Jun 272022
 
 June 27, 2022  Posted by at 9:11 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  41 Responses »


Henri Matisse Woman with a hat 1905

 

G-7 Unveils $600 Billion Plan to Counter China’s Belt and Road (R.)
Russia Defaults On Foreign Debt For First Time Since 1917 Revolution
Chomsky on the Root Causes of the Russia-Ukraine War (CD)
John Mearsheimer’s Ukraine Crystal Ball (ZH)
Herr Habeck Firehoses Oil & Gas (Vilches)
Pelosi Leads Democrats In Effort To Codify Roe v. Wade Into Law (JTN)
White House: Biden ‘Does Not Agree With’ Expanding The Supreme Court (JTN)
Top Republican Signals 2023 Investigation: Biden ‘Compromised’ By Son (JTN)
NYT Reports On Large CIA ‘Stealth Network’ Of Spies & Commandos In Ukraine (ZH)
Covid’s Infection Fatality Rate Now Same as Seasonal Flu (DS)
Taibbi Talks Reaction To Him Reviewing ‘What Is A Woman’ (DW)

 

 


“Pfizer regional sales leaders”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Too late.

G-7 Unveils $600 Billion Plan to Counter China’s Belt and Road (R.)

Group of Seven leaders (G-7) on Sunday pledged to raise $600 billion in private and public funds over five years to finance needed infrastructure in developing countries and counter the Chinese regime’s Belt and Road project. U.S. President Joe Biden and other G-7 leaders relaunched the newly renamed “Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment,” at their annual gathering being held this year at Schloss Elmau in southern Germany. Biden said the United States would mobilize $200 billion in grants, federal funds, and private investment over five years to boost infrastructure development in lower- and middle-income nations. The United States says the G-7 backed effort promotes responsible investments that aim to benefit the communities they are made in.

“I want to be clear. This isn’t aid or charity. It’s an investment that will deliver returns for everyone,” Biden said, adding that it would allow countries to “see the concrete benefits of partnering with democracies.” Biden said hundreds of billions of additional dollars could come from multilateral development banks, development finance institutions, sovereign wealth funds, and others. Europe will mobilize 300 billion euros for the initiative over the same period to build up a sustainable alternative to the Chinese regime’s Belt and Road Initiative scheme, which Chinese leader Xi Jinping launched in 2013, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told the gathering.

The leaders of Italy, Canada and Japan also spoke about their plans, some of which have already been announced separately. French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson were not present, but their countries are also participating. The Chinese communist regime’s Belt and Road scheme involves development and programs in over 100 countries.

Read more …

This is just too stupid. Richard Werner says it best:

“The US adopts yet another pro-Russia policy that strengthens Russia at the expense of the West: Russia is told it doesn’t have to service its debt. Normally the IMF enforces foreign debt to protect US investors, pushing foreign countries hard to pay up.”

Russia Defaults On Foreign Debt For First Time Since 1917 Revolution

Russia has defaulted on its foreign debt for the first time since the 1917 revolution, according to reports, further alienating the country from the global financial system after sanctions imposed over its war in Ukraine. The country missed a deadline of Sunday night to meet a 30-day grace period on interest payments of $100m on two Eurobonds originally due on 27 May, Bloomberg reported on Monday morning. Some Taiwanese holders of Russian Eurobonds said on Monday that they had not received interest payments due, two sources told Reuters. Official confirmation of the default was expected to come from international ratings agencies.


Russia’s efforts to avoid what would be its first major default on international bonds since the Bolshevik revolution more than a century ago hit a insurmountable roadblock in late May when the US treasury department’s office of foreign assets c (OFAC) effectively blocked Moscow from making payments. “Since March we thought that a Russian default is probably inevitable, and the question was just when,” Dennis Hranitzky, head of sovereign litigation at law firm Quinn Emanuel, told Reuters. “OFAC has intervened to answer that question for us, and the default is now upon us.” While a formal default would be largely symbolic given Russia cannot borrow internationally at the moment and doesn’t need to thanks to plentiful oil and gas export revenues, the stigma would probably raise its borrowing costs in future.

Read more …

“This is a level of hysteria that I have never seen, even during the Second World War, which I am old enough to remember very well.”

Chomsky on the Root Causes of the Russia-Ukraine War (CD)

Soon after the war, “the United States Department acknowledged that they had not taken Russian security concerns into consideration in any discussions with Russia. The question of NATO, they would not discuss. Well, all of that is provocation. Not a justification but a provocation and it’s quite interesting that in American discourse, it is almost obligatory to refer to the invasion as the ‘unprovoked invasion of Ukraine’. Look it up on Google, you will find hundreds of thousands of hits.” Chomsky continued, “Of course, it was provoked. Otherwise, they wouldn’t refer to it all the time as an unprovoked invasion. By now, censorship in the United States has reached such a level beyond anything in my lifetime. Such a level that you are not permitted to read the Russian position.

Literally. Americans are not allowed to know what the Russians are saying. Except, selected things. So, if Putin makes a speech to Russians with all kinds of outlandish claims about Peter the Great and so on, then, you see it on the front pages. If the Russians make an offer for a negotiation, you can’t find it. That’s suppressed. You’re not allowed to know what they are saying. I have never seen a level of censorship like this.” Regarding his views of the possible future scenarios, Chomsky said that “the war will end, either through diplomacy or not. That’s just logic. Well, if diplomacy has a meaning, it means both sides can tolerate it. They don’t like it, but they can tolerate it. They don’t get anything they want, they get something. That’s diplomacy.

If you reject diplomacy, you are saying: ‘Let the war go on with all of its horrors, with all the destruction of Ukraine, and let’s let it go on until we get what we want.'” By ‘we,’ Chomsky was referring to Washington, which simply wants to “harm Russia so severely that it will never be able to undertake actions like this again. Well, what does that mean? It’s impossible to achieve. So, it means, let’s continue the war until Ukraine is devastated. That’s US policy.” Most of this is not obvious to western audiences simply because rational voices are “not allowed to talk” and because “rationality is not permitted. This is a level of hysteria that I have never seen, even during the Second World War, which I am old enough to remember very well.”

Read more …

Consistent.

John Mearsheimer’s Ukraine Crystal Ball (ZH)

A new talk by Professor John J. Mearsheimer has recently been made public, wherein the famous author and political science theorist details the causes and consequences of the Ukraine war. Mearsheimer became more well-known, and “controversial” in establishment circles, after it emerged that he clearly predicted going back to 2014 the war which kicked off in Feb. 2022. He had said in a 2014 University of Chicago lecture, “The West is leading Ukraine down the primrose path and the end result is Ukraine is going to get wrecked.” This tragedy for the Ukrainian people is playing out now, with little hope that now totally defunct Russia-Ukraine ceasefire talks will halt the fighting. Other than efforts of France’s Macron, attempts at basic diplomacy and direct communications are all but dead.

As the lecture intro describes: Prof. Mearsheimer focused on both the origins of the war in Ukraine and some of its most important consequences. He argues that the crisis is largely the result of the West’s efforts to turn Ukraine into a Western bulwark on Russia’s border. Russian leaders viewed that outcome as an existential threat that had to be thwarted. While Vladimir Putin is certainly responsible for invading Ukraine and for Russia’s conduct in the war, Prof. Mearsheimer states that he does not believe he is an expansionist bent on creating a greater Russia.

Regarding the war’s consequences, the greatest danger is that the war will go on for months if not years, and that either NATO will get directly involved in the fighting or nuclear weapons will be used — or both. Furthermore, enormous damage has already been inflicted on Ukraine. A prolonged war is likely to wreak even more devastation on Ukraine. Mearsheimer calls the war an “unmitigated disaster” and with “no end in sight” – for which he lays chief blame on the West. Lately student groups at the University of Chicago, as well as some pundits within the mainstream media, have sought to censor his views and “cancel” him – despite that he’s been on record and consistent in his predictions and views for years.

Read more …

Oil refinery is a tricky business. Changes take time. Europe does not have time.

Herr Habeck Firehoses Oil & Gas (Vilches)

One way to begin to understand the problem is agreeing and accepting that European Commission President Ursula von der Leyden made a historical bad joke, by saying “ The EU will make sure to phase out Russian oil in an orderly fashion to allow us and our partners to secure alternative supply routes minimizing the impact on global markets”. Nope, you can´t do that in 6 months Ursula, if ever. So if you accept that´d be absolutely impossible then you are on the right track to understand the rest. Otherwise you´d be just playing games running around in circles. Hint: it´d be like trying to change the engine oil while cruising at 150 km/hr on a German autobahn. Of course, you can stop the car and change the oil, but in this case it would mean shutting down Europe for months. You cannot do that, can you ?


By any standards, there are definitely not enough adequate oil blends around to come close to satisfying European refinery requirements comparable to homogenous continuous over-abundant constant Russian high-quality Urals which the EU now has decided to ban. And also please accept once and for all that a specific oil blend is not just “any oil blend” to be plugged & played anywhere anytime. Oil blends are not fungible. A very specific refinery or processing plant tune-up needs to be specifically matched with an always constant high-quality homogenous oil blend in large enough quantities and for a given desired output such as diesel fuel, or whatever. No “open architecture” is possible here, that´s just for IT nerds, not for refineries. And definetly there are no vendors all lined up happily willing and able to sell you their oil blend in unlimited quantities already fully adapted to whatever plant you may have ´as-is´ for whichever desired production output you may need delivered just-in-time on-demand and only when you need it.

Read more …

How long has she been in DC? Last chance to use abortion to get votes, Nancy

Pelosi Leads Democrats In Effort To Codify Roe v. Wade Into Law (JTN)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is vowing to fight in Congress to codify Roe v. Wade after the Supreme Court overturned the landmark decision. “Democrats will keep fighting ferociously to enshrine Roe v. Wade into law of the land,” Pelosi said. “This cruel ruling is outrageous and heart wrenching.” The California Democrat called the decision a “slap in the face to women about using their own judgment to make their own decisions about their reproductive freedom.” Democrats have tried to codify Roe v. Wade into law in the past, but it has never passed Congress. In September, the Democrat-led House passed the Women’s Health Protection Act, but the bill didn’t move forward in the Senate.

After the draft opinion of the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade leaked in May, Democrats in the Senate tried to pass legislation to codify Roe, but Republicans were able to block the measure. Realizing they lack the votes to codify a right to abortion into law in the 50-50 Senate, Democrats are calling on their base to mobilize and vote in November. “This fall, Roe is on the ballot,” President Biden said at the White House on Friday. “Personal freedoms are on the ballot. The right to privacy, liberty, equality they’re all on the ballot. Until then, I will do all in my power to protect a woman’s right in states where they will face the consequences of today’s decision.”

Pelosi also said Roe v. Wade is “on the ballot in November.” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the decision to overturn Roe “makes crystal clear the contrast” between both parties as the November elections approach. “Elect more MAGA Republicans if you want nationwide abortion bans, the jailing of women and doctors and no exemptions for rape or incest,” Schumer said. “Or elect more pro-choice Democrats to save Roe and protect a woman’s right to make their own decisions about their body, not politicians.”

Read more …

Done.

White House: Biden ‘Does Not Agree With’ Expanding The Supreme Court (JTN)

The White House on Saturday confirmed that President Joe Biden has no desire to expand or pack the Supreme Court in the wake of the Court’s unprecedented repeal of Roe v. Wade earlier this week. Asked by reporters on Air Force One while en route to Munich about the possibility that Biden might move to add more justices to the Court amid the fallout from the ruling, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Saturday: “I was asked this question yesterday, and I’ve been asked it before…about expanding the Court. That is something that the President does not agree with.” “That is not something that he wants to do,” she added.


Progressives have argued that packing the Court with more justices could offer Democrats a remedy to the strong conservative majority the institution currently enjoys. President Donald Trump appointed three justices during his administration, all of whom are seen as reliably conservative votes on the bench. Though she said Biden has no plans to pursue such an agenda, Jean-Pierre on Saturday did take time to slam the court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, which eliminated the half-century-old federalization of abortion rights first implemented in 1973. “It’s so out of step not only with this decision, but it’s also so out of step with the Constitution,” she argued.

Read more …

They’ll hit the ground running.

Top Republican Signals 2023 Investigation: Biden ‘Compromised’ By Son (JTN)

Some conservatives have fretted the four years it has taken federal prosecutors to investigate Hunter Biden’s business dealings. But make no mistake, the man most likely to run the main House investigative committee if Republicans win control of Congress next year is determined to document how President Joe Biden’s foreign policy has been compromised by his son’s infamous wheeling and dealing. “We feel that Hunter Biden is a national security threat,” Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) told Just the News in a wide-ranging interview Friday laying out his priorities if he becomes chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee. “We’ve been poring over his financial records for many weeks now, and it’s troubling.

“So we’ve got a lot of questions about Hunter’s business dealings and questions for Biden administration officials to determine if thepresident is in fact compromised because of Hunter’s shady business dealings.” Comer was asked whether the evidence he has seen shows the president’s son ran “an influence peddling scheme” that sold access to his father to foreigners. “There’s no question,” he answered. “That was confirmed with the recent tape that emerged last week from the laptop that showed that Hunter Biden said that, you know, his dad would do anything he asked him to do,” said Comer. “I think that was the sales pitch that Hunter would make to the questionable shady figures in Russia who he received compensation from, the shady, questionable figures in communist China he would receive payments from, and those in Ukraine and Africa and everywhere else around the world.”

“No one would think that anyone wanted to do business with Hunter Biden because of his stellar resume or his record of achievement,” Comer added. “It was because his last name was Biden. And his father was the vice president of the United States.” Comer said the House oversight committee’s job wouldn’t be to focus on whether Hunter Biden evaded taxes, an issue already under investigation by federal prosecutors since late 2018, but rather on what government or policy favors countries and players got for paying the presidential son, including for a recent set of paintings.

Read more …

“..directing much of the vast amounts of intelligence the United States is sharing with Ukrainian forces..”

NYT Reports On Large CIA ‘Stealth Network’ Of Spies & Commandos In Ukraine (ZH)

A fresh New York Times report has confirmed what many already suspected – that the CIA is still very active inside Ukraine – especially with training as well coordinating weapons among its Ukrainian allies. The Times report details “a stealthy network of commandos and spies rushing to provide weapons, intelligence and training,” based on US and European intelligence officials with knowledge of the operations. The report says Ukrainian forces are reliant on this Western clandestine network “more than ever” while outgunned by the Russians. This comes months after investigative journalist Zach Dorfman’s bombshell expose in Yahoo News which detailed how a prior 8-year long CIA covert program to train Ukrainian fighters helped provoke the Russian invasion. The only question that remained after that March report was the extent to which the CIA was still active in the ongoing fight against the invading Russians.

The new Times reporting confirms that the US program is not only active and ongoing, but appears larger in scale than previously thought given the CIA’s close cooperation with the Ukrainians is happening both inside and outside the country, across multiple locations. “Much of this work happens outside Ukraine, at bases in Germany, France and Britain, for example. But even as the Biden administration has declared it will not deploy American troops to Ukraine, some C.I.A. personnel have continued to operate in the country secretly, mostly in the capital, Kyiv, directing much of the vast amounts of intelligence the United States is sharing with Ukrainian forces, according to current and former officials,” the report indicates.

It appears much the CIA’s work in Ukraine is centered on coordinating intelligence with local intel services and counterparts. “Few other details have emerged about what the C.I.A. personnel or the commandos are doing, but their presence in the country — on top of the diplomatic staff members who returned after Russia gave up its siege of Kyiv — hints at the scale of the secretive effort to assist Ukraine that is underway and the risks that Washington and its allies are taking,” NY Times continues. Over the weekend, Canada also has been reported to have special operations troops inside Ukraine. This was reported months ago, but with a separate NYT report offering further confirmation. “Both CTV and Global News reported in late January that Canadian special forces had been sent to Ukraine, but National Defence did not comment on that deployment,” Ottawa Citizen writes Sunday.

Read more …

“..the Government is right not to be concerned and has come to the conclusion that there is no need for restrictions.”

Covid’s Infection Fatality Rate Now Same as Seasonal Flu (DS)

Death rates from Covid are lower than ever, according to an analysis by Professor Carl Heneghan and Dr Jason Oke carried out for the Mail on Sunday. The IFR is now ~0.0333%, similar to seasonal influenza. “Experts say there is little need to fear a recent surge in cases as fewer than one in 3,000 infected people now dies from coronavirus – with the rate even lower for the vaccinated. The analysis of official data by Oxford University shows the ‘infection fatality rate’ has dropped about 30-fold since the pandemic began due to a combination of vaccine protection and naturally acquired infection.


Professor Carl Heneghan of Oxford’s Centre for Evidence Based Medicine, who carried out the analysis with statistician Jason Oke, said: “There have been an astonishing number of Covid infections so far this year, but deaths have come down. “Now we are looking at an infection fatality rate for Covid of around one in 3,000 which is comparable with seasonal influenza. That’s why the Government is right not to be concerned and has come to the conclusion that there is no need for restrictions.”

Read more …

“..as the Left radicalized, and Taibbi stayed the same, the journalist found himself in a new space.”

Taibbi Talks Reaction To Him Reviewing ‘What Is A Woman’ (DW)

Old-school liberal investigative journalist Matt Taibbi told Ben Shapiro on this week’s episode of “Sunday Special” that he “lost friends” for merely reviewing Matt Walsh and The Daily Wire’s groundbreaking documentary, “What is a Woman?” Taibbi was a star writer at “Rolling Stone” magazine and beloved by the elite liberal media, but as the Left radicalized, and Taibbi stayed the same, the journalist found himself in a new space. Like, for example, sitting down for a lengthy conversation with one of the most prominent conservative figures in American politics — and seeing a lot of agreement. “The response was unbelievable, just for reviewing the movie — forget about what I said about it,” Taibbi told Shapiro about his review.

“I lost friends over that. There were people who I’ve known for decades who basically said I’m a transphobe and I’m … out of their loop.” Taibbi explained that he first noticed an unwillingness from the Left even to discuss the transgender issue before he chose to review The Daily Wire documentary. “With the trans issue, there would be some people who would talk to me, and then there would be some people who were furious that you even called, would refuse to have any kind of discussion, would call you a transphobe for even asking certain kinds of questions — and this is before you even have a point of view on the subject,” he said, recalling a time he tried to gather quotes for a story. “I thought that was odd.”

Taibbi noted that this was a rehash of what he witnessed as a journalist in 2016 when reporting on former President Donald Trump. He recalled including a quote from a pro-union lifelong Democrat who said he voted Republican for the first time, for Trump, because he felt lied to about the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA. The pushback from the leftist media community told Taibbi he wasn’t allowed to report or say true things if they went against the greater narrative. Taibbi didn’t abide by the leftist media rules with Trump and didn’t with the trans issue, either. Though, he admitted, the trans issue pushback did give Taibbi a momentary pause. “I had kinda tried to stay away from the issue. It’s complicated, and I try to stay away from issues I don’t know a whole lot about,” he said.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Jun 082022
 


Pablo Picasso Napping 1932

 

The Very Special Operation (Batiushka)
Biden Works to Prolong Ukraine War (Craig Murray)
The West and the Rest (Münchau)
‘I Don’t Blame Myself’: Merkel Defends Legacy On Russia And Ukraine (Pol.eu)
Studies Show Link Between Prion Brain Disease and Covid-19 Vaccine (GP)
This Is Why It Doesn’t Work (Denninger)
FBI Seizes Retired General’s Data Related To Qatar Lobbying (AP)
White House Refuses To Comment On Hunter Biden Pictures (Radar)
Nancy Pelosi’s Husband Bought $2.1M Worth Of Apple, Microsoft Shares (NYP)
Civil Liberties Are Being Trampled by Congress’s 1/6 Committee (Greenwald)
Peter Navarro: Jan. 6 Panel’s Tactics Designed to Stop Trump Before 2024 (NM)
Trafigura Warns Oil Prices Could Reach ‘Parabolic State’ In Threat To Economy (FT)
Is Our Time Together Running Out? (Stella Moris)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trump

 

 

“When evil comes disguised as progress, celebrated in ignorance as righteous, when truth triggers vitriol & disgust, as the good are slandered & silenced, and when the sick are hailed as heroes, while the natural state of things is ridiculed, then truly we are in dangerous times”

 

 

“Either Russia is victorious in this Very Special Operation or else we shall enter a Dark Age..”

