Apr 082021
 


James McNeill Whistler Nocturne in Blue and Silver, The Lagoon, Venice 1880

 

Covid Passports Could Be Required For Clothes Shopping (Ind.)
Notre Dame Is The Latest University To Require Students To Get A Vaccine (F.)
Among the Covid Sceptics (G.)
Anti-Vax & Anti-Tax – 2 Huge Trends of 2021 –Gerald Celente (USAW)
Scenes From 2030 (TE Creus)
YouTube Removes Recent DeSantis Public Health Roundtable (JTN)
Inflation: Making the Complex, Simple – Part 1 (RIA)
Peak Woke (Jim Kunstler)
Biden Admin Plots Revenge On Russia For Alleged Hacking, Meddling (ZH)
Veteran Intelligence Officials Urge Biden To Avoid War In Ukraine (ZH)
Russia Unlikely To Send Recalled Ambassador Back To Washington (RT)
Putin Poised To Set Out Vision For Future In Dramatic Speech (RT)
Humans Were Apex Predators For Two Million Years (Phys.org)
Can Blood from Young People Slow Aging? (NW)

 

 

 

 

Flip flop idiocy.

Covid Passports Could Be Required For Clothes Shopping (Ind.)

“Covid passports” could be required for customers visiting clothes shops in England after the removal of lockdown restrictions on 21 June, Downing Street has indicated. The idea provoked horror among retailers, with one trade body describing it as neither “appropriate or useful”. A briefing document on Monday confirmed the government is considering the introduction of “Covid-status certification” as lockdown eases, so that individuals wanting to enter premises can prove that they have either been vaccinated, recently tested or gained immunity through previous infection. The report said that ministers believe shoppers should never be required to supply such proof in order to use “essential” retail venues, but did not make clear exactly which shops were exempted.


Boris Johnson said no decision had been made on whether to require certification domestically, but said that it would not come into force during stages two and three of England’s lockdown relaxation, due to begin on 12 April and 17 May. Pressed today on whether shoppers could eventually be asked for their vaccine passport to enter shops like Next or H&M, the prime minister’s official spokesman did not rule it out. Asked whether clothes shops would use Covid status certificates, the spokesman said only: “We have been clear that we will not require them as businesses reopen in stages two and three of the roadmap. “But again the PM was clear that longer term there will some essential services such as essential retail and public transport where they will not be required.”

Read more …

From The One Year Emergency . Feb 4:

“Vaccination is not a prerequisite for the exercise of any other institutional requirement, such as education or otherwise recognized basic right such as the right to employment and free movement. Correspondingly, no private company has the legal authority to impose restrictions violating citizens’ constitutional rights. Discrimination and Stigmatization are forbidden (Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights, UNESCO). Moreover, imposition of a medical action in any manner constitutes torture and is illegal.”

Notre Dame Is The Latest University To Require Students To Get A Vaccine (F.)

The University of Notre Dame in Indiana has joined an increasing number of universities in announcing they will require students and faculty to receive a coronavirus vaccine before stepping on campus this fall. On Wednesday, Notre Dame said all students will be required to be fully vaccinated as a condition of enrolling at the university next year, and will open an on-campus vaccination site Thursday. Boston’s Northeastern University said Tuesday students attending in-person classes on campus in the fall will be required to be fully vaccinated by the first day of the term. On Friday, New York’s Cornell University announced it “intends to require” immunization for all students attending in-person classes in the fall, and asked the university community to register their vaccination status so the administration can determine immunization rates to base reopening plans on.

Fort Lewis College in Colorado said Friday all students enrolled next semester will be required to be vaccinated against coronavirus. Florida’s Nova Southeastern University will require all students, faculty and staff to be fully vaccinated by August 1 in order to resume in-person classes on campus next school year, the university announced Friday. Texas’ St. Edward’s University said March 29 it would require students and faculty over the age of 16 to receive a vaccine before September. Last month, Rutgers University in New Jersey was the first large U.S. college to announce it would require all on-campus students to be fully vaccinated against coronavirus before fall semester classes begin. Oakland University in Detroit is mandating vaccines for students who live on campus, school officials said Monday, but not for the wider university community.

More universities may opt to require vaccines for students, but there could be pushback from critics. The idea of “vaccine passports” that document the holder has been vaccinated have proved controversial with Republicans who say they are an invasion of privacy. On Tuesday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed an executive order to ban vaccine passports from being used in the state by government entities or organizations that receive public funds. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a similar order Friday to ban them in his state, even by private businesses. It’s still unclear how these executive orders will affect universities wishing to mandate vaccines.

Read more …

Long article that heaps all “sceptics” on one big pile, so they all get tainted by the most extreme amongst them. And then describes some reasonable people who get lured into Telegram groups and deceived. How to build a narrative.

Among the Covid Sceptics (G.)

When the pandemic hit in March 2020, Anna, a young woman from Bradford, was waiting for surgery for endometriosis. The surgery was cancelled, leaving her in excruciating pain. She was forced to close her business, a small tattoo studio that she had opened two years earlier, at the age of 24. She could no longer pay for the weekly counselling that had been helping her deal with her troubled childhood. Her partner lost his job. Anna was convinced that if she caught Covid, she would die. “I was in a terrified bubble, having the news on constantly, crying, worrying, panicking,” she told me. For weeks, she waited anxiously for news about support for shuttered businesses. The cash grant, when it finally came, fell far short. Other business expenses – insurance, bills – went on her credit card. She considered suicide.

Feeling abandoned by the government and frustrated by the daily press briefings, Anna and her partner researched the virus online. On Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, they came across theories about the origins of coronavirus that the mainstream media weren’t talking about – that it was engineered in a lab in China, say, or that it had been artificially spliced with HIV. Some of it seemed implausible to Anna, but it was enough to convince her that the media wasn’t telling the full story. “Loads of people were saying ‘even if you die from a heart attack, they’ll put it down as a Covid death’. I was looking into that, and how many people who died had pre-existing health conditions,” she said. “It was to make me feel better, so I wouldn’t be as scared.”

She read dense, seemingly scientific material which claimed that PCR testing – the throat and nasal swabs that are considered the gold standard of Covid tests – leads to enormous numbers of false positives. She read that the World Health Organization had said that Britain is testing at too high a sensitivity. She read about the cost of lockdowns, and Sweden’s more permissive approach. She read about the death rate; 1% didn’t sound that high at all. Looked at another way, 99% survived. By the end of the first lockdown, Anna was no longer afraid. She was angry. “I’d been sat in my house for four months, in absolute agony, no mental health support, no financial support, and it did an absolute number on me,” she said.

Read more …

Gerald Celente is a big fan of TAE. Whenever he doesn’t get his daily Debt Rattle, he protests. The video is worth it. Very much. Sounds doesn’t quite seem to sync, but hey…

Anti-Vax & Anti-Tax – 2 Huge Trends of 2021 –Gerald Celente (USAW)

Gerald Celente, a renowned trends researcher and publisher of “The Trends Journal,” is back to talk about two of the biggest trends taking shape for 2021. One revolves around Covid-19 (CV-19) and the experimental so-called vaccine, otherwise known as the “jab.” The other is a rebounding economy destined to crash. First, the CV-19 jab, as Celente explains, “There are going to be new political movements: anti-tax, anti-vax, anti-immigration and anti-establishment. We are going to see a big anti-vax movement. To make the point on how they are going to be selling this . . . They are selling it now that there is going to be a new strain of CV-19, and you better prepare for it. It’s going to happen every year, and you are going to have to get vaccinated. So, we are going to start seeing a big anti-vax movement.”

The economy in blue states is performing much worse that in Red states, and that is fueling big government to raise big taxes. Celente says, “The streets out here in New York are dead. . . . They are dead. Now, they are raising the taxes. The first thing they did was tolls. The next thing they are going to do is a gas tax, soda tax, sales tax, property tax and school tax. Business is dead. New York City is dead. Brooklyn is dead. Park Slope is a slope alright, a downhill slope. The office occupancy rate in New York City is still at 14%. All the businesses that depend on commuters are gone, and this isn’t coming back.” All the economic news is not bad. Celente is forecasting, “This is the other important thing. There is going to be an economic rebound. It’s going to happen because all of the cheap money they are pumping into the system. We are going to start seeing inflation really skyrocket. They are going to have to raise interest rates.

We had a cover on The Trends Journal, and it showed two big needles. One injection is the vaccine, the other is the money junkies injecting money into the system. They are drug dealers and money junkies. The money junkies need cheap money from the Federal Reserve to keep gambling. They are going to have to raise interest rates. When the equity markets crash, people will be forced to wake up to know how bad it is. . . . It’s artificially propped up, and when the markets crash, the reality will be felt. The reality is already being felt by the hundreds of millions of people around the world whose lives and livelihoods have been destroyed. When the markets crash, we are going to be living in hell on earth. . . . We are heading into the Greatest Depression, and you better prepare now. The other biggest trend is there is going to be a ‘vax war.’ There is no question about it.”

Read more …

Dystopia.

Scenes From 2030 (TE Creus)

“Hi, dude!” “Oh. Hi. How are you?” “I’m good. How do you like my shoes?” “Nice. Are those…” “Yeah. The original Nike Lil Nas X Satan’s Shoes, version 2030.” “Wow. But don’t those cost a fortune? How can you afford them, with just the Universal Basic Income?” “Well, duh. I didn’t buy them, dude. I’m just renting them from Amazon Prime, of course. All of my clothes are rented, including the original Calvin Klein underwear.” “Eew… Well, they did say that ‘you’ll own nothing, and you’ll be happy’…” “What are you talking about?” “Nothing, just remembering an old joke here. So, what’s new? What are your plans for next week?” “Not sure. Maybe I’ll go to the City Hall Yearly Masked Ball. You want to come? The masks are all N95 compliant, so it’s safe.”

“No, thanks. I thought you were travelling to Italy for the holidays?” “Nah, I can’t board a plane this month. I didn’t get my Moderna monthly booster shots. I wanted to, but the lines were so big, the next appointment available for me is only next month.” “This Covid-29 is really pesky, isn’t it?” “You bet. But I’m sure the vaccine is working. Just give it time. It takes a few years to achieve full immunization, but of course, with the new variants and viruses that appear every month, it’s always a game of catching up. We got to be patient. So, yeah, no travel this month for me.” “Well, you know, you could always travel around your own room.” “What?” “Oh. I just got reminded of an old 18th century novel. ‘Voyage around my room,’ by Xavier de Maistre.”

“What it’s about?” “It’s about a guy who, well, travels around his room.” “18th century? Man, that’s like, old. When was that exactly? I guess that’s when the first lockdowns happened, right? In the first Covid era?” “Yeah, sort of… Anyway, forget it, you just reminded me of that book. But I guess reading is not really your thing.” “Nah. Is there a YouTube version? You are funny, you’re one of those guys who still read, right? You’re really old-fashioned. I bet you don’t even have a microchip in your brain, L.O.L.” “Thankfully not…” “…” “What’s wrong?” “Don’t get close to me.” “What? Why? Who are you calling?” “Who am I calling? Who am I calling? The police, dude. Not having a brain chip is a felony, and it’s my duty as a citizen to report you, sorry. I know you’re a friend and neighbour and all, but, that’s just sick, dude. That’s really fucked-up.”

Read more …

Cancel the doctors.

YouTube Removes Recent DeSantis Public Health Roundtable (JTN)

March public health roundtable event hosted by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis that featured reputable doctors including former White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Scott Atlas and the authors of The Great Barrington Declaration has been removed from YouTube for “violating YouTube’s Community Guidelines,” according to Reclaim the Net. The video garnered over 500,000 views while it was published and covered a group of panelists advising against lockdowns, contact tracing and mask mandates. The doctors – including Drs. Sunetra Gupta, Jay Bhattacharya, and Martin Kulldorff – also called the measures harmful and said that schools should reopen for in-person learning.


“We also talk about removing information that is problematic,” YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki told CNN last spring. “We’ve had to update our policy numerous times associated with COVID-19.” While the video was taken down from one channel, the video remains available on NBC 6 South Florida’s page. YouTube’s parent-company, Google, along with Facebook and Twitter have [been] adding misinformation warnings and removed posts that violate company guidelines including some related to coronavirus health-safety measures.

Read more …

“Inflation is a function of money supply but equally critical, the demand for money (velocity).”

Inflation: Making the Complex, Simple – Part 1 (RIA)

We could devote pages to the multitude of factors affecting the supply, demand, and pricing of a Big Mac. The exercise would explain why the Big Mac price rises or falls versus Burger King Whoppers and every other good and service available. Such analysis is critical to McDonalds, but often overemphasized from a macroeconomic perspective. Economists cite increasing oil prices as a driver for inflation and stronger retail sales from time to time. They assume consumers will still buy everything they were consuming, yet pay an extra $20 at the pump each week. In reality, consumers often substitute goods and services based on their budgets and needs. Economists often fail to consider the extra $20 spent at the gas pump is $20 not spent elsewhere.


The price of oil may rise, but the price of oranges may fall as consumers spend less on oranges to compensate. What matters most from a macroeconomic perspective is the aggregate price change for oil, oranges, Big Macs, and every other good and service. To correctly anticipate inflation, we must look beyond the supply and demand for goods and services. The truth lies in the supply and the demand for money. Unfortunately, the supply of money gets the headlines, while its demand is an afterthought. The chart below shows the forthcoming evidence of inflation used by most inflationists.

The following graph captures monetary velocity for an appropriate view of inflation.

Inflation is a function of money supply but equally critical, the demand for money (velocity).

Read more …

“The tentacles of Wokery have reached into every last compartment of American life now, more effectively even than the Covid-19 corona virus.”

Peak Woke (Jim Kunstler)

What were the execs of these mighty companies thinking — these knights of the boardroom, these capitalist geniuses, these moral nonpareils — when they cancelled Atlanta’s turn to host the midsummer All-star Game to “protest” Georgia’s passage of a law that requires voter ID? Surely that they were striking a righteous blow against systemic racism. And then, the rest of the world realized — almost immediately — that Major League Baseball requires online ticket buyers to show ID when they pick up their tickets at any stadium… and that Delta Airlines requires passengers to show ID (duh) before being allowed to fly in one of their airplanes… and that various other corporations snookered into this latest hustle such as Nike, Coca-Cola, and Calvin Klein support forced labor in the Asian nations that manufacture their products.

They’re Woke, you see. The tentacles of Wokery have reached into every last compartment of American life now, more effectively even than the Covid-19 corona virus. Wokeness emerged on the scene in 2014 when the feckless teenager Michael Brown was shot to death by police officer Darren Wilson upon arrest in Ferguson, Missouri, an event that kicked off the Black Lives Matter movement. The moral panic BLM ignited proved to be a spectacularly effective device for repelling the truth of the situation, and many more like it, which was that Michael Brown resisted arrest, fought with, and menaced officer Wilson before getting shot.

The Woke moral panic that proceeded from this effectively suppressed two truths about police relations with Black America: 1) that Blacks committed crimes against life and property at a disproportionately high rate to their percentage in the US population, and 2) that the number of unarmed black people killed by police was statistically minuscule, and in most cases involved people resisting arrest or fighting with police. As the 2016 election approached, the Democratic Party realized it was in its interest to cultivate the Woke moral panic so as to marshal the Black voting bloc so crucial to victory at the polls.

Read more …

Victoria Nuland et al.

Biden Admin Plots Revenge On Russia For Alleged Hacking, Meddling (ZH)

President Joe Biden – whose son Hunter received $3.5 million by the wife of the late Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov for reasons unknown – is preparing to retaliate for various Russian misdeeds, including the SolarWinds hack and election interference, according to Bloomberg. Retaliatory options may include sanctions on people close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, agencies linked to alleged election meddling, and the expulsion of Russian intelligence officers in the US who are currently under diplomatic cover, according to anonymous officials – one of whom said that the US response ‘would likely comprise several elements.’

