getting the vaccine outweighs the risk of getting the virus. A 50-year-old participant in the Moderna study said she suffered a bad migraine and loss of energy. “If this proves to work, people are going to have to toughen up,” she said. “The first dose is no big deal. And then the second dose will definitely put you down for the day for sure. … You will need to take a day off after the second dose.”

Read more …

“The deadline for adjudicating the janky election is soon upon us, and upon the SCOTUS justices, so the country will know shortly whether it has become the Honduras of the north.”

President Swamp (Jim Kunstler)

Donald Trump found out the hard way how illusory his powers as POTUS really were, conditioned against the inertia, malice, and bad faith resistance of the bureaucratic establishment, a.k.a. the Swamp. He also knows that the Swamp just worked the system it created to elect itself president as (it likes to think) a final act of revenge against the orange interloper who threatened to drain it and, alas, failed to. All hail President Swamp!Unless that doesn’t pan out, and there’s a fair chance it won’t, since a 2020 election fraud case will eventually land in the Supreme Court where at least five justices might not be so inclined to let what remains of the Republic roll into a Woke sludge of lawlessness. Do you suppose Clarence Thomas & Co haven’t been paying attention the past four years to the swampish doings in the other branches of government?

And that they are, just perhaps, good and goddam sick of it? Everything from RussiaGate and the manipulation of the FISA court through the attempted character assassination of Justice Kavanaugh, to the Eric Ciaramella “whistleblower” impeachment caper starring Rep. Adam Schiff, plus all the side dishes of Antifa / BLM street anarchy, Covid-19 lockdown tyranny, French Laundry hypocrisy, and the gaslighting of America by the news-and-social media, with a transsexual reading hour cherry-on-top?I hope the justices are pissed off a little bit at the hijacking of this country by a party that laughs at the law the way, for one example, DC District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan blew raspberries at the Department of Justice and the DC Circuit Court of Appeals when they both told him to drop the Flynn case.

The deadline for adjudicating the janky election is soon upon us, and upon the SCOTUS justices, so the country will know shortly whether it has become the Honduras of the north. In a just universe, the SCOTUS would invalidate the election results in several states and send the matter into the House of Representatives as the constitution stipulates. Heads would explode from sea to shining sea as heroes of the Resistance — Brennan, Comey, Weissmann, Strzok, and many more — realize they will not be getting their get-out-of-jail-free cards after all. Hunter B would retreat to the Chateau Marmont with his crack pipe for one last lost weekend. Nancy Pelosi would melt into a puddle of rage, prednisone, and hairspray in the capitol rotunda. And for Ol’ White Joe Biden it would be just another day of fog and stillness.

Read more …

“Dr. Keshavarz-Nia is not a stranger to the mainstream media. In fact The New York Times published a glowing report on Dr. Navid Keshavarz-Nia way back in September writing, “Navid Keshavarz-Nia, those who worked with him said, ‘was always the smartest person in the room.’”

Renowned Expert Concludes 2020 Election Results Were Fraudulent (CTH)

Dr. Navid Keshavarz-Nia, is an experienced cybercrimes investigator and digital security executive, who has worked with the CIA, NSA, FBI, and U.S. military counterintelligence. In addition to his work with U.S. intelligence agencies Dr. Keshavarz-Nia works on cyber security and fraud with financial giants like Deutsche Bank and Stripe. Within the documents filed by Sidney Powell in Georgia Wednesday, Dr. Keshavarz-Nia shares this bombshell assessment in his affidavit. Ms. Powell has some high-powered experts in support of her court filings.

Read more …

It took her four years to get that right.

Jill Stein Won Right to Examine Voting Machine Source Code (GP)

Let’s hope this makes it to the Trump Campaign. On October 30, 2020 2016 Green Party Candidate Jill Stein FINALLY won her groundbreaking case that gave her campaign the right to examine voting machine source code in Wisconsin.It took Jill Stein four years to win this court case. After witnessing the historic level of fraud in this year’s election it makes us all question the numbers in past elections. In 2016 Libertarian voters kept Donald Trump from adding New Hampshire, Minnesota and Maine to his electoral haul. Were those actual Libertarian votes in 2016 or were they switched from Trump to Gary Johnson to prevent him from winning those states? Dr. Jill Stein celebrated this win with a string of tweets on October 30th.


The Trump campaign should take notice. Confiscating the voting machines in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Georgia, Arizona and Nevada may be crucial to exposing the fraud in this year’s election.

Jill Stein
https://twitter.com/DrJillStein/status/1322251491781058566

Read more …

“Rather than making cuts, the government should be using this opportunity to borrow more in order to finance the country’s recovery.”

Claims The UK Has ‘Maxed Out’ Its Credit Card Are Bad Economics (Gabor)

When fiscal fundamentalists announce the government has “maxed out its credit card”, they belittle the experience of every poor family that has been forced to live on credit and pay higher interest as they borrow more. The truth is that the government can afford to take on debt. But acknowledging this reality would invalidate the fiscal fundamentalists’ beloved rhetoric of “tough choices”, which you will likely hear over the next few years from those attempting to make austerity palatable again. The fiscal centrists, meanwhile, know that Rishi Sunak has already effectively introduced austerity through a combination of public sector pay freezes, higher council taxes hidden in the small print and cuts to planned non-Covid spending in the future.