The Very Special Operation (Batiushka)

A Russian Orthodox priest and cultural historian, who has lived in several Western and Eastern European countries, including Russia and the Ukraine, I cannot fail to feel great sorrow at the events unfolding today. But I also feel great hope. The process of barbarous injustice that began in 1914 and ended the Old Europe and has been through all manner of fateful dates, 1917, 1929, 1939, 1945, 1968, 1989, 1991, 2014, to name but a few, is now further unfurling and reaching a global crescendo. As Nikolai Patrushev has stated, the Special Operation is not just a military event, it is far, far more profound than that, this is military, political, economic and cultural. This is why it took so long, eight years, to carry out the necessary painstaking preparations for the Operation, in view of the high probability that the West would refuse to get off its high horse of hubris and negotiate like reasonable people do.

Since the West did refuse to negotiate, the battleground is for now the ultra-militarised Eastern Ukraine. However, the War is not between brother Ukrainians and brother Russians, but between Washington with its NATO/EU vassals and Moscow with its Donbass Allies. There is no doubt that Russia will win in the Ukraine, as it has complete air and naval superiority. The Russian-speaking East and South of the Ukraine, Novorossija, part of Russia until 1922, is being liberated by a smallish expeditionary force of the Russian Army together with local troops. However, the Operation was never planned to be a short one, most knew that it would take months and perhaps, on account of possible NATO meddling, a year or more.

The War is longer because the Kiev Army has been preparing for it for eight long years. It has been building trenches and fortifications, arming itself with a huge amount of NATO training and weaponry, which the Russian Armed Forces are being forced to destroy, together with Ukrainian Nazis, Western mercenaries and NATO instructors. From this conflict a new Ukraine will be born. Perhaps it will once more be called Malorossija or perhaps it will keep its ‘Borderlands’ name. In any case it will be a smallish country, with a population of perhaps some 15 million, centred on Kiev. Whatever its name, it will effectively be the Kievan Protectorate, part of the Union State with the Russian Federation, Belarus and probably others.

[..] Let us be honest. Either Russia is victorious in this Very Special Operation or else we shall enter a Dark Age, from which there will be no end because it will be an Orwellian One World Government. Such One World Dictatorship will brook no opposition, all who challenge it will be repressed. This is our last chance to resist and strike back against the aggression that began in 1914, aggression that was military, political, economic and cultural, a totalitarian aggression that leads to total death, the death of body and soul. But according to all the military reports, let alone the prophecies, Russia will be victorious.

Read more …

“..it is actually blocked in by Ukraine’s own mines, which they currently refuse to allow Turkey to remove.”

Biden Works to Prolong Ukraine War (Craig Murray)

I was in Turkey to try to further peace talks, as an experienced diplomat with good contacts there, and as a peace activist. I was not there as a journalist and much of what I discussed was with the understanding of confidence. It will be probably be some years before I judge it reasonable and fair to reveal all that I know. But I can give some outline. Turkey continues to be the centre of diplomatic activity on resolving the Ukraine war. It is therefore particularly revealing, and a sign of Western priorities, that I did not come across a single western journalist there trying to follow and cover the diplomatic process. There are hundreds of Western journalists in Ukraine, effectively embedded with the Ukrainian authorities, producing war porn. There appear to be none seriously covering attempts to make peace.

There was a sea change two weeks ago when Ukraine shifted to a public stance that it would cede no territory at all in a peace deal. On 21 May, Zelensky’s office stated that “The war must end with the complete restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.” Previously while they had been emphatic that no territory in “the East” would be ceded, there had been studied ambiguity about whether that referred to Donbass alone or also the Crimea. The new Ukrainian stance, that there will be no peace deal without recovering the Crimea, has ended for now any hopes of an early ceasefire. It appears to be a militarily unachievable objective – I cannot think of any scenario in which Russia de facto loses Crimea, without the serious possibility of worldwide nuclear war.

This blow to the peace process was a setback in Ankara, and I should say that every source I spoke with believed the Ukrainians were acting on instructions conveyed from Washington to Zelensky by Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin, who openly stated he wanted the war to wear down Russian defence capabilities. A long war in Ukraine is of course massively in the interest of the US military industrial complex, whose dripping roasts in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria have gone rather off the heat. It also forwards the strategic objective of severely damaging the Russian economy, although much of that damage is mutual. Why we live in a world where the goal of nations is to damage the lives of inhabitants of other nations is a question which continues to puzzle me.

Turkey has for now turned towards the more limited goal of ensuring that grain supplies can be shipped out from the Black Sea through the Bosphorus. This is essential for developing nations and essential for world food supplies, which were already under pressure before this war began. Turkey is offering to clear sea lanes of mines and to police the ships carrying grain from the port of Odessa, which is still under Ukrainian control. Russia has agreed to the deal. Ukraine is objecting to this plan to export its own wheat, because it objects to the removal of the mines, which I should be clear were put down in the sea lanes by Ukraine to prevent amphibious attack on Odessa. There is monumental hypocrisy by the West on this, blaming Russia for preventing the export of the grain while it is actually blocked in by Ukraine’s own mines, which they currently refuse to allow Turkey to remove.

Read more …

“..did we think we can adequately address a global starvation crisis by pointing the finger at Putin?”

The West and the Rest (Münchau)

The pandemic and the war taught me something I sort of knew, but not really. It is a one thing to say that the world is interconnected, as a cliché. It is quite another to observe what actually happens on the ground when those connections get torn apart. The western sanctions were based on a formally correct but misleading premise, one that I believed myself at least up to a point: That Russia is more dependent on us than we are on Russia. Russia has more wheat than it can eat, and more oil than it can burn. Russia is a provider of primary and secondary commodities, on which the world has become dependent. Oil and gas are the biggest sources of Russian export revenues. But our dependency is most acute in other areas: food and also rare metals and rare earths.

Russia is not a monopolist in any of the categories. But when the largest exporters of those commodities disappears, the rest of the world experiences physical shortages and rising prices. Russia is the world largest exporter of gas, accounting for just under 20% of global exports. Russia is the largest exporter of oil, after Saudi Arabia, and accounts for 11% of world exports. It the largest exporter of fertilisers, and of wheat. Russia and Ukraine together account for almost a third of global wheat exports. Russia is the world’s largest exporter of palladium, a metal that is critical in the production of catalytic converters and fuel cells. Russia is also the largest world exporter of nickel, which is used in batteries, and in the production for hybrid cars. German industry is warning that it is reliant not only on Russian gas, but on other critical supplies from Russia.

Did we think this through? Did the foreign ministries that drew up the sanctions discuss at any point what we would do if Russia were to blockade the Black Sea and not allow Ukrainian wheat to leave the ports? Did we develop an agreed-upon response to Russian food blackmail? Or did we think we can adequately address a global starvation crisis by pointing the finger at Putin? The lockdown taught us a lot about our vulnerability to supply chain shocks. It has reminded Europeans that there have only two routes to ship goods en masse to Asia and back: either by container, or by rail through Russia. We had no plan for a pandemic, no plan for a war, and no plan for when both are happening at the same time. The containers are stuck in Shanghai. The railways closed because of the war.

Read more …

“..she said Ukraine “was not a democratically consolidated country” then, still strongly influenced by oligarchs and plagued by corruption..”

“Then”? But not now? What changed?

‘I Don’t Blame Myself’: Merkel Defends Legacy On Russia And Ukraine (Pol.eu)

Angela Merkel defended her diplomatic legacy as German chancellor Tuesday, rejecting accusations that her policies while leading Europe’s largest economy for 16 years were indirectly to blame for Russia’s ongoing attack on Ukraine. In her first public interview since leaving office in December, Merkel argued that Russian President Vladimir Putin would have fully invaded his neighboring country much earlier if she and other allies had not taken controversial decisions such as blocking Ukraine’s membership bid for the NATO military alliance in 2008, or negotiating the Minsk peace accords in 2014 and 2015, which Ukraine viewed as disadvantageous for its own security. “I don’t blame myself,” Merkel told an audience at the fully sold-out Berliner Ensemble theater in the German capital.

“I have tried to work in the direction of preventing mischief. And if diplomacy doesn’t succeed, this doesn’t mean that it was therefore wrong. Thus I don’t see why I should say: ‘That was wrong.’ And therefore I won’t apologize.” However, Merkel — who condemned Putin’s invasion as “a brutal assault in defiance of international law for which there is no excuse whatsoever” — also showed some cautious self-criticism: She said she had failed during her tenure “to create a security architecture that could have prevented this [war] from happening.” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in April called out Merkel and former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, arguing their longstanding policy of “concessions to Russia” and opposition to putting Ukraine and Georgia on a path toward NATO membership had encouraged Moscow to think “they are allowed to do anything they want” with Ukraine and commit “even the most horrific war crimes” such as in Bucha.

Yet Merkel on Tuesday defended her decision not to grant Ukraine the so-called NATO Membership Action Plan (MAP) at the alliance’s Bucharest summit in 2008, citing two reasons: First, she said Ukraine “was not a democratically consolidated country” then, still strongly influenced by oligarchs and plagued by corruption. Second, Merkel said she was convinced taking such a step would have certainly led to war. “I was very sure that Putin would not just let [Ukraine’s NATO membership] happen. That would have been … a declaration of war for him,” she said, arguing that the Russian leader would have used the NATO accession process, during which Ukraine probably would not have yet benefitted from the alliance’s mutual security guarantees, to “do something.”

Read more …

It’s getting very scary.

Studies Show Link Between Prion Brain Disease and Covid-19 Vaccine (GP)

Two new clinical studies – one peer-reviewed by researchers in Turkey, and one pre-print by researchers in France – have begun to establish an alarming link between an incurable, degenerative brain disease called Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) and the experimental Covid-19 vaccine. CJD is a “rare” disease that is caused by abnormal infectious proteins in the brain called “prions,” according to NHS. Although the presence of prions is not necessarily dangerous or deadly, the proteins will cause degenerative brain damage if they become diseased or misfolded. Once this process begins, the malfunctioning prions will continue to corrupt other cells, leading to a prognosis that is always fatal.

As of right now, CJD is uncurable. There are zero treatment options available. The diagnosis is essentially a death sentence, but symptoms are traditionally dormant for several years before manifesting into a deadly complication. Unfortunately, with the new cases of CJD that have been linked to the vaccine, that doesn’t seem to be the case. The disease is progressing at an alarming and unprecedented rate. So much so that the team of French researchers highlighted their concerns of the experimental mRNA vaccines contributing directly to creating a new, more aggressive type of CJD. According to the French study, a total of 26 cases of vaccine-linked CJD were included in the research.

At the time of the study’s publication, a whopping 20 out of the 26 CJD patients had already passed away from the disease. Additionally, researchers found that there were “more than 50 cases” of the fatal disease that appeared after taking the experimental vaccines. Despite traditionally taking as much as a decade to manifest with symptoms, the study found symptoms in these new cases began appearing just 11.38 days post-vaccination. In these cases, the disease is killing the affected individuals in under 5 months’ time (4.76 months).

Read more …

Everything “green” is falling apart.

This Is Why It Doesn’t Work (Denninger)

Folks, right here: “To meet the nation’s clean energy goals, the US must develop a robust manufacturing capability to produce solar energy panels and components. It can do that by providing financial incentives to US manufacturers to help offset higher domestic production costs, which have been estimated to be 30% to 40% more than imports.” That is the problem. Congress handing out money will not solve it; forcing Americans to pay that 30-40% more simply bankrupts Americans but through a different way. There are many things we can do but they don’t make any sense to do. The only reason someone does it is that there’s a boot on someone’s neck (they’re a slave), the environment is destroyed without care (remediation costs money) and similar.


That’s the beginning and end of it, when you get down to facts. This is not just limited to solar panels. Its also true for EVs; you have to dig half a million pounds of earth up to make just one battery, and there is no economically viable means of recycling them either. Yes, technically they can be recycled, but then you get to pay even more. If the industry will collapse if the 30-40% has to be paid by the end consumer of the product then whatever you’re proposing does not work. Why would you pay 30 cents/kwh for power you can have for 10? Do you understand that this is exactly what we’re talking about here? At 30-40% more the panels are non-economic to put in and use; they’re simply not competitive. At 300% more than what you pay now for electric power you can’t heat or cool your house and eat at the same time.

Read more …

Craziest story of the day?! The head of the Brookings Institution.

FBI Seizes Retired General’s Data Related To Qatar Lobbying (AP)

The FBI has seized the electronic data of a retired four-star general who authorities say made false statements and withheld “incriminating” documents about his role in an illegal foreign lobbying campaign on behalf of the wealthy Persian Gulf nation of Qatar. New federal court filings obtained Tuesday outlined a potential criminal case against former Marine Gen. John R. Allen, who led U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan before being tapped in 2017 to lead the influential Brookings Institution think tank. It’s part of an expanding investigation that has ensnared Richard G. Olson, a former ambassador to the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan who pleaded guilty to federal charges last week, and Imaad Zuberi, a prolific political donor now serving a 12-year prison sentence on corruption charges.


Several members of Congress have been interviewed as part of the investigation. The court filings detail Allen’s behind-the scenes efforts to help Qatar influence U.S. policy in 2017 when a diplomatic crisis erupted between the gas-rich Persian Gulf monarchy and its neighbors. “There is substantial evidence that these FARA violations were willful,” FBI agent Babak Adib wrote in a search warrant application, referring to the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Allen also misrepresented his role in the lobbying campaign to U.S. officials, Adib wrote, and failed to disclose “that he was simultaneously pursuing multimillion-dollar business deals with the government of Qatar.” The FBI says Allen gave a “false version of events” about his work for Qatar during a 2020 interview with law enforcement officials and failed to produce relevant email messages in response to an earlier grand jury subpoena.

Read more …

Just keep publishing them. Hunter will have to resurface at some point.

White House Refuses To Comment On Hunter Biden Pictures (Radar)

White House officials and representatives of Hunter Biden remained mum in the wake of Radar Online reports showing President Joe Biden’s son naked with an illegally obtained gun. Officials from the White House, Hunter’s criminal attorney Christopher Clark and Hunter’s lover, Hallie Biden, all ignored requests to comment after the Radar report. Hours after being asked, all three had yet to respond about the pictures or possible legal charges in the case. A White House press office representative told Radar to email its request for comment, but that email has gone unanswered. On Monday, Radar published a series of stories about new photos. The images showed a naked Hunter Biden in October 2018. They also showed him holding a gun, including his finger on the trigger.

The gun was illegally obtained as Hunter lied on an application about his past drug use. His substance abuse addiction has long been documented and he has spoken about it, but he put “no” on a form when asked if he had an issue. The photos also showed apparent drug use and a prostitute as Hunter Biden engages in sex games. Making a false statement on a federal criminal background check, known as ATF Form 4473, is a violation of federal law under Section 922(a)(6) of the U.S. criminal code. It also could violate Section 922(g)(3), which prohibits a drug user from possessing a firearm with ammunition. Hunter was discharged from the U.S. Navy Reserve in 2014 after he tested positive for cocaine.

Eleven days after Hunter illegally purchased the weapon, his lover Hallie, the widow of his late brother Beau Biden, threw the gun into a supermarket garbage can, triggering a Secret Service, FBI, and Delaware State Police investigation. The photos are the latest in a string of wild behavior for the President’s son, including questions on his business dealings. His current partner, Hallie, is the widow of Hunter’s brother Beau, who died years ago. The newest gun pictures also come at a time when the White House is calling for new gun control measures after a series of mass shootings across the country.

Read more …

Infallible stock tip. Your chance to do some insider trading.

Nancy Pelosi’s Husband Bought $2.1M Worth Of Apple, Microsoft Shares (NYP)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband bought up to $1.5 million worth of Apple stock as well as up to $600,000 in Microsoft shares, according to recent financial disclosures submitted by the powerful Democratic lawmaker. The periodic transaction report, which was posted on the House of Representatives’ website, indicates that Paul Pelosi bought Apple call options between $500,001 and $1 million on May 13. Eleven days later, the venture capitalist bought additional Apple call options worth an amount between $250,001 and $500,000, according to the disclosure forms. That same day, Paul Pelosi also purchased Microsoft call options worth as much as $600,000.


A call option, or “call,” is a financial contract that gives the option buyer the right to purchase the stock at a certain price. In December, Nancy Pelosi, 82, revealed in filings that she and her husband made as much as $30 million in stock trades involving Big Tech firms. The financial windfall spurred lawmakers from both parties to push forward legislation that would ban members of Congress from trading in stocks. The latest disclosures come just days after it was learned that Paul Pelosi, 82, crashed a new Porsche just five miles from their multimillion-dollar Napa home and vineyard while allegedly under the influence of alcohol. Nancy Pelosi, who represents San Francisco, has been accused of profiting off companies which she is responsible for regulating.

Read more …

The circus starts tomorrow.

Civil Liberties Are Being Trampled by Congress’s 1/6 Committee (Greenwald)

[..] ever since the pro-Trump crowd was dispersed at the Capitol after a few hours of protests and riots, the same repressive climate that arose after 9/11 has prevailed. Mainstream political and media sectors instantly consecrated the narrative, fully endorsed by the U.S. security state, that the United States was attacked on 1/6 by domestic terrorists bent on insurrection and a coup. They also claimed in unison that the ideology driving those right-wing domestic terrorists now poses the single most dangerous threat to the American homeland, a claim which the intelligence community was making even before 1/6 to argue for a new War on Terror (just as neocons wanted to invade and engineer regime change in Iraq prior to 9/11 and then exploited 9/11 to achieve that long-held goal).

With those extremist and alarming premises fully implanted, there has been little tolerance for questions about whether proposed responses for dealing with the 1/6 “domestic terrorists” and their incomparably dangerous ideology are excessive, illegal, unethical, or unconstitutional. Even before Joe Biden was inaugurated, his senior advisers made clear that one of their top priorities was to enact a bill from Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) — now a member of the Select Committee on 1/6 — to import the first War on Terror onto domestic soil. Even without enactment of a new law, there is no doubt that a second War on Terror, this one domestic, has begun and is growing, all in the name of the 1/6 “Insurrection” and with little dissent or even public debate.

Following the post-9/11 script, anyone voicing such concerns about responses to 1/6 is reflexively accused of minimizing the gravity of the Capitol riot and, worse, of harboring sympathy for the plotters and their insurrectionary cause. Questions or doubts about the proportionality or legality of government actions in the name of 1/6 are depicted as insincere, proof that those voicing such doubts are acting not in defense of constitutional or legal principles but out of clandestine camaraderie with the right-wing domestic terrorists and their evil cause.