“The actions will be the outcome of the review President Joe Biden ordered on his first full day in office into four areas: Interference in the U.S. election, reports of Russian bounties on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, the SolarWinds attack and the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny. The administration announced sanctions against Russian officials over Navalny last month but had so far held off on action in the other three areas.” -Bloomberg. Last month, Biden nodded in agreement when asked if he thought Putin was a “killer,” to which Putin said ‘takes one to know one.’ Putin then challenged Biden to a live, televised debate to discuss geopolitical friction, which the US President promptly declined.

According to the report, beyond sanctioning individuals, the Biden administration could expel diplomats or other measures designed to establish ‘effective deterrence against cyber attacks’ such as the SolarWinds exploit which affected several government agencies and private corporations.

Read more …

VIPS. McGovern, Kiriakou, Binney, Ritter etc.

Veteran Intelligence Officials Urge Biden To Avoid War In Ukraine (ZH)

1. It must be made clear to Ukrainian President Zelensky that there will be no military assistance from either the US or NATO if he does not restrain Ukrainian hawks itching to give Russia a bloody nose — hawks who may well expect the West to come to Ukraine’s aid in any conflict with Russia. (There must be no repeat of the fiasco of August 2008, when the Republic of Georgia initiated offensive military operations against South Ossetia in the mistaken belief that the US would come to its assistance if Russia responded militarily.)

2. We recommend that you quickly get back in touch with Zelensky and insist that Kiev halt its current military buildup in eastern Ukraine. Russian forces have been lining up at the border ready to react if Zelensky’s loose talk of war becomes more than bravado. Washington should also put on hold all military training activity involving US and NATO troops in the region. This would lessen the chance that Ukraine would misinterpret these training missions as a de facto sign of support for Ukrainian military operations to regain control of either the Donbas or Crimea.

3. It is equally imperative that the U.S. engage in high-level diplomatic talks with Russia to reduce tensions in the region and de-escalate the current rush toward military conflict. Untangling the complex web of issues that currently burden U.S.-Russia relations is a formidable task that will not be accomplished overnight. This would be an opportune time to work toward a joint goal of preventing armed hostilities in Ukraine and wider war.

There is opportunity as well as risk in the current friction over Ukraine. This crisis offers your administration the opportunity to elevate the moral authority of the United States in the eyes of the international community. Leading with diplomacy will greatly enhance the stature of America in the world.

For the Steering Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

Read more …

“..without clear sign US ready for bilateral relations..”

Russia Unlikely To Send Recalled Ambassador Back To Washington (RT)

Russia’s Foreign Ministry has revealed it has no plans to restore full diplomatic representation in Washington until it sees evidence that the US is interested in building constructive relations between the two countries. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov was asked by RIA Novosti on Wednesday whether Ambassador Anatoly Antonov would return to America in the near future, having been recalled in March amid a growing diplomatic row. “This is not a question for the next few days,” he said. “The timings will be determined based on what steps Washington plans to take on the bilateral track,” he continued. “We expect that they are still able to demonstrate a desire to at least relatively stabilize our relationship and that they will do something visible and noticeable in this regard.”


Antonov flew to Moscow for a series of crunch talks with senior officials in the days following US President Joe Biden’s interview with the ABC news network, in which he was asked whether he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin is a “killer,” and replied, “Mmm hmm, I do.” The American leader also said he had warned the Russian president that the US would potentially take action if it found evidence of Moscow’s interference in the US election. “He will pay a price,” Biden added. His comments came as a joint report by Washington’s spy agencies, including the CIA and the Department of Homeland Security, was declassified and made available to the public. It declared that Russia attempted to influence the 2020 US election with the aim of “denigrating President Biden’s candidacy and the Democratic Party, supporting former President Trump, undermining public confidence in the electoral process, and exacerbating sociopolitical divisions in the US.”

Read more …

“This will be a message for a new age..” “the most important political and public event.”

Putin Poised To Set Out Vision For Future In Dramatic Speech (RT)

Russian President Vladimir Putin is reportedly preparing to give a major address in which he will fire the starting pistol on a “new era” and set out a different vision for the future of his country as the Covid-19 pandemic wanes. The chairwoman of the Russian Senate, Valentina Matvienko, told reporters on Tuesday that the speech would set out answers to a number of challenges facing the world. “This will be a message for a new age,” she said. “But at the same time, as always, current issues will be addressed, focuses will be defined and direct instructions will be given.” Matvienko added that “in the current difficult environment facing the world, which comes with many obstacles for countries including Russia,” the address would become “the most important political and public event.”

Putin is due to speak to the national parliament, encompassing both the Senate and its lower house, the State Duma, on April 21. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov revealed on Monday that the annual message would be delivered in person, amid a relaxing of social distancing rules governing workplaces across the country. “The rest of the details are being worked out,” he added. At a meeting of the World Economic Forum in January, Putin warned that the coronavirus pandemic was driving countries to borrow beyond their means and driving up inequality. Increasing the debt burden, he said, was an outdated way of stimulating growth. “If 20 or 30 years ago the problem could be solved by means of stimulating macro-economic policy, today these mechanisms have reached their limits,” the president said.

“Over the past 30 years, real incomes of people living in most of the developed countries have stagnated while the cost of education and health services has increased. Millions of people, even in rich countries, no longer see the prospect of boosting their incomes,” Putin added.

Read more …

Big game hunters.

Humans Were Apex Predators For Two Million Years (Phys.org)

Only the extinction of larger animals (megafauna) in various parts of the world, and the decline of animal food sources toward the end of the stone age, led humans to gradually increase the vegetable element in their nutrition, until finally they had no choice but to domesticate both plants and animals—and became farmers. “So far, attempts to reconstruct the diet of stone-age humans were mostly based on comparisons to 20th century hunter-gatherer societies,” explains Dr. Ben-Dor. “This comparison is futile, however, because two million years ago hunter-gatherer societies could hunt and consume elephants and other large animals—while today’s hunter gatherers do not have access to such bounty. The entire ecosystem has changed, and conditions cannot be compared.

We decided to use other methods to reconstruct the diet of stone-age humans: to examine the memory preserved in our own bodies, our metabolism, genetics and physical build. Human behavior changes rapidly, but evolution is slow. The body remembers.” In a process unprecedented in its extent, Dr. Ben-Dor and his colleagues collected about 25 lines of evidence from about 400 scientific papers from different scientific disciplines, dealing with the focal question: Were stone-age humans specialized carnivores or were they generalist omnivores? Most evidence was found in research on current biology, namely genetics, metabolism, physiology and morphology. “One prominent example is the acidity of the human stomach,” says Dr. Ben-Dor. “The acidity in our stomach is high when compared to omnivores and even to other predators. Producing and maintaining strong acidity require large amounts of energy, and its existence is evidence for consuming animal products.

Strong acidity provides protection from harmful bacteria found in meat, and prehistoric humans, hunting large animals whose meat sufficed for days or even weeks, often consumed old meat containing large quantities of bacteria, and thus needed to maintain a high level of acidity. Another indication of being predators is the structure of the fat cells in our bodies. In the bodies of omnivores, fat is stored in a relatively small number of large fat cells, while in predators, including humans, it’s the other way around: we have a much larger number of smaller fat cells. Significant evidence for the evolution of humans as predators has also been found in our genome. For example, geneticists have concluded that “areas of the human genome were closed off to enable a fat-rich diet, while in chimpanzees, areas of the genome were opened to enable a sugar-rich diet.”

Read more …

Whitney Webb: “Anyone who is down to let Silicon Valley “hack” life processes and nature in general can fuck right off.”

Can Blood from Young People Slow Aging? (NW)

The Spanish firm Grifols helped set off a kerfuffle last year when it, along with other firms, offered nearly double the going price for blood donations for a COVID-19 treatment trial. Brigham Young University in Idaho had to threaten some enterprising students with suspension to keep them from intentionally trying to contract COVID-19. The trial failed, however, and now the Barcelona-based firm is hoping to extract something far more valuable from the plasma of young volunteers: a set of microscopic molecules that could reverse the process of aging itself. Earlier this year, Grifols closed on a $146 million-deal to buy Alkahest, a company founded by Stanford University neuroscientist Tony Wyss-Coray, who, along with Saul Villeda, revealed in scientific papers published in 2011 and 2014 that the blood from young mice had seemingly miraculous restorative effects on the brains of elderly mice.

The discovery adds to a hot area of inquiry called geroscience that focuses on identifying beneficial elements of blood that dissipate as we age and others that accumulate and cause damage. In the last six years, Alkahest has identified more than 8,000 proteins in the blood that show potential promise as therapies. Its efforts and those of Grifols have resulted in at least six phase 2 trials completed or underway to treat a wide range of age-related diseases, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Alkahest and a growing number of other geroscience health startups signal a change in thinking about some of the most intractable diseases facing humankind. Rather than focusing solely on the etiology of individual diseases like heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and arthritis—or, for that matter, COVID-19—geroscientists are trying to understand how these diseases relate to the single largest risk factor of all: human aging.

Their goal is to hack the process of aging itself and, in the process, delay or stave off the onset of many of the diseases most associated with growing old. The idea that aging and illness go hand and hand is, of course, nothing new. What’s new is the newfound confidence of scientists that “aging” can be measured, reverse-engineered and controlled. Until recently, “people working on diseases did not think that aging was modifiable,” says Felipe Sierra, who recently retired as director of the Division of Aging Biology, part of the National Institutes of Health. “That is actually what many medical books say: The main risk factor for cardiovascular disease is aging, but we cannot change aging so let’s talk about cholesterol and obesity. For Alzheimer’s, aging is the main risk factor—but let’s talk about the buildup in the brain of beta-amyloid proteins. Now that is beginning to change.”

Read more …

 

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Apr 062021
 


Edward Hopper The Circle Theater, New York 1936

 

Global Vaccine Rollout Is No Longer A Guarantee Of Victory Over Covid-19 (G.)
Sunday US COVID Death Count Lowest In More Than A Year (JTN)
Nearly 40,000 Fans Attended Texas Rangers Home Opener (JTN)
‘Double Mutant’ COVID-19 Variant Found in the Bay Area (NBCLA)
Poll Finds Almost Half Of Americans Want Vaccine Passports (SN)
Federal Gov’t Will Not Mandate COVID Vaccination Passports – Fauci (Sp.)
Vaccination Does Not Prevent 3rd Wave: German Health Minister (RT)
Cures for COVID and Dangers of COVID “Vaccines” (HIN)
US Grant To Wuhan Lab Was Never Scrutinized By HHS Review Board (DC)
Publix, Democrat State Official Blast CBS ‘60 Minutes’ Smear Of DeSantis (DW)
Biden’s Most “Beautiful Thing” May Be Media Collusion (Turley)
Japan’s Central Bank Kicks Off Experiments On Issuing Digital Currency (R.)
CEOs Tell Investors $15 Minimum Wage Won’t Hurt Business (NW)
Clarence Thomas: Facebook, Twitter Could Be Regulated Like Utilities (ET)
Putin Signs Law That Could Keep Him In Kremlin Until 2036 (R.)

 

 

 

 

Don’t want to get stuck in semantics, but if it is not now a guarantee, doesn’t that simply mean it never was?

Besides, calling for a global strategy of “maximum suppression” in April 2021 feels a bit like a time warp.

Instead, go figure out what you can do without “suppression”.

Global Vaccine Rollout Is No Longer A Guarantee Of Victory Over Covid-19 (G.)

If there are high transmission levels, and hence extensive replication of Sars-CoV-2, anywhere in the world, more variants of concern will inevitably arise and the more infectious variants will dominate. With international mobility, these variants will spread. South Africa’s experience suggests that past infection with Sars-CoV-2 offers only partial protection against the B.1.351 variant, and it is about 50% more transmissible than pre-existing variants. The B.1.351 variant has already been detected in at least 48 countries as of March 2021. The impact of the new variants on the effectiveness of vaccines is still not clear. Recent real-world evidence from the UK suggests both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines provide significant protection against severe disease and hospitalisations from the B.1.1.7 variant.

On the other hand, the B.1.351 variant seems to reduce the efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine against mild to moderate illness. We do not yet have clear evidence on whether it also reduces effectiveness against severe disease. For these reasons, reducing community transmission is vital. No single action is sufficient to prevent the virus’s spread; we must maintain strong public health measures in tandem with vaccination programs in every country. Each time the virus replicates, there is an opportunity for a mutation to occur. And as we are already seeing around the world, some of the resulting variants risk eroding the effectiveness of vaccines. That’s why we have called for a global strategy of “maximum suppression”.

Public health leaders should focus on efforts that maximally suppress viral infection rates, thus helping to prevent the emergence of mutations that can become new variants of concern. Prompt vaccine rollouts alone will not be enough to achieve this; continued public health measures, such as face masks and physical distancing, will be vital too. Ventilation of indoor spaces is important – some of which is under people’s control, some of which will require adjustments to buildings.

Read more …

Just one point in time, but not entirely meaningless.

Sunday US COVID Death Count Lowest In More Than A Year (JTN)

The number of reported coronavirus fatalities in the U.S. on Sunday was 222, the lowest daily death toll in more than a year. According to the Johns Hopkins University data, this represents the lowest number of deaths since March 23, 2020 when the number was 192. “Many states either did not report over the weekend or did not have any deaths to report,” a Johns Hopkins spokesperson said, according to The Hill. “The California data portal was down yesterday and we are in the process of back-distributing the data,” the person noted. So far 18.8% of the U.S. population has been fully vaccinated against the illness, while 32.4% of the population has received at least one vaccine dose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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An experiment, just as the vaccines are a -much bigger- experiment.

Nearly 40,000 Fans Attended Texas Rangers Home Opener (JTN)

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues on, thousands of fans flocked to attend the Texas Rangers baseball team’s home opener, though unfortunately for the home team fans, the Rangers did not emerge victorious. The team announced a sellout crowd of 38,283 at the Globe Life Field facility which has an even larger listed capacity of 40,518, according to the Associated Press which noted that the attendance figure does not factor in complimentary tickets. “It felt like a real game. It felt like back to the old days when we had full capacity,” team manager Chris Woodward said. “Was hoping we’d see how loud our stadium got if we gave them something to cheer about. Unfortunately we didn’t do that.”

Texas Rangers

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Prepare for thousands of variants.

‘Double Mutant’ COVID-19 Variant Found in the Bay Area (NBCLA)

A new variant of the coronavirus is in the Bay Area and it is believed to be the first of its kind in the United States. It’s a double mutation and it is believed to be responsible for the surge in cases in India. Fresh from a vacation in Hawaii, some travelers mostly families with kids in tow arrived Saturday night in San Jose with the Big Island still on their mind. “We’ve been playing it really safe, but a couple factors really played into the decision. One watching the numbers go down and then Hawaii was really really safe,” said Kristina Barnes. But while Bay Area counties have reported a decline in new COVID-19 infections, a variant of the Coronavirus has been confirmed here in Santa Clara County.


Stanford Health experts have confirmed a new, double mutation of the coronavirus at least one case here in the Bay Area and more suspected. But it is still unclear if this new variant is more dangerous. “There is no definite evidence that this double variant is more virulent or causes more severe disease.,” said Dr. Dean Winslow with Stanford University. The three vaccines are also said to still be effective against the India variant. “Most people will mount an immune response. Maybe it will not protect against an all-out infection but at least it will protect against moderate or severe disease,” Winslow added. The India variant is believed to be more transmissible, leading health experts to reinforce how essential it is to get vaccinated.

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Thing is, those 44% want to push them on to others, not just themselves.