Centrists also worry – rightfully so – about where the money is going. When the crisis forced them to spend, the Conservative party gave Covid contracts to their friends and rewarded their voters, all the while pretending that there was no money available to feed children in poverty. While accepting that spending and taxing are political choices, centrists pray to the God of pragmatism. They believe the British public will not listen to politicians who forever throw money at social and economic problems, and that economic credibility is hard to earn and easy to lose. This is why they share the fundamentalists’ view that in the long run “tough choices” must be made.

This “tough choices” narrative – raise taxes or cut spending to reduce the deficit and bring public debt down – is compelling for centrists not because it is correct, but because it chimes with the public’s common sense, which has been shaped by decades of media coverage and political discourse venerating balanced budgets. The fiscal centrists, captive to their audience and unwilling to engage into the Herculean task of changing minds, can only ever promise to cut and tax better or slower than the Conservatives. The government is not a household, and it does not have a credit card that can be maxed out. Fiscal heretics know this, and reject the idea that we face a public debt crisis. There are numerous reasons why this narrative is flawed.

The government, unlike a household, has a central bank that can keep borrowing costs under control. The Bank of England, like other central banks across Europe, has this year bought more than 80% of all debt issued by the British government. It hasn’t done so under political pressure, but because independent central banks have come to accept that large-scale purchases of government bonds are a legitimate and effective monetary policy instrument. And unlike households, governments can rely on the financial sector to buy their debt in times of crisis. Modern financial institutions view government debt as the ultimate risk-free asset, a safe haven to run to when economic shocks hit. For instance, on 26 November, one day after Sunak warned that “the economic emergency has just begun”, investors were prepared to lend for 50 years to the UK government at an interest rate of less than 1%.

These two forces combined – the central bank and the City – explain why interest rates on public debt are at historical lows. Rather than making cuts, the government should be using this opportunity to borrow more in order to finance the country’s recovery.

Read more …

This is serious.

19 Million Americans Could Face Eviction When Limits Expire Dec. 31 (CBS)

Millions of Americans are in danger of losing their homes when federal and local limits on evictions expire at the end of the year, a growing body of research shows. A report issued this month from the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) and the University of Arizona estimates that 6.7 million households could be evicted in the coming months. That amounts to 19 million people potentially losing their homes, rivaling the dislocation that foreclosures caused after the subprime housing bust. Apart from being a humanitarian disaster, the crisis threatens to exacerbate the coronavirus pandemic, according to a forthcoming study in the Journal of Urban Health.


“Our concern is we’re going to see a huge increase in evictions after the CDC moratorium is lifted,” said Andrew Aurand, vice president of research at the NLIHC and a co-author of the report. The number of Americans struggling to pay rent has steadily risen since this summer, according to the Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey. In the latest survey, from early November, 11.6 million people indicated they wouldn’t be able to pay the rent or mortgage next month. Meanwhile, some renters who are still paying rent are relying on “unsustainable” income to make ends meet. Among those who report trouble making rent, “More than half are borrowing from family and friends to meet their spending needs, one-third are using credit cards, and one-third are spending down savings,” the NLIHC report found.

Read more …

No, not political at all…

China To Impose Temp Anti-Dumping Measures On Australian Wine Imports (R.)

Australia has responded defiantly to China imposing anti-dumping tariffs on Australian wine, saying the “seriously concerning development” looks to be about diplomatic grievances and not any action by winemakers. China will impose temporary anti-dumping tariffs of 107.1% to 212.1% on wine imported from Australia from Nov. 28, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said on Friday. Australia’s trade minister Simon Birmingham said the tariffs were unjustifiable and it was a distressing time for hundreds of wine producers because it “will render unviable for many businesses, their wine trade with China”. China takes 37 per cent of Australia’s total wine exports, an industry worth AU$2.9 billion, the government said.


Last week China outlined a list of grievances about Australia’s foreign investment, national security and human rights policy, saying Canberra needed to correct its actions to restore the bilateral relationship with its largest trading partner. “China’s recent comments gives the perception that it’s more about their grievances around those matters, rather than in fact around anything any industry has done wrong,” Australia’s agriculture minister David Littleproud told media on Friday. He added, “It just doesn’t worry Australian exporters, it worries exporters from around the world.”

Read more …

 

 

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Nov 272020
 
 November 27, 2020  Posted by at 5:25 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  14 Responses »


Paul Cézanne The Card Players 1892-3

 

 

When politicians across the globe tell you they listen to “the science” when defining their COVID measures, they don’t really, they are lying. What they listen to is a shred of science as formulated by their local virologists and epidemiologists, which is inevitably questioned by other scientists.

If this were not the case, the entire world would now be taking the same measures, and there would not be any discussions in the scientific community. Still, when measures are imposed in various countries, they are imposed as some kind of law. Lockdowns are popular among failed and failing politicians, because they see it as a failsafe measure (there’s nothing more extreme). But that is only because they have never moved beyond the “COVID is the only problem we have” mindframe.