When it comes to 1/6 and those who were at the Capitol, there is no middle ground. That playbook is not new. “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists” was the rigidly binary choice which President George W. Bush presented to Americans and the world when addressing Congress shortly after the 9/11 attack. With that framework in place, anything short of unquestioning support for the Bush/Cheney administration and all of its policies was, by definition, tantamount to providing aid and comfort to the terrorists and their allies. There was no middle ground, no third option, no such thing as ambivalence or reluctance: all of that uncertainty or doubt, insisted the new war president, was to be understood as standing with the terrorists.

Read more …

“..no senior White House official has ever been put in leg irons for a contempt-of-Congress charge.”

Peter Navarro: Jan. 6 Panel’s Tactics Designed to Stop Trump Before 2024 (NM)

Peter Navarro, former trade adviser to former President Donald Trump, had some choice words for the federal government Tuesday on Newsmax in terms of its conduct with his arrest from last week and subsequent indictment on contempt-of-Congress charges, after defying a subpoena from the House panel investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol. On “Eric Bolling The Balance,” Navarro characterized last week’s arrest and indictment experience as “beyond appalling,” before sharing a daily timeline of pre-arrest events with host Eric Bolling: On Tuesday of last week, Navarro said, he filed a lawsuit against the Jan. 6 House panel, which he called a “kangaroo committee.”

The rationale for the lawsuit: Navarro says the committee’s “illegal and unenforceable subpoenas” should never carry more weight than a senior White House official’s right of executive privilege. Also, Navarro bluntly says the Jan. 6 committee’s primary purpose isn’t to investigate the events leading up to the Capitol attack. Instead, their “No. 1 job is to stop Trump from running” for president in 2024. On Wednesday, Navarro says he penned a letter to the Jan. 6 panel’s deputy attorney, explaining that his executive-privilege rights would preclude him from speaking formally to the “witch hunt” committee. Later in the day, Navarro called the same FBI agent who visited his home the previous week, and said he’d be willing to surrender under “peaceful” circumstances.

Fast-forward to Friday morning: The feds apparently allowed Navarro to eat breakfast and pack for a quick domestic plane trip before making a “showy” arrest at the airport — with five FBI officials apparently taking Navarro down in public. After the arrest, Navarro said, federal officials didn’t let him make a phone call. Law enforcement officials also put Navarro in leg irons, strip-searched him, and provided no food or water, he said. Navarro’s perspective: This was akin to being in “solitary confinement.” In American history, Navarro said, “no senior White House official has ever been put in leg irons for a contempt-of-Congress charge.” He then added: “I remember thinking, while being held up in the cell, ‘This feels like Stalin’s Russia.'”

Read more …

We’re not done.

Trafigura Warns Oil Prices Could Reach ‘Parabolic State’ In Threat To Economy (FT)

The head of Trafigura has warned that the oil market could reach a “parabolic state” this year with prices surging to record highs and triggering a slowdown in economic growth. Jeremy Weir, chief executive of the commodity trader, said that energy markets were in a “critical” state as sanctions on Russia’s oil exports following its invasion of Ukraine had exacerbated already tight supplies created by years of under-investment. “We have got a critical situation,” Weir told the FT Global Boardroom conference on Tuesday. “I really think we have a problem for the next six months…once it gets to these parabolic states, markets can move and they can spike quite a lot.” A parabolic move in markets is generally defined as when a price that has been rising suddenly surges to hitherto unseen levels, mimicking the right side of a parabolic curve.

Weir added it was highly probable that oil prices could rise to $150 a barrel or higher in the coming months, with supply chains strained as Russia tries to redirect its oil exports away from Europe. Brent crude, the international oil benchmark, which is trading near $120 a barrel, hit an all-time peak of $147 on the eve of the financial crisis in 2008. The Trafigura executive was the latest to warn that the economy has not yet seen the worst of the energy crisis, with little way of lowering prices as already-squeezed global supplies are likely to get scarcer if Russian production falls further. Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan’s chief executive, warned last week that prices could reach $150 or $175 a barrel this year. Analysts at Goldman Sachs are forecasting oil could average more than $140 a barrel in the third quarter, when the US summer driving season is at its peak.

Weir said the rising price of other commodities, including metals such as copper and lithium, was also likely to weigh on global economic growth and could ultimately trigger a slowdown to curb demand. “If we see very high energy prices for a period of time we will eventually see demand destruction,” he said. “It will be problematic to sustain these levels and continue global growth.” Russian oil production had already declined by as much as 1.3mn barrels a day — or more than 1 per cent of global demand — with the country’s output of refined products of diesel and gasoline also falling by a similar amount, Weir said.

Read more …

Moving. I don’t think we can afford to lose Julian Assange. Because we will lose ourselves.

Is Our Time Together Running Out? (Stella Moris)

When Julian is taken from his cell to the prison yard he tilts his head up so his eyes can focus on the distance. If he narrows his eyes, the double razor wire above becomes a blur. Beyond is the open sky. Julian recently discovered a family of nesting magpies. He spotted their home subversively nestled between the razor wire. I think our family is like those magpies. When we are together, we are always a few metres from their nest. Our children — Gabriel, who is five, and Max, three — only have memories of their father within the brutal surroundings of Belmarsh prison. We don’t know how long our children have left with their father. We don’t know if we can visit him or even talk to him on the phone. If the extradition goes ahead, US authorities retain the right to put Julian in conditions so cruel that no one in his position is likely to survive.

It is impossible for Julian and me to escape a feeling that he is on death row. Our weekly visits may be the only time we have left together. But for how much longer? A few months more, a few weeks, a few days and then only a few hours? I fear in the end we will count the minutes and the seconds. Were it not for our children, this approaching catastrophe would be all-consuming. But Julian and I know these may be the only memories that our children will have of their father. We make our visits as joyous as possible. I don’t need to explain to Gabriel and Max the reality of this place where we go to visit their father. They live it. The children walk under razor wire and past layers and layers of security to reach their daddy.

Guards search inside their mouths, behind their ears and under their feet. The prison dogs sniff them head to toe, front and back. Last week, Gabriel slipped some daisies he had picked by the prison walls into his pocket to give to his father. After he passed through the metal detector his daisies were confiscated during the pat-down search by one of the guards, albeit reluctantly. During visits, our family is allowed to embrace at the beginning and end. We can hold each others’ hands across the table. Julian and I are not allowed to kiss. But Julian would rather kiss his wife and be penalised than have that taken away from him too. So, we kiss.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

George Webb

 

 

 

 

Norm McDonald

 

 


Secretary bird

 

 

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

 

 

 

Mar 162022
 
 March 16, 2022  Posted by at 5:45 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  23 Responses »


John Atkinson Grimshaw A moonlit lane 1874

 

 

It’s almost slapstick that people call for Putin to be hauled before some international court for war crimes, but it’s true; they do. It tells you what you need to know about your media, and then some. Because, whether you know it or not, the last 4-5 America presidents have been responsible for the deaths of millions of people in Libya, Syria, Afghanistan etc etc. Just not in Ukraine. Wait, that’s probably not true either. The estimated 15,000 deaths in the Donbass over the past 8 years would likely never have happened without some US help.

And we just see it all as par for the course. The “peace” negotiations between Ukraine and Russia look hopeful, but are they? Russia has always been very clear in what it wants from Ukraine, and that goes back way longer than the start of the “special military operation” 3 weeks ago, or Maidan in 2014. It goes back at least to the fall of the Berlin wall, but it’s really much earlier than that. How about 1945, and then throw in Brzezinski, and Wolfowitz, and Kissinger, and why not Mackinder as well?

But don’t let’s make it a book. To simplify, stop at 1991, when Yeltsin became president of Russia, with an alleged 1000 CIA operatives in his Kremlin tow. The Americans thought they had it made. That the deal with Gorbachev, in which he OK’d German reunification on the condition that NATO boundaries would stop right there, no longer mattered. But in 2000 Yeltsin made Putin his successor. I like the notion that the west promoted Putin because they thought he would do exactly what they wanted. But I also like the more romantic version that Yeltsin installed Putin because he felt remorse over selling out his country, and thought Putin might correct that. Fast forward to the “peace” negotiations. What Russia wants is crystal clear. As Robert Barnes put it:

What we see today is they are discussing “neutrality”. But that can still mean different things. Apparently, Russia has suggested a Sweden or Austria status, but Ukraine doesn’t find that safe enough. The idea becomes that if you are truly neutral, why would you need an army? The world’s most neutral country ever, Switzerland still has “something”, as Swissinfo says: “The Swiss Army largely is a non-career militia. Switzerland has compulsory military service for male citizens, though this and indeed the role of the army altogether have recently been called into question.”

That seems close to what Russia would seek for Ukraine. But why can’t Ukraine decide its status for itself? Well, 1/ it was part of Russia for a very long time, 2/ a lot of Russians live in the country, 3/ Russia doesn’t want NATO on its welcoming mat, 4/ it has allowed US/NATO to use its territory for activities that Russia sees as threatening to itself. Like 30 biolabs. That sort of thing. Oh, and 5/ they share a border.

Both sides said today that the talks appear to go well, there’s room for compromise, and Zelensky said yesterday that Ukraine won’t join NATO. And then today he asks the US Congress (both chambers) for more guns and bombs and planes and also a no-fly-zone, though he knows, and everybody knows, that it would be an all-out war declaration, reaching far beyond the borders of Ukraine. And gets cheered for it. But how does he -and they- think that went down in Russia? How is that supposed to solve the problem, and to end the military operation? “We need your help to start WWII!”. This is Pearl Harbor and 9/11 combined! Applause, applause!

In that speech, he was also addressing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, of whom we had a clip earlier today, that really should also make you wonder: how do the Russians see this, or the Chinese? We have tons of clips from Joe Biden exhibiting very strange behavior, for everyone to see, and now this from the 2nd most powerful person in Washington?! At a moment in time when one -even mistaken- push of a button could unleash hell on earth, are you sure a couple of feeble octogenarians are the best people for the job?

 

 

Seriously, I know that Americans see this as normal behavior, but you should really ask yourself how the rest of the world sees it. How is Nancy Pelosi’s performance in that clip not something that would scare the heebees out of you, if you’re in Beijing or Moscow, or any capital city for that matter? To put a dark view on it: why would she care about the future? It’s not hers…

Zelensky is hailed as a hero, because he’s an easy on the eye person that’s ideal for the part, But that is the problem: Zelensky is an actor who plays a hero. What the situation needs is not Zelensky or Pelosi or god forbid Joe Biden (he’s flying to Europe next week). Or, you know, Jake Sullivan or Victoria Nuland.

What it needs is people like Lavrov, maybe Jimmy Carter, statesmen, there must be some sane people left in the US. We need people who genuinely seek peace, not trigger happy neocons and warmongers, on either side, on whatever side.

I think neutrality is possible, even if the Americans won’t like it and Zelensky is their puppet, simply because it’s by far the best, and quite likely the only solution. No Nukes is easy; that was never an option. So is No NATO, as Zelensky himself has already conceded. The crux may be No Nazis. Because Russia will want to make sure of that, before they even think of leaving. Theoretically, Ukraine can maintain an army (of sorts), but that would still be likely to have Azov et al elements.

The only acceptable way -to Moscow- would then be to install a court and drag all the “nazis” in front of it. But that would take a very long time, and the Russians would have to stay in the country for the duration. I wonder how they think that Gordian knot can be cut.

As for the news about Russian soldiers firing at people waiting in line for bread, or shooting at a convoy of people fleeing a city, or bombing a theater where 100s of people were sheltering, look we only get western news. And Russians are doing propaganda too, no doubt, but we can’t see that anymore after their news channels were banned over here. Don’t believe a word you hear or see, without solid proof. Indiscriminate targeting of civilians and children does not appear to be their MO. They could have flattened the entire country in just 3 days if it was.

 

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

Oct 012021
 
 October 1, 2021  Posted by at 8:26 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , ,  69 Responses »


M. C. Escher Development II 1939

 

Boosters Aren’t Effective Because They Target Viruses Previous Identity (DCP)
The Impact Of Covid Vaccination On Alpha And Delta Variant Transmission (Mxiv)
It’s A MYSTERY! -The Hell It Is (Denninger)
Berejiklian Resigns As New South Wales Premier (Sky)
NSW Threatens Jail Time For Unvaccinated Who Try to Enter Businesses (SN)
Los Angeles Moves Toward Barring The Unvaccinated From Most Businesses (R.)
Majority Of Americans Think Those Refusing Vaccine Should Not Lose Job (JTN)
‘Build Back Better’ Act Proposes To Increase Unvaxx Fines Ten Fold (SN)
Progressive Democrats Derail Pelosi’s Planned Vote On Infrastructure Bill (JTN)
Durham Issues Fresh Round Of Subpoenas (CNN)
The News is America’s New Religion (Taibbi)
Julian Assange Supporters Write To Scott Morrison Over Reported CIA Plot (Abc.au)

 

 

Rand Paul

 

 

 

 

Land of the free

 

 

“..Iceland, where 77% are vaccinated but cases are now 677 per-cent higher than a year ago. Norway is 66% vaccinated and cases are up 1.067 per-cent.”

Boosters Aren’t Effective Because They Target Viruses Previous Identity (DCP)

Dr. Ryan Cole, a pathologist and a Mayo Clinic-trained medical expert said the so-called “vaccines” against COVID-19 aren’t really effective because they are made to address the virus as it previously was, not as it is now. “It’s because the coronavirus mutates,” Dr. Cole said when he was interviewed on the Steve Deace Blaze TV show online. Dr. Cole has dealt with thousands of COVID cases in recent months. Deace posed questions about the extremely inconsistent results from around the globe. For example, in Israel, 80% of adults are vaccinated, yet year-to-year cases are up 130% and deaths are up 56%. And in Iceland, where 77% are vaccinated but cases are now 677 per-cent higher than a year ago. Norway is 66% vaccinated and cases are up 1.067 per-cent. But in Malta, cases are down 10% from a year ago.

Cole explained that the inconsistencies and randomness come because the vaccine really isn’t a vaccine; it’s more of a “therapy.” Dr. Cole added, “A true vaccine would allow one to be immune. We’re not seeing that.” “What would be good is to implement are the drugs that shall not be named, as prevention protocols,” Cole explained. Deace then commented, “The government and its media allies have for more than a year now tried to suppress access to and information about products like Ivermectin and Hydroxychloroquine which have been shown to reduce the impact COVID-19. Dr. Cole responded, “With the existing programs to withhold treatments for COVID, and push ‘vaccines,’ both the vaccinated and unvaccinated get sick.” “Early treatments save lives in both of those groups,” he added.

Dr. Cole further explained, “The viral mutations, however, prevent any developed vaccine from being fully effective, because it was made to address a previous rendition of the bug.” “What we have done is obviously made a shot that was partially effective, but these boosters are the wrong protection for the wrong virus,” Cole added.

Read more …

3 months. 12 weeks. Until your next shot.

The Impact Of Covid Vaccination On Alpha And Delta Variant Transmission (Mxiv)

Background Pre-Delta, vaccination reduced transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from individuals infected despite vaccination, potentially via reducing viral loads. While vaccination still lowers the risk of infection, similar viral loads in vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals infected with Delta question how much vaccination prevents onward transmission.

Methods We performed a retrospective observational cohort study of contacts of SARS-CoV-2-infected index cases using contact testing data from England. We used multivariable logistic regression to investigate the impact of index case and contact vaccination on transmission, and how this varies with Alpha and Delta variants (classified using S-gene detection/calendar trends) and time since second vaccination. Results 51,798/139,164(37.2%) contacts tested were PCR-positive. Two doses of BNT162b2 or ChAdOx1 vaccines in Alpha variant index cases independently reduced PCR-positivity in contacts (aOR, adjusted odds ratio vs. unvaccinated=0.18[95%CI 0.12-0.29] and 0.37[0.22-0.63] respectively).

The Delta variant attenuated vaccine-associated reductions in transmission: two BNT162b2 doses reduced Delta transmission (aOR=0.35[0.26-0.48]), more than ChAdOx1 (aOR=0.64[0.57-0.72]; heterogeneity p<0.001). Variation in viral load (Ct values) explained only a modest proportion of vaccine-associated transmission reductions. Transmission reductions declined over time since second vaccination, for Delta reaching similar levels to unvaccinated individuals by 12 weeks for ChAdOx1 and attenuating substantially for BNT162b2. Protection from vaccination in contacts also declined in the 3 months after second vaccination.

Conclusions Vaccination reduces transmission of Delta, but by less than the Alpha variant. The impact of vaccination decreased over time. Factors other than PCR-measured viral load are important in vaccine-associated transmission reductions. Booster vaccinations may help control transmission together with preventing infections.

Read more …

“Clotshot indeed.”

It’s A MYSTERY! -The Hell It Is (Denninger)

“During the summer there was a 25 per cent rise in the number of people rushed to the Golden Jubilee National Hospital in Clydebank with partially blocked arteries cutting blood supply to the heart.”

C’mon jackasses — a 25% increase in one year? You know good and damn well that’s not environmental nor is it due to people’s lifestyles. Yes, lifestyle causes this in many cases but it takes decades to get you due to your lifestyle, not months or a year. What did we change in the subject population less than a year ago, and since this is now happening what leads you to believe it is a one-off?

Oh, this is largely in older people too. Which is exactly who the US Government, anyway, would like to see take the dirt nap since that cuts down Medicare expenses and, to the extent they wind up in nursing homes later, Medicaid expenses too if they have no money. Congratulations on increasing your odds of pulling the short straw — by a lot. Oh, and how many people have an occlusive heart attack at 42? Not many. This guy did — here in the US. DVT, heart attack and a PE at 42? Uh huh. You’re damned lucky you’re not dead and you and I both know damned well why it happened too. Clotshot indeed.

Read more …

Some things you can’t make up. Gladys Berejiklian is possibly the worst face of all lockdowns. She resigns because of a corruption investigation. What corruption? I kid you not: She’s been accused of taking tens of millions from Pfizer and AstraZeneca.

Berejiklian Resigns As New South Wales Premier (Sky)

Gladys Berejiklian has resigned as premier of New South Wales after it was revealed she is under investigation from ICAC. She will also step down as the member for Willoughby, which will trigger a by-election. “I have made it clear on numerous occasions that if any of my ministers were the subject of allegations being investigated by an integrity agency or law enforcement, then he or she should stand aside during the course of the investigation until their name was cleared,” Ms Berejiklian said. “The reason for my stance was not to have made any presumptions, as to their conduct, but rather to maintain the integrity of the public office which has held, which that person is held whilst an investigation was completed.


“That same standard must always apply to me also as the premier, however standing aside is not an option for me as the premier of New South Wales as the people of this state need certainty as to who the leader is during the challenging times of the pandemic. “I cannot predict how long it will take the ICAC to complete this investigation, let alone deliver a report in circumstances where I was first called to give evidence in a public hearing nearly 12 months ago. “Therefore, it pains me to announce that I have no option but to resign from the Office of Premier, my resignation will take effect as soon as the New South Wales Liberal Party can elect a new parliamentary leader in order to allow the new leader and government, a fresh start.”

Clive Palmer

Read more …

Yeah, same state, same woman.