Poll Finds Almost Half Of Americans Want Vaccine Passports (SN)

A Rasmussen poll has revealed that almost half of Americans support the introduction of vaccine passports in order to get “back to normal.” The findings were released over the Easter period, and noted that 44% of Americans said that a government run system requiring proof of vaccination is a “good idea.” Fewer, 41%, said they think vaccine passports are a bad idea. While some described the 44% figure as “weak,” others pointed out it is still far too high.
The poll dovetails with similar findings in the UK, where a majority of 62% said they would support the mandating of vaccine passports to visit pubs or restaurants, while only 22% opposed the idea.

An even higher figure, 78% said they would mandate the vaccine passport for international travel, while 61% said it should be required to attend sports games and 58% said it should be mandated for public transport. The findings in the U.S. come as it was confirmed that the Biden regime is working with major corporations to develop a country-wide vaccine passport, and after New York has begun the rollout of its own vaccine passport system. In addition, the FBI is warning people against fake vaccine passports or COVID-19 vaccination cards. As National File reported, the Biden administration is working with major corporations to develop a vaccine passport system that would require Americans to take one of the controversial vaccines and receive a vaccine passport to engage in commerce.

The passport system is also being pushed by the mainstream media, with the likes of the L.A. Times declaring that vaccine passports are a “good idea” because they will help the Biden administration “break the resistance down.” Some lawmakers have vowed to resist the introduction of vaccine passports, including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis who has signed an executive order banning them in the state, and revealed that he is working with the Florida legislature to institute a permanent ban. Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene has claimed that the Biden administration aims to force all Americans to have Covid-19 vaccine passports, comparing it to the “mark of the beast” prophesied in the Bible.

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The US strategy is to let corporations mandate them.

Federal Gov’t Will Not Mandate COVID Vaccination Passports – Fauci (Sp.)

The European Union and the United Kingdom are mulling the possibility of vaccination passports, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel announcing that a passport system is currently being established, and UK PM Boris Johnson saying tests of “vaccine passports” could be conducted to ensure that large gatherings can again occur. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the US president and the director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), on Monday cast doubt on the possibility of the federal government mandating coronavirus vaccination passports in the United States. “I doubt that the federal government will be the main mover of a vaccine passport concept,” Fauci said in a Politico Dispatch podcast.


“They may be involved in making sure things are done fairly and equitably, but I doubt if the federal government is going to be the leading element of that.” Fauci suggested that some independent entities could refuse to deal with anyone who is not vaccinated. “But it’s not going to be mandated from the federal government,” he said. The concept of so-called vaccine passports was introduced as a possible measure that could help to life back to normal following the coronavirus pandemic, particularly for international travel and large gatherings. In the EU, the idea was first vocally supported by Greece, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel later announcing that Germany would implement a vaccine passport system, expressing hope it could then include the entire bloc.

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More calling for more restrictions. Nothing learned in an entire year.

Vaccination Does Not Prevent 3rd Wave: German Health Minister (RT)

The ongoing vaccination campaign in Germany will not be enough to stop the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, Health Minister Jens Spahn has warned, urging the regions to return to lockdown measures if necessary. “Vaccination does not prevent the third wave, the third wave is growing,” the minister said as he visited one of the vaccination centers in Berlin on Monday, following the Easter holidays. Spahn also described the situation in Germany’s intensive care units as “worrying” and said that the number of people treated there increased to more than 4,000 over the Easter weekend. More than half of them are on invasive ventilation.

Spahn then called on Germany to “break this third wave together” by limiting contacts once again. The minister said that contacts should be primarily restricted “in the private sector, in schools, at work wherever possible.” He also pointed to the UK, Chile and the US as he said that even the nations with a higher vaccination ratio still resort to contact restrictions when necessary. Amid the vaccine shortages and delivery delays, Germany managed to administer the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine to some 10 percent of its population in the first quarter of this year. Spahn expects this figure to double by the end of April. “We will now be able to do the next ten percent in a month,” he said.

Earlier, the German Standing Vaccination Commission (STIKO) recommended limiting the use of the British Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to those over 60 years old due to the jab’s potential serious side effects in younger people, such as blood clots in the brain. Meanwhile, Spahn called on the German states to fight the third wave with lockdowns. Those regions that would see their average seven-day infection rate going over 100 should use the so-called “emergency brake” and re-introduce some restrictions, he said.

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Link from a commenter in yesterday’s thread, immediatedly invoking a “rebuttal” here.

Cures for COVID and Dangers of COVID “Vaccines” (HIN)

Dr. Ryan Cole is the CEO and Medical Director of Cole Diagnostics, one of the largest independent labs in the State of Idaho. Dr. Cole is a Mayo Clinic trained Board Certified Pathologist. He is Board Certified in anatomic and clinical pathology. He has expertise in immunology and virology and also has subspecialty expertise in skin pathology. He has seen over 350,000 patients in his career, and has done over 100,000 Covid tests in the past year. He recently was invited to speak at the “Capitol Clarity” event in Idaho, apparently sponsored by the Lt. Governor’s office, where he discussed successful outpatient treatments for COVID, and to offer his views on the new COVID “vaccines.”

Dr. Cole begins by showing statistics that prove Idaho is no longer in a “pandemic,” but an “endemic.” He states that the highest risk factors for contracting COVID are advanced age, obesity, and low Vitamin D levels. He also explains that coronaviruses have historically always followed a 6-9 month life cycle. He gives previous examples such as SARS-1, MERS, etc. One very interesting statistic that he pointed out is that in the U.S. the average annual age of death is 78.6 years old, and the average age of death during COVID has also been 78.6 years old. Dr. Cole is very adamant that proper levels of Vitamin D are essential to fight coronaviruses. He states: There is no such thing as “flu and cold season,” only low Vitamin D season.

Dr. Cole then goes on to explain that by law, the government cannot use experimental vaccines on the population if there are already effective treatments. So all of the current experimental COVID “vaccines,” which Dr. Cole himself admits do NOT meet the legal definition of a “vaccine” to begin with, are all illegal because there are therapies, such as Vitamin D, that are effective in treating COVID patients, as well as older already FDA-approved drugs like Ivermectin. He points out that the NIH (the National Institute of Health), which is a U.S. government agency involved with approving drugs, holds patents on the Moderna experimental COVID “vaccine,” which is like asking the fox to guard the hen house.

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Get Fauci under oath. This is nuts.

US Grant To Wuhan Lab Was Never Scrutinized By HHS Review Board (DC)

An oversight board created to scrutinize research that would enhance highly dangerous pathogens did not review a National Institutes of Health grant that funded a lab in Wuhan, China, to genetically modify bat-based coronaviruses. Experts say the NIH grant describes scientists conducting gain-of-function research, a risky area of study that, in this case, made SARS-like viruses even more contagious. Federal funding for gain-of-function research was temporarily suspended in 2014 due to widespread scientific concerns it risked leaking supercharged viruses into the human population. Federal funding for gain-of-function research was resumed in late 2017 after the Potential Pandemic Pathogens Control and Oversight (P3CO) Framework was formed within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

The review board is tasked with critically evaluating whether grants that involve enhancing dangerous pathogens, such as coronaviruses, are worth the risks and that proper safeguards are in place. But the NIH subagency that awarded the grant to the nonprofit group EcoHealth Alliance to study Chinese bat coronaviruses opted against forwarding it to the P3CO committee, an NIH spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation, meaning the research received federal funding without an independent review by the HHS board. “This is a systemic problem,” Rutgers University professor of chemical biology Richard H. Ebright told the DCNF, referring to the loophole in the review framework.

Ebright said the offices of the director for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) — the subagency that funded EcoHealth — and the NIH have “systematically thwarted–indeed systematically nullified–the HHS P3CO Framework by declining to flag and forward proposals for review.” Dr. Anthony Fauci leads the NIAID and Dr. Francis S. Collins heads the NIH.

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Cutting out pieces of video to make him look bad. Typical smear.

Publix, Democrat State Official Blast CBS ‘60 Minutes’ Smear Of DeSantis (DW)

Florida’s largest grocery store and a Florida state official, who is a Democrat, slammed CBS’s “60 Minutes” on Sunday evening following a deceptive segment the network aired about Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R). The segment featured reporter Sharyn Alfonsi ambushing DeSantis at a press conference last month and aggressively questioning him using a misleading narrative about the way that he has responded to the coronavirus pandemic. “60 Minutes” deceptively edited the interaction to remove nearly the entire portion of DeSantis’ response in which he thoroughly answered Alfonsi’s question and defused the central point of the segment. Alfonsi tried to suggest that Publix, the largest grocery store chain in Florida, had engaged in pay to play by donating money to DeSantis’ campaign in exchange for being awarded a contract to distribute vaccines in the state.

“The irresponsible suggestion that there was a connection between campaign contributions made to Governor DeSantis and our willingness to join other pharmacies in support of the state’s vaccine distribution efforts is absolutely false and offensive,” Publix said in a scathing statement slamming the “60 Minutes” segment. “We are proud of our pharmacy associates for administering more than 1.5 million doses of vaccine to date and for joining other retailers in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia to do our part to help our communities emerge from the pandemic.” Former Florida state Representative Jared Moskowitz, a Democrat, slammed “60 Minutes” over the segment, saying that DeSantis’ office did not push for selecting Publix. Moskowitz is the director of Florida’s Division of Emergency Management and has overseen the state’s response to the pandemic [..]

DeSantis

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“How can you remember details from your period of addiction going back 20 years, detailed in your book, but you cannot remember this laptop?”

Biden’s Most “Beautiful Thing” May Be Media Collusion (Turley)

News anchor Lester Holt recently declared that “it has become clearer that fairness is overrated,” adding that “the idea that we should always give two sides equal weight and merit does not reflect the world we find ourselves in.” Fortunately for Hunter Biden, that world is the one in which he lives and thrives. In interviews about his memoir “Beautiful Things,” some reporters either misstate the facts of his prior scandals or ignore certain leads, including potential evidence of a federal crime. Facts, like fairness, appear overrated to much of the media today. Hunter Biden spent the last few months evading questions, particularly during the 2020 election, when an abandoned laptop apparently belonging to him was found to have hundreds of embarrassing photos and emails showing drug abuse and raw influence-peddling.

He reportedly is under investigation for possible federal tax violations linked to his foreign dealings. Yet, one of the “beautiful things” in Hunter’s life is a media that imposed a pre-election blackout on the laptop story and continues to wrap him and his father in a protective press cocoon. That was evident in an interview by National Public Radio this week. The article by NPR senior editor and correspondent Ron Elving stated categorically: “The laptop story was discredited by U.S. intelligence and independent investigations by news organizations.” That is entirely and demonstrably false. Widely criticized for that false statement, NPR issued a tepid “correction” for the article that now states: “Numerous news organizations cast doubt on the credibility of the laptop story.”

There was, of course, an easy way to confirm the facts, rather than citing other news organizations which also failed to pursue the story. Elving and NPR were interviewing Hunter — so why not simply ask him if the laptop was his? CBS News did ask that question and received a bizarre answer from Hunter that it might be his, or it might not be: “There could be a laptop out there that was stolen from me. It could be that I was hacked. It could be that it was the — that it was Russian intelligence.” Or, perhaps, it could be alien technology from the Andromeda Galaxy. Hunter is denying any knowledge of the laptop’s authenticity, roughly seven months after its existence was disclosed by the New York Post and even longer since it reportedly was seized by the FBI. During that time, the story presumably was researched by the Biden campaign and by Hunter’s own lawyers.

U.S. intelligence concluded it was not Russian disinformation, even though Joe Biden claimed it was. His campaign brought forward 50 former national security officials to endorse this unsupported claim. The other parties on many of these emails have confirmed the authenticity and the FBi seized the laptop as evidence (which Hunter and his lawyers have been addressing in months of discussions with prosecutors). Yet, Hunter claims that he is entirely unsure if the laptop is his or possibly the work of Russian intelligence. One might expect some effort to explore that issue with a followup question: “How can you remember details from your period of addiction going back 20 years, detailed in your book, but you cannot remember this laptop?” Or: “Even if you cannot remember your own laptop, you’ve seen the pictures and emails — are those authentic?” Instead, the media showed the flag and then left the field.

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Richard Werner: “Bank of Japan, one of the bank regulators in Japan, moves further towards stepping into the arena to compete with the banks it regulates, by preparing to offer direct current accounts to the public (named central bank digital currency to get you off track)”

Japan’s Central Bank Kicks Off Experiments On Issuing Digital Currency (R.)

The Bank of Japan (BOJ) began experiments on Monday to study the feasibility of issuing its own digital currency, joining efforts by other central banks that are aiming to match the innovation in the field achieved by the private sector. The first phase of experiments, to be carried out until March 2022, will focus on testing the technical feasibility of issuing, distributing and redeeming a central bank digital currency (CBDC), the BOJ said in a statement. The BOJ will thereafter move to the second phase of experiments that will scrutinise more detailed functions, such as whether to set limits on the amount of CBDC each entity can hold.


If necessary, the central bank will launch a pilot programme that involves payment service providers and end users, BOJ Executive Director Shinichi Uchida said last month. “While there is no change in the BOJ’s stance it currently has no plan to issue CBDC, we believe initiating experiments at this stage is a necessary step,” Uchida told a committee of policymakers and bank lobbies looking into CBDC. Global central banks are looking at developing digital currencies to modernise their financial systems, ward off the threat from cryptocurrencies and speed up domestic and international payments.

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While their corporate lobbying groups in Washington fight the plans. Divide and rule?!

CEOs Tell Investors $15 Minimum Wage Won’t Hurt Business (NW)

Big restaurant chains are telling investors that a national minimum wage hike wouldn’t be a big deal—even as their corporate lobbying groups in Washington fight plans for a $15 minimum wage. “We share your view that a national discussion on wage issues for working Americans is needed—but the Raise the Wage Act is the wrong bill at the wrong time for our nation’s restaurants,” the National Restaurant Association wrote in a letter to congressional leaders in February. “The restaurant industry and our workforce will suffer from a fast-tracked wage increase and elimination of the tip credit.”

The following day, a top executive at Denny’s, one of the association’s members, told investors that gradual increases in the minimum wage haven’t been a problem for the company at all. In fact, California’s law raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2023 has actually been good for the diner chain’s business, according to Denny’s chief financial officer, Robert Verostek. “As they’ve increased their minimum wage kind of in a tempered pace over that time frame, if you look at that time frame from us, California has outperformed the system,” Verostek said on an earnings call. “Over that time frame, they had six consecutive years of positive guest traffic—not just positive sales, but positive guest traffic—as the minimum wage was going up.”

Denny’s is one of several publicly-traded restaurant chains whose executives have told investors in recent months that Democrats’ proposed minimum wage hike is not a real threat to their business and may even be a net positive, according to a Daily Poster review of corporate earnings calls. All of the companies have historically belonged to the restaurant association, which has led the fight against the Raise the Wage Act, legislation from Democrats that would gradually increase the minimum wage to $15 by 2025.

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“A person always could choose to avoid the toll bridge or train and instead swim the Charles River or hike the Oregon Trail..” “..what matters is whether the alternatives are comparable. For many of today’s digital platforms, nothing is.”

Clarence Thomas: Facebook, Twitter Could Be Regulated Like Utilities (ET)

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas appeared to signal that Big Tech firms could be regulated after Facebook and Twitter suspended President Donald Trump earlier this year. Thomas, considered a conservative on the high court, made the point during a 12-page submission as the Supreme Court issued an order that rejected a lawsuit over Trump’s blocking of certain Twitter users from commenting on his posts before his account was taken down. The Supreme Court said the lawsuit ultimately should be dismissed as Trump isn’t in office anymore and was blocked from using Twitter, coming after the Second Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled against Trump.