Still, even then, it would be wise to recognize these measures as arbitrary. That’s why they differ from one place to another; they make it up as they go along, guided by their limited understanding of the issue. What US Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch opined on New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s decree on closing churches, as the court struck down the decree, is a fine example of why they are arbitrary:

 

 

Things tend to be better defined when courts of law rule on them. Thta’s what courts are for. Which is why we should pay attention when a Portuguese court states that PCR tests are 97% unreliable. We don’t pay attention, because our media ignore that ruling. And we continue to use the PCR test on a massive scale, even if its own inventor says it shouldn’t be used for this purpose. And so says the box that it comes in. “The science”? No, it’s not.

And for all those countries that close their stores and schools, this from Canada should perhaps, no, definitely, open eyes:

 

 

If only 1.5% of COVID deaths happen outside of long term care homes, the “science” doesn’t say close your schools and stores and make everyone wear a mask 24 hours a day, the science says pump massive amounts of resources into those care homes in order to stop the misery there. Closing stores will not do that. It will have other, very negative, effects though, while you’re not taking care of the care homes.

 

This is from Peter Andrews, a geneticist and science journalist:

Landmark Legal Ruling Finds That Covid PCR Tests Are Not Fit For Purpose

Four German holidaymakers who were illegally quarantined in Portugal after one was judged to be positive for Covid-19 have won their case, in a verdict that condemns the widely-used PCR test as being up to 97% unreliable. Earlier this month, Portuguese judges upheld a decision from a lower court that found the forced quarantine of four holidaymakers to be unlawful. The case centred on the reliability (or lack thereof) of Covid-19 PCR tests. The verdict, delivered on November 11, followed an appeal against a writ of habeas corpus filed by four Germans against the Azores Regional Health Authority. This body had been appealing a ruling from a lower court which had found in favour of the tourists, who claimed that they were illegally confined to a hotel without their consent.

The tourists were ordered to stay in the hotel over the summer after one of them tested positive for coronavirus in a PCR test – the other three were labelled close contacts and therefore made to quarantine as well. The deliberation of the Lisbon Appeal Court is comprehensive and fascinating. It ruled that the Azores Regional Health Authority had violated both Portuguese and international law by confining the Germans to the hotel. The judges also said that only a doctor can “diagnose” someone with a disease, and were critical of the fact that they were apparently never assessed by one. They were also scathing about the reliability of the PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test, the most commonly used check for Covid.

The conclusion of their 34-page ruling included the following: “In view of current scientific evidence, this test shows itself to be unable to determine beyond reasonable doubt that such positivity corresponds, in fact, to the infection of a person by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.” In the eyes of this court, then, a positive test does not correspond to a Covid case. The two most important reasons for this, said the judges, are that, “the test’s reliability depends on the number of cycles used’’ and that “the test’s reliability depends on the viral load present.’’ In other words, there are simply too many unknowns surrounding PCR testing.

This is not the first challenge to the credibility of PCR tests. Many people will be aware that their results have a lot to do with the number of amplifications that are performed, or the ‘cycle threshold.’ This number in most American and European labs is 35–40 cycles, but experts have claimed that even 35 cycles is far too many, and that a more reasonable protocol would call for 25–30 cycles. (Each cycle exponentially increases the amount of viral DNA in the sample). [..] The Portuguese judges cited a study conducted by “some of the leading European and world specialists,” which was published by Oxford Academic at the end of September. It showed that if someone tested positive for Covid at a cycle threshold of 35 or higher, the chances of that person actually being infected is less than three percent, and that “the probability of… receiving a false positive is 97% or higher.”

Then there are the vaccines that everyone’s so hyped up about. Gilbert Berdine, MD, writing for the Mises Institute, has some questions about the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines (anything to do with why Twitter suspended the institute’s account)?

What exactly is a “case” of COVID? It can’t be a positive PCR test, not if those are only 3% reliable. So “the science” must be doing something wrong, and with them just about any government on the planet.

And yes, Pfizer and Moderna have dollar signs in their eyes. There are many questions about the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine, and I can’t help thinking they are linked to the fact that it’s not-for-profit. Likewise, the complete silence about Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine is also curious. We want to solve the problem only if our own scientists and the Big Pharma they work for can do it?

 

What The COVID Vaccine Hype Fails To Mention

Both trials have a treatment group that received the vaccine and a control group that did not. All the trial subjects were covid negative prior to the start of the trial. The analysis for both trials was performed when a target number of “cases” were reached. “Cases” were defined by positive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing. There was no information about the cycle number for the PCR tests. There was no information about whether the “cases” had symptoms or not. There was no information about hospitalizations or deaths. The Pfizer study had 43,538 participants and was analyzed after 164 cases. So, roughly 150 out 21,750 participants (less than 0.7%) became PCR positive in the control group and about one-tenth that number in the vaccine group became PCR positive.