NSW Threatens Jail Time For Unvaccinated Who Try to Enter Businesses (SN)

Authorities in New South Wales are threatening to jail Australians who don’t show a COVID-19 vaccination pass when they enter businesses. Yes, really. NSW Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello threatened people who he described as “fraudsters” with arrest if they try to enter premises with “fake vaccine passports” “If people want to do the wrong thing, if they get found out, as I said, it could be jail time there,” said Dominello. According to the report, people who also try to enter without showing anything will also be subject to arrest.


“Mr Dominello reiterated that those who refuse to show their vaccine status when entering shops, restaurants and other venues should be reported to the police,” reports News.com.au. Enforcing such a system may be problematic however, as the Police Commissioner of New South Wales recently asserted that his officers wouldn’t be checking medical papers. “The role of police in terms of vaccine passports, we will not be walking through restaurants, cafes and pubs checking if people are double vaccinated,” said Mick Fuller. We now face a two tier society where the unvaccinated are not only brazenly discriminated against, but actually thrown in prison if they try to engage in basic commerce or lifestyle activities.

Read more …

People are planning to leave LA in droves. Businesses will follow.

Los Angeles Moves Toward Barring The Unvaccinated From Most Businesses (R.)

Los Angeles officials on Wednesday signaled they would vote next week to prohibit unvaccinated people from entering most businesses in the United States’ second-largest city, one of the nation’s most severe crackdowns so far of the COVID-19 pandemic. All but one of the City Council members present on Wednesday said they supported the proposed “emergency” ordinance, which would require proof of vaccination to enter restaurants, bars, shopping centers, gyms and other indoor spaces. “I am sick and tired of yahoos going into Trader Joe’s (grocery store) refusing to wear a mask,” City Council member Paul Kerkorian said in angry remarks. “I am fed up with people who want to make this into such a politicized issue they have lost all semblance of civility in our society.”


If the proposal is approved next week, as expected, Los Angeles would join San Francisco and New York among major U.S. cities requiring proof of vaccination for indoor businesses. The new rule would take effect in November. Political leaders across the United States, led by Democratic President Joe Biden, have ratcheted up pressure on the unvaccinated in recent weeks. Laws requiring proof of vaccinations are deeply controversial in the United States, with many Americans criticizing them as unconstitutional and authoritarian. A majority of the Los Angeles City Council was prepared to vote in favor of the proof-of-vaccine measure on Wednesday. They were frustrated in that effort by council member Joe Buscaino, who, by withholding his vote, stood in the way of a so-called “unanimous consent.” Buscaino said the vaccine mandate could not be enforced, citing a report by the city’s Department of Building and Safety that it was not equipped to take on such a law enforcement role.

Read more …

Impossible to even imagine a year ago, But here we are.

“..83.5% of Republican voters don’t want the unvaccinated to lose their jobs while 47.9% of Democrats feel the same way..”

Majority Of Americans Think Those Refusing Vaccine Should Not Lose Job (JTN)

New polling on President Joe Biden’s federal vaccine mandate shows the majority of Americans do not think unvaccinated workers should lose their jobs. Convention of States Action released the poll Wednesday, which reports that 65% of surveyed voters “do not believe Americans should lose their jobs if they object to taking the COVID-19 vaccine.” The poll also found 22.2% believe those who refuse the mandate should lose their job, while 12.8% aren’t sure. The data comes as health care workers around the country have lost their jobs for refusing the vaccine, causing staffing problems in some hospitals. Under Biden’s rule, millions of more workers could be in the same position.

Feelings on the mandate differed significantly based on political affiliation. According to the poll, “63.6% of Independent voters do not believe Americans should lose their jobs if they object to taking the COVID-19 vaccine, while 15.5% believe they should, and 20.9% aren’t sure.” Those independents tend to be key swing voters targeted by both parties in election years. The poll found 83.5% of Republican voters don’t want the unvaccinated to lose their jobs while 47.9% of Democrats feel the same way. The mandate in question requires all federal employees and government contractors to be vaccinated. It also requires all businesses with more than 100 employees to ensure their workers are vaccinated or test them weekly, among other new rules and guidelines released by the Biden administration earlier this month.

“This plan will ensure that we are using every available tool to combat COVID-19 and save even more lives in the months ahead, while also keeping schools open and safe, and protecting our economy from lockdowns and damage,” the White House said when announcing the mandate. Convention of States Action partnered with The Trafalgar Group to conduct the survey Sept. 17th through Sept. 19th. They queried 1,000 likely 2022 election voters. Biden already faces lawsuits over the requirement, and more than two dozen Republican governors have made clear their opposition to the vaccine mandate. The legal challenges and nationwide split on the federal order have set up a likely legal showdown that could go to the U.S. Supreme Court.

A different poll from the same group released earlier this month found that Americans support the Republican governors who oppose the mandate. The poll reported that 58.6% of those surveyed “do not believe President Biden has the constitutional authority to force private businesses to require vaccine mandates for employees.”

Read more …

“..any business that refuses to mandate COVID vaccination will face financial ruin…”

‘Build Back Better’ Act Proposes To Increase Unvaxx Fines Ten Fold (SN)

Joe Biden’s so called “Build Back Better’ Act has included COVID as an occupational hazard, and proposes to increase fines for non-compliant companies by TEN TIMES, meaning they could face punishments of $700,000 per violation for employees who are not vaccinated. The Daily Mail reports that fines for “willful and repeated violation” of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSHA) will increase from $70,000 for each violation to $700,000 under the $3.5 trillion spending legislation. The report also notes that serious violations will go up from $7,000 to $70,000, while repeated violations will mean fines of no less than $50,000 per violation, increased from $5,000.


Any business that does not address and correct the violation within an allocated time period will then be fined $70,000 PER DAY, up from $7,000. In other words, any business that refuses to mandate COVID vaccination will face financial ruin. Biden has decreed that any company with over 100 employees will be subjected to the mandate. As we have previously noted, around half of Americans are opposed to the mandate, with almost 60 per cent saying they do not believe Biden has the constitutional authority to enforce vaccine mandates. Biden’s commerce Secretary has claimed that ‘no one is being forced’ to take the vaccines, and that “There’s always been a choice” for workers to stay at home.

Read more …

Tastes like a game.

Progressive Democrats Derail Pelosi’s Planned Vote On Infrastructure Bill (JTN)

Progressive Democrats derailed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s planned vote on the Biden-backed $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill on Thursday. Moderate House Democrats had pushed for a vote on the bipartisan Senate infrastructure bill as opposed to waiting for the completion of the Democrats’ final filibuster-proof budget reconciliation bill. To pass the framework in August for the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill, Pelosi negotiated with moderate Democrats and had agreed to hold a vote on the Senate-passed infrastructure bill by Sept. 27. As of Thursday morning, Pelosi was not backing down from holding a vote on that bill, but House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said later in the day that he was not confident the bill would pass alone.

Meanwhile, on the Senate side, West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin reiterated he would not vote for the $3.5 trillion reconciliation proposal and tartly rejected its level of spending on new public benefit programs as “fiscal insanity.” Manchin indicated that he would support some of the tax reform items in the bill. Ahead of the scheduled House vote on the infrastructure bill, many progressives had said they were ready to vote against it if a final $3.5 trillion filibuster-proof budget reconciliation bill wasn’t voted on first. House Progressive Caucus Chairwoman Pramila Jayapal said recently that progressives had enough votes to sink the infrastructure bill. This scenario played out on Thursday evening when the vote was delayed, prompting Pelosi to send out a “Dear Colleague” letter indicating that she was pressing the pause button on the infrastructure bill vote.

“It has been a day of progress in fulfilling the President’s vision to Build Back Better,” Pelosi wrote. “Thanks to so many members and staff, the work is being done. Discussions continue with the House, Senate and White House to reach a bicameral framework agreement to Build Back Better through a reconciliation bill. Many thanks to members of our caucus for your participation and patience over the past few days. The bipartisan infrastructure bill has already had its rule passed and its debate has concluded. All of this momentum brings us closer to shaping the reconciliation bill in a manner that will pass the House and Senate.”

Read more …

CNN getting worried about Durham?

Durham Issues Fresh Round Of Subpoenas (CNN)

Special Counsel John Durham has issued a new set of subpoenas, including to a law firm with close ties to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, an indication that Durham could be trying to build a broader criminal case, according to people briefed on the matter. So far, Durham’s two-year probe into the FBI’s Russia investigation hasn’t brought about the cases Republicans has hoped it would. The grand jury subpoenas for documents came earlier this month after Durham charged Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann with lying to the FBI in a September 2016 meeting. During that meeting, Sussmann handed over data purporting to show links between the Trump Organization and Russia’s Alfa Bank. That tip became part of the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election but the FBI ultimately couldn’t find evidence of a link.

In seeking additional documents from Sussmann’s former law firm, Perkins Coie, investigators from the special counsel’s office appear to be sharpening their focus on the Democratic political machinery during the 2016 campaign and efforts to tie Trump to Russia. Perkins Coie’s clients in 2016 included the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. The law firm also hired on the campaign’s behalf a research company that commissioned the dossier from ex-British spy Christopher Steele that alleged that Trump was compromised by Russia. Durham has already accessed reams of the law firm’s records, such as billing records, meeting calendars and a log of documents that the firm protects under attorney-client privilege. Some of the newly sought-after documents have been guarded so far by attorney-client privilege.

Durham’s new subpoenas could lead to a court fight over privileged information and draw more about the Clinton campaign into the open. While working for Perkins Coie, Sussmann also represented Rodney Joffe, a cybersecurity expert referred to in Durham’s indictment as “Tech Executive-1.” In 2016, Joffe, who has not been previously identified, worked with researchers to collect internet data about the Trump Organization that Sussmann took to the FBI. Durham’s continued use of the federal grand jury in Washington, DC, signals that he could be interested in adding to Sussmann’s charges or bringing cases against additional defendants. Still, more than two years after being commissioned by then Attorney General William Barr to investigate whether federal authorities improperly targeted the Trump campaign, Durham has little to show for his efforts.

His special counsel probe, which has lasted longer than Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, has so far brought only two lying charges against little-known figures, including the case against Sussmann, who has pleaded not guilty. The results have underwhelmed Trump supporters who had hoped former top FBI and intelligence officials would be prosecuted for “spying” on Trump and his campaign. Already the scope of Durham’s probe has narrowed after Barr announced last year that investigators had found no wrongdoing by the CIA. Yet Durham has continued his investigation, largely in secrecy, working out of a non-descript office building near trendy Washington’s Union Market.

Read more …

Feels a bit stale, Matt.

The News is America’s New Religion (Taibbi)

News in America used to be fun to talk about, fun to joke about, interesting to think about. Now it’s an interminable bummer, because the press business has taken on characteristics of that other institution where talking, joking, and thinking aren’t allowed: church. We have two denominations, both as fact-averse as real churches, as is shown in polls about, say, pandemic attitudes, where Americans across the board consistently show they know less than they think. Surveys found a third of Republicans think the asymptomatic don’t transmit Covid-19, or that the disease kills fewer people than the flu or car crashes. But Democrats also test out atrociously, with 41% thinking Covid-19 patients end up hospitalized over half the time — the real number is 1%-5% — while also wildly overestimating dangers to children, the percentage of Covid deaths under the age of 65, the efficacy of masks, and other issues.

This is the result of narrative-driven coverage that focuses huge amounts of resources on the wrongness of the rival faith. Blue audiences love stories about the deathbed recantations of red-state Covid deniers, some of which are real, some more dubious. A typical Fox story, meanwhile, might involve a woman who passed out and crashed into a telephone pole while wearing a mask alone in her car. Tales of each other’s stupidity are the new national religion, and especially among erstwhile liberals, we take them more seriously than any religion has been taken in the smart set in a long, long time.

In the eighties we made celebrities out of televangelists like Jimmy Swaggart and Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, but none were believable as religious authorities. They were too interesting: they dressed like Vegas club acts, humped everything that moved, and had the enormous balls to stare at cameras and ask for money so the minister and his wife could be driving the right fully-loaded Caddy when Christ returned. By the Reagan years no one believed in miracles or divine retribution anyway, not even Catholics, whose priests had all read Nietzsche and would quietly concede the church’s whole act was a well-meaning metaphor, if cornered by an adult. (Their rap to kids was obviously different; insert your own joke here).

By the time Trump arrived, there was only one route left for media companies, who’d lost ad revenue to Internet platforms, to make money: putting content behind a paywall. Essentially, news companies passed a hat and asked for donations, just like churches. Also like churches, they began to sell belief instead of fact. They turned viewers and readers into congregationalists, people who’d be less interested in news than calls to spiritual battle. Fox had already proven this revenue model could work. In the Trump years, led by the New York Times — which lost other forms of income but went from 1.2 million digital subscribers in 2016 to 7.5 million in 2020 — the rest of the commercial media followed suit.

Read more …

I hope they don’t expect an honest answer.

Julian Assange Supporters Write To Scott Morrison Over Reported CIA Plot (Abc.au)

A group of prominent Australians have written to the Prime Minister, asking what the government knew about an alleged CIA plot to kill or kidnap WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in London, the ABC can reveal. The members of the group, who all visited Assange in London, have also demanded the government reveal whether they were caught up in the US plot and if their lives, too, were ever at risk. The group of 21 lawyers, journalists, academics, and activists wrote to Scott Morrison after revelations in the US media this week the CIA had contemplated kidnapping or assassinating Assange and others in 2017 while the WikiLeaks founder was living in Ecuador’s London embassy.

One of the letter’s signatories, barrister Julian Burnside, who has been negotiating with Canberra to have Assange returned to Australia since 2012, said the new allegations of a planned assassination were of concern. “It’s one thing [for the government] to ignore an Australian overseas who’s in difficulty,” Mr Burnside said. “It’s altogether another to ignore an Australian overseas who may be murdered by another government, a government that is ostensibly an ally.” Another of the signatories, Melbourne lawyer Lizzie O’Shea, said: “Recent events suggest that we’re in a closer relationship with the US than ever before.” “I would like to think that doesn’t come at the expense of our citizens’ rights, and this [letter] is one test of whether that’s true.”

The letter is signed by prominent Australians including Jennifer Robinson, Scott Ludlam, Mary Kostakidis and Kathy Lette. All of them have visited Assange at one time or another. All are concerned they may have been caught up in US intelligence operations. “We wish to know what surveillance or monitoring we have been subjected to by the intelligence agencies of our allies, the United Kingdom and United States,” the letter, sent yesterday afternoon, states. “Were any of us placed on speculative kill lists? “We also believe we have a right to know whether the Australian government was informed or consented to our communications and movements being tracked.”

Read more …

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

Aug 032021
 
 August 3, 2021  Posted by at 9:05 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  151 Responses »


René Magritte Man in a bowler hat 1964

 

Israeli Scientist Says Covid-19 Could Be Treated For Under $1/Day (JPost)
Necessity Of Covid-19 Vaccination In Previously Infected Individuals (Medrxiv)
Covid Vaccines: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly (SPR)
Well, Duh. This Is Why It Was Stupid (Denninger)
When Things Don’t Add Up (Kunstler)
China Will Test All 12 Million Wuhan Residents (F.)
Millions Are Put Into Lockdown In China (DM)
Ratcliffe: COVID Lab Leak “Very Close To A Certainty” (ZH)
AOC Calls Fellow Democrats “Cowards” On The Eviction Moratorium (JTN)
Australians Getting Ready To Overthrow Tyrannical Government (BBee)

 

 

I knew it!

 

 

“99.999% survival vs 99.974% unvaxed. But they just say 25x higher chance of dying. Lmao. So vax increases your odds by .025%. Of surviving. Hmmmmmmmm”

https://twitter.com/i/status/1422202459036999687

 

 

How successful are the vaccines so far?

 

 

Why Macron insists on vaccine passports.

 

 

$1 a day is too cheap for political gain.

Israeli Scientist Says Covid-19 Could Be Treated For Under $1/Day (JPost)

Ivermectin, a drug used to fight parasites in third-world countries, could help reduce the length of infection for people who contract coronavirus for less than a $1 a day, according to recent research by Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer. Prof. Eli Schwartz, founder of the Center for Travel Medicine and Tropical Disease at Sheba, conducted a randomized, controlled, double-blinded trial from May 15, 2020, through the end of January 2021 to evaluate the effectiveness of ivermectin in reducing viral shedding among nonhospitalized patients with mild to moderate COVID-19. Ivermectin has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration since 1987. The drug’s discoverers were awarded the 2015 Nobel Prize in medicine for its treatment of onchocerciasis, a disease caused by infection with a parasitic roundworm.

Over the years, it has been used for other indications, including scabies and head lice. Moreover, in the last decade, several clinical studies have started to show its antiviral activity against viruses ranging from HIV and the flu to Zika and West Nile. The drug is also extremely economical. A study published in the peer-reviewed American Journal of Therapeutics showed that the cost of ivermectin for other treatments in Bangladesh is around $0.60 to $1.80 for a five-day course. It costs up to $10 a day in Israel, Schwartz said. In Schwartz’s study, some 89 eligible volunteers over the age of 18 who were diagnosed with coronavirus and staying in state-run COVID-19 hotels were divided into two groups: 50% received ivermectin, and 50% received a placebo, according to their weight. They were given the pills for three days in a row, an hour before a meal.

The volunteers were tested using a standard nasopharyngeal swab PCR test with the goal of evaluating whether there was a reduction in viral load by the sixth day – the third day after termination of the treatment. They were swabbed every two days. Nearly 72% of volunteers treated with ivermectin tested negative for the virus by day six. In contrast, only 50% of those who received the placebo tested negative. In addition, the study looked at culture viability, meaning how infectious the patients were, and found that only 13% of ivermectin patients were infectious after six days, compared with 50% of the placebo group – almost four times as many. “Our study shows first and foremost that ivermectin has antiviral activity,” Schwartz said. “It also shows that there is almost a 100% chance that a person will be noninfectious in four to six days, which could lead to shortening isolation time for these people. This could have a huge economic and social impact.”

Read more …

There is none: “Individuals who have had SARS-CoV-2 infection are unlikely to benefit from COVID-19 vaccination ..”

Necessity Of Covid-19 Vaccination In Previously Infected Individuals (Medrxiv)

Employees of the Cleveland Clinic Health System working in Ohio on Dec 16, 2020, the day COVID-19 vaccination was started, were included. Any subject who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 at least 42 days earlier was considered previously infected. One was considered vaccinated 14 days after receipt of the second dose of a SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccine. The cumulative incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection over the next five months, among previously infected subjects who received the vaccine, was compared with those of previously infected subjects who remained unvaccinated, previously uninfected subjects who received the vaccine, and previously uninfected subjects who remained unvaccinated.

Results Among the 52238 included employees, 1359 (53%) of 2579 previously infected subjects remained unvaccinated, compared with 22777 (41%) of 49659 not previously infected. The cumulative incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection remained almost zero among previously infected unvaccinated subjects, previously infected subjects who were vaccinated, and previously uninfected subjects who were vaccinated, compared with a steady increase in cumulative incidence among previously uninfected subjects who remained unvaccinated. Not one of the 1359 previously infected subjects who remained unvaccinated had a SARS-CoV-2 infection over the duration of the study. In a Cox proportional hazards regression model, after adjusting for the phase of the epidemic, vaccination was associated with a significantly lower risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection among those not previously infected (HR 0.031, 95% CI 0.015 to 0.061) but not among those previously infected (HR 0.313, 95% CI 0 to Infinity).