“Today’s digital platforms provide avenues for historically unprecedented amounts of speech, including speech by government actors. Also unprecedented, however, is control of so much speech in the hands of a few private parties,” Thomas wrote Monday. “We will soon have no choice but to address how our legal doctrines apply to highly concentrated, privately owned information infrastructure such as digital platforms.” Thomas also noted there are arguments suggesting digital platforms such as Twitter or Facebook “are sufficiently akin to common carriers or places of accommodation to be regulated in this manner.” Thomas made reference to the respective owners of Facebook and Google by name—Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page, and Sergey Brin.

“Although both companies are public, one person controls Facebook (Mark Zuckerberg), and just two control Google (Larry Page and Sergey Brin),” he wrote. Thomas agreed that Trump’s Twitter account did “resemble a constitutionally protected public forum” in certain aspects, he noted that “it seems rather odd to say that something is a government forum when a private company has unrestricted authority to do away with it,” possibly referring to Twitter’s ban against Trump following the Jan. 6 incident. “Any control Mr. Trump exercised over the account greatly paled in comparison to Twitter’s authority, dictated in its terms of service, to remove the account ‘at any time for any or no reason,’” he added. “Twitter exercised its authority to do exactly that.”

[..] “A person always could choose to avoid the toll bridge or train and instead swim the Charles River or hike the Oregon Trail,” he wrote. “But in assessing whether a company exercises substantial market power, what matters is whether the alternatives are comparable. For many of today’s digital platforms, nothing is.”

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Putin is afraid Russia will be overrun by the West as soon as he retires. That’s what occupies him, not hunger for power.

Putin Signs Law That Could Keep Him In Kremlin Until 2036 (R.)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law that could keep him in office in the Kremlin until 2036, the government said on Monday. The legislation allows him to run for two more six-year terms once his current stint ends in 2024. It follows changes to the constitution last year. Those changes were backed in a public vote last summer and could allow Putin, 68, to potentially remain in power until the age of 83. He is currently serving his second consecutive term as president and his fourth in total.


The reform, which critics cast as a constitutional coup, was packaged with an array of other amendments that were expected to garner popular support, such as one bolstering pension protections. The law signed by Putin limits any future president to two terms in office, but resets his term count. It prevents anyone who has held foreign citizenship from running for the Kremlin. The legislation was passed in the lower and upper houses of parliament last month.


Zbigniew Brzezinski 1997

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Mar 222021
 
 March 22, 2021  Posted by at 9:00 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  32 Responses »


Paul Gauguin Tahitian village 1892

 

3 Fully Vaccinated People Catch Covid-19 Coronavirus in Hawaii (Forbes)
Travel Changes For Those Who Are Fully Vaccinated (Forbes)
European Trust In AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine Plunges (R.)
Ivermectin: Game changer vs Covid-19? What’s the Controversy? (Manila Times)
Greece Mobilizes Private Doctors to Cope With Surging Covid Infections (GR)
Growing Rebellion Against Draconian Covid Restrictions By Canadians (RT)
V. Putin Ain’t No Corn Pop (Kunstler)
Welcome To The Age Of Modern Monetary Theory (Kodrik)
Next Round Of Us Fiscal Legislation Could Reach $4 Trillion – Goldman (FXS)
Media Pseudo-Debates and the Silence of Leftist Critics (Curtin)
Biden Pushes Colombia to Restart Glyphosate Spraying Program
Bipartisan Australian MPs Meet With US Embassy About Julian Assange (SMH)

 

 

“It is spring again.
The earth is like
a child that knows
poems by heart.”
~ Rainer Maria Rilke

 

 

 

 

 

 

This from Forbes is actually part of the sales job. It’s “only” 3 people. And:

“just because you catch the virus after getting fully vaccinated doesn’t mean that the vaccine didn’t help you. You don’t know how much worse the infection could have been without the vaccine”

3 Fully Vaccinated People Catch Covid-19 Coronavirus in Hawaii (F.)

While the Covid-19 vaccines may protect you against Covid-19, their protection is not perfect. Even after getting vaccinated , you can still catch the virus. You can still get Covid-19. Case in point. Or rather three cases in point. According to the Hawaii Department of Health (DOH), three people in Hawaii who had received both doses of either the Moderna or the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine subsequently tested positive for the Covid-19 coronavirus. Additionally, a fourth person who had received the first of two doses of the vaccine ended up catching the B.1.1.7 variant of the severe acute respiratory respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV2). That be a more contagious version of the SARS-CoV2.

Don’t press the panic button just because you saw this news though. In general, pressing a button labeled “Panic” is a bad idea. Plus, three people catching the Covid-19 coronavirus does not mean that the Covid-19 vaccines do not work. Getting the vaccine does not mean that a giant six-feet thick concrete condom forms around your body. The vaccine does not serve as a solid 100% effective barrier to the virus. Even though the vaccines may be quite effective at preventing more severe Covid-19, you still have a chance of getting Covid-19 after being fully vaccinated. And there is still a chance that this Covid-19 can be severe. It’s just that your chances after vaccination may be significantly lower.

Ultimately, three people is not that many people. It’s not even enough to form a four-person bobsled team or a typical boy band or a combination of the two. And it’s only a tiny fraction of the people who have been fully vaccinated to date. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Covid-19 Vaccine Tracker, over 35 million people have gotten both doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna Covid-19 vaccines. [..] just because you catch the virus after getting fully vaccinated doesn’t mean that the vaccine didn’t help you. You don’t know how much worse the infection could have been without the vaccine, unless you’ve somehow mastered time travel.

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Sales job continued:

“A rebound in travel and day-to-day life most likely won’t be complete until after a vaccine for children becomes available..”

Travel Changes For Those Who Are Fully Vaccinated (F.)

The coronavirus vaccine is becoming available to more people across the United States and the world. Given the uptick in travel, it seems that more people are becoming confident to travel once they become fully vaccinated. Here are some travel changes to know about for those who have been (or will soon be) vaccinated. What Does “Fully Vaccinated” Mean? Your body must develop antibodies after receiving the recommended coronavirus vaccine dosage before you are “fully vaccinated.” The waiting period is 14 days after receiving your final dose. The 14-day period starts after receiving your second dose if you receive the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine. The Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine only requires one dose.

If you want to travel after getting the vaccine, your travel dates should start 14 days after receiving the second dose. As always, you should stay home if you’re showing potential signs and symptoms. People can still contract the coronavirus after being fully vaccinated. Vaccines For Children Are Coming A rebound in travel and day-to-day life most likely won’t be complete until after a vaccine for children becomes available. Moderna is currently testing a children’s vaccine for recipients between ages 6 months and 12 years. For now, fully vaccinated adults have fewer social distancing restrictions. Current social distancing guidelines remain in place for unvaccinated households and travelers.

Being fully vaccinated isn’t a free pass to unrestricted travel as it was before the pandemic. The CDC interim guidelines do not expressly state that those who are fully vaccinated should avoid non-essential travel. However, the vaccinated must limit their exposure to the unvaccinated, who can be at more risk of getting the virus in close contact. The fully vaccinated can visit these people without masks or social distancing: • Other fully vaccinated persons (in small groups only) • Visit with unvaccinated people from a single household if they are “low-risk”.

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“EMA did not rule out a possible link, however..”

European Trust In AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine Plunges (R.)

Confidence in the safety of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine has taken a big hit in Spain, Germany, France and Italy as reports of rare blood clots have been linked to it and many countries briefly stopped using it, poll data showed on Monday. The polling firm YouGov said it had already found in late February that Europeans were more hesitant about the AstraZeneca vaccine than about those from Pfizer Inc/BioNTech and Moderna Inc, and that the clot concerns had further damaged public perceptions of the AstraZeneca shot’s safety. At least 13 European countries in the past two weeks stopped administering the AstraZeneca shot, co-developed with scientists at Oxford University, after reports of a small number of blood disorders.

Many resumed its use on Friday after the European Medicines Agency regulator said in a preliminary safety review on Thursday that the vaccine was safe and effective and not linked with a rise in the overall risk of blood clots. EMA did not rule out a possible link, however, with rare cases of blood clots in the brain known as cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST). YouGov’s poll – which covered about 8,000 people in seven European countries between March 12 and 18 – found that in France, Germany, Spain and Italy, people were now more likely to see the AstraZeneca vaccine as unsafe than as safe. Some 55% of Germans say it is unsafe, while less than a third think it is safe, the poll showed. In France, where AstraZeneca’s COVID vaccine was already unpopular, 61% of people polled say they now see it as unsafe.

In Italy and Spain, most people previously felt the AstraZeneca vaccine was safe – at 54% and 59% respectively – but those rates have fallen to 36% and 38% respectively, in the latest poll. The survey showed that only in Britain, where the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine has been used in a national rollout since January, have the blood clot concerns had little to no impact on public confidence. The majority of people polled in the UK – 77% – still say the shot is safe. Their trust in it is on a par with Pfizer’s 79% perceived safety rating.

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A lot of material here. Good for the Philippines.

Ivermectin: Game changer vs Covid-19? What’s the Controversy? (Manila Times)

Desperation time is arriving at our door. Our infection rates are reaching all-time highs, hospitals are full, people are unnerved already and the Philippines is far behind other countries in the recovery. Most of us will survive, but many will die unnecessarily; millions of jobs are lost.Real tests are needed, not speeches. Let’s not kid ourselves that survival is proof of resilience and innovativeness; we must improve all performance indicators, including time to adopt the best practical practices. Can we improve this reality test of our nation’s ability to anticipate, select talent, plan and execute by turning around the Covid health and economic situation quicker? When do we kick out demagogues and incompetents?

One potentially very powerful decision that is simple to execute can bypass the costs, vaccine availability and logistics issues we have (but not the pharma politics and traditional medical bureaucracy?) is the properly managed use of ivermectin.Game changer? Worldwide cases on ivermectin have been accumulating since the middle of 2020. Many highly competent doctors and research institutions are asserting that it can massively decrease infection rates, periods, and severity, at low risk, even prior to the arrival and use of vaccines. What are the arguments for or against ivermectin use for Covid control and treatment? The National Institute of Health (NIH) of the US in January 2021 had upgraded their recommendation on ivermectin, from “against” to “neither for nor against,” making it an option for use against Covid-19.

With the All-Indian Institute of Medical Sciences of Bhubaneswar, India’s Dr. Batmanabane says of his experience: “Earlier, at least 20 to 25 health care workers were getting infected with the virus daily. After the workers started taking Ivermectin, the number of infections has come down to one or two per day.” Their study indicates an over 70 percent overall improvement. While ivermectin is associated at times with some nausea or dizziness or other mild reactions, there have not been serious cases. The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) notes that of 49 ivermectin studies, all show favorable results. Patients are dying, while over a billion doses have been used since the 1980s of this “very safe drug”. “Perhaps with this change, patients won’t need a court order to get a lifesaving drug,” according to AAPS executive director Dr. Jane Orient.

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“Greece will start offering Covid-19 self-testing kits next month to the entire population of the country.” “Greece will be the first EU member-state to offer these tests to the entire population free-of-charge.”

Greece Mobilizes Private Doctors to Cope With Surging Covid Infections (GR)

Greece announced on Monday it is mobilizing private doctors in an effort to contain the pressure on public hospitals struggling to cope with surging Covid-19 infections.Minister of Health, Vassilis Kikilias, said that despite an appeal for volunteers in the last few weeks “very few doctors came forward.” Of about 200 doctors requested by the government to assist their colleagues in the public sector, just 50 have come forward. Worse yet, attempts over the weekend to woo them with bonus fees failed. “Taking into account the emergency conditions and the urgent need for treatment of our fellow human beings, the Ministry of Health is mobilizing the services of Pathologists, Pulmonologists and General Practitioners in Attica,” Kikilias announced.

Doctors associations say the government should first recruit residents at state hospitals and other medical staff waiting to be hired before proceeding with the order, which they describe as absolutely extreme. On Sunday, Greece recorded another 1,514 new Covid-19 cases and the country broke yet another grim record, as a total of 674 people are now intubated in ICU units.The situation in Greece’s hospitals remains critical, with the capacity of many of them in Athens and other large cities being almost overwhelmed. Kikilias confirmed last week that Greece is “at the toughest point of the pandemic’s development.”He added that public hospitals are “on high emergency mode.”

Greece will start offering Covid-19 self-testing kits next month to the entire population of the country, the government said on Saturday.This comes as the latest addition to a series of measures that aim to curve the rising coronavirus infections in the country.Information and details on the new self-tests were announced by the Greek authorities, who claim that Greece will be the first EU member-state to offer these tests to the entire population free-of-charge.

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“The government’s response has lacked a risk variant analysis on all our populations.”

Growing Rebellion Against Draconian Covid Restrictions By Canadians (RT)

Some Canadians, armed with knowledge of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, aren’t complying with the draconian and absurd measures, and instead are walking out of airports instead of being incarcerated in quarantine hotels. In March, nurse Jessica Faraone made headlines for doing just that and walking out of Toronto’s Pearson airport instead of subjecting herself to a costly $2,000-plus quarantine hotel stay. In a later interview, Faraone said a border guard had attempted to intimidate and shut her up, but she knew her rights. She added: “I have worked in the hospitals and more than ever I’m seeing suicide, depression, strokes, heart attacks, addiction issues. Masking people and children, oppressing health-care workers’ opinions that go against the grain, socially isolating people, and instilling fear into Canadians… is not how we solve this problem.”

And it’s not just well-informed individuals who are contesting the drastic measures. The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms has been active in challenging the government both on quarantine hotels and on tickets issued to citizens for alleged violations of public health orders. The centre is also disseminating resources for Canadians to know their rights regarding Covid measures. Liberty Coalition Canada was formed after Covid restrictions were brought in. The coalition is a “national network of clergymen, elected officials, small business owners, legal experts and other concerned citizens” that now has a number of sub-groups addressing specific aspects of the measures Canada has taken. These include the social media campaign Save Our Youth, Reopen Ontario Churches, and the End the Lockdowns Caucus.

The latter comprises a number of current and former elected representatives who came together in February “resolved to ensure there is open, honest, and public debate regarding the Covid government response.” This body espouses what many ordinary Canadians have been feeling: “After careful examination and scrutiny of mitigation measures undertaken by all levels of government, it is now evident that the lockdowns cause more harm than the virus and must be brought to an end.” Likewise, the newly-formed Professionals Against Lockdowns – already listing over 100 professionals, including doctors, nurses, healthcare professionals, legal experts, police and teachers – aims to provide “evidence-based, scientific research that will educate and empower the public.”

Noting the widespread censorship of any dissenting voices on issues Covid, its statement reads: “It is our professional duty to protect the public, our communities, and our children. We will advocate for what is right and speak up against harm. Together, we will continue to be the voice for the voiceless to ensure that the truth about these lockdowns is heard. “The government’s response has lacked a risk variant analysis on all our populations. We are seeing the harm being done first-hand. We know lockdowns, isolation of healthy individuals, and the violation of our rights are causing more harm than good.”

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“They’re strangely compelled to seek every possible opportunity to insult the public’s intelligence while destroying what’s left of American culture..”

V. Putin Ain’t No Corn Pop (Kunstler)

Pretty soon, the president’s handlers will have to forbid him to open his pie-hole in public altogether. No more one-on-one interviews even with slow-pitch party shills like Mr. Stephanopoulos. They’ll just wheel him into the rose garden periodically like a cigar store Indian for proof-of-life demonstrations and leave the management of the nation… to others.

And how’s that going after a couple of months? Apparently, economic collapse is not enough for the party in charge of things now. They’re strangely compelled to seek every possible opportunity to insult the public’s intelligence while destroying what’s left of American culture. Case in point out of Nancy Pelosi’s Congress: HR1, the so-called “For the People Act,” institutionalizing ballot fraud in US elections. The law would make permanent the Covid-19 emergency mail-in voting system, over-riding whatever each state’s election law says — which makes the act appear patently unconstitutional — plus permitting same-day motor-voter registration of any live body, citizen or not, plus removing all voter ID requirements, and much more to ensure the country is never again threatened by a fair election.