The Moderna trial had 30,000 participants. There were 95 “cases” in the 15,000 control participants (about 0.6%) and 5 “cases” in the 15,000 vaccine participants (about one-twentieth of 0.6%). The “efficacy” figures quoted in these announcements are odds ratios. There is no evidence, yet, that the vaccine prevented any hospitalizations or any deaths. The Moderna announcement claimed that eleven cases in the control group were “severe” disease, but “severe” was not defined. If there were any hospitalizations or deaths in either group, the public has not been told.

When the risks of an event are small, odds ratios can be misleading about absolute risk. A more meaningful measure of efficacy would be the number to vaccinate to prevent one hospitalization or one death. Those numbers are not available. An estimate of the number to treat from the Moderna trial to prevent a single “case” would be fifteen thousand vaccinations to prevent ninety “cases” or 167 vaccinations per “case” prevented which does not sound nearly as good as 94.5% effective.

The publicists working for pharmaceutical companies are very smart people. If there were a reduction in mortality from these vaccines, that information would be in the first paragraph of the announcement.

There is no information about how long any protective benefit from the vaccine would persist. Antibody response following covid-19 appears to be short lived. Based on what we know, the covid vaccine may require two shots every three to six months to be protective. The more shots required, the greater the risk of side effects from sensitization to the vaccine. There is no information about safety. None. Government agencies like the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) appear to have two completely different standards for attributing deaths to covid-19 and attributing side effects to covid vaccines.

If these vaccines are approved, as they likely will be, the first group to be vaccinated will be the beta testers. I am employed by a university-based medical center that is a referral center for the West Texas region. My colleagues include resident physicians and faculty physicians who work with covid patients on a daily basis. I have asked a number of my colleagues whether they will be first in line for the new vaccine. I have yet to hear any of my colleagues respond affirmatively.

The reasons for hesitancy are that the uncertainties about safety exceed what they perceive to be a small benefit. In other words, my colleagues would prefer to take their chances with covid rather than beta test the vaccine. Many of my colleagues want to see the safety data after a year of use before getting vaccinated; these colleagues are concerned about possible autoimmune side effects that may not appear for months after vaccination.

Next, we get a look, through the American Institute for Economic Research, at a report that Johns Hopkins University somewhat mysteriously pulled from its website:

 

New Study Highlights Alleged Accounting Error Regarding Covid Deaths

It is already well established that Covid-19 is a disease that is most dangerous to those over the age of 65 and who have preexisting conditions. In the United States, there has been an observed 2.1% mortality rate, with elderly individuals making up over half that number. Young and healthy people are not by any significant capacity threatened by Covid-19. One of the most important factors when it comes to Covid-19 is preventing excess death. According to the CDC, “Estimates of excess deaths can provide information about the burden of mortality potentially related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including deaths that are directly or indirectly attributed to COVID-19. Excess deaths are typically defined as the difference between the observed numbers of deaths in specific time periods and expected numbers of deaths in the same time periods.”

Essentially, there is an average number of deaths every year due to a variety of causes that for the most part have remained constant through the years. This includes morbidities such as heart disease, which has long been the leading cause of death, and cancer, which has long plagued our existence. For Covid-19 to be a serious cause of alarm, it would need to significantly increase the number of average deaths. However, according to the study, “These data analyses suggest that in contrast to most people’s assumptions, the number of deaths by COVID-19 is not alarming. In fact, it has relatively no effect on deaths in the United States.” Total deaths in the United States show no significant change and even mirror past trends of seasonal illness.

[..] What is even more interesting if not more alarming is that the spike in recorded Covid-19 deaths seen in 2020 has coincided with a proportional decrease in death from other diseases. Yanni Gu writes “This suggests, according to Briand, that the COVID-19 death toll is misleading. Briand believes that deaths due to heart diseases, respiratory diseases, influenza and pneumonia may instead be recategorized as being due to COVID-19.” Deaths have remained relatively constant, yet reported deaths due to deadly conditions such as heart disease have fallen while reported Covid deaths have risen. This suggests that the current Covid death count is in some capacity relabeled deaths due to other ailments. According to the graph, reported Covid deaths even overtook heart disease as the main cause of death at one point, which should raise suspicion.

 

And when you see the Clinical Infectious Diseases journal report that some 53 million American may already have been infected, you must ask what the use is of all the COVID measures at this point in time. If this is true in the US, chances are it is true in virtually any other location.

Looks like everybody has it and only people in care homes die from it, and on top of that many of those people didn’t actually die from COVID but from some other affliction. And for that we are closing down our entire societies, force massive amounts of businesses into bankruptcy, force millions upon millions into unemployment. All while relying on a test method that is 97% unreliable.

 

Total COVID19 Cases In US May Be Eight Times Higher Than Reported

The actual number of Covid-19 infections in the U.S. could be about eight times as much as the total reported cases, a model created by scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has estimated. The model published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases suggests that nearly 53 million people in the U.S. had been infected with Covid-19 by the end of September. The estimate is around eight times higher than the 7.1 million confirmed cases that had been reported back then. The model tries to account for the fact that most cases of Covid-19 are mild and therefore go unreported. The scientists, however, warned that by the end of September, 84% of the U.S. population had not been infected and was still at risk of catching the disease.