Conclusions: Individuals who have had SARS-CoV-2 infection are unlikely to benefit from COVID-19 vaccination, and vaccines can be safely prioritized to those who have not been infected before. Summary: Cumulative incidence of COVID-19 was examined among 52238 employees in an American healthcare system. COVID-19 did not occur in anyone over the five months of the study among 2579 individuals previously infected with COVID-19, including 1359 who did not take the vaccine.

Read more …

“..covid vaccines do not achieve mucosal immunity (in contrast to natural infection) and serum antibody levels (i.e. antibodies in the blood) decrease within months..”

Covid Vaccines: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly (SPR)

The latest data from Israel, which has used primarily the Pfizer mRNA vaccine, indicates that vaccine effectiveness against Delta coronavirus infection and symptomatic (“mild”) disease has dropped from about 95% to about 40%, whereas effectiveness against hospitalization and severe disease (i.e. low blood oxygen levels) remains at 80% to 90% (see chart above). Importantly, in people who got vaccinated already in January 2021 (primarily the elderly), protection against infection and mild disease may already have dropped to near 0% (see chart above). Moreover, since the Delta covid outbreak is still accelerating in Israel, the effectiveness against hospitalization and severe disease may further decrease (due to lags in hospitalizations). (Update: New data from Hebrew University shows that protection against severe disease has already dropped to 80%; compared to the original 96%, this results in a five-fold increase in residual risk.)

In the UK, which has primarily used the AstraZeneca DNA adenovector vaccine, the latest estimate by researchers at University College London indicates an effectiveness against infection of about 20% and a total effectiveness against severe disease of about 60%. In very senior citizens, the effectiveness against severe disease may be even lower (due to a weaker immune response). (A substantially higher estimate by Public Health England, recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine, was based on outdated data from early June. Interestingly, the British government hasn’t updated its data on AstraZeneca vaccine effectiveness since June 13. Update: New data from PHE confirms that effectiveness against infection has dropped below 20%.)

The Israeli data shown above indicates that effectiveness against infection and mild symptoms decreases rapidly over time and reaches near-zero levels after about half a year. Most likely, this is because covid vaccines do not achieve mucosal immunity (in contrast to natural infection) and serum antibody levels (i.e. antibodies in the blood) decrease within months. Thus, the false promise of very high protection against “symptomatic infection”, found during official vaccine trials, was simply based on very high short-term serum antibody levels mimicking mucosal immunity. Conceivably, the pharmaceutical companies may even have known that this was just a (very lucrative) “flash in the pan” and not a lasting protective effect.

In contrast, protection against severe disease is achieved by lower serum antibody levels in combination with immunological memory (B cells) and cellular immunity (T cells). However, the Delta variant has already achieved partial immune evasion (as did Beta and Gamma, but not Alpha), and future coronavirus variants will likely achieve almost complete immune evasion. Thus, vaccine protection even against severe disease will likely further decrease due to new variants, or, in the very worst case, will turn into antibody-dependent disease enhancement (ADE), if high levels of non-neutralizing antibodies aggravate the infection. Indeed, this is what happened in the case of vaccines against SARS-1 and dengue fever.


Serum antibody levels after vaccination with Pfizer (blue) and AstraZeneca (red).

Read more …

An addendum to Vanden Bossche:

“There is no safe means of mass-use of non-sterilizing vaccines so long as transmission within the community does or is likely to exist.”

Well, Duh. This Is Why It Was Stupid (Denninger)

I warned everyone. Now even CNN is on it, although they (like SAGE) think we’re smarter than nature — and evolution. “They write that some variants that have emerged over the past few months “show a reduced susceptibility to vaccine-acquired immunity, though none appears to escape entirely.” But they caution that these variants emerged “before vaccination was widespread,” and that “as vaccines become more widespread, the transmission advantage gained by a virus that can evade vaccine-acquired immunity will increase.” In a word: Duh. I know I’ve been banging on this drum since Covid-19 started but it is no-less important today, especially in the context of holding people accountable for killing several hundred thousand Americans and the economic destruction they brought upon the nation.

To be sterilizing a vaccine must prevent infection. Since you never get infected you never replicate the virus and thus do not shed it. If you do not shed it the potential path of the viral life-cycle for that particular infection ends with you and thus you cannot pass on or cause a mutation. You are sterile against that disease; from the point of view of the virus you are a lifeless rock. Among commonly-used sterilizing vaccines are MMR (measles, mumps and rubella), Varicella (chicken pox), OPV (oral polio) and others. The only time that such a vaccine fails is when you do not build immunity (such as due to immune compromise.) This is extremely rare and the protection from such vaccines tends to be either decades-long or lifetime.

A vaccine that is not sterilizing permits the virus to infect you and replicate and as a result you can infect others. Technically it is not a vaccine at all (which by definition prevents infection); it is a prophylactic therapy. Such a “vaccine” instead acts to reduce or eliminate symptomatic disease. You don’t know you’re sick and you don’t get sick. You don’t go to the hospital and you don’t die. Unfortunately since you don’t know you’re sick but are infected and the virus is both replicating in you and shedding you are more-likely to spread the infection to others. All of the current Covid jabs are in this category and so is, for that matter IPV (injected polio vaccine — the original Salk discovery.) During the original vaccine trials in the summer and fall of 2020 they deliberately did not test any of the recipients for asymptomatic infections.

Only a person who developed a significant illness was tested. This has continued post roll-out with the CDC specifying that a close contact of a known case who was vaccinated did not need to quarantine or be tested until and unless they became symptomatic. They knew damn well, in other words, that the jabs were not sterilizing but did not want that data up for public debate because then those who have read history would be likely to make the connection to the present day and thus they did their level best to hide it. That has now blown up in their face with it being conclusively known that jabbed people in fact not only get infected but spread the virus to others. The problem with non-sterilizing vaccines is simply this: There is no safe means of mass-use of non-sterilizing vaccines so long as transmission within the community does or is likely to exist.

Ever. There are no exceptions. This was known to public health officials and virologists seventy years ago and is why the United States used both IPV (injected polio vaccine) and OPV (oral polio vaccine) in sequence for polio until the 1990s. OPV produced sterilizing immunity but IPV did not. OPV had a very small (but non-zero, about 1 in a million) risk of causing polio because it was a codon-deoptimized live virus which, on rare occasion, would mutate back to its virulent form in the human body. So to mitigate that risk you got IPV first in the US (to prevent systemic infection; this was non-sterilizing), then OPV which is sterilizing — that is, it prevents not only getting sick from polio but also replicating and shedding the virus, thus giving it to others along with preventing the promotion of mutations that WILL eventually escape the vaccine.

Had we done with polio what we’re doing now with Covid — IPV (non-sterilizing) use only with virus circulating in the United States — it is very likely the virus would have mutated, escaped the vaccine and killed millions in America.

Malone Arms race.

Read more …

“All that sound-and-fury for what? For vaccines that don’t work… and which, quite possibly, could leave you seriously ill, even dead?”

When Things Don’t Add Up (Kunstler)

The Covid 19 panic, which has been driving formerly civilized societies crazy for eighteen months, prompted the bringing-forth of The Science’s follow-up project: vaccines to stop the spread of the virus. Enter the scene, these vaxes did, like, a day-and-a-half after Covid-19 pirouetted onstage. Hmmmm. Could someone have been working on those vaxes backstage before the dread virus even premiered? Were patents issued for them pre-dating January, 2020? Seems so. But never mind that for now. The vaxes were rolled out to fanfares over a year ago and those moiling masses of America, the superfluous holders of bachelor’s degrees in Oppression Studies — for whom, sadly, the world had run-out of paying positions — lined up like kids at Santa’s throne in Macy’s on Black Sunday for their Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson jabs. Whew…! That was a close call!

Or was it? Naw, not even close, actually. Since now it turns out that the jabs don’t seem to work that well. The official story got murkier last week when the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported internally to staff (it leaked) that “fully vaccinated people might spread the Delta variant at the same rate as unvaccinated people.” Whoopsie…. In a Delta variant outbreak on Cape Cod last month, three-quarters of the infected were fully vaxed-up patients. The story got darker because The New York Times, the usually-reliable mouthpiece for The Science and his allies in “Joe Biden’s” public health bureaucracy, let slip that, “The Delta variant is as contagious as chickenpox and may be spread by vaccinated people as easily as the unvaccinated.”

Wuh-oh…! A worm the size of an Amtrak Acela train has turned in the myocarditic heart of our nation’s capital. Things have changed overnight — didn’t they see it coming? — and now the government is freaking out as it appears to have some serious ‘splainin’ to do — and right on the heels, too, of an hysterical month-long campaign to persuade the remaining unvaxed millions to submit to the needle, climaxed by threatening the obdurate “hesitants” with taking away their employment and ability to participate in commerce and social life. All that sound-and-fury for what? For vaccines that don’t work… and which, quite possibly, could leave you seriously ill, even dead?

Read more …

Chia uses nucleic acid amplification tests, not PCR.

China Will Test All 12 Million Wuhan Residents (F.)

Chinese authorities said Tuesday they will administer Covid-19 tests to all 12 million residents in Wuhan, where the first cases of Covid-19 were first reported, after the first local cases of infection by the highly contagious delta variant were reported in the city. On Monday, authorities confirmed three new delta variant Covid-19 cases in Wuhan, the first local cases since mid-May last year, Reuters reported. A city official told a news briefing that the city-wide testing was being done to screen out all asymptomatic infections and to ensure that everyone in the city was safe.


Besides Wuhan, China has detected new local infections in the nearby cities of Jingzhou and Huanggang, all of which have been linked to cases found in China’s Jiangsu province. The outbreak in Jiangsu was reportedly fueled by the delta variant which is believed to have entered the region from an infected passenger flying in from Russia. 414. That’s the total number of locally acquired Covid-19 cases China has reported since July 20, when the first infections in Jiangsu were reported. It’s unclear if all of these cases are delta variant infections.

Read more …

Zero covid is a bad idea.

Millions Are Put Into Lockdown In China (DM)

Millions of people have been placed back into lockdown in China as the country tries to contain its largest coronavirus outbreak in months with mass testing and travel curbs. The country reported 55 new locally transmitted coronavirus cases today as an outbreak of the fast-spreading Delta variant reached over 20 cities and more than a dozen provinces. The latest surge, which state media has labelled the ‘most extensive outbreak of Covid since Wuhan’, began when airport workers in Nanjing who had cleaned a plane that arrived from Russia later tested positive for the virus. Local governments in major cities including Beijing have now tested millions of residents, while cordoning off residential compounds and placing close contacts under quarantine.

While the number of cases is relatively small they are spread out across the country, prompting state media to compare it to the initial outbreak in Wuhan in 2019. The central city of Zhuzhou in Hunan province ordered over 1.2 million residents on Monday to stay home under strict lockdown for the next three days as it rolls out a citywide testing and vaccination campaign, according to an official statement. ‘The situation is still grim and complicated,’ the Zhuzhou government said. Beijing has previously boasted of its success in bringing domestic cases down to virtually zero after the coronavirus first emerged in Wuhan in late 2019, allowing the economy to rebound.

But the latest outbreak, linked to a cluster in Nanjing where nine cleaners at an international airport tested positive on July 20, is threatening that success with more than 360 domestic cases reported in the past two weeks. In the tourist destination of Zhangjiajie, near Zhuzhou, an outbreak spread last month among theatre patrons who then brought the virus back to their homes around the country. Zhangjiajie locked down all 1.5 million residents on Friday. Officials are urgently seeking people who have recently travelled from Nanjing or Zhangjiajie, and have urged tourists not to travel to areas where cases have been found.

Meanwhile, Beijing has blocked tourists from entering the capital during the peak summer holiday travel season. Only ‘essential travellers’ with negative nucleic acid tests will be allowed to enter after the discovery of a handful of cases among residents who had returned from Zhangjiajie. Top city officials on Sunday called for residents ‘not to leave Beijing unless necessary’. The capital’s Changping district locked down 41,000 people in nine housing communities last week.

Read more …

No Democrat will listen.

Ratcliffe: COVID Lab Leak “Very Close To A Certainty” (ZH)

Former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe says that the lab-leak Covid-19 origin hypothesis isn’t just a “possibility,” but “more like a probability, if not very close to a certainty.” In a Monday Op-Ed, Ratcliffe excoriated China for rejecting new plans by the World Health Organization to investigate the lab-leak theory, which was “remarkable not only because of China’s continued belligerence, but also because the WHO was once complicit, caving to the CCP’s initial pressure to dismiss the lab leak theory and downplay the CCP’s coverup.” “I had access to all of the U.S. government’s most sensitive intelligence related to the pandemic. My informed opinion is that the lab leak theory isn’t just a “possibility,” at the very least it is more like a probability, if not very close to a certainty.

More than 18 months after the virus first leaked into the world, I still have not seen a single shred of scientific evidence or intelligence that the virus outbreak was a naturally occurring “spillover” that jumped from an animal to a human”. -John Ratcliffe Ratcliffe then notes that the CCP has gone to great lengths to ensure there is no “smoking gun,” and in fact – “every piece of evidence I have seen points to the pandemic’s origin being a leak out of the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).” The former DNI notes that classified intelligence has since been corroborated by public reporting with further details, yet “some in the media unwittingly helped the CCP in its disinformation efforts, dismissing the lab leak theory as a “conspiracy theory,” while Facebook affixed warnings of “false or misleading” to anyone who dared speak of it.”

Ratcliffe notes that before Trump left office, he tried to balance the need to protect intelligence gathering techniques with public disclosure – culminating in the State Department fact sheet which revealed that “several researchers inside the WIV became sick in autumn 2019, before the first identified case of the outbreak, with symptoms consistent with both Covid-19 and seasonal illnesses.”

Read more …

They could all have done this months ago, especially Pelosi, but also AOC.

AOC Calls Fellow Democrats “Cowards” On The Eviction Moratorium (JTN)

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is calling fellow Washington Democrats “cowards” for failing to extend a moratorium on evicting Americans during the pandemic, which after roughly 8 months of protection has put a reported 11 million Americans in jeopardy of losing shelter. “The House and House leadership had the opportunity to vote to extend the moratorium and there was, frankly, a handful of conservative Democrats in the House that threatened to get on planes rather than hold this vote,” Cortez said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “We have to call a spade a spade. We cannot in good faith blame the Republican Party when House Democrats have a majority.”

The White House has said it didn’t have the authority to extend the moratorium past August 31 and asked Congress to address the issue legislatively. The House vote failed Friday. The Democrat-controlled Senate has yet to vote on the matter, but likely also does not have the votes. Ocasio-Cortez, is the official leader of House Democrats’ so-called squad, the conference’s most progressive wing. Fellow squad members Reps. Cori Bush, of Missouri, Ilhan Omar, of Minnesota, and Ayanna Pressley, of Massachusetts, all slept just outside of the Capitol building this past weekend to protest the end of the ban.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi along with other key Democrat leaders have sent a letter to the White House asking it to make the order instead of Congress because they did not have the votes needed. “It is clear that the Senate is not able to [extend the ban], and any legislation in the House, therefore, will not be sufficient,” the letter reads. “Action is needed, and it must come from the administration.” The Senate is still in session, but the House is now out for the remainder of the summer. However, House members may be called back in to pass the $1 trillion infrastructure bill.

Read more …

“—Wait, Nevermind, Seems They Gave Up All Their Guns”

Australians Getting Ready To Overthrow Tyrannical Government (BBee)

Reports are coming in from the land down under that the people of Australia are getting ready to overthrow their tyrannical government—oh wait, they actually gave up all their guns. Amid the fears over the Delta strain of the virus, armed military members were patrolling the streets to make sure people were all at their correct address while helicopters and drones circled overhead to order people to go back inside if they ventured out at all in what the nation could only describe as some Orwellian nightmare. Many Aussies decided it was time to do something about the situation. “Blimey, this right here is a dog’s breakfast! No blokes gone walkabout since they brought in the military to cover us, shrimp on a barbie,” said a man who simply goes by Croc.


An American translator was found who told us that what Croc was saying was that the entire continent nation of 25 million people was living under martial law with no end in sight because a little over 900 people had died from coronavirus throughout the pandemic. “We were totally fed up with this and were all set to tell them Blokes and Sheilas to right buzz off, but then we remembered that we let the government have all our guns already,” Croc continued somberly. At publishing time, Australians were asking the aboriginals if they had any of those cool dart guns or at least some bevvies to make it through the lockdowns.

Read more …

 

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

 

 

 

 

Get up!

 

 

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

 

Feb 142021
 
 February 14, 2021  Posted by at 3:05 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  20 Responses »


Jean-Michel Basquiat Warrior 1982

 

 

As the second Trump impeachment circus has come to an end, which it seems to have done last night, we have to try and map what lies ahead, not just in politics, but also in the media. Which for the past 5 years have run almost exclusively on banging the Trump drum. This is not true only for the MSM, it also includes other media, including the Automatic Earth.

What are we all going to report on going forward? Trump has been acting like a kind of black hole in “news”, sucking up all the light and matter that came close to him. We ourselves didn’t get close enough to be annihilated by the black hole, like CNN and New York Times did, but its gravity pull did shape -and distort- our universe as well.

Last week I ran a graph depicting US cable TV viewer numbers, and said: “Here’s what will determine US politics in the next 4 years. Lack of clickbait. War would be good for ratings.” The graph is devastating for CNN, which lost over 40% of viewers in just one week, before and after the Biden inauguration. The network that is most anti-Trump got hammered once he was gone. The irony is palpable. It was also entirely predictable.

 

 

What will CNN and NYT and WaPo turn to now? Not Joe Biden, that’s for sure. No energy there, hence no news. Or rather, no clickbait. Of course over the past few days they were fully focused on the second impeachment, but that was the worst dud ever, sucking blood out of a stone. Did anyone ever have the idea that the Dems even tried to win this?

Legal scholar Jonathan Turley wrote well before the acquittal vote that he thought they were “tanking” it, an American football term for losing on purpose:

 

Did The Democrats “Tank” The Second Trump Trial?

In the last impeachment, I criticized the House leadership for impeaching Trump on the thinnest record in the shortest time in history. It then outdid itself by impeaching him a second time with no record and no hearing. Even a day of hearings would have reduced the serious prudential concerns of senators, but the House pushed through a snap impeachment on a muscle vote. That left the House with no record despite being denied witnesses in the prior impeachment by the Senate

The greatest indication of tanking was the language of the article itself. Even a single day of hearings would have allowed experts to discuss the potential impeachable conduct and the crafting of articles of impeachment. There was credible impeachable offenses in Trump’s conduct on January 6th and its aftermath. Instead, the House leadership insisted on impeachment for “incitement of insurrection.” The House is not alleging reckless or negligent conduct leading to a riot. It is alleging incitement to actually seek rebellion or overthrow of the country.

The article specifically refers to section 3 of the 14th Amendment in its prohibition of anyone holding office if they “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against” the United States. Even moderate senators who condemned Trump for his speech would be highly unlikely to convict on such an article. The House made it easy on those seeking acquittal. It could have crafted an article that would appeal to broader bipartisan support. Instead, it sought the most extreme language alleging incitement to an actual insurrection — virtually guaranteeing a partisan vote and likely acquittal.

 

And then yesterday what seemed to happen was that Nancy Pelosi, as soon as she understood she would be called as a witness if any were allowed, fumbled the ball and would not allow any witnesses. Trump lawyer Michael van der Veen turned on the MSM media for their coverage of the trial, but only after his home was vandalized and he received 100 death threats. Shame he wasn’t wearing a Viking helmet.