Next up: HR5, the so-called “Equality Act,” institutionalizing the notion that categories of “male” and “female” are mere cultural constructs and must in no way be allowed to order any cultural activity from school to work to leisure. The bill was initially conceived to harden into law President Obama’s EO expanding the Department of Education’s Title IX rules on school sports — which eventuated in “trans women” disrupting girls’ sports. Now, men pretending to be women (and vice-versa) will be allowed to disrupt everything else in American life, especially the civil courts, with frivolous lawsuits.

Also in the pipeline: HR6, the so-called “American Dream and Promise Act,” and its Senate companion, S264, the plain “Dream Act,” that will grant permanent residency and then citizenship to currently “undocumented” people who snuck into the USA as children. The dreams and promises have already been delivered, even before the final passage of any new act, with an unprecedented flood of unaccompanied migrant children crashing the border, as well as a surge of adults fleeing Mexico and Central America. Apparently, the thinking in Washington these days is that we don’t have enough poor people in America, that their lives are not difficult enough. The message couldn’t be clearer to millions outside the United States: by all means, cross the border and we will do nothing about it.

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“When overspending does cause inflation, the MMT remedy is to remove money from circulation through progressive taxation, rather than by reducing spending and sacrificing the poor to unemployment.”

Welcome To The Age Of Modern Monetary Theory (Kodrik)

Congress has authorized $6 trillion in deficit spending to defeat the coronavirus. That’s more than the United States spent fighting World War II, when $4 trillion of government spending released the country from the clutches of the Great Depression. Naturally, politicians and pundits debate whether the amount is excessive. But implicit in their seemingly routine deficit debate is a remarkable shift: Inflation has replaced debt — the old stalking horse for defeating progressive legislation — as the primary concern with deficit spending. It’s a subtle change, with profound consequences. And it augurs the rise of a revolutionary approach to political economy, Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), as the dominant paradigm in the politics of money.

Like Keynesians of yesteryear, Modern Monetary Theorists urge government to achieve full employment through fiscal policy, even when it requires deficit spending. Their comfort with large deficits emerges from an understanding that an obsession with national debt is a relic of another time, the age of gold standards and fixed currency arrangements. Today, in the age of national monetary sovereignty and free-floating currencies, countries like the United States can fulfill all financial obligations with a simple keystroke. Still, MMT economists don’t exactly scoff at deficits. Their point is that inflation, rather than rising national debt, is the best indicator of whether deficits are too large.

Short of extreme inflation, MMT encourages policymakers to juice the economy through government spending. Seen through MMT goggles, a tenet of economic orthodoxy is flipped on its head: Deficits appear as virtuous public investments, while surpluses become scourges, condemned for sucking money out of the economy. In this brave new world, the refusal of monetary sovereigns to run substantial deficits seems cruel and inefficient. According to MMT economist Stephanie Kelton, deficit spending can and should continue while additional spending can be absorbed by an economy’s productive resources. When overspending does cause inflation, the MMT remedy is to remove money from circulation through progressive taxation, rather than by reducing spending and sacrificing the poor to unemployment.

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We are all MMT now.

Next Round Of Us Fiscal Legislation Could Reach $4 Trillion – Goldman (FXS)

Analysts at Goldman Sachs eye another US fiscal stimulus, ranging to as high as $4.00 trillion, in their latest note published recently. The US bank suggests a minimum of $2.00 trillion of the infrastructure spending package, which could go to $4.00 trillion if including health care, education, and child care initiatives, in the next round of relief from US President Joe Biden. It should be noted that the bank anticipates higher taxes as a resource for paying the fiscal relief bill. “The tax plan proposed by President Biden in his election campaign would raise the statutory corporate tax rate on domestic income from 21% to 28%, partially reversing the cut from a rate of 35% passed in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The plan would also raise the tax rate on foreign income (also called the “GILTI” tax) and institute a minimum corporate tax rate,” said the note further.

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Edward Curtin starts out alright, but then…

Media Pseudo-Debates and the Silence of Leftist Critics (Curtin)

You’ve heard of them, no doubt, the U.S. rulers who can’t rule too well and are always getting surprised by events or fed bad advice by their underlings. Their “mistakes” are always well intentioned. They stumble into wars through faulty intelligence. They drop the ball because of bureaucratic mix-ups. They miscalculate the perfidy of the elites whom allegedly they oppose while ushering them into the national coffers out of necessity since they are too big to fail. They never see the storm coming, even as they create it. Their incompetence is the retort to all those nut cases who conjure up conspiracy theories to explain their actions or lack thereof. They are innocent. Always innocent.

They and their media mouthpieces offer Americans, who are most eager to accept, what Lutheran pastor and anti-Nazi dissident Dietrich Bonhoeffer, executed at age thirty-nine by Hitler, called cheap grace: “Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance…” These incompetents are, in the immortal words of the New York newspaper columnist Jimmy Breslin, “The Gang Who Couldn’t Shoot Straight.” Except they could and can. They’ve actually shot a lot of people, here and abroad. It’s one of their specialities. But they mean well. They screw up sometimes, but they mean well. They care, even while they kill millions with their guns and bombs. But they have their followers.

As another dissident thirty-nine-year-old pastor, executed by the American state, Martin Luther King, Jr. said: “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” The US rulers have their defenders. Most are corporate mainstream journalists whose jobs are to defend the ruling elites of both political parties. They will criticize across the political divides depending on their organizations’ political leanings at the moment. But they will never attack the fundamentals of the oligarchic war system since they are part of it. Their jobs depend on it. So CNN and The New York Times will obsessively attack Trump while Fox News will do the same to Obama or Biden. This is a game.

These days such massive media conglomerates are seemingly starkly divided and basically serve as adjuncts of one political party or the other. They are essentially political propagandists for either the Democrats or the Republicans and have abandoned any pretense to be anything else. They speak to their respective audiences in self-enclosed vacuums. They promote the divide that runs down the middle of the USA, a divide they helped to create.

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Round-Up used to destroy entire crops. Anything else you wish to know?

Biden Pushes Colombia to Restart Glyphosate Spraying Program

After a six-year halt, Colombia plans to restart the toxic aerial spraying of glyphosate on coca crops as early as next month—drawing “most welcome” support from U.S. President Joe Biden and sharp criticism from 150 regional experts who wrote to Biden, “your administration is implicitly endorsing former President Trump’s damaging legacy in Colombia.” On March 2nd, the Biden administration welcomed Colombia’s decision to restart its aerial coca eradication program in Biden’s first annual 2021 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report: “The government of Colombia has committed to re-starting its aerial coca eradication program, which would be a most welcome development.”

Colombia halted the controversial spraying program in 2015. In 2018, Colombia’s then-new President Ivan Duque vowed to resume the program but has yet to restart the aerial spraying The country faced increasing pressure from the United States to restart the program. “You’re going to have to spray,” former US President Donald Trump told Duque at the White House during a March 2, 2020 meeting. Aerial fumigation had been a central component of Plan Colombia, the 2005 multi-billion dollar U.S. program to finance the Colombian government war on coca cultivation and their war on FARC, which was Colombia’s largest rebel group before being disbanded in 2017.

But in 2015, the Colombian Supreme Court ruled that the spraying must end if the spraying of glyphosate was creating health problems. Also, in 2015, the World Health Organization found that glyphosate—also known as “Roundup”—was harmful to the environment and health, potentially causing cancer. In 2014, ending aerial fumigation was central to peace negotiations with FARC, with the Colombian government agreeing with FARC negotiators that it would transition away from aerial spraying. The Colombian government was also facing significant pressure from the rural poor, who were organizing national protests against aerial fumigation and other forms of forced eradication.

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Hmmm. Sounds pretty weak.

Bipartisan Australian MPs Meet With US Embassy About Julian Assange (SMH)

A cross-party delegation of Australian MPs has met with Washington’s top envoy in Canberra in their continued attempts to encourage the United States to drop its extradition attempts against the WikiLeaks founder. Nationals MP George Christensen, Independent Andrew Wilkie and Labor’s Julian Hill lobbied the US embassy’s charge d’affaires, Michael Goldman, on Monday morning, arguing the Australian citizen should be allowed to return home. The US Justice Department has appealed a British judge’s ruling that prevents Mr Assange from being extradited from London to face espionage charges. Judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled last month that while the case against the Australian was sound, his fragile mental health put him at “substantial risk” of taking his own life in prison.

Supporters of Mr Assange had hoped that new US President Joe Biden’s administration would opt to drop the case, which the Obama administration had declined to charge over concerns that doing so would put press freedoms at risk. He is accused of helping former army private Chelsea Manning obtain and leak classified information on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Mr Wilkie, a whistleblowing intelligence officer-turned-MP, said the delegation raised numerous issues with Mr Goldman, including the increasing cross-party and public support for the US extradition of Mr Assange from the UK to be dropped. The trio argued the US was at risk of “reputational damage” over the inconsistency that WikiLeaks source, Chelsea Manning, had her sentence commuted while WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, was still being pursued.

[..] “It was heartening that Mr Goldman agreed to the meeting and gave us a fair hearing,” Mr Wilkie said. “Hopefully our representations this morning impressed upon him the broad concern in Australia, and indeed right around the world, at the shocking injustice being meted out to Julian Assange. The US’s pursuit of Mr Assange is obviously not in the public interest and must be dropped.”

Read more …

 

 

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If the Queen moves four squares forward the Bishop can take her.

 

 

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


Gilles Mostaert Sodom and Gomorrah 1597

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Putin Challenges Biden To Stair-Climbing Contest (BBee)

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


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

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Easy.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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How scary would you like it?

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

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


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

Read more …

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

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

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

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

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

Read more …

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

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

ONS Admits Ignoring Manufacturer Instructions in PCR Testing (LDS)

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

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

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

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

Read more …

We need more questions for this narrative.

The ‘Independent’ Report Claiming Uyghur Genocide (CN)

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

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

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

Read more …

Well, well. Get your MMT at the BBC.

UK Government Borrowing Hits February Record (BBC)

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


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

Read more …

We’ll defeat ourselves yet.

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


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

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

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

Read more …

 

 

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


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

 

 

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

 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

Is Vladimir Putin Evil? – 1

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

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

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

Is Vladimir Putin Evil? – 2

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

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

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

Is Vladimir Putin Evil? – 3

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


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

And Scott Ritter has it right:

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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Mar 192021
 
 March 19, 2021  Posted by at 8:38 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  35 Responses »


Camille Corot Study for “The Destruction of Sodom” 1843

 

Biden’s Tough-Guy Flexing At ‘Soulless Killer’ Putin Would Be Funny If.. (RT)
Putin Challenges Biden To A Live Public ‘Discussion’ (JTN)
Biden ‘Clearly Doesn’t Want Good Relations’ With Russia – Kremlin (RT)
A Brief List Of Official Russia Claims That Proved To Be Bogus (Taibbi)
Journalists Yesterday Spread a Significant Lie All Over Twitter (Greenwald)
US and China Publicly Rebuke Each Other In First Major Talks Of Biden Era (G.)
Covid Spiking In Over A Dozen States—Most With High Vaccination Rates (F.)
Norwegian Scientists Say AstraZeneca DID Cause Blood Clots (RT)
Your Unvaccinated Kid Is Like a Vaccinated Grandma (Oster)
How The US Military Subverted The Afghan Peace Agreement (GZ)
FBI Now Probing Cuomo’s Corporate Immunity Law (DO)
Without Trump, Is A “Depression In Television” Coming? (Taibbi)
Building or Unbuilding America? (Nomi Prins)
Growth Of US Homelessness During 2020 Was Devastating – HUD (NPR)

 

 

 

 

My thought exactly. He made the whole thing up. Or rather, someone did it for him.

Biden’s Tough-Guy Flexing At ‘Soulless Killer’ Putin Would Be Funny If.. (RT)

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

These are not words one utters after telling a Russian leader in private that he has “no soul.” Biden’s struggle with the truth is well known, so it should come as no surprise to anyone that he possibly made up a meeting with Putin. Biden has been caught plagiarizing a speech delivered by former British Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock, lied about his academic record and accomplishments, and manufactured from whole cloth a narrative that has him participating in the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Biden’s lies all have one goal in common: to make him out to be that which he is not. So, too, his apparent lie about calling Putin soulless. Biden is desperate to be a ‘tough guy’. But for that reputation to stick vis-à-vis Putin, there had to be a ‘showdown’ moment, where the good guy faced off against the bad guy and called him out.

Since no such event exists, Biden had to make one up. And, like most of his lies, Biden repeats them long enough and often enough that they take on a life of their own, embraced as fact by unquestioning journalists. In his interview with Stephanopoulos, Biden raised the findings of the DNI report, and his conversation with Putin. “He will pay a price. We had a long talk, he and I. I know him relatively well and the conversation started off [like this]: I said, ‘I know you and you know me. If I establish this occurred, then be prepared.’”

Biden does not know Putin well at all. If he did, he would know that the last thing that would give the Russian leader pause were the fanciful tough-guy posturing of a geriatric president. There is little doubt that the Biden administration will impose additional sanctions against Russia in the days and weeks to come, citing the report as justification. There is also little doubt that these sanctions will have no impact whatsoever on the policies and practices of the Russian government. But that is not the point. Biden is not flexing for the benefit of Putin. His audience is the American people, and part and parcel of a coordinated campaign designed to drive home his mantra that “America is back.”

Read more …

Biden’s too busy.

Putin Challenges Biden To A Live Public ‘Discussion’ (JTN)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has suggested that he and American President Joe Biden engage in a live public “discussion.” The Russian leader’s proposal comes after Biden, when asked earlier this week during an ABC News interview whether he believes Putin is a killer, responded that he does believe that. A U.S. intelligence report indicates that Putin authorized influence operations related to the 2020 U.S. election, and during the interview Biden said that Putin “will pay a price.” Biden said that he told Putin: “If I establish this occurred, then be prepared.”

The intelligence report states in part: “We assess that Russian President Putin authorized, and a range of Russian government organizations conducted, influence operations aimed at denigrating President Biden’s candidacy and the Democratic Party, supporting former President Trump, undermining public confidence in the electoral process, and exacerbating sociopolitical divisions in the US.” “I’ve just thought of this now,” the Russian president told a Russian state television reporter, according to ABC News. “I want to propose to President Biden to continue our discussion, but on the condition that we do it basically live, as it’s called. Without any delays and directly in an open, direct discussion. It seems to me that would be interesting for the people of Russia and for the people of the United States.”

Putin suggested that the “discussion” with Biden could be held on Friday or Monday: “I don’t want to put this off for long. I want to go the taiga this weekend to relax a little,” Putin said. “So we could do it tomorrow or Monday. We are ready at any time convenient for the American side.” When asked during Thursday’s press briefing if the idea is one that the administration would consider, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told the reporter she would need to “get back to you if that is something we are entertaining,” and noted that Biden will be busy in Georgia on Friday.

Read more …

Recalling your ambassador is a serious step.

Biden ‘Clearly Doesn’t Want Good Relations’ With Russia – Kremlin (RT)

The Kremlin has claimed that comments from American President Joe Biden, in which he said he believes his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, to be a “killer,” is proof Washington isn’t serious about relations with the country. Speaking to journalists on Thursday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said there was no precedent for the remarks in the history of the two nations. “These are very bad statements by the US president,” he added. “He clearly doesn’t want to establish a relationship with our country, and we will proceed on that basis.” In the TV interview with ABC, which aired on Wednesday, Biden was asked by chief anchor George Stephanopoulos whether he thought Putin was “a killer.” “Mmm hmm, I do,” he replied.