If the trend of unreported cases still holds true as of Thursday, the U.S. — which has 12.5 million confirmed cases — could be approaching 100 million total infections across the country. In October, the World Health Organisation had said that nearly 10% of the world population or nearly 760 million people may have already been infected with Covid-19, despite the fact that only 35 million confirmed cases had been recorded as of that time.

“When you count anything, you can’t count it perfectly,” Mike Ryan, the executive director of the WHO’s health emergencies program, had said back then adding, “But I can assure you that the current numbers are likely an underestimate of the true toll of Covid.” Scientists have also suggested that deaths due to the pandemic have also been severely undercounted, with the CDC stating that the U.S. had recorded nearly 300,000 excess deaths during the pandemic as of October 3. This number was nearly 100,000 deaths more than what had been officially recorded by the states.

What we need is actual science. Not “a science” or “some science”, but undisputed science. Einstein’s E=MC2 is science, that’s the level we need. Not disputable pseudo-science. Yes, there’s panic among politicians and scientists alike, yes, there is Long-COVID, yes there are people with multiple organ failure, but you will still have to do risk-assessment, you must look at how many people are involved.

And if you’re talking 0.01% of people, you need to wonder if it’s worthwhile to close down your entire society in a Great Reset kind of fashion. Likewise, forcing everyone to wear facemasks outside is something that must be evaluated as per risk factors. What is the risk of infecting anyone while just passing them in the street? It’s never zero, but no risk is ever zero. And if it’s 0.001%, does that justify turning your streets into a zombified society that puts everyone on edge?

“The science” needs to evolve, and it doesn’t appear to have done that. We’re back to square one all the time. COVID equals Groundhog Day. “Well, that didn’t help, so let’s do more of the same”. By now, the science, to remain believable, should have developed, moved on. It hasn’t. The hope for vaccines has taken on desperate levels, and the reliance on Big Pharma doesn’t help. Nor does the outright rejection of Russian, Chinese, Cuban vaccines. All nations with excellent medical resources, but ignored for political reasons. This is not the time to play politics. It’s a time for science to step up to the plate.

Are things much worse in countries that leave their stores open? Are they in places that don’t make people wear facemasks 24/7? The “science” should answer those questions by now. What else are they doing? But it’s not happening. COVID vs “The Science”: 1-0.

 

 

 

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Nov 232020
 


Egon Schiele Port of Trieste 1907

 

 

Don’t miss the update on our support for the Monastiraki social kitchen in Athens.. And please consider donating to our efforts for this Christmas season.

 

 

 

US, Germany, UK Could Start COVID Vaccinations As Early As December (G.)
AstraZeneca’s COVID19 Vaccine Shows Average Efficiency Of 70% (RT)
Most Coronavirus Cases Are Spread By People Without Symptoms – CDC (CNN)
WHO Envoy Predicts Third Wave Of COVID19 In Europe Next Year (RT)
Portuguese Court: PCR Tests “Unreliable” & Quarantines “Unlawful” (OffG)
Rudy Giuliani: Sidney Powell Not Part Of Trump Legal Team (JTN)
Michael Flynn Jr. on Trump Team’s Sidney Powell Statement (GP)
Nunes Claims Obama Is Joe Biden’s ‘Overlord’, Calls For Special Counsel (DM)
Taxpayers Face $435 Billion in Student-Loan Losses Already Baked In (WS)
China Daily Paid US Newspapers Millions To Publish Propaganda This Year (DC)
The US Has Withdrawn From The Treaty On Open Skies (JTN)

 

 

Save a puppy

 

 

But will it all take a whole year?

US, Germany, UK Could Start COVID Vaccinations As Early As December (G.)

As G20 leaders pledged to ensure the equitable distribution of Covid-19 vaccines, drugs and tests so that poorer countries are not left out, the US, UK and Germany each announced plans to begin vaccinations in their countries in December, while Spain said it would start administering the vaccine to its citizens in January. Britain could give regulatory approval to Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine as early as this week, even before the US authorises it, the UK’s Telegraph newspaper reported on Sunday. Pfizer and BioNTech could secure emergency US and European authorisation for their Covid-19 vaccine next month after final trial results showed a 95% success rate and no serious side effects. Moderna last week released preliminary data for its vaccine showing 94.5% effectiveness.


The better-than-expected results from the two vaccines, both developed with new messenger RNA (mRNA) technology, have raised hopes of an easing of a pandemic that has killed more than 1.3 million people. In the US, the head of the US vaccine program, Moncef Slaoui, said the first Americans to receive a vaccine could get it as soon as 11 December, CNN reported on Sunday. “Our plan is to be able to ship vaccines to the immunisation sites within 24 hours from the approval, so I expect maybe on day two after approval on the 11th or the 12th of December,” he said in an interview to CNN. Citing government sources, the Telegraph also said the UK’s National Health Service had been told to be ready to administer it by 1 December. Britain formally asked its medical regulator, the MHRA, last week to assess the suitability of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Read more …

That’s not very high. How about the Russian vaccine?