 

https://twitter.com/i/status/1360815669294596096

 

But okay, for now it’s over. Trump has made some noise about ‘this is only the beginning’, exactly what the MSM have wet dreams about, but for the near future, it’ll be Biden all the way. Sure, they will try and pin Ol’ Joe’s mishaps on Trump, but at some point they must blame his errors on him. The end of a perfectly beautiful friendship. Joe is Kryptonite for the MSM.

How many Americans have died of COVID-related issues since Inauguration Day? Oh, but that’s all Trump’s fault. OK, so how many will die from today on? Also Trump’s fault? Till when does that last? Question: why did Biden keep Dr. Fauci in his job after so many people died? Because he was heroically battling Trump? Nothing was Fauci’s fault?

That leads me to another topic that, like Trump, we have written so much about that I sometimes don’t see what more there is to say. Well, perhaps other than: why doesn’t your government do everything in its power to keep its citizens from dying, and instead only locks them down and puts facemasks on their weakened immune systems? (This is not only true for the US, of course).

They can boost those immune systems, it’s very easy even, and they know about it. So why does it continue to (not) happen? And when will the MSM finally find out about it and start reporting on it?

In a Twitter thread, British MP David Davis points to a recent study linked to the Lancet named Calcifediol Treatment and COVID-19-Related Outcomes , and says:

This is a very important study on vitamin D and Covid-19. Its findings are incredibly clear. An 80% reduction in need for ICU and a 60% reduction in deaths, simply by giving a very cheap and very safe therapy – calcifediol, or activated vitamin D. The findings of this large and well conducted study should result in this therapy being administered to every Covid patient in every hospital in the temperate latitudes.


Furthermore, since the study demonstrates that the clear relationship between vitamin D and Covid mortality is causal, the UK government should increase the dose and availability of free vitamin D to all the vulnerable groups. These approaches will save many thousands of lives. They are overdue and should be started immediately.

Calcifediol is what your body turns vit. D into, and the study doesn’t appear to mention that adequate vit. D levels reduce risk of infection by some 50% to begin with. If an MP knows this, and talks about it, can the rest of government plead ignorance?

Then, there are 38 published trials for ivermectin as a COVID treatment. Are these being ignored by the west because they took place in countries such as Israel, Peru, Mexico, Pakistan, Lebanon, Turkey, Argentina, Iran? What say you, Fauci? What say your friends in the industry?

 

 

And of course just a few days ago we had our own resident MD, John Day, explaining how to Treat Your Own COVID. So the information is out there, even if Fauci and/or the MSM won’t give it to you. And it’s information that may well save your lives, or those of people close to you.

Anyway, the premise of this article was what the MSM are going to do now that their Golden Trump Goose can no longer deliver the desired clickbait. Will they be desperate enough to tell people how to save their own lives? I must say, I don’t really see that happening. It appears much more likely that they start banging war drums, their tried and tested MO.

Thing is, can you really send troops to far away deserts while your own health care systems are imploding? And before you give people the $2,000 $1,400 $600 checks that some pundits claim will allow them to pay all their bills until July? I’d almost wish you would try, but I don’t actually want more people to die.

If I were a betting man, I’d put my money on the MSM soon being back to where they were before Trump entered stage right: on the verge of bankruptcy. But I’m not a betting man, and I’m not always right. Still, if I were Trump I’d lay low for a while and let them draw their terminal breaths. But I’m not Trump either.

 

 

 

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

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in 2021. Click at the top of the sidebars to donate with Paypal and Patreon.

 

Jan 132021
 
 January 13, 2021  Posted by at 10:31 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,  61 Responses »


Alfred Wertheimer Elvis entering the Warwick 1956

 

The Ireland Event (Ben Hunt)
Japan To Suspend Entry Of All Foreigners (NHK)
China Sees Growing COVID-19 Threat As More Cities Locked Down (R.)
Ron Paul Criticized Social Media Censorship Before Being Blocked (Turley)
How Silicon Valley Monopolistic Force Destroyed Parler (Greenwald)
Pence Responds To Pelosi, Won’t Invoke 25th Amendment (Mike Pence)
Trump’s Last Chance to Declassify Secrets of the Russia Collusion Dud (Maté)
Israel Isn’t A Democracy, It’s An ‘Apartheid Regime’ – Rights Group (CNN)
Upbeat Xi Says “Time And Situation On China’s Side” (ZH)
Food Hampers In Wales As English Mum Posts Picture Of £30 Package (WO)
Top Scientists: ‘Ghastly Future Of Mass Extinction’, Climate Disruption (G.)

 

 

“There is nothing the matter with Americans except their ideals. The real American is all right: It is the ideal American who is all wrong.”
– G.K. Chesterton

 

 

 

 

“..a 30x spike in Covid cases in Ireland over the span of two weeks in late December..”

The Ireland Event (Ben Hunt)

And when I say “insane infection numbers” I mean a 30x spike in Covid cases in Ireland over the span of two weeks in late December, where the R number – the basic reproductive rate of the disease – went from something around 1.2 to something around 3. Where you suddenly went from a few hundred new Covid cases every day to more than six thousand cases every day. All in a country the size of Alabama (which, btw, currently has about 4 thousand cases every day). [..] I believe there is a non-trivial chance that the United States will experience a rolling series of “Ireland events” over the next 30-45 days, where the Covid effective reproductive number (Re not R0) reaches a value between 2.4 and 3.0 in states and regions where a) the more infectious UK-variant (or similar) Covid strain has been introduced, and b) Covid fatigue has led to deterioration in social distancing behaviors.

A single Ireland event is a disaster. A series of Ireland events on the scale of the United States is catastrophic. If this were to occur, I’d expect to see a doubling of new Covid cases/day from current levels in the aggregate (today’s 7-day average is 240k/day), peaking somewhere around 500,000 new daily cases before draconian economic shutdowns (more severe than anything we’ve seen to date) would occur in every impacted major metro area. Hospital systems across the country would be placed under enormous additional strain, leading to meaningfully higher case fatality ratios (CFRs) as medical care was rationed. Most critically, this new infection rate would far outpace our current vaccine distribution capacity and policy. Assuming that vaccines are preferentially administered to the elderly, aggregate infection fatality ratios (IFRs) should decrease, but the overall burden of severe outcomes (death, long-term health consequences) would shift to younger demographics.

Current US government policy rejects the possibility of an Ireland event, largely because of what I believe is a politically-motivated analysis by the CDC that models more than 100 million Americans already possessing Covid antibodies, prior to any vaccination effort. Using data from flu monitoring programs in prior years, the CDC models project that 70 MILLION Americans have already gotten sick with symptomatic Covid, but decided to just write it off as a bad cold and never got tested. I am not making this up. Add in another 10 million or so Americans who the CDC models as having already had asymptomatic Covid, add in the 23 million Americans who we know have had Covid, and voila! – per the CDC, one-third of the American population is already effectively immunized against getting Covid in the future. And obviously enough, if >30% of Americans are already effectively immunized against Covid because they’ve already gotten sick, then it’s very difficult to hit the Re numbers of 2.4 – 3.0 that Ireland is currently experiencing.

I think this model is wrong, and I think the CDC knows that it’s wrong. I think it’s wrong because the 2021 behavior of someone who thinks they might have Covid is very different from the 2015 behavior of someone who thought they might have had the flu, but the CDC assumes it is the same in their models. You don’t ignore Covid. You don’t just brush it off. I’d say that no one just brushes off Covid symptoms the way they might have brushed off flu symptoms in the past, but of course that’s not true. I’m sure there are millions of Americans who have, in fact, had symptomatic Covid and ignored it, particularly in spring and early summer when our national testing capability was pathetic. But 70 MILLION Americans? Twenty percent of ALL Americans? More than three times the number of known Covid cases? C’mon, man.

I think the CDC knows this model is wrong because if it were true – if they actually thought that one-third of Americans were already effectively immunized by having Covid antibodies – this would be an ENORMOUS factor in determining vaccination policy. Otherwise, you are going to be wasting one-third of your precious supply of vaccines on people who don’t need it. I think the CDC knows this model is wrong because if it were true, how do you make sense of Covid hospitalization rates?

Read more …

Soon to come in a country near you.

Japan To Suspend Entry Of All Foreigners (NHK)

The Japanese government plans to suspend the entry of all foreigners as the coronavirus continues to spread around the world. Japan halted all new arrivals of non-nationals last month after new strains of the coronavirus that are believed to be highly transmissible were confirmed in the UK and elsewhere. But it continued to allow entry by businesspeople from 10 Asian countries and Taiwan. The government plans to suspend the entry of travelers, regardless of whether a coronavirus variant has been detected in their country, as part of its tighter entry restrictions following the declaration of a state of emergency.


No foreigners will be allowed to enter Japan, except for special reasons, such as a relative’s funeral or childbirth. Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide said last week he plans to ban travel to and from countries and territories where a new strain of the coronavirus has been confirmed. But members of his party and others described the measure as confusing.

Read more …

China’s nervous.

China Sees Growing COVID-19 Threat As More Cities Locked Down (R.)

China has recorded the biggest daily jump in COVID cases in more than five months, despite four cities in lockdown, increased testing and other measures aimed at preventing another wave of infections in the world’s second biggest economy. Most of the new patients were reported near the capital Beijing, but a province in northeast China also saw a rise in new cases, official data showed on Wednesday, amid a resurgence that has seen more than 28 million people under home quarantine. The National Health Commission said in a statement that a total of 115 new confirmed cases were reported in the mainland compared with 55 a day earlier. This was the highest daily increase since July 30.

The commission said 107 of the new cases were local infections. Hebei, the province that surrounds Beijing, accounted for 90 of the cases, while northeastern Heilongjiang province reported 16 new cases. [..] Hebei has put three cities – Shijiazhuang, Xingtai and Langfang – into lockdown as part of the efforts to keep the virus from spreading further, while Beijing city authorities have stepped up screening and prevention measures to prevent another cluster from developing there. Heilongjiang province on Wednesday declared a COVID-19 emergency. The city of Suihua, which borders the provincial capital Harbin, put its 5.2 million people under lockdown.

Most of the cases in Heilongjiang have been found in Wangkui county, under Suihua’s jurisdiction, which had already been put into a lockdown earlier this week. Tieli, a city of about 300,000 people that borders Suihua, said on Wednesday it will not allow any people or vehicles to leave for three days as part of new COVID-19 prevention measurs.

Read more …

An 85-year old apostle for peace. Boy, you guys screwed up.

Ron Paul Criticized Social Media Censorship Before Being Blocked (Turley)

We have been discussing the chilling crackdown on free speech that has been building for years in the United States. This effort has accelerated in the aftermath of the Capitol riot including the shutdown sites like Parler. Now former Texas congressman Ron Paul, 85, has been blocked from using his Facebook page for unspecified violations of “community standards.” Paul’s last posting was linked to an article on the “shocking” increase of censorship on social media. Facebook then proceeded to block him under the same undefined “community standards” policy. Paul, a libertarian leader and former presidential candidate, has been an outspoken critics of foreign wars and an advocate for civil liberties for decades. He wrote: “With no explanation other than ‘repeatedly going against our community standards,’ @Facebook has blocked me from managing my page. Never have we received notice of violating community standards in the past and nowhere is the offending post identified.”

His son is Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) tweeted, “Facebook now considers advocating for liberty to be sedition. Where will it end?” Even before the riot, Democrats were calling for blacklists and retaliation against anyone deemed to be “complicit” with the Trump Administration. We have been discussing the rising threats against Trump supporters, lawyers, and officials in recent weeks from Democratic members are calling for blacklists to the Lincoln Project leading a a national effort to harass and abuse any lawyers representing the Republican party or President Trump. Others are calling for banning those “complicit” from college campuses while still others are demanding a “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” to “hold Trump and his enablers accountable for the crimes they have committed.” Daily Beast editor-at-large Rick Wilson has added his own call for “humiliation,” “incarceration” and even ritualistic suicides for Trump supporters in an unhinged, vulgar column.

After the riots, the big tech companies moved to ban and block sites and individuals, including Parler which is the primary alternative to Twitter. Also, a top Forbes editor Randall Lane warned any company that they will be investigated if they hire any former Trump officials. The riots are being used as a license to rollback on free speech and retaliate against conservatives. In the meantime, the silence of academics and many in the media is deafening. Many of those who have spoken for years about the dark period of McCarthyism and blacklisting are either supporting this censorship or remaining silent in the face of it. Now that conservatives are the targets, speech controls and blacklists appear understandable or even commendable. The move against Paul, a long champion of free speech, shows how raw and comprehensive this crackdown has become. It shows how the threat to free speech has changed. It is like having a state media without state control. These companies are moving in unison but not necessarily with direct collusion.

Read more …

“..exactly at the moment when it became the most-downloaded app in the country…”

How Silicon Valley Monopolistic Force Destroyed Parler (Greenwald)

Critics of Silicon Valley censorship for years heard the same refrain: tech platforms like Facebook, Google and Twitter are private corporations and can host or ban whoever they want. If you don’t like what they are doing, the solution is not to complain or to regulate them. Instead, go create your own social media platform that operates the way you think it should. The founders of Parler heard that suggestion and tried. In August, 2018, they created a social media platform similar to Twitter but which promised far greater privacy protections, including a refusal to aggregate user data in order to monetize them to advertisers or algorithmically evaluate their interests in order to promote content or products to them. They also promised far greater free speech rights, rejecting the increasingly repressive content policing of Silicon Valley giants.

Over the last year, Parler encountered immense success. Millions of people who objected to increasing repression of speech on the largest platforms or who had themselves been banned signed up for the new social media company. As Silicon Valley censorship radically escalated over the past several months — banning pre-election reporting by The New York Post about the Biden family, denouncing and deleting multiple posts from the U.S. President and then terminating his access altogether, mass-removal of right-wing accounts — so many people migrated to Parler that it was catapulted to the number one spot on the list of most-downloaded apps on the Apple Play Store, the sole and exclusive means which iPhone users have to download apps. “Overall, the app was the 10th most downloaded social media app in 2020 with 8.1 million new installs,” reported TechCrunch.

It looked as if Parler had proven critics of Silicon Valley monopolistic power wrong. Their success showed that it was possible after all to create a new social media platform to compete with Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. And they did so by doing exactly what Silicon Valley defenders long insisted should be done: if you don’t like the rules imposed by tech giants, go create your own platform with different rules. But today, if you want to download, sign up for, or use Parler, you will be unable to do so. That is because three Silicon Valley monopolies — Amazon, Google and Apple — abruptly united to remove Parler from the internet, exactly at the moment when it became the most-downloaded app in the country.

If one were looking for evidence to demonstrate that these tech behemoths are, in fact, monopolies that engage in anti-competitive behavior in violation of antitrust laws, and will obliterate any attempt to compete with them in the marketplace, it would be difficult to imagine anything more compelling than how they just used their unconstrained power to utterly destroy a rising competitor.

Tucker Greenwald
https://twitter.com/i/status/1349174579105656833

Read more …

They smell blood, this won’t stop them.

Pence Responds To Pelosi, Won’t Invoke 25th Amendment (Mike Pence)

Dear Madam Speaker:

Every American was shocked and saddened by the attack on our Nation’s Capitol last week, and I am grateful for the leadership that you and other congressional leaders provided in reconvening Congress to complete the people’s business on the very same day. It was a moment that demonstrated to the American people the unity that is still possible in Congress when it is needed most. But now, with just eight days left in the President’s term, you and the Democratic Caucus are demanding that the Cabinet and I invoke the 25th Amendment. I do not believe that such a course of action is in the best interest of our Nation or consistent with our Constitution. Last week, I did not yield to pressure to exert power beyond my constitutional authority to determine the outcome of the election, and I will not now yield to efforts in the House of Representatives to play political games at a time so serious in the life of our Nation.

As you know full well, the 25th Amendment was designed to address Presidential incapacity or disability. Just a few months ago, when you introduced legislation to create a 25th Amendment Commission, you said, “[a] President’s fitness for office must be determined by science and facts.” You said then that we must be “[v]ery respectful of not making a judgment on the basis of a comment or behavior that we don’t like, but based on a medical decision.” Madam Speaker, you were right. Under our Constitution, the 25th Amendment is not a means of punishment or usurpation. Invoking the 25th Amendment in such a manner would set a terrible precedent.

After the horrific events of this last week, our Administration’s energy is directed to ensuring an orderly transition. The Bible says that “for everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven…a time to heal, … and a time to build up.” That time is now. In the midst of a global pandemic, economic hardship for millions of Americans, and the tragic events of January 6th, now is the time for us to come together, now is the time to heal. I urge you and every member of Congress to avoid actions that would further divide and inflame the passions of the moment. Work with us to lower the temperature and unite our country as we prepare to inaugurate President-elect Joe Biden as the next President of the United States. I pledge to you that I will continue to do my part to work in good faith with the incoming administration to ensure an orderly transition of power. So help me God.

Read more …

Last chance for lots of things.

Trump’s Last Chance to Declassify Secrets of the Russia Collusion Dud (Maté)

President Trump’s last days in office offer a final opportunity to declassify critical information on the Russia investigation that engulfed his lone term. Already voluminous public records – including investigative reports from Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Congress and the Justice Department’s inspector general – have established that Trump and his associates were targeted with a baseless Russian collusion allegation. The fraudulent claim originated with the Hillary Clinton campaign, was fueled by a torrent of false or deceptive intelligence leaks, and was improperly investigated by the FBI, potentially to the point of being criminal. Despite these disclosures, key questions remain about the origins and the spread of the conspiracy theory.


And with a Biden administration set to take office and Democrats taking control of both chambers of Congress, there are no guarantees that the ongoing probe of Special Counsel John Durham will fill in the remaining gaps. Both the CIA and FBI have been slow to produce much material that Trump reportedly wants declassified. They argue that disclosure would reveal sources and methods vital to national security. Such claims arouse skepticism because they have been used in the past to cover up malfeasance – as the public learned when deceptive FISA warrant applications used to spy on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page were finally released.

Read more …

What’s striking here is that it’s CNN covering it.

Israel Isn’t A Democracy, It’s An ‘Apartheid Regime’ – Rights Group (CNN)

Israel is no longer a democracy but an “apartheid regime” devoted to cementing the supremacy of Jews over Palestinians, the country’s best-known human rights group said in a report published Tuesday. B’Tselem, which until now has confined its work to scrutiny of human rights issues in the Palestinian territories, has now also decided to look at what it calls Israel’s “regime” between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean. “More than 14 million people, roughly half of them Jews and the other half Palestinians, live between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea under a single rule,” B’Tselem said in a new analysis titled: “A regime of Jewish supremacy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea: This is apartheid.”


The human rights group says that the traditional view of Israel as a democracy operating side-by-side with a temporary Israeli occupation in the territories “imposed on some five million Palestinian subjects … has grown divorced from reality.” “Most importantly, the distinction obfuscates the fact that the entire area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River is organized under a single principle: advancing and cementing the supremacy of one group — Jews — over another — Palestinians,” B’Tselem said in its controversial analysis. Years of injustice against Palestinians, culminating in laws that have entrenched discrimination, mean that “the bar for labeling the Israeli regime as apartheid has been met,” B’Tselem said. The allegation that Israel is an “apartheid state” has often been dismissed by rightwing Israelis and their support groups as anti-Semitic. But this argument will be harder to make now that Israel has been labelled this way by such a well-respected Israeli institution, albeit one that enjoys only minority support in its home country.