He added that he had warned the Russian leader that the US would take action if it found evidence of Moscow meddling in the country’s 2020 presidential election. “He will pay a price,” Biden said. “We had a long talk, he and I… I know him relatively well. And the conversation started off, I said, ‘I know you and you know me. If I establish this occurred, then be prepared.’” A joint report by Washington’s spy agencies, published the day before, alleged that Russia was behind a campaign to “denigrate” Biden’s reputation during the campaign. The Kremlin has blasted the allegations, insisting it had not engaged in political smears against any candidates.

On Wednesday evening, Russia’s ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, was recalled to Moscow for talks on the future of ties with Washington. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that consultations were needed “to analyze what to do and where to head in the context of relations with the US.” The remarks have sparked a wave of criticism from Russian officials. The speaker of the country’s parliament, Vyacheslav Volodin, added his voice to those claiming the remarks were indicative of a diplomatic rift. The top politician argued that “this is a tantrum that comes from powerlessness. Putin is our president, attacking him is an attack on our country.”

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“We’ve spent the last five years watching as anonymous officials make major Russia-related claims, only to have those evidence-free claims fizzle.”

A Brief List Of Official Russia Claims That Proved To Be Bogus (Taibbi)

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) has released a much-hyped, much-cited new report on “Foreign Threats to the 2020 Elections.” The key conclusion: “We assess that Russian President Putin authorized, and a range of Russian government organizations conducted, influence operations aimed at denigrating President Biden’s candidacy and the Democratic Party, supporting former President Trump, [and] undermining public confidence in the electoral process…” The report added Ukrainian legislator Andrey Derkach, described as having “ties” to “Russia’s intelligence services,” and Konstantin Kilimnik, a “Russian influence agent” (whatever that means), used “prominent U.S. persons” and “media conduits” to “launder their narratives” to American audiences.

The “narratives” included “misleading or unsubstantiated allegations against President Biden” (note they didn’t use the word “false”). They added a small caveat at the end: “Judgments are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact.” As Glenn Greenwald already pointed out, the “launder their narratives” passage was wolfed down by our intelligence services’ own “media conduits” here at home, and regurgitated as proof that the “Hunter Biden laptop story came from the Kremlin,” even though the report didn’t mention the laptop story at all. Exactly one prominent reporter, Chris Hayes, had the decency to admit this after advancing the claim initially. With regard to the broader assessment: how many times are we going to do this? We’ve spent the last five years watching as anonymous officials make major Russia-related claims, only to have those evidence-free claims fizzle.

From the much-ballyhooed “changed RNC platform” story (Robert Mueller found no evidence the changed Republican platform was “undertaken at the behest of candidate Trump or Russia”), to the notion that Julian Assange was engaged in a conspiracy with the Russians (Mueller found no evidence for this either), to Michael Cohen’s alleged secret meetings in Prague with Russian conspirators (“not true,” the FBI flatly concluded) to the story that Trump directed Cohen to lie to Congress (“not accurate,” said Mueller), to wild stories about Paul Manafort meeting Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy, to a “bombshell” tale about Trump foreknowledge of Wikileaks releases that blew up in CNN’s face in spectacular fashion, reporters for years chased unsubstantiated claims instead of waiting to see what they were based upon.

The latest report’s chief conclusions are assessments about Derkach and Kilimnik, information that the whole world knew before this report was released. Hell, even Rudy Giuliani, whose meeting with Derkach is supposedly the big scandal here, admitted there was a “50/50 chance” the guy was a Russian spy. Kilimnik meanwhile has now been characterized as having “ties” to Russian intelligence (Mueller), and as a “Russian intelligence officer” (Senate Intelligence Committee), and is now back to being a mere “influence agent.” If he is Russian intelligence, then John McCain’s International Republican Institute (where Kilimnik worked), as well as embassies in Kiev and Moscow (where Kilimnik regularly gave information, according to the New York Times), have a lot of explaining to do.

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“..these career spies and propagandists, led by Obama CIA Director and serial liar John Brennan..”

Journalists Yesterday Spread a Significant Lie All Over Twitter (Greenwald)

Journalists with the largest and most influential media outlets disseminated an outright and quite significant lie on Tuesday to hundreds of thousands of people, if not millions, on Twitter. While some of them were shamed into acknowledging the falsity of their claim, many refused to, causing it to continue to spread up until this very moment. It is well worth examining how they function because this is how they deceive the public again and again, and it is why public trust in their pronouncements has justifiably plummeted. The lie they told involved claims of Russian involvement in the procurement of Hunter Biden’s laptop. In the weeks leading up to the 2020 election, The New York Post obtained that laptop and published a series of articles about the Biden family’s business dealings in Ukraine, China and elsewhere.

In response, Twitter banned the posting of any links to that reporting and locked The Post out of its Twitter account for close to two weeks, while Facebook, through a long-time Democratic operative, announced that it would algorithmically suppress the reporting. The excuse used by those social media companies for censoring this reporting was the same invoked by media outlets to justify their refusal to report the contents of these documents: namely, that the materials were “Russian disinformation.” That claim of “Russian disinformation” was concocted by a group of several dozen former CIA officials and other operatives of the intelligence community devoted to defeating Trump.

Immediately after The Post published its first story about Hunter Biden’s business dealings in Ukraine that traded on his influence with his father, these career spies and propagandists, led by Obama CIA Director and serial liar John Brennan, published a letter asserting that the appearance of these Biden documents “has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.” News outlets uncritically hyped this claim as fact even though these security state operatives themselves admitted: “We want to emphasize that we do not know if the emails…are genuine or not and that we do not have evidence of Russian involvement — just that our experience makes us deeply suspicious that the Russian government played a significant role in this case.” Even though this claim came from trained liars who, with uncharacteristic candor, acknowledged that they did not “have evidence” for their claim, media outlets uncritically ratified this assertion.

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Blinken got his ass handed to him.

US and China Publicly Rebuke Each Other In First Major Talks Of Biden Era (G.)

The United States and China have clashed over human rights during their first face-to-face high-level talks since Joe Biden took office, with one senior Chinese official urging the US to address “deep-seated” issues such as racism, and accusing his American counterparts of “condescension”.Any hopes that the meeting, in Anchorage, would reset bilateral ties after years of tensions over trade and cyber security during Donald Trump’s presidency evaporated when US secretary of state Antony Blinken and national security adviser Jake Sullivan opened their meeting with China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi and state councillor Wang Yi.

After Blinken referred to rising global concern over Beijing’s human rights record, Yang said: “We hope that United States will do better on human rights. The fact is that there are many problems within the United States regarding human rights, which is admitted by the US itself,” he said in a 15-minute speech that appeared to irritate Blinken. He added that US human rights issues were “deep-seated … they did not just emerge over the past four years, such as Black Lives Matter”. In his opening remarks Blinken had said world leaders had voiced “deep satisfaction” that the US was re-engaging with the international community after four years of Trump’s “America First” doctrine. “I’m also hearing deep concern about some of the actions your government is taking.”

Blinken, who added he had heard similar sentiments during his visits this week to Japan and South Korea, said the Biden administration and its allies were united in pushing back against China’s increasing authoritarianism and assertiveness at home and abroad. In response, Yang angrily demanded that the US stop pushing its own version of democracy at a time when it was dealing with discontent among its own population. “We believe that it is important for the United States to change its own image and to stop advancing its own democracy in the rest of the world,” he said. “Many people within the United States actually have little confidence in the democracy of the United States.” “China will not accept unwarranted accusations from the US side,” Yang said, adding that recent developments had plunged relations “into a period of unprecedented difficulty” that “has damaged the interests of our two peoples.”

Read more …

Get healthy.

Covid Spiking In Over A Dozen States—Most With High Vaccination Rates (F.)

Coronavirus cases are again spiking in 13 U.S. states, according to an analysis of trends over the past week, including some states among the highest in vaccination rates as health experts warn more contagious variants of Covid-19 will soon dominate the United States. An Axios analysis found Michigan by far leading the way in new cases, with the 7-day rolling average spiking by more than 53%. Michigan is above the U.S. average in terms of vaccination rate, according to Johns Hopkins University, but cases, positivity rate and hospitalizations are all on the rise. State health officials have placed the blame on highly contagious new variants now spreading in the state, as health experts caution national vaccination efforts are a race against the contagious strains.

Other states among the highest in vaccination rates, including West Virginia, Maine and Montana are also dealing with case spikes. Only two of the states with rising cases—Mississippi and New Hampshire—are below the U.S. average in terms of vaccination rate, according to Johns Hopkins. Top health officials, including Dr. Anthony Fauci and CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, have said a variant that originated in the U.K. could become the dominant strain in the U.S. by the end of the month. That strain is believed to be some 56% more contagious and perhaps twice as deadly than the existing dominant strain in the United States. Health experts say the country is continuing to move in the right direction as a whole, with the vaccine effort hopefully ending the pandemic this year.

But what had been a rapid national case decline starting in January has slowed significantly over the past few weeks, with the U.S. continuing to average over 50,000 new cases a day, a plateau level Fauci said “concerns me.” Top health officials and President Joe Biden are also advising against expansive reopening measures that states are putting into effect, including some that have decided to lift mask mandates.

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“The clotting in those patients was triggered by a very specific “strong immune response” likely caused as a result of the AstraZeneca jab..”

Norwegian Scientists Say AstraZeneca DID Cause Blood Clots (RT)

Norwegian scientists have linked the AstraZeneca vaccine and blood clots – a condition seen in some people that led countries around the world to halt its use. But British and Dutch medics say there’s no evidence for such a link. “The cause of our patients’ condition has now been found,” Pal Andre Holme, the head of a research group at the Oslo University Hospital, told Norway’s VG media outlet. He was referring to the cases of three health workers under the age of 50 who suffered from severe blood clotting after receiving the AstraZeneca jab. One of the medics then died on Monday. The clotting in those patients was triggered by a very specific “strong immune response” likely caused as a result of the AstraZeneca jab, Holme explained.

In collaboration with the University Hospital of North Norway, Holme’s team detected specific antibodies that “activate” platelets and in some cases can lead to blood clots. Asked by VG if the vaccine was the “most likely” cause of this specific immune response, Holme said he believes “there is no other thing” in the history of the three individual patients which would generate such a response. None of the three patients had a history of similar health issues before, he said. I am pretty sure it is these antibodies that are the cause and I see no other reason than that it is the vaccine that triggers them.

The professor still admitted that such side effects are likely to be very rare since “we are talking about very specific antibodies.” Norway halted the use of the AstraZeneca jab in its vaccination campaign alongside many other European nations. Some 120,000 Norwegians already received the jabs produced by the British-Swedish company. According to Norwegian media, “very few” serious side effects were reported by those vaccinated to date. [..] Norwegian scientists revealed the results of their analysis just as the British medical regulator, MHRA, said that it found no evidence that could prove the link between the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and blood clotting.

“This type of blood clot can occur naturally in people who have not been vaccinated, as well as in those suffering from COVID-19,” the MHRA CEO, Dr. June Raine, said in a statement, adding that her agency’s “thorough and careful review” showed that blood clots in veins of affected persons are occurring just as often as they would “in the absence of vaccination.”

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But you still want to vaccinate all kids?

Your Unvaccinated Kid Is Like a Vaccinated Grandma (Oster)

Different vaccines yield different results, but all of the vaccines approved by the FDA (Pfizer-BioNTech’s, Moderna’s, and Johnson & Johnson’s) are very effective, which is why the CDC has indicated that vaccinated individuals can interact unmasked with other vaccinated individuals. It hasn’t yet commented on flying, but I’m guessing the CDC will relax its flying advisories for vaccinated individuals in the next few weeks. It will continue to recommend masks, for the sake of protecting the unvaccinated population, because the science on transmission by the vaccinated is still hazy. Now think about your child. The CDC has published some risk assessments by age. For comparison’s sake, I’ll phrase the findings the way I would the results of a vaccine trial:

Being a child aged 5 to 17 is 99.9 percent protective against the risk of death and 98 percent protective against hospitalization. For children 0 to 4, these numbers are 99.9 percent (death) and 96 percent (hospitalization). The central goal of vaccination is preventing serious illness and death. From this standpoint, being a child is a really great vaccine. Your unvaccinated first grader appears to have about as much protection from serious illness as a vaccinated grandmother. Comparisons are more difficult when it comes to the risk of any infection at all. An Israeli study undergoing peer review found that the Pfizer vaccine reduces infection in asymptomatic cases by about 90 percent, and in symptomatic cases by almost 94 percent.

Child case counts haven’t been well documented, in part because asymptomatic infection appears to be so common among kids. However, the available data suggest that children are less likely than adults to contract the coronavirus, but more likely to contract it than a vaccinated grandmother. (Below, I’ll address the latest thinking on variants, and research on the possible long-term effects of less-than-serious infections, which remains murky, and controversial.) This news may feel a little mixed: Yes, kids are protected from serious illness, just like their vaccinated grandparents, but they are not as protected from contracting the virus at all. Here is where the concept of herd immunity comes in to save the summer. If the Israeli Pfizer study is anywhere near right, then case rates will fall once a large share of adults are vaccinated. They are likely to fall a lot as the virus finds fewer and fewer receptive hosts.

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Must have war.

How The US Military Subverted The Afghan Peace Agreement (GZ)

In an exclusive interview with The Grayzone Col. Douglas Macgregor, a former senior advisor to the Acting Secretary of Defense, revealed that President Donald Trump shocked the US military only days after the election last November by signing a presidential order calling for the withdrawal of all remaining US troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year. As Macgregor explained to The Grayzone, the order to withdraw was met with intense pressure from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark M. Milley, which caused the president to capitulate. Trump agreed to withdraw only half of the 5,000 remaining troops in the country. Neither Trump’s order nor the pressure from the JCS Chairman was reported by the national media at the time.


The president’s surrender represented the Pentagon’s latest victory in a year-long campaign to sabotage the US-Taliban peace agreement signed in February 2020. Military and DOD leaders thus extended the disastrous and unpopular 20-year US war in Afghanistan into the administration of President Joseph Biden. The subversion of the peace agreement with the Taliban initiated by the US military leadership in Washington and Afghanistan began almost as soon as Trump’s personal envoy Zalmay Khalilzad negotiated a tentative deal in November 2019. The campaign to undermine presidential authority was actively supported by then-Secretary of Defense Mark Esper.

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“Critics say that the immunity law removed a key deterrent to corporate malfeasance, and victims and their families were subsequently stripped of their legal rights.”

FBI Now Probing Cuomo’s Corporate Immunity Law (DO)

Federal law enforcement officials are scrutinizing New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s controversial move to help his donor shield nursing home executives from legal consequences during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new report. The probe follows a Daily Poster investigative series detailing how one of Cuomo’s biggest donors, the Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHA) — a lobby group that represents hospital systems and nursing home operators — said it “drafted and aggressively advocated for” the corporate immunity provision. Cuomo’s administration quietly inserted the measure into his state’s budget as thousands lay dying from COVID-19 in New York nursing homes.

Critics say that the immunity law removed a key deterrent to corporate malfeasance, and victims and their families were subsequently stripped of their legal rights. Cuomo’s original executive order shielding front line health care workers from lawsuits was widely reported, but not the governor’s separate budget language extending immunity to hospital and nursing home corporations’ executives and board members. On Thursday, THE CITY disclosed that federal investigators looking into Cuomo’s handling of nursing home policy are now specifically asking questions about the immunity provision. The New York news outlet reports:

“FBI investigators probing the Cuomo administration’s handling of nursing homes during the pandemic last spring are seeking information about a state budget provision that gave operators legal immunity, THE CITY has learned. In recent weeks, FBI officials have been looking to interview members of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s staff and other state officials about the eleventh-hour addition to the state budget last March, according to three people familiar with the matter. The measure granted nursing homes and hospitals broad legal protections against lawsuits and criminal liability for care provided to residents and patients during the pandemic. FBI officials started to make house calls this month, showing up at people’s residences and leaving business cards, according to the three sources. Investigators’ questions have focused primarily on the nursing home immunity provision and how it “got in the state budget,” said one legislative source, who did not want to be named because of the ongoing probe.”