AstraZeneca’s COVID19 Vaccine Shows Average Efficiency Of 70% (RT)

The coronavirus vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and drug maker AstraZeneca has shown an average efficiency of 70 percent, depending on dosage, the partners said as they announced clinical trial results. The developers revealed the preliminary results on Monday, following trials conducted in the UK and Brazil. Depending on the dosage, the vaccine showed varying efficiency of up to 90 percent, while the Pfizer vaccine is 95 percent effective and Russia’s Sputnik V is 92 percent effective. “One dosing regimen showed vaccine efficacy of 90 percent when AZD1222 was given as a half dose, followed by a full dose at least one month apart, and another dosing regimen showed 62 percent efficacy when given as two full doses at least one month apart,” the AstraZeneca developers said in a statement, adding, “analysis from both dosing regimens resulted in an average efficacy of 70 percent.”


AstraZeneca’s CEO Pascal Soriot said the vaccine’s “efficacy and safety” showed it will be highly effective against the coronavirus and it will have an “immediate impact” on the Covid-19 crisis. The announcement was welcomed by UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock who said the preliminary trial results were “fantastic news.” “These figures … shows that the vaccine in the right dosage can be up to 90 percent effective,” he told Sky News. “We’ve got 100 million doses on order and should all that go well, the bulk of the rollout will be in the new year.”

Read more …

Confusion over droplets vs arerosols.

Most COVID transmission by people without symptoms
– Ppl w/o symptoms don’t cough and sneeze much
– When talking, aerosols dominate over droplets by x100-2000
– Surfaces transmit inefficiently (per CDC)

Most Coronavirus Cases Are Spread By People Without Symptoms – CDC (CNN)

Most coronavirus infections are spread by people who have no symptoms, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in newly updated guidance. It’s one of the main reasons mask use is so important, the CDC said. “Most SARS-CoV-2 infections are spread by people without symptoms,” the agency said in a section of its website devoted to explaining the science of how to use masks to control the spread of the virus. “CDC and others estimate that more than 50% of all infections are transmitted from people who are not exhibiting symptoms,” it added in the guidance posted Friday. “This means at least half of new infections come from people likely unaware they are infectious to others.”


According to the CDC, 24% of people who transmit the virus to others never develop symptoms and another 35% were pre-symptomatic. It also said 41% infected others while experiencing symptoms. Peak infectiousness comes five days after infection, the agency said on the website. “With these assumptions, 59% of infections would be transmitted when no symptoms are present but could range (from) 51%-70% if the fraction of asymptomatic infections were 24%-30% and peak infectiousness ranged 4-6 days.” It cited a study published in July in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and as-yet unpublished CDC data. Previously, the health organization has not characterized what percentage of infections are spread by symptomless people. “Infection is spread primarily through exposure to respiratory droplets exhaled by infected people when they breathe, talk, cough, sneeze, or sing,” the agency added.

Read more …

WHO still not in favor of lockdowns. But that falls on deaf ears.

WHO Envoy Predicts Third Wave Of COVID19 In Europe Next Year (RT)

With Europe already suffering a second wave of coronavirus infections, World Health Organization envoy David Nabarro has warned that the region could see another spike in infections next year In an interview on Saturday with Swiss newspaper Solothurner Zeitung, Nabarro said that European governments failed to build up the “necessary infrastructure” to keep the virus under control after the first wave of infections this spring. Now we have the second wave. If they don’t build the necessary infrastructure, we’ll have a third wave early next year. Infections are once again surging throughout Europe, after a lull this summer.


France and Germany recorded some 33,000 new cases combined on Saturday, while the UK reported nearly 20,000 cases on the same day, and Spain announced more than 15,000 on Friday. Deaths remain proportionally lower throughout Europe than during the first wave, however. Despite Nabarro’s stark prediction, the WHO has cautioned against responding too heavy-handedly to the pandemic. In a briefing on Thursday, the organization’s European director, Hans Kluge, called for “systematic and general mask-wearing” and “strict controls on social gatherings,” but described national lockdowns as a “last resort” policy.

Read more …

“The reddit Covid19 board actually removed the post, because it was “not a reliable source”, despite relying on the official court documents.”

Portuguese Court: PCR Tests “Unreliable” & Quarantines “Unlawful” (OffG)

An appeals court in Portugal has ruled that the PCR process is not a reliable test for Sars-Cov-2, and therefore any enforced quarantine based on those test results is unlawful. Further, the ruling suggested that any forced quarantine applied to healthy people could be a violation of their fundamental right to liberty. Most importantly, the judges ruled that a single positive PCR test cannot be used as an effective diagnosis of infection. The specifics of the case concern four tourists entering the country from Germany – all of whom are anonymous in the transcript of the case – who were quarantined by the regional health authority. Of the four, only one had tested positive for the virus, whilst the other three were deemed simply of “high infection risk” based on proximity to the positive individual.