Read more …

“..build and maintain a “super-sized domestic market” to boost consumption…”

Upbeat Xi Says “Time And Situation On China’s Side” (ZH)

While the political gridlock and alarmist headlines out of Capitol Hill as well as a dramatic Democratic move to impeach look to define Trump’s final week in office, Bloomberg notes that China’s President Xi Jinping is sounding “unusually upbeat”. According to the publication he issued an unusually upbeat assessment about China’s future, noting that “time and the situation” were on the country’s side in a new year marked by domestic turmoil in the U.S. The purpose of the speech before a top-level meeting of government officials in Beijing on Monday was to lay out the Communist Party vision over the next three decades, which included the presence of the Politburo Standing Committee, Beijing’s highest decision-making body.

“The world is in a turbulent time that is unprecedented in the past century,” Xi said, striking a tone which many pundits observed stood in contrast to recent more dire sounding warnings. “But time and momentum are on our side. This is where we show our conviction and resilience, as well as our determination and confidence.” And further according to the Monday remarks in the closed-door meeting: “At the same time, we must see clearly that, for now and until this upcoming period of time, while our country is at an important period of strategic opportunity for development, there will always be changes to our opportunities and challenges,” Xi was quoted as saying. “The extensiveness of these opportunities and challenges is unprecedented but, all in all, the opportunities we face outweigh our challenges,” he added, calling for unity, diligence and flexibility to achieve the party’s goals.

The cautious optimism continued, as South China Morning Post writes, while he made vague or remote references to both the pandemic and political turmoil and uncertainty afflicting the United States: In his speech, Xi also again emphasised Beijing’s new “dual circulation” economic strategy first announced in May amid global challenges brought by the pandemic and China’s slowing growth. “Only by being self-reliant and developing the domestic market and smoothing out internal circulation can we achieve vibrant growth and development, regardless of the hostility in the outside world,” Xi said. Elsewhere in the speech he continued urged that self-reliance would in part come through rapid technological innovation in order to build and maintain a “super-sized domestic market” to boost consumption.

Read more …

Scum.

Food Hampers In Wales As English Mum Posts Picture Of £30 Package (WO)

An investigation has been launched in England after images shared online showed “woefully inadequate” free school meal parcels sent to families. One mum criticised the free school meals scheme after she claimed she was sent just a few pounds worth of food to feed her children for 10 days. It was claimed the image of a £30 parcel contained just over £5 worth of food. Posting the image on Twitter, user Roadside Mum said: “2 days jacket potato with beans, 8 single cheese sandwiches, 2 days carrots, 3 days apples, 2 days soreen, 3 days frubes. “Spare pasta & tomato. Will need mayo for pasta salad. “Issued instead of £30 vouchers. I could do more with £30 to be honest.”


Footballer and campaigner Marcus Rashford tweeted another picture and wrote: “3 days of food for 1 family… Just not good enough. “Then imagine we expect the children to engage in learning from home. “Not to mention the parents who, at times, have to teach them who probably haven’t eaten at all so their children can… We MUST do better.” England children’s Minister Vicky Ford said she would be “urgently” look into the matter. England’s Department for Education wrote on Twitter: “We have clear guidelines and standards for food parcels, which we expect to be followed. “Parcels should be nutritious and contain a varied range of food.” Chartwells, the company which the mum in England said provided the parcel, said it will investigate.


The hamper received in Caerphilly (left) compared to the hamper received by a mum in England

Read more …

Paul Ehrlich. Long time no see.

Top Scientists: ‘Ghastly Future Of Mass Extinction’, Climate Disruption (G.)

The planet is facing a “ghastly future of mass extinction, declining health and climate-disruption upheavals” that threaten human survival because of ignorance and inaction, according to an international group of scientists, who warn people still haven’t grasped the urgency of the biodiversity and climate crises. The 17 experts, including Prof Paul Ehrlich from Stanford University, author of The Population Bomb, and scientists from Mexico, Australia and the US, say the planet is in a much worse state than most people – even scientists – understood. “The scale of the threats to the biosphere and all its lifeforms – including humanity – is in fact so great that it is difficult to grasp for even well-informed experts,” they write in a report in Frontiers in Conservation Science which references more than 150 studies detailing the world’s major environmental challenges.


The delay between destruction of the natural world and the impacts of these actions means people do not recognise how vast the problem is, the paper argues. “[The] mainstream is having difficulty grasping the magnitude of this loss, despite the steady erosion of the fabric of human civilisation.” The report warns that climate-induced mass migrations, more pandemics and conflicts over resources will be inevitable unless urgent action is taken. “Ours is not a call to surrender – we aim to provide leaders with a realistic ‘cold shower’ of the state of the planet that is essential for planning to avoid a ghastly future,” it adds. Dealing with the enormity of the problem requires far-reaching changes to global capitalism, education and equality, the paper says. These include abolishing the idea of perpetual economic growth, properly pricing environmental externalities, stopping the use of fossil fuels, reining in corporate lobbying, and empowering women, the researchers argue.

Read more …

 

 

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

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

 

 

The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.
– Albert Camus

 

 

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in 2021. Click at the top of the sidebars to donate with Paypal and Patreon.

 

Jan 092021
 
 January 9, 2021  Posted by at 4:32 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  30 Responses »


Paul Gauguin Blue Trees (Your Turn Will Come, My Beauty!) 1888

 

 

You would think that if there’s one group of people who’d recognize a coup if they saw one, it would be the American people. Because their intelligence services have been involved in almost all coups in the world for many decades; let’s say since WWII, to keep it simple.

Just in the most recent past, they staged and conducted coups in Libya, Ukraine, Syria, Venezuela and many other places (think Bolivia). Libya was the only real “successful” one, thanks to Gaddafi being sodomized with a bayonet, leading to Hillary’s giddy We Came, We Saw, He Died, the by far ugliest face of the US by a mile. That and the open-air slave markets that resulted from sodomizing to death the man who led Africa’s wealthiest country and gave his people benefits that Americans can only dream of.

And now Hillary’s crew are about to be handed the reins again. Or as Michael Tracey put it”: The new corporate authoritarian liberal-left monoculture is going to be absolutely ruthless – and in 12 days it is merging with the state. This [is] only the beginning. Duck for cover.

The screwed-up coups in Ukraine, Syria, Venezuela etc. would appear to signal that the CIA is not very adept (anymore?!) at organizing coups, or maybe they just chronically overestimate their skills at it. Whichever way it may be, they have done more damage to America and its standing in the world than Donald Trump could ever have dreamt of doing.

So you would think Americans would recognize a coup, but instead they’re the last group of people on the planet who would. Because their media doesn’t present them as coups. They’re labeled as spreading democracy, freedom etc., as standing up against the bad guys, and liberating innocent people -even if many of them die in the process. People dying is a feature of these coups, not a bug. People get shot, bombed, disappeared, in a word: killed.

 

Anyway, it’s way more and better than ironic that all these very deadly CIA-led operations are not labeled coups, but then the clowns and actors spectacle that took place in Washington DC this week, is. Which is possible only because they never told people what a coup actually is. Only then can you make them believe that some wanker in a furry viking helmet outfit is trying to overthrow the government. At the initiative of the democratically elected president, no less.

Are these people extremists and terrorists or are they clowns and actors? I would lean towards the latter option. A coup requires a plan, a playbook, most often elites who think they have a shot at taking over a country, which in turn requires support from at least part of an army. The best these folks could think of was sitting in Pelosi’s office and take selfies.

 

 

That doesn’t make the march on the Capitol a good thing, far from it, but there are a lot of people out there who don’t like the way the president they elected in 2016 has been treated by the MSM, his political opponents, and US intelligence. And after the theater that has been Russiagate, the Mueller debacle and the Zelensky call-based impeachment, maybe that shouldn’t be too surprising.

The main problem for Trump lately would appear to have been his legal representation. I’ve said all along: let the dice roll where they may, there are many questions surrounding the election and they have the right to go looking for answers to these questions.

But if you look at what the status is today of what the likes of Rudy Giuliani, Jenna Ellis, Sidney Powell and Lin Wood have come up with, you think they might as well have been working for the other side. Still, we’ve at least seen the dice roll, and they came up they way they did. The process was allowed to proceed, and this is the outcome. This has misled Trump as well as his followers. They thought there was something substantial -and tanglible- there, because that’s what they were told all along.

This doesn’t mean the US should continue using voting machines, however. There are many countries that hold elections, and there are very few that either use those machines and/or see their elections contested. There’s a reason for that combination. These things can be manipulated, and they will be if they’re used. Get rid of them or this chapter will be repeated endlessly.

 

Then again, it all plays out well for anyone but Trump. And perhaps a few GOP’ers who stood by him. You could say, Trump entered the swamp and drowned in it, it swallowed him whole. Which is not to say that he’s such a perfect character, hell no, but he was the one and only chance to get rid of the power cabal that is DC. Which is a much bigger danger than he could ever be.

Where career politicians like Pelosi, Schumer, McConnell and Joe Biden can reside for decades, and be handed ever more handsome amounts of money by the lobbyists who write their laws, which benefit the corporations they work for. Trump was the chance to do at least something about this. They ate him alive.

Now the story is that Trump is/was the main danger, and that he was attempting a coup against his own government. To finish off the job, after being hunted down by the MSM for 4+ years, social media, for whom unceremoniously dumping Trump, after he was their main attraction for years -at least for clickbait-, was just a business decision dressed in some vague set of moral principles, are now simply deleting him.

And people cheer that. They don’t understand that from now on, as US president you serve at the behest, grace and kindness of the CIA, New York Times and WaPo, but even more that of @jack and Zuckerberg, and not that of the American people. As the noise about an attempted coup allows Team Biden to slip in Sally Yates, Susan Rice and Victoria Nuland and their whole gang of neocon warmongers.

The entire media focus on Trump served to hide what those people were doing behind the scenes all along. And now it’s time to duck for cover. They’re going to try and impeach him again, and then prosecute him, and erase everything he’s done, cheered on by the same media who never told you what a coup actually is. Because they are a big club, and he’s not in it, and neither are you.

And if you think you can vent an opinion on social media in the future that doesn’t coincide with that of the big club, perhaps you haven’t been paying attention.

 

 

 

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

Thank you for your support.

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in 2021. Click at the top of the sidebars to donate with Paypal and Patreon.

 

Dec 242020
 
 December 24, 2020  Posted by at 10:23 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,  16 Responses »


Paul Cézanne Forest 1902-04

 

Asymptomatic Transmission Of COVID19 (BMJ)
Makers of Successful COVID19 Vaccines Wrestle With Placebo Recipients (Science)
France Reopens To UK, As EU Tackles New Coronastrain (EUO)
Trump Pardons Roger Stone, Paul Manafort, Charles Kushner, 23 Others (JTN)
Why Trump Should Pardon Assange
The Legacy Of President Donald Trump (Taibbi)
Biden Threats Make Russia Discourse More Reckless, Dangerous (Greenwald)
DNC Was “Directly Involved” In Iowa Caucus App Development (IC)
Powerful Mobile Phone Surveillance Tool Operates In Obscurity (IC)
Where In The World Is Kamala Harris? (DP)
The Lancet Publishes German Doctors’ Report On Treatment Of Navalny (RT)
2020 Year in Review – Part 1 (Dave Collum)

 

 

 

 

How overrated is asymptomatic transmission, and why do we focus on it so much?

Asymptomatic Transmission Of COVID19 (BMJ)

The UK’s £100bn “Operation Moonshot” to roll out mass testing for covid-19 to cities and universities around the country raises two key questions. How infectious are people who test positive but have no symptoms? And, what is their contribution to transmission of live virus? Unusually in disease management, a positive test result is the sole criterion for a covid-19 case. Normally, a test is a support for clinical diagnosis, not a substitute. This lack of clinical oversight means we know very little about the proportions of people with positive results who are truly asymptomatic throughout the course of their infection and the proportions who are paucisymptomatic (subclinical), presymptomatic (go on to develop symptoms later), or post-infection (with viral RNA fragments still detectable from an earlier infection).

Earlier estimates that 80% of infections are asymptomatic were too high and have since been revised down to between 17% and 20% of people with infections. Studies estimating this proportion are limited by heterogeneity in case definitions, incomplete symptom assessment, and inadequate retrospective and prospective follow-up of symptoms, however. Around 49% of people initially defined as asymptomatic go on to develop symptoms. It’s also unclear to what extent people with no symptoms transmit SARS-CoV-2. The only test for live virus is viral culture. PCR and lateral flow tests do not distinguish live virus. No test of infection or infectiousness is currently available for routine use. As things stand, a person who tests positive with any kind of test may or may not have an active infection with live virus, and may or may not be infectious.

The relations between viral load, viral shedding, infection, infectiousness, and duration of infectiousness are not well understood. In a recent systematic review, no study was able to culture live virus from symptomatic participants after the ninth day of illness, despite persistently high viral loads in quantitative PCR diagnostic tests. However, cycle threshold (Ct) values from PCR tests are not direct measures of viral load and are subject to error. While viral load seems to be similar in people with and without symptoms, the presence of RNA does not necessarily represent transmissible live virus. The duration of viral RNA shedding (interval between first and last positive PCR result for any sample) is shorter in people who remain asymptomatic, so they are probably less infectious than people who develop symptoms.

Viral culture studies suggest that people with SARS-CoV-2 can become infectious one to two days before the onset of symptoms and continue to be infectious up to seven days thereafter; viable virus is relatively short lived. Symptomatic and presymptomatic transmission have a greater role in the spread of SARS-CoV-2 than truly asymptomatic transmission. The transmission rates to contacts within a specific group (secondary attack rate) may be 3-25 times lower for people who are asymptomatic than for those with symptoms. A city-wide prevalence study of almost 10 million people in Wuhan found no evidence of asymptomatic transmission. Coughing, which is a prominent symptom of covid-19, may result in far more viral particles being shed than talking and breathing, so people with symptomatic infections are more contagious, irrespective of close contact. On the other hand, asymptomatic and presymptomatic people may have more contacts than symptomatic people (who are isolating), underlining the importance of hand washing and social distancing measures for everyone.

Read more …

They have a control group to see if the vaccine is successful, but before the trial is even done, they already declare it successful. By now, we’d almost want it to fail spectacularly.

Makers of Successful COVID19 Vaccines Wrestle With Placebo Recipients (Science)

Now that regulators around the world have begun to issue emergency use authorizations (EUAs) for COVID-19 vaccines—the United States authorized a candidate vaccine from the biotech Moderna on Friday—a theoretical debate that has simmered for months has become a pressing reality: Should ongoing vaccine efficacy studies inform their tens of thousands of volunteers whether they were injected with a placebo or the vaccine, and also offer an already authorized vaccine to those who got the placebo? Vaccinemakers must now quickly decide how to handle this issue, called unblinding. And if they do choose to unblind, they will also need to get regulatory approval. Adding to the pressure: The choice arrives as many trial participants in the United States who are now eligible for an authorized COVID-19 vaccine are dropping out of studies in order to make sure they get immunized.

At the heart of the dilemma is a balancing act. On the one hand, unblinding a vaccine efficacy trial compromises the ability to gather robust scientific data on important issues, such as how long a vaccine protects a person against COVID-19. On the other, withholding a working vaccine from a trial participant who could get it elsewhere is ethically dicey. Last week, those issues came to the fore at a meeting of a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) vaccine advisory committee, which was considering Moderna’s EUA request. Lindsey Baden, a principal investigator on Moderna’s vaccine efficacy trial, and Steven Goodman, an epidemiologist from Stanford University, presented two different schemes for handling the delicate matter. Both schemes differ from a third plan put forth by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech, which are already distributing a COVID-19 vaccine authorized for use in the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union.

Pfizer, which is still running trials of its vaccine, has already asked FDA for permission to unblind its study, and give volunteers who received a placebo the option of receiving its two-dose vaccine. But the offer would come with a catch. Given the limited supply of vaccine, national or local authorities have said they will first provide it to groups most at risk of becoming seriously ill or of transmitting the virus, such as front-line health care workers or the people living in nursing homes. The Pfizer plan would follow that plan by first unblinding only volunteers in one of the top-priority groups specified by authorities in their location and vaccinating those in the placebo group. (AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, which jointly developed a COVID-19 vaccine candidate that has confusing efficacy results and does not yet have an EUA, reportedly want to offer a similar unblinding scheme.)

A different approach is advocated by Baden, an infectious disease specialist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He prefers an “open label” strategy, in which the Moderna trial is unblinded and the company offers everyone in the placebo group the vaccine regardless of eligibility in their location. Goodman, meanwhile, favors a “blinded crossover” option. In that approach, all trial volunteers would receive an additional pair of shots, with placebo recipients getting the vaccine and the vaccinated getting placebos. But the volunteers wouldn’t be told which arm they were in for some period of time.

Read more …

Too much panic.

France Reopens To UK, As EU Tackles New Coronastrain (EUO)

France has resumed transport links with the UK, on condition travellers get a negative test result, as the EU tries to contain a new type of Covid-19. Flights, Eurostar trains, and ferries would restart services on Wednesday (23 December) morning, French transport minister Jean-Baptiste Djebarri said after talks with his British counterpart late on Tuesday. “French nationals, people living in France, and those with a legitimate reason [to travel from the UK to France] will have to be carrying a negative test [result],” to be let through, he added, however. The deal “will see the French border reopen to those travelling for urgent reasons, provided they have a certified negative Covid test,” British transport minister Grant Shapps said.

France said travellers would need to show a negative test result less than 72 hours before departure. The UK said lorry drivers, thousands of whom were stuck near the British port of Dover, could get results within 30 minutes of taking a test, to help get them moving. France had sealed off the UK after the discovery of a mutated coronavirus strain that was apparently up to 70 percent more contagious in Britain on Sunday. Isolated cases of the new strain have already cropped up in Belgium, Denmark, Italy, and the Netherlands, prompting Sweden to also close its border with Denmark on Monday. Virologists said there was no need to panic, as the new strain was not more lethal or vaccine-resistant. But more than 50 countries worldwide, including the vast majority of EU states, also cut transport links to the UK in the past 48 hours.

And for its part, the European Commission, on Tuesday, indicated they had overreacted. “While it is important to take swift temporary precautionary action to limit the further spread of the new strain of the virus and all non-essential travel to and from the UK should be discouraged, essential travel and transit of passengers should be facilitated,” it said in a non-binding recommendation. “Flight and train bans should be discontinued given the need to ensure essential travel and avoid supply-chain disruptions,” it added, amid concern on shortages of fresh fruit and vegetables in UK shops. “Blanket travel bans should not prevent thousands of EU and UK citizens from returning to their homes [for Christmas],” EU justice commissioner Didier Reynders also said.

Read more …

Every president pardons people they maybe should not have. Calm down.

Trump Pardons Roger Stone, Paul Manafort, Charles Kushner, 23 Others (JTN)

President Trump pardoned 26 people on Wednesday, including Roger Stone, Paul Manafort and Charles Kushner, the father of the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner. The move comes one day after the president pardoned 15 other people, among them, George Papadopoulos and former Rep. Duncan Hunter. “Due to prosecutorial misconduct by Special Counsel Mueller’s team, Mr. Stone was treated very unfairly,” according to a statement from the press secretary about the latest executive grants. “He was subjected to a pre-dawn raid of his home, which the media conveniently captured on camera. Mr. Stone also faced potential political bias at his jury trial. Pardoning him will help to right the injustices he faced at the hands of the Mueller investigation.” Stone’s pardon from the president comes after Trump had commuted his sentence earlier this year.