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Not coming, but already here.

Without Trump, Is A “Depression In Television” Coming? (Taibbi)

[..] the Democratic Party’s response to Trump — which involved multiple efforts to remove him, premised on the idea that every day he spent in the Oval Office was an existential threat to humanity — allowed stations to turn every day of the Trump years into a baby-down-a-well story (the baby was democracy). Between the Mueller investigation, two impeachments, the Kavanaugh confirmation, multiple border crises, the “Treason in Helsinki” fiasco, and a hundred other tales, every day could be pitched as a drop-everything emergency. Add the partisan rooting angle, and you had ratings gold. Imagine three or four dozen Super Bowls a year, each one played in the middle of a category 5 hurricane, and you come close to grasping the magnitude of the gift that Donald Trump was to MSNBC, Fox, and CNN.

Six or seven years ago, it was common to see CNN or MSNBC fall outside the top 20 rated cable networks, below titans like Disney, USA, TBS, and the History Channel. By 2020, the three top networks on cable — not just news networks, but overall — were Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN. The fact that news ate away so much of the market share of the entertainment business in the Trump years raises questions about what exactly we were watching. Jump in your Dr. Who police box and go back to 2014, the last year Trump was not a major political figure. The cable news genre had what Variety described as an “overall down year.” It was a particularly grim time for CNN and MSNBC:

Total Primetime Viewers, 2014 Change
Fox News 1.779 million (even)
MSNBC 600,000 (down 8%)
CNN 528,000 (down 8%)
HLN 337,000 (down 16%)

CNN exemplified the pre-Trump dilemma. In 2011, the network’s average primetime viewership was 689,000. That dropped to 670,000 in 2012, and the year after that, in 2013, it fell all the way to 568,000, a 20-year low. Imagine the pucker factor at Time Warner the next year, when CNN’s entire 8-11 p.m. programming slate dropped 8% off that 20-year dip. 2013 was CNN’s first year under the management of Jeff Zucker, whose career arc leading into the Trump years was a dazzling study in failing upward. He was named head of NBC Entertainment in 2000, and rode the successes of a handful of shows — including, notably, The Apprentice — into a job as CEO of NBC Universal, where he presided over one of the most disastrous tenures of any TV executive in history. Under his leadership, NBC dropped to fourth behind ABC, CBS, and Fox, amid catastrophic decisions like trying to move Jay Leno into primetime.

When Zucker moved to CNN, he trumpeted a new plan to save the news. This is from Politico in 2013: “Zucker has told staff he wants to “broaden the definition of what news is,” meaning more sports, more entertainment, more human interest stories — and, at times, less politics.” That didn’t work out so well in 2014, though to be fair to Zucker, the ratings narrative started reversing at least somewhat before Trump jumped on the scene. But the first giant leap forward for the business as a whole came in 2015, when CNN’s average primetime audience soared to 730,000, a 30% increase, in significant part because it hosted two Republican debates starring Trump.

The news business had never seen anything like the Trump effect. The first Republican debate on Fox drew 25 million viewers and was the most-watched non-sports event in the history of cable, while the second debate drew 23 million and was merely the top show in the history of CNN. Taking note of all this was Trump himself, whose poll numbers were dipping a bit at the end of 2015. Some were predicting his demise. To this, Trump snapped, “I’m not a masochist,” and promised he’d pull out if his numbers worsened. However, he said, if he did, “There’d be a major collapse of television ratings,” adding a poisonous prediction: “It would become a depression in television.”

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“The cost of what we need but haven’t done to modernize our infrastructure has expanded to $5.6 trillion over the last 20 years ($3 trillion in the last decade alone)”

Building or Unbuilding America? (Nomi Prins)

During the Trump years, the phrase “Infrastructure Week” rang out as a sort of Groundhog Day-style punchline. What began in June 2017 as a failed effort by The Donald’s White House and a Republican Senate to focus on the desperately needed rebuilding of American infrastructure morphed into a meme and a running joke in Washington. Despite the focus in recent years on President Trump’s failure to do anything for the country’s crumbling infrastructure, here’s a sad reality: considered over a longer period of time, Washington’s political failure to fund the repairing, modernizing, or in some cases simply the building of that national infrastructure has proven a remarkably bipartisan “effort.”

After all, the same grand unfulfilled ambitions for infrastructure were part and parcel of the Obama White House from 2009 on and could well typify the Biden years, if Congress doesn’t get its act together (or the filibuster doesn’t go down in flames). The disastrous electric grid power outages that occurred during the recent deep freeze in Texas are but the latest example of the pressing need for infrastructure upgrades and investments of every sort. If nothing is done, more people will suffer, more jobs will be lost, and the economy will face drastic consequences. Since the mid-twentieth century, when most of this country’s modern infrastructure systems were first established, the population has doubled. Not only are American roads, airports, electric grids, waterways, railways and more distinctly outdated, but today’s crucial telecommunications sector hasn’t ever been subjected to a comprehensive broadband strategy.

Worse yet, what’s known as America’s “infrastructure gap” only continues to widen. The cost of what we need but haven’t done to modernize our infrastructure has expanded to $5.6 trillion over the last 20 years ($3 trillion in the last decade alone), according to a report by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Some estimates now even run as high as $7 trillion. In other words, as old infrastructure deteriorates and new infrastructure and technology are needed, the cost of addressing this ongoing problem only escalates. Currently, there is a $1-trillion backlog of (yet unapproved) deferred-maintenance funding floating around Capitol Hill. Without action in the reasonable future, certain kinds of American infrastructure could, like that Texas energy grid, soon be deemed unsafe.

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Make the right to housing a law.

Growth Of US Homelessness During 2020 Was Devastating – HUD (NPR)

The nation’s homeless population grew last year for the fourth year in a row. On a single night in January 2020, there were more than 580,000 individuals who were homeless in the United States, a 2% increase from the year before. The numbers, released by the Department of Housing and Urban Development Thursday, do not reflect the impact of the pandemic. “And we know the pandemic has only made the homelessness crisis worse,” HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge said in a video message accompanying the report. She called the numbers “devastating” and said the nation has a “moral responsibility to end homelessness.” Among the report’s more sobering findings: homelessness among veterans and families did not improve for the first time in many years.


Also, more than 106,000 children were homeless during the once-a-year count, conducted in most communities across the nation. While the majority of homeless children were in shelters or transitional housing, almost 11,000 were living outside. As has been the case for years, a disproportionate share of those experiencing homelessness were Black — about 39% of the total, though African Americans make up about 13% of the nation’s overall population. Twenty-three percent of those who were homeless last year identified as Hispanic or Latino. California was home to the largest number of people experiencing homelessness — 161,548 — according to the 2020 count. A quarter of all homeless individuals in the United States were living in either New York City or Los Angeles. For the first time since the government began doing the annual count, the number of single adults living outside — 209,413 — exceeded the number of individuals living in shelters — 199,478.

Read more …

 

 

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Mar 182021
 
 March 18, 2021  Posted by at 9:01 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  57 Responses »


John William Waterhouse Hylas and the Nymphs 1896

 

Russian Ambassador To US Summoned Back To Moscow For Consultations (RT)
Biden: Putin Is A Killer (Ind.)
Biden Talks Cuomo, Putin, Migrants, Vaccine (ABC)
Joe Biden’s ‘Putin Is A Killer’ Claim A ‘Tantrum Of Powerlessness’ – MP (RT)
Past Covid Infections Don’t Confer Strong Enough Immunity (F.)
Why Vaccine Safety Experts Put The Brakes On AstraZeneca’s Vaccine (ScienceM)
Blanket ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ Orders Imposed On English Care Homes (G.)
Will Adam Schiff Be California’s Next Top Cop? (G.)
A Big Win Against Anti-Tax Zealotry (DP)
Ohio AG Sues Biden Administration Over Pandemic Bill (Hill)
Fed Expects Growth Surge, Inflation Jump In 2021 But No Rate Hike (R.)
It Is Time To Remove The Debt Barrier To Economic Growth (Hudson/PCR)
Bitcoin Bros Rediscovering Our Monetary Past (AIER)
Woman Who Thought Being A Princess Was Too Hard, To Run For President (BBee)

 

 

 

 

This is a carefully planned attack by Warmongers “R” Us.

Russian Ambassador To US Summoned Back To Moscow For Consultations (RT)

Russia’s ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, has been recalled to Moscow for in-person discussions on the country’s ongoing relations with Washington and Joe Biden’s administration, the Foreign Ministry has said.
In a statement announcing the envoy’s recall on Wednesday night, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the ambassador was needed in Moscow for “consultations to analyze what to do and where to head in the context of the relations with the US.” Representatives of the Foreign Ministry and other relevant agencies will participate in the discussions with Antonov about US relations going forward, she added.With the Biden team in power for almost two months, it was a good time to analyze “where it succeeds and where it fails,” she added.


For us, it’s important to determine possible ways of straightening out Russian-American relations, which remain in harsh conditions after being effectively led into a dead end by Washington in recent years. Moscow is “interested in avoiding the irreversible degradation” of its ties with Washington, Zakharova said, expressing the hope that Biden’s officials also understood the risks of such a scenario. The news of the ambassador’s recall came hours after the US Department of Commerce on Wednesday announced the expansion of Washington’s sanctions on exports to Russia. The fresh restrictions were imposed over Moscow’s alleged involvement in the poisoning of opposition figure Alexey Navalny – an allegation that Kremlin officials have repeatedly denied. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said Moscow was “calm” about the new sanctions, as such measures had already been taken many times before. However, he pointed out that such moves by Washington reduced the chances of a “normalization of relations” between the parties.

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Bide plays some wise guy strongman role for which he is not suited.

Biden: Putin Is A Killer (Ind.)

US President Joe Biden said he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin is a “killer” when asked by ABC News host George Stephanopoulos. His question follows a federal investigation into Russian-linked cyber attacks and an intelligence report linking the Kremlin to election-related online interference that promoted Donald Trump and right-wing conspiracy theories in an attempt to discredit Mr Biden. Asked whether he believes Mr Putin is a “killer” in a pre-taped interview that aired on Wednesday, the president responded: “I do.” “The price he’s going to pay, you’ll see shortly,” he said. Mr Biden recalled meeting Mr Putin, during which he reportedly told him that he doesn’t “have a soul”: “I wasn’t being a wise guy.”

“He looked back at me and said, ‘We understand each other’,” Mr Biden said. A report released on Tuesday from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence assessed that Russia sought to interfere with the 2020 presidential election with an expansive social media and online influence campaign similar to an operation from 2016. The newly declassified report also said that a network of Ukraine-linked individuals connected to Russian intelligence relied on “prominent US persons and media conduits to launder their narratives” alleging “corrupt ties” among members of Mr Biden’s family with Ukraine.


That 2020 misinformation campaign was aimed at “denigrating President Biden’s candidacy and the Democratic Party, supporting former President Trump, undermining public confidence in the electoral process, and exacerbating sociopolitical divisions in the US,” according to the report. Mr Biden said he had warned his Russian counterpart about a potential response from the US during a call in January. “He will pay a price,” Mr Biden said. “We had a long talk … and the conversation started off, I said, ‘I know you and you know me. If I establish this occurred, then be prepared.’”

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Biden has no idea what the vaccine does.

Biden Talks Cuomo, Putin, Migrants, Vaccine (ABC)

President Joe Biden sat down with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos for a wide-ranging interview Tuesday in which he said his message to migrants was to not come to the border and that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo should resign if allegations he committed sexual harassment are confirmed. Biden also told Stephanopoulos that he agreed Russian President Vladimir Putin was a “killer” and would “pay a price” for interfering in U.S. elections. And he said it would be “tough” to withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan by May 1, a deadline set out in a deal former President Donald Trump’s administration made with the Taliban.


Biden told Stephanopoulos he was surprised that COVID-19 vaccinations were still so politicized. “How do you get the politics out of this vaccine talk?” Stephanopoulos asked. “I honest to God thought we had it out,” Biden said. “I honest to God thought that, once we guaranteed we had enough vaccine for everybody, things would start to calm down. Well, they have calmed down a great deal. But I don’t quite understand – you know – I just don’t understand this sort of macho thing about, ‘I’m not gonna get the vaccine. I have a right as an American, my freedom to not do it.’ Well, why don’t you be a patriot? Protect other people.” Biden said getting vaccinated himself has let him to show Americans doing so is safe – and has changed his life “because I can hug my grandkids now.” “They come over to the house,” the president said. “I can see them. I’m able to be with them.”

Read more …

“Even former president Donald Trump, he claimed, “despite the decisions that were being made on sanctions, maintained rhetoric appropriate to the level of head of state.”

Joe Biden’s ‘Putin Is A Killer’ Claim A ‘Tantrum Of Powerlessness’ – MP (RT)

Explosive comments made by US President Joe Biden, in which he suggested his Russian counterpart is “a killer,” have ignited a diplomatic row, as Moscow’s chief parliamentarian said the remarks constitute an attack on the country. In a statement posted to Telegram, the speaker of the State Duma, Vyacheslav Volodin, said that “Biden has insulted the citizens of our country with his statement” about Vladimir Putin. “This is a tantrum that comes from powerlessness. Putin is our president, attacking him is an attack on our country,” he added. Volodin contrasted the tone of the criticism to that of previous US presidents, who, despite often overseeing tense relations with Russia, and the USSR before it, maintained mutual respect.


Even former president Donald Trump, he claimed, “despite the decisions that were being made on sanctions, maintained rhetoric appropriate to the level of head of state.” However, he argued, “Biden’s statement today is beyond common sense. This is no way for the leader of a country that claims to be a bearer of democratic principles and morality to behave.“ The American president made the remarks in an interview on Wednesday with the ABC news channel. He was asked by chief anchor George Stephanopoulos whether he believed Russian President Vladimir Putin was “a killer.”“Mmm-hmm, I do,” Biden replied. Biden said he had warned Putin earlier this year that he would take action if evidence was found of Russian interference in the 2020 US election. “He will pay a price,” Biden said.

Read more …

How to sell a “vaccine”.

Past Covid Infections Don’t Confer Strong Enough Immunity (F.)

Most people who catch Covid-19 are unlikely to get sick from the disease again, but reinfection is more common than previously thought and older people face an especially high risk, according to a study Wednesday that researchers cast as proof that vaccines are the best form of protection against the coronavirus — even for people who have already been infected. The study, published in the Lancet medical journal, looked at millions of people who took PCR coronavirus tests through Denmark’s nationwide mass-testing initiative last year. Just 0.65% of those who tested positive for the virus during Denmark’s spring surge showed a positive result during the country’s second wave in the fall, suggesting a protection rate against reinfection of 80.5% according to a team of researchers from Statens Serum Institut in Copenhagen.

Among people 65 and over, the protection rate was just 47.1%. Both are higher reinfections rate than other studies have found, a commentary published by Lancet noted.The study’s authors say elderly people could face a higher risk of reinfection from the coronavirus because their immune systems are less effective, a dire problem because the elderly are most vulnerable to severe illness and death from Covid-19.The researchers said this study shows vaccines are important for those who have already contracted the coronavirus, especially if they’re elderly, because “natural protection cannot be relied on.” The coronavirus vaccines that have been authorized so far vary in efficacy, but most appear to offer more protection than natural immunity.