All four had, in the previous 72 hours, tested negative for the virus before departing from Germany. In their ruling, judges Margarida Ramos de Almeida and Ana Paramés referred to several scientific studies. Most notably this study by Jaafar et al., which found that – when running PCR tests with 35 cycles or more – the accuracy dropped to 3%, meaning up to 97% of positive results could be false positives. The ruling goes on to conclude that, based on the science they read, any PCR test using over 25 cycles is totally unreliable. Governments and private labs have been very tight-lipped about the exact number of cycles they run when PCR testing, but it is known to sometimes be as high as 45. Even fearmonger-in-chief Anthony Fauci has publicly stated anything over 35 is totally unusable.

[..] The media reaction to this case has been entirely predictable – they have not mentioned it. At all. Anywhere. Ever. The ruling was published on November 11th, and has been referenced by many alt-news sites since…but the mainstream outlets are maintaining a complete blackout on it. The reddit Covid19 board actually removed the post, because it was “not a reliable source”, despite relying on the official court documents.

Read more …

Looks a bit sloppy.

Rudy Giuliani: Sidney Powell Not Part Of Trump Legal Team (JTN)

Rudy Giuliani, the lead attorney for President Trump’s election challenges, and Trump Campaign Senior Legal Adviser Jenna Ellis said Sunday that high-profile attorney Sidney Powell does not work for the president personally or for his campaign. “Sidney Powell is practicing law on her own,” the statement from Giuliani and Ellis said. “She is not a member of the Trump Legal Team. She is also not a lawyer for the President in his personal capacity.” Powell on Thursday spoke during a press conference where Giuliani and Ellis also spoke. “I look forward to Mayor Giuliani spearheading the legal effort to defend OUR RIGHT to FREE and FAIR ELECTIONS!” President Trump tweeted on November 14. “Rudy Giuliani, Joseph diGenova, Victoria Toensing, Sidney Powell, and Jenna Ellis, a truly great team, added to our other wonderful lawyers and representatives!”

Powell, who has alleged that massive corruption occurred during the 2020 election, said during an interview on Newsmax that a “biblical” filing is forthcoming regarding the state of Georgia. “Georgia is extremely bad,” Powell said. “We’ve got ballots being shredded, ballots being thrown out in trash bags…the votes being switched, the algorithms being run: You name the manner of fraud and it occurred in Georgia,” she said. While media outlets have projected Joe Biden to be the winner of the 2020 presidential contest, President Trump has not conceded and has made allegations of election fraud.

The Peach State is “probably gonna be the first state I’m gonna blow up,” Powell said, remarking that “Mr. Kemp and the secretary of state need to go with it because they’re in on the Dominon scam with their last minute purchase or award of a contract to Dominon of $100 million dollars. The state bureau of investigation for Georgia oughta be looking into the financial benefits received by Mr. Kemp and the secretary of state’s family about that time.”

Read more …

She was suspended by Twitter too.

Michael Flynn Jr. on Trump Team’s Sidney Powell Statement (GP)

As we suspected, the news this evening about Sidney Powell not being on the Trump team is an act to protect Sidney and the Trump team and not a message of disappointment in her latest interviews and actions at all. The Trump campaign issued a statement Sunday night announcing Sidney Powell is not a member of President Trump’s legal team. The statement was posted online by campaign attorney Jenna Ellis on behalf of lead campaign attorney Rudy Giuliani. Powell had appeared at a campaign legal team press conference earlier this week alongside Giuliani and Ellis. Statement:

Attorney Sidney Powell was not able to respond tonight. Sidney was censored and suspended by Twitter earlier today. Mike Flynn, Jr. released a statement tonight.

Sidney released a statement to CBS News. She signed off — #KrakenOnSteroids

General Michael Flynn’s son, Mike Jr., followed up with a message tonight on Parler noting that the earlier message from the President’s team is not a reflection of any misstatements on Sidney’s part:

Read more …

‘President Obama is the only president that I know that only moved about a mile from the White House – set up shop, has all his people there..’

Nunes Claims Obama Is Joe Biden’s ‘Overlord’, Calls For Special Counsel (DM)

Rep. Devin Nunes has claimed former President Barack Obama is President-elect Joe Biden’s ‘overlord’ and called for a special counsel to take over the investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia probe. Nunes, a California Republican and staunch ally of President Donald Trump, appeared on Fox News Channel’s Sunday Morning Futures in an interview with host Maria Bartiromo. ‘President Obama is the only president that I know that only moved about a mile from the White House – set up shop, has all his people there,’ Nunes said, referring to the Obama family’s rented mansion in Washington DC. ‘Most of his people were promoting Kamala Harris to run before she bombed out, wasting hundreds of millions of dollars, and then they propped up Joe Biden,’ Nunes claimed.