“Today, President Trump has issued a full and complete pardon to Paul Manafort, stemming from convictions prosecuted in the course of Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation, which was premised on the Russian collusion hoax,” the statement said. “Mr. Manafort has already spent two years in prison, including a stretch of time in solitary confinement – treatment worse than what many of the most violent criminals receive. As a result of blatant prosecutorial overreach, Mr. Manafort has endured years of unfair treatment and is one of the most prominent victims of what has been revealed to be perhaps the greatest witch hunt in American history. As Mr. Manafort’s trial judge observed, prior to the Special Counsel investigation, Mr. Manafort had led an ‘otherwise blameless life.’ Since May, Mr. Manafort has been released to home confinement as a result of COVID-19 concerns.”

Charles Kushner, the father of Ivanka Trump’s husband Jared Kushner, also received a pardon from the president. “Since completing his sentence in 2006, Mr. Kushner has been devoted to important philanthropic organizations and causes, such as Saint Barnabas Medical Center and United Cerebral Palsy,” the statement said. “This record of reform and charity overshadows Mr. Kushner’s conviction and 2 year sentence for preparing false tax returns, witness retaliation, and making false statements to the FEC.”

Read more …

Nifty little site that allows you to contact 1000 people close to Trump.

Why Trump Should Pardon Assange

This website will show you 50 of the top 1,000 people who have influenced what Trump sees on Twitter in recent weeks. Should be random every time you refresh. Please use this tool to nicely request that people tweet support for pardoning Julian Assange.

This website makes it possible to contact people in President Trump’s political network and encourage them to support a pardon for Julian Assange. Here is how you can help convince Trump to pardon Assange:

1. Click “Tweet” or “Message”
Next to the person you want to contact. This will open a draft tweet on Twitter.

2. Write Message
Politely explain that Trump should pardon Assange. If you need inspiration, see Why Pardon Assange? for examples of what others are saying.

3. Send Message
Send the tweet or direct message that you crafted.

Read more …

“..like a social disease persisting beyond the usual course of medication, most of upscale America thought the Trump Show was a hoot.”

The Legacy Of President Donald Trump (Taibbi)

Reports say Donald Trump has lost it. Unable to face the reality that he will no longer be president soon, stung by public repudiations from the Supreme Court, Mitch McConnell, Vladimir Putin, Bill Barr, and other erstwhile pals, he is said to be canceling appearances left and right, retreating to a lonely schedule of golf and manic conspiracy theorizing on Twitter. He posted 550 times in just a few weeks of November, with three-fourths of that content, the New York Times for some reason calculated, made up of rants about a stolen election. Unlike past presidents, who with the exception of Dick Nixon were all feted on the way out no matter what crooked or blood-soaked record they left behind, Trump is being ridden out on a rail.

He exits politics as he entered it, as a human punchline, a ball of catnip to the commentariat, which gets to snicker now about his thinning schedule and “tiny desk” (the updated version of all those jokes about short fingers that drove him so crazy once). There is delight as “former close associates, longtime Trump observers, and mental health experts” whisper into the op-ed pages the cold final judgment that, as Politico put it, “Trump is a loser.” Which is fine — victori sunt spoila and all that — but it’s already safe to say the Trump years will be remembered as a brutal black comedy that made winners and losers alike look very, very bad. It was supposed to be a historic, norms-smashing catastrophe, but the reality is that almost nothing actually happened during the Trump years, except for a very long, exhausting story.

The major in-between change was a total loss of our collective grip on reality, beginning with the fact that most of the country thinks we just went to hell and back a thousand times, instead of making just one noisy trip in a circle, arriving just where we might have four years ago, if Joe Biden had run instead of Hillary Clinton. The tiniest conceivable step, but oh so much grief and self-deception to get there! They’ll deny it, but huge portions of the snickering chatterati rooted for Trump at first. When he jumped in the 2016 race, cultural icons laughed, big-money Democrats cheered, and rubbernecking cosmopolitan media audiences clicked and tuned in by the millions. Except for the more favored Republican primary opponents who learned early on to look on Trump with genuine alarm, like a social disease persisting beyond the usual course of medication, most of upscale America thought the Trump Show was a hoot.

Read more …

There’s only one thing that prevents the US from attacking Russia: their weapons are far more sophisticated.

Biden Threats Make Russia Discourse More Reckless, Dangerous (Greenwald)

To justify Hillary Clinton’s 2016 loss to Donald Trump, leading Democrats and their key media allies for years competed with one another to depict what they called “Russia’s interference in our elections” in the most apocalyptic terms possible. They fanatically rejected the view of the Russian Federation repeatedly expressed by President Obama — that it is a weak regional power with an economy smaller than Italy’s capable of only threatening its neighbors but not the U.S. — and instead cast Moscow as a grave, even existential, threat to U.S. democracy, with its actions tantamount to the worst security breaches in U.S. history.

This post-2016 mania culminated with prominent liberal politicians and journalists (as well as John McCain) declaring Russia’s activities surrounding the 2016 to be an “act of war” which, many of them insisted, was comparable to Pearl Harbor and the 9/11 attack — the two most traumatic attacks in modern U.S. history which both spawned years of savage and destructive war, among other things. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) repeatedly demanded that Russia’s 2016 “interference” be treated as “an act of war.” Hillary Clinton described Russian hacking as “a cyber 9/11.” And here is Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) on MSNBC in early February, 2018, pronouncing Russia “a hostile foreign power” whose 2016 meddling was the “equivalent” of Pearl Harbor, “very much on par” with the “seriousness” of the 1941 attack in Hawaii that helped prompt four years of U.S. involvement in a world war.

With the Democrats, under Joe Biden, just weeks away from assuming control of the White House and the U.S. military and foreign policy that goes along with it, the discourse from them and their media allies about Russia is becoming even more unhinged and dangerous. Moscow’s alleged responsibility for the recently revealed, multi-pronged hack of U.S. Government agencies and various corporate servers is asserted — despite not a shred of evidence, literally, having yet been presented — as not merely proven fact, but as so obviously true that it is off-limits from doubt or questioning.

Any questioning of this claim will be instantly vilified by the Democrats’ extremely militaristic media spokespeople as virtual treason. “Now the president is not just silent on Russia and the hack. He is deliberately running defense for the Kremlin by contradicting his own Secretary of State on Russian responsibility,” pronounced CNN’s national security reporter Jim Sciutto, who last week depicted Trump’s attempted troop withdrawal from Syria and Germany as “ceding territory” and furnishing “gifts” to Putin. More alarmingly, both the rhetoric to describe the hack and the retaliation being threatened are rapidly spiraling out of control.

Democrats (along with some Republicans long obsessed with The Russian Threat, such as Mitt Romney) are casting the latest alleged hack by Moscow in the most melodramatic terms possible, ensuring that Biden will enter the White House with tensions sky-high with Russia and facing heavy pressure to retaliate aggressively. Biden’s top national security advisers and now Biden himself have, with no evidence shown to the public, repeatedly threatened aggressive retaliation against the country with the world’s second-largest nuclear stockpile.

Read more …

Cut all machines and apps out of the election. It’s the only way.

DNC Was “Directly Involved” In Iowa Caucus App Development (IC)

The Democratic National Committee refused to cooperate with investigators and was “directly involved in the development process” of the infamous Shadow app ahead of the 2020 Iowa caucuses. That’s the conclusion of the former U.S. attorney leading the investigation into what went wrong during the first-in-the-nation caucuses, as relayed to the Iowa State Democratic Party in a closed-session meeting last week, according to a transcript of the meeting obtained by The Intercept. “The DNC was directly involved in the development process,” Nicholas Klinefeldt, a former federal attorney appointed by President Barack Obama, told the Iowa Democratic Party state steering committee in the December 12 meeting about the findings of an investigation he led alongside former Iowa Attorney General Bonnie Campbell.


Klinefeldt’s revelation about the committee’s involvement counters the DNC’s claim it made immediately after the Iowa caucuses. Back then, the DNC claimed it had “absolutely no involvement” in the development or coding of the Shadow app, which was supposed to record and report caucus results. When Third District state party member Kim Callahan asked investigators to expand on the DNC’s involvement, they failed to elaborate, simply confirming that the DNC wouldn’t cooperate with its investigation. Without the DNC’s cooperation in the probe, investigators were hamstrung. “There seemed to be a great deal of culpability by the DNC,” Jim Bunton, a Third District Iowa state party member, said to Klinefeldt in the meeting. “There doesn’t seem to be a lot of cooperation from the DNC from what you’re saying. … How can we hope to have a better outcome next time around? Because the actor we can’t control is the DNC.”

Read more …

Sign of the times.

Powerful Mobile Phone Surveillance Tool Operates In Obscurity (IC)

Until now, the Bartonville, Texas, company Hawk Analytics and its product CellHawk have largely escaped public scrutiny. CellHawk has been in wide use by law enforcement; the software is helping police departments, the FBI, and private investigators around the United States convert information collected by cellular providers into maps of people’s locations, movements, and relationships. Police records obtained by The Intercept reveal a troublingly powerful surveillance tool operated in obscurity, with scant oversight. CellHawk’s maker says it can process a year’s worth of cellphone records in 20 minutes, automating a process that used to require painstaking work by investigators, including hand-drawn paper plots.

The web-based product can ingest call detail records, or CDRs, which track cellular contact between devices on behalf of mobile service providers, showing who is talking to whom. It can also handle cellular location records, created when phones connect to various towers as their owners move around. Such data can include “tower dumps,” which list all the phones that connected to a given tower — a form of dragnet surveillance. The FBI obtained over 150,000 phone numbers from a single tower dump undertaken in 2010 to try and collect evidence against a bank robbery suspect, according to a report from the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU.

Police use CellHawk to process datasets they routinely receive from cell carriers like AT&T and Verizon, typically in vast spreadsheets and often without a warrant. This is in sharp contrast to a better known phone surveillance technology, the stingray: a mobile device that spies on cellular devices by impersonating carriers’ towers, tricking phones into connecting, and then intercepting their communications. Unlike the stingray, CellHawk does not require such subterfuge or for police to position a device near people of interest. Instead, it helps them exploit information already collected by private telecommunications providers and other third parties.

CellHawk’s surveillance capabilities go beyond analyzing metadata from cellphone towers. Hawk Analytics claims it can churn out incredibly revealing intelligence from large datasets like ride-hailing records and GPS — information commonly generated by the average American. According to the company’s website, CellHawk uses GPS records in its “unique animation analysis tool,” which, according to company promotional materials, plots a target’s calls and locations over time. “Watch data come to life as it moves around town or the entire county,” the site states.

Read more …

They’re for it if it enhances their careers.

Where In The World Is Kamala Harris? (DP)

After Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar humiliated herself by throwing cold water on the idea during an MSNBC appearance, Democratic lawmakers from across the country seem to have finally woken up and realized that there’s an economic emergency unfolding and that “let them eat Federal Reserve lending facilities” is not a compelling message. But one unique and much-needed voice is bizarrely muted: Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. Before we get to the California lawmaker, it’s worth noting that her boss, president-elect Joe Biden, seems to have completely checked out of the current debate, after helping create a debacle. He reportedly convinced congressional Democrats to get steamrolled by Mitch McConnell and agree to provide just $600 in direct aid — which Georgia Democratic senate candidate Jon Ossoff rightly called “a joke.”


Biden has vaguely promised to push more aid in 2021, but he is not weighing in forcefully on the budget showdown that is unfolding right now. An austerian to the core, Biden took a dump in the middle of the process, and is now running away from the mess he helped create. Harris’s absence is more notable and perplexing considering that she is in a position to play a direct role in the legislative standoff. She isn’t just the vice president-elect and she isn’t just any old member of the U.S. Senate that could ultimately decide the fate of the stimulus bill. Harris also happens to be the lead author of legislation to provide $2,000 a month to individuals during the pandemic. This wasn’t some small initiative — this was Harris’s big headline-grabbing idea she was making her namepushing during the veepstakes. This was supposed to be a proof point illustrating her progressive credentials and her appreciation of the magnitude of the crisis America now faces.

Kamala May 8 2020

So where is Harris now? It’s hard to know what’s happening behind the scenes, but at least in public, she’s been quiet on the issue. Indeed, while she has made some generic comments about Congress needing to pass some form of stimulus, she has not been an aggressive leader on the question of direct aid in the current legislative package. Take a look at her social media feeds and peruse Google News for her mentions — there doesn’t seem to be much of anything from her in the middle of the central budget controversy of the entire crisis. Why? Perhaps she is just following Biden’s lead. Or maybe she believes some ridiculous 17-dimensional-chess theory that staying out of the fray will help secure a good outcome, in the same way Democrats always come up with rationales to live to never fight another day. Or maybe there’s a more innocent explanation — maybe she just hasn’t gotten around to it but is about to weigh in.

Pelosi 1994 M4A

Read more …

Do we have to keep on talking about this guy?

The Lancet Publishes German Doctors’ Report On Treatment Of Navalny (RT)

Leading medical journal The Lancet has published a case report detailing Russian anti-corruption activist Alexey Navalny’s treatment in Germany following his alleged poisoning with the lethal Novichok nerve agent. Wednesday’s article concludes that the actions of Russian doctors in Omsk, the Siberian city where he was first treated after falling ill on a flight to Moscow, were “presumably decisive,” noting that Navalny “had a very favorable outcome.” The Lancet also credits the protest leader’s good physical condition as another reason for his excellent recovery. Navalny, who is described by the journal as “a 44-year-old man who was previously healthy,” is said to have suddenly begun to sweat, before vomiting, collapsing, and eventually losing consciousness on the plane which was traveling from Tomsk.

According to a report, written primarily by doctors based at the Charité Hospital in Berlin, where Navalny spent more than a month being treated, the activist arrived with a wide range of symptoms, including a slow heart rate, hypersalivation, hypothermia, and heavy sweating, amongst others. After tests in a laboratory, he was found to have severe cholinesterase inhibition. This diagnosis was released to the public on August 24, four days after he fell ill and two days after arriving in Germany. The Russian clinic where he was first treated contradicted this finding, saying they found no cholinesterase inhibitors in his blood.

The report writes in great detail about the changes in Navalny’s condition, noting that “on day 12, the patient started to breathe spontaneously” and “could subsequently be weaned from mechanical ventilation completely by day 24.” He was released on day 33. On day 55, during his last follow-up appointment, doctors found a “near-complete recovery.” The Lancet also details that Novichok, the poison said to have been given to Navalny, is an organophosphorus compound – most commonly associated with pest control. “Organophosphorus nerve agents exert the same mechanism of action as do organophosphorus pesticides,” the article says, noting that South East Asia sees more than 100,000 annual deaths due to this type of poisoning.

Read more …

Oh no, not him again.

2020 Year in Review – Part 1 (Dave Collum)

Imagine, if you will, a man wakes up from a year-long induced coma—a long hauler of a higher order—to a world gone mad. During his slumber, the President of the United States was impeached for colluding with the Russians using a dossier prepared by his political opponents, themselves colluding with the FBI, intelligence agencies, and the Russians. A pandemic that may have emanated from a Chinese virology laboratory swept the globe killing millions and is still on the loose. A controlled demolition of the global economy forced hundreds of millions into unemployment in a matter of weeks. Metropolitan hotels plummeted to 10% occupancy. The 10% of the global economy corresponding to hospitality and tourism had been smashed on the shoals and was foundering.


The Federal Reserve has been buying junk corporate bonds in total desperation. A social movement of monumental proportions swept the US and the world, triggering months of rioting and looting while mayors, frozen in the headlights, were unable to fathom an appropriate response. The rise of neo-Marxism on college campuses and beyond had become palpable. The most contentious election in US history pitted the undeniably polarizing and irascible Donald Trump against the DNC A-Team including a 76-year-old showing early signs of dementia paired with a sassy neo-Marxist grifter with an undetectable moral compass. Many have lost faith in the fairness of the election as challenges hit the courts. Peering through the virus-induced brain fog the man sees CNBC playing on the TV with the scrolling Chiron stating, “S&P up 12% year to date. Nasdaq soars 36%.” The man has entered The Twilight Zone.

Read more …

 

 

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

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

 

 

“The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you.”
– Werner Heisenberg

 

 

 

 

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

 

Dec 222020
 
 December 22, 2020  Posted by at 7:29 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  11 Responses »


John William Waterhouse It’s Sweet Doing Nothing / Dolce Far Niente 1879

 

 

The very first thing we must conclude from looking at the pork-laden $900 billion US “stimulus bill” is that this is all Washington is capable of anymore. This is it. That it has nothing to do with which party you vote for. If you don’t come to that conclusion, you’re seriously disoriented.

Both parties have been talking about the bill for 8 months, and blamed each other for any delays, while filling up the bill with by now over 5,500 pages of pork, and given representatives who don’t know the contents, just a few hours before voting on it. That is not an accident, that is by design, and both parties designed it together.

Neither gives a flying hoot about their own voters, which the bill is supposed to serve, other than at election time – and even then. If they did, they could have issued a separate bill half a year ago. But the system doesn’t work like that. The system says that if you want to save/serve the people, you absolutely must serve a thousand other interests at the same time. And that’s where things run off the rails.

The Republicans insist on including one special interest that their lobbyists say can’t be left out, then the Democrats and their lobbies say okay, but then we want this interest in, etc., and before you know it, you have 5,500 pages of special interests, and the amounts going to the people will have to be cut because the total amounts are starting to look too high.

Do note -again- that it’s the lobbyists who write the legislation, not the politicians. The politicians, in the media, go through this very predictable cattle trade, they reach an accord, and then they turn around and blame each other for anything their voters and representatives might have wanted in there but didn’t get. Just like they did for the 8 previous months. Same difference. Cool, calculated, a blame game between friends.

 

But the Americans the stimulus is supposed to be for, have no seat at the table. Only the people they voted for do, and among those, only the ones who’ve been there long enough, 30-40 years, and who have amassed huge multi-million dollar fortunes while on 200-300K salaries. Newly elected reps and senators have no say. They may gain a say, but only if they comply with what the lobbyists tell them to do.

If 200 million Americans finally get a $600 check, sometime in spring 2021(?!), that would cost $120 billion. If 300 million do, $180 billion. The pork stimulus package is for $900 billion. And they want you to believe this is meant to help the people, and most of the people believe that. And that works too, because of the way the media, very much complicit in the charade, “report” the entire thing.

But c’mon man! Every American could get a $600 check every month for the next half year if the corporate subsidies and all sorts of other pork were left out of bills like this. But that’s not how Washington operates. Washington is not about people, it’s about money.

Many poor Americans used to have to work 2-3 jobs to make ends meet, but most are lucky to find even one job these days, let alone enough to make ends meet. It’s cool, calm and calculated, and it makes no difference at all whether it’s Pelosi, McConnell, Schumer or Lindsey Graham. They’re in a big club, and you ain’t in it. But at least please stop believing the nonsense they’re spouting. They live in their own world, and you live in yours. And never the twain shall meet.

Of course it can make sense to support businesses as well in virustime. But there’s no urgent need to do that in the very same bill that is meant to support the people. It’s just that the latter is the ideal vehicle to hide the pork in. A separate bill to support business would be much more transparent, and people could see what’s in it. And it wouldn’t be 5,500 pages either.

It’s a design, it’s a model, it’s how this has worked for decades. The same decades that the decision makers have been “serving” on Capitol Hill. There is no accident anywhere in there. It’s a design.

 

 

 

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

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.