Later in the interview, Nunes referred to Obama as Biden’s ‘overlord.’ Nunes also called on Attorney General Bill Barr to appoint a special counsel to take over U.S. Attorney John Durham’s investigation into potential malfeasance in the Russian collusion investigation. ‘Now we’re sitting waiting for Durham to complete this investigation. I think people are getting not only very frustrated but also, there’s a growing concern that Durham is not going to come out with anything and then Biden and Obama are going to be back in, and they’re going to shut this investigation off,’ Nunes said. Durham was appointed by Barr more than a year and a half ago to investigate any misconduct by the FBI and others others related to the inquiry into links between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

So far, Durham’s investigation has secured one guilty plea from a former FBI lawyer, who admitted to doctoring a document used to obtain surveillance warrants on a Trump campaign aide. Trump has raged that the Russian collusion probe, which cast a shadow over much of his presidency, was a ‘failed coup,’ and expressed fury that Durham did not issue more indictments prior to the November election. Nunes said that he feared Biden’s administration would shut down the Durham probe before it could be concluded. ‘I’ve been very clear about this,’ the congressman said. ‘Every day that ticks by, it’s going to become an absolute necessity that a special counsel is appointed on the way out.’

‘Now that doesn’t mean that Biden wouldn’t fire the special counsel, but at least you’d have a special counsel office set up, with money, so that this investigation can continue, because I’m not seeing the indictments that I should be seeing when you take into the account that I’ve made 14 criminal referrals involving dozens and dozens of people,’ he continued.

Read more …

“Most of the losses would come from the already established income-based repayment programs and the debt forgiveness at the end of their term.”

Taxpayers Face $435 Billion in Student-Loan Losses Already Baked In (WS)

In 2009, the US government entered the business of reckless, no-matter-what lending to students, even to older students with subprime credit ratings and to students at iffy for-profit colleges with dubious degree programs. And then tuition soared, and student housing went upscale and became a global asset class with its own commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) that are now experiencing record delinquency rates. And Apple and textbook publishers and everyone began feeding at the big trough, with students just being the conduit for this money. Student-loan balances on the government’s financial statement skyrocketed from $147 billion in 2009 to $1.37 trillion at the beginning of 2020, despite the 11% decline in student enrollment since 2011.


Taxpayers face a loss of $435 billion on the $1.37 trillion in student loans on the government’s financial statement at the beginning of this year, even if no additional loans are issued going forward, according to an internal study by the Department of Education, reported by the Wall Street Journal which reviewed the documents. Most of the losses would come from the already established income-based repayment programs and the debt forgiveness at the end of their term. The expected loss of $435 billion is far larger than the rosy estimates released previously, including the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate in May 2019 of a loss of $31 billion, including administrative costs. The student loan balances in the chart above do not include student loans carried by private lenders that are guaranteed by the US government and that will produce additional losses for taxpayers.

Read more …

Is this legal?

China Daily Paid US Newspapers Millions To Publish Propaganda This Year (DC)

An English-language newspaper controlled by the Chinese Communist Party’s propaganda department paid U.S. media companies nearly $2 million for printing and advertising expenses over the past six months, even amid heightened scrutiny over Beijing’s disinformation efforts in the West. China Daily paid The Wall Street Journal more than $85,000 and the Los Angeles Times $340,000 for advertising campaigns between May and October 2020, according to a disclosure that the propaganda mill filed this week with the Justice Department under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). China Daily also paid Foreign Policy magazine $100,000, The Financial Times, a U.K.-based newspaper, $223,710, and $132,046 to the Canadian outlet Globe & Mail for advertising campaigns, according to the filing.


The Beijing-based outlet paid several newspaper companies a total of $1,154,666 for printing costs, including $110,000 to the Los Angeles Times, $92,000 to The Houston Chronicle and $76,000 to The Boston Globe. Overall, China Daily spent more than $4.4 million on printing, distribution, advertising and administration expenses over the past six months, according to the FARA filing. China Daily, which is controlled by the Chinese Communist Party’s State Council Information Office, its propaganda agency, has for years paid newspapers and magazines in the U.S. and other Western countries to publish advertorials designed to look like legitimate news articles. China Daily paid The Washington Post more than $4.6 million from late 2016 through October 2019, according to a FARA disclosure China Daily filed in June. The Journal received $6 million for advertorials from 2016 through April 2020, according to the disclosure.

Read more …

RussiaRussia.

The US Has Withdrawn From The Treaty On Open Skies (JTN)

The U.S. departed the Treaty on Open Skies on Sunday, following an announcement earlier this year that the nation planned to withdraw from the treaty. “On May 22, 2020, the United States exercised its right pursuant to paragraph 2 of Article XV of the Treaty on Open Skies by providing notice to the Treaty Depositaries and to all States Parties of its decision to withdraw from the Treaty, effective six months from the notification date,” a press statement from the State Department’s Cale Brown notes. “Six months having elapsed, the U.S. withdrawal took effect on November 22, 2020, and the United States is no longer a State Party to the Treaty on Open Skies.”


In a statement earlier this year, Secretary of State Mike Pompo accused Russia of violating the treaty. “While the United States along with our Allies and partners that are States Parties to the Treaty have lived up to our commitments and obligations under the Treaty, Russia has flagrantly and continuously violated the Treaty in various ways for years,” Pompeo said. “This is not a story exclusive to just the Treaty on Open Skies, unfortunately, for Russia has been a serial violator of many of its arms control obligations and commitments.”

Read more …

 

 

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Click at the top of the sidebars for Paypal and Patreon donations. Thank you for your support.

 

 

 

 

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

 

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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