“These data are all confirmation, if it were needed, that for SARS-CoV-2 the hope of protective immunity through natural infections might not be within our reach, and a global vaccination programme with high efficacy vaccines is the enduring solution,” the Lancet said in a commentary released alongside the study.

Read more …

How not to sell a vaccine.

Why Vaccine Safety Experts Put The Brakes On AstraZeneca’s Vaccine (ScienceM)

The decision this week by more than 20 European countries to temporarily stop using AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine has opened a rift between vaccine safety experts, who say the cases of serious clotting and bleeding that triggered the pause are alarming and unusual, and public health officials concerned that the immunization pause on a continent in the grip of the pandemic’s third wave could take a heavy toll. “The harm caused by depriving people of access to a vaccine will likely vastly outweigh even the worst case scenario if any link to the clotting disorders is eventually found,” University of Leeds virologist Stephen Griffin told the United Kingdom’s Science Media Centre. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the World Health Organization have recommended that countries continue immunizations while they investigate the reports.

Scientists don’t know whether the vaccine causes the syndrome, and if so, what the mechanism is. “Everyone’s scratching their heads: Is this a real signal?” says Robert Brodsky, a hematologist at Johns Hopkins University. But vaccine safety officials say they did not take the decision lightly, and that symptoms seen in at least 13 patients, all between ages 20 and 50 and previously healthy, in at least five countries are more frequent than would be expected by chance. The patients, at least seven of whom have died, suffer from widespread blood clots, low platelet counts, and internal bleeding—not typical strokes or blood clots. “It’s a very special picture” of symptoms, says Steinar Madsen, medical director of the Norwegian Medicines Agency. “Our leading hematologist said he had never seen anything quite like it.”

A somewhat similar blood disorder, called immune thrombocytopenia (ITP), has been seen in at least 36 people in the United States who had received the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines against COVID-19, The New York Times recently reported. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it was investigating these cases, but also said the syndrome did not appear to be more common in vaccinated people, and immunizations in the United States have continued. But Madsen says the cases seen in Europe in recent weeks are distinct from ITP, which lacks the widespread blood clots seen in the European patients. The United Kingdom, which has administered the AstraZeneca vaccine to more than 10 million people, has so far not reported similar clusters of unusual clotting or bleeding disorders.

In Europe, a 49-year-old intensive care nurse in Austria was one of the first cases. She died last week from what officials called “clotting disorders” that culminated in internal bleeding. (A colleague at the same hospital who received the vaccine developed lung embolisms, but was expected to recover.) A similar constellation of symptoms has been identified in four patients in Norway, two of whom have died, Madsen says.

Read more …

Imagine living in one and then reading this.

Blanket ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ Orders Imposed On English Care Homes (G.)

Blanket orders not to resuscitate some care home residents at the start of the Covid pandemic have been identified in a report by England’s care regulator. A report published by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) found disturbing variations in people’s experiences of do not attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation (DNACPR) decisions during the pandemic. Best practice is for proper discussions to be held with the person involved and/or their relatives. While examples of good practice were identified, some people were not properly involved in decisions or were unaware that such an important decision about their care had been made. Poor record-keeping, and a lack of oversight and scrutiny of the decisions being made, was identified.

The report, Protect, respect, connect – decisions about living and dying well during Covid-19, calls for a ministerial oversight group – working with partners in health and social care, local government and the voluntary sector – to take responsibility for delivering improvements in this area. The report surveyed a range of individuals and organisations, including care providers and members of the public, and identified: • Serious concerns about breaches of some individuals’ human rights • Significant increase in DNACPRs put in place in care homes at the beginning of the pandemic, from 16,876 to 26,555 • 119 adult social care providers felt they had been subjected to blanket DNACPR decisions since the start of the pandemic • A GP sent DNACPR letters to care homes asking them to put blanket DNACPRs in place • In one care home a blanket DNACPR was applied to everyone over 80 with dementia.


Healthcare professionals emphasise that resuscitation is both invasive and traumatic with only a 15-20% survival rate when performed in hospitals and a 5-10% success rate when performed outside hospitals. However, concerns have been raised about both blanket DNACPR orders being put in place and such instructions being recorded on patients’ records without discussion or informed consent being given.

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“..his record as state senator and congressman, authoring legislation to increase the criminalization and incarceration of Black and brown Californians..”

“Here in California, we know him as someone who was, in many ways, one of the chief architects of mass incarceration..”

He sounds just like Kamala.

Will Adam Schiff Be California’s Next Top Cop? (G.)

As the lead prosecutor in Donald Trump’s first impeachment trial, Adam Schiff, the representative from southern California, became a household name, an icon of the anti-Trump resistance, and a rising star in the Democratic party. A year on, the congressman looks increasingly well positioned to be appointed as California’s next attorney general. But in Schiff’s home district, criminal justice and immigrant rights advocates say that his record as state senator and congressman, authoring legislation to increase the criminalization and incarceration of Black and brown Californians, should disqualify him from holding the position. “There’s this real disconnect,” said Jody Armour, a University of Southern California law professor who studies the intersection of race and legal decision making.

“The country knows Schiff as sort of an icon. Here in California, we know him as someone who was, in many ways, one of the chief architects of mass incarceration.” Schiff has reportedly been lobbying governor Gavin Newsom for the attorney general spot that will open up if the US Senate confirms Xavier Becerra as the Health and Human Services secretary later this week. House speaker Nancy Pelosi has given her blessings, and reportedly even a personal endorsement. Schiff, 60, began his career at a US district court in California, first as a law clerk and eventually as an assistant US attorney, rising to prominence for prosecuting the case against a former FBI agent convicted of spying for the Soviet Union.


He was elected to the California state senate in 1996, and four years later moved to the US House of Representatives. There, he served as the chair of the powerful Intelligence Committee, becoming one of Pelosi’s closest confidants. As the lead impeachment manager pursuing Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, Schiff’s fiery speeches gained him lavish praise from liberals, begrudging recognition from conservatives and $41m in campaign funds last election cycle. Schiff’s star power, his powerful allies in the Democratic party and fundraising prowess have set him up as a top contender for attorney general.

Read more …

“The language, slipped into the legislation at the last minute by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, is designed to prevent federal money from subsidizing new tax cuts..”

Q: what’s the difference between Anti-Tax Zealotry and Anti-Vax Zealotry?

A Big Win Against Anti-Tax Zealotry (DP)

The American Rescue Plan’s $1.9 trillion of spending represents a significant and long overdue break with the budget-cutting, deficit-obsessed austerity ideology that has held sway since the Reagan Era. But that’s not all it does. A provision tucked into the final bill also aims to halt the anti-tax movement that has drained state and local coffers of resources to fund infrastructure, public education, and other basic social services. The language, slipped into the legislation at the last minute by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, is designed to prevent federal money from subsidizing new tax cuts at a moment when some Republican-led states have been considering them.

“Money from COVID relief needs to go to helping every day Americans get through the pandemic, not paying for tax cuts for the rich,” Schumer said in a statement to The Daily Poster. “The American Rescue Plan explicitly prohibits states from using emergency COVID relief dollars to fund frivolous tax cuts. Governors should use this money to maintain public health and social assistance programs to fight the pandemic, and keep millions of other essential employees on the job and working for our communities.” The provision, coupled with Biden’s upcoming plan to raise taxes on the wealthy, represents the first significant effort to explicitly combat the anti-tax movement that has dominated American politics for the last half century.


Such efforts suggest Democrats have learned a valuable lesson since their 2009 economic stimulus bill about the importance of prioritizing public aid for local and state governments — and keeping that aid from being waylaid by Republicans’ anti-tax zealotry.

Read more …

Washington wants more power.

Ohio AG Sues Biden Administration Over Pandemic Bill (Hill)

Ohio’s attorney general filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration on Wednesday over a provision of the recently signed pandemic relief bill. In a complaint filed in federal district court in Ohio, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost (R) challenged a provision in the legislation that forbids state and local government from using pandemic aid to offset tax cuts. “Ohio seeks to enjoin federal officials from enforcing the unconstitutional Tax Mandate, and seeks declaratory relief establishing that the State of Ohio, under the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, retains the freedom to manage its own tax policy,” the lawsuit reads. The lawsuit was filed against Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and the Treasury Department. Neither the White House nor the Treasury Department immediately responded when asked for comment.

President Biden signed the bill last week, authorizing aid including direct payments for individuals and $195.3 billion for states and Washington, D.C. — including about $5.5 billion for Ohio, according to the lawsuit. The aid is largely distributed based on each state’s number of unemployed workers. Yost argues in his lawsuit that Congress violated constitutional restraints in seeking to control how states set their tax policies. “By accepting that money, the State must sacrifice its sovereign authority to set tax policy as it sees fit, because changes to tax policy that reduce revenues violate the Tax Mandate,” the lawsuit reads. “Such violations could be used to force the State to return funding received through the Act.” [..] Carl Davis, the research director for the left-leaning Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, said that the rhetoric from the conservative attorneys general has been overblown.


“There’s a lot of potential very positive uses for this money that states and localities could find in this moment,” Davis told The Hill. “It’s not intended to be a way to help states to go ahead and cut taxes, particularly for folks at the top, which is really what we’re talking about in a lot of these states that are objecting most loudly to the provision.” “So I think if a state believes that its budget is so strong, and it can afford to actually cut taxes and it’s not going to be doing those kinds of investments, dealing with the economic situation of the hardship we’re seeing right now, it would forego an equivalent amount of aid,” he added. Daniel Hemel, a tax law professor at the University of Chicago law school, agrees that the rhetoric from the attorneys general has been overblown but says that the tax provision in the relief bill is not “Congress’s best work.”

Read more …

Stop talking about markets, there’s only the Fed.

Fed Expects Growth Surge, Inflation Jump In 2021 But No Rate Hike (R.)

The U.S. economy is heading for its strongest growth in nearly 40 years, the Federal Reserve said on Wednesday, and central bank policymakers are pledging to keep their foot on the gas despite an expected surge of inflation. “Strong data are ahead of us,” a confident Fed Chair Jerome Powell said after a two-day policy meeting, ticking off the list of forces Fed officials expect will produce 6.5% GDP growth this year – from massive federal fiscal stimulus to optimism around the success of coronavirus vaccines.“The (stimulus) checks are going out … COVID cases are coming down. Vaccination is moving quickly,” Powell said, marking a moment in which a body of top U.S. economic officials expect growth in the United States to rival that of China this year, not to mention surging quickly beyond that of Europe and Japan.


Fed officials, in fact, expect economic growth to remain above trend for at least two years to come, at 3.3% in 2022 and 2.2% in 2023, compared to estimated long-term potential growth of just 1.8%. While inflation is expected to jump to 2.4% this year, above the central bank’s 2% target, Powell said that is viewed as a temporary surge that will not change the Fed’s pledge to keep its benchmark overnight interest rate near zero as part of an effort to ensure the economic wounds from the pandemic are fully healed. [..] in overlooking the expected jump in inflation this year without a policy response, the Fed held true to its new framework and a pledge not to overreact at the first hint of rising prices, a reaction that has in the past been felt to nip off periods of growth before workers felt the full benefits.

Read more …

Michael Hudson and Paul Craig Roberts.

It Is Time To Remove The Debt Barrier To Economic Growth (Hudson/PCR)

Out of habit, American economists worry about federal debt. But federal debt can be redeemed by the Federal Reserve printing the money with which to retire the bonds. The debt problem rests with individuals, companies, and state and local governments. They have no printing press. We have explained that the indebtedness of the population means there is little discretionary income with which to drive the economy. The offshoring of middle class jobs lowered incomes, and after paying debt service—mortgage interest, car payments, credit card interest, student loan debt—Americans’ pockets are empty. This situation has been worsened by Covid lockdowns. In the US the federal government has sent out a few Covid payments to help keep people’s heads above water as they face expenses without income.

The financial press refers to these Covid checks as “fiscal stimulus,” but there is no stimulus. The Covid checks do not come close to replacing the missing wages, salaries and business profits from lockdowns. Corporations have indebted themselves and impaired their capitalization by borrowing money with which to repurchase their stock. This has built up their debt in the face of stagnant or declining consumer discretionary income. We propose to deal with the debt crisis by forgiving debts as was done in ancient times. Our basic premise is that debts that cannot be paid won’t be. Widespread foreclosures and evictions would further worsen the distribution of income and wealth and further contrain the ability of the economy to grow. Writing debt down to levels that can be serviced would clear the decks tor a real recovery.

Income that would be siphoned off in debt service would instead be available to purchase new goods and services. A few economists muttered that we were overlooking the “moral hazzard” of absolving people of their debts. But leaving the economy stagnated in debt is also a moral hazzard. Policymakers did not endorse our proposal, but, in effect, policymakers adopted our policy. However, instead of forgiving the debt itself, they forgave payment of the debt service. Individuals and businesses who cannot pay their landlords or lenders cannot be evicted or foreclosed until June. This doesn’t hurt the lenders or banks, because the loans are not in default, and their balance sheet is not impaired. The banks add the unpaid payments to their assets, and their balance sheets remain sound.

When June arrives, the prohibition against eviction and foreclosure will have to be extended as the accrued debt service cannot be paid. Extending the moratorium on foreclosures and evictions will just build up arrears. Is the implication a perpetual moratorium? The question is: If policymakers are willing to forgive debt service, why not just forgive the debt. The latter is neater and clears the decks for an economic renewal.

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Solid discussion. Welcome.

Bitcoin Bros Rediscovering Our Monetary Past (AIER)

All eyes on bitcoin, it seems, as the price hits new all-time-highs, its proponents celebrate, and the economists who have long pronounced it dead and useless scratch their head in confusion (any “bubble” pronouncements as of late?)“The discomforting reality for the early idealists,” wrote Izabella Kaminska, a long-time critic of cryptocurrencies, before the price explosion in recent months, “is that 12 years on, the bitcoin ecosystem has more in common with the incumbent one it was hoping to displace than that original utopian vision.” She’s more right than she knows. In one sense, we should probably celebrate this as it means that bitcoin is approaching the monetary commodity dream it always harbored: it is running into some eternal troubles common to all monetary systems.

Even better, we should take the opportunity to teach some monetary history, as those in the crypto world have never been particularly well-versed in our monetary past. The audience they cater to is even less informed and so the “bitcoin heroes” – Saifedean Ammous, Robert Breedlove etc – are celebrated for their wisdom, no matter how rudimentary or inaccurate. It’s easy to discard an entire field of centuries-long academic inquiries, especially if you’ve never been exposed to it, or only investigated a caricature. Some humility is recommended since, as Denis Patrick O’Brien writes in his collection of scholarly articles The Development of Monetary Economics, “Monetary economics has attracted some of the very best people to have written about economic problems.”

In contrast to Bitcoin’s money supply mechanism, set in stone since its origin, many of bitcoin’s rivals – “alt-coins” or “sh**coins” – want to set their own monetary policy, laid down arcane rules in fancy white papers that only the insiders have the discretion to change. This dispute over rules and discretion about who runs the printing press is about three centuries old if not more, and was thoroughly investigated by the likes of Adam Smith, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Tooke, Horsley Palmer, Walter Bagehot, John Clapham and others. Some of the seemingly novel features of many cryptocurrency innovations are not so novel, and quickly run into precisely the problems that plagued past economies; these were promptly examined and argued over by monetary economists long since dead and forgotten.

When Bitcoin was small and insignificant, the dollar-cost of sending value across the network was minuscule. For the first few years of the cryptocurrency’s existence, this was among the best reasons to use it: you could send any amount, to anyone in the world, much cheaper and much faster than the legacy banking system of the 2000s. That was roughly correct. Legacy systems were slow and expensive, and doing international banking only 15-20 years ago caused headaches to plenty more people than money launderers.

The Internet, effective competition, and the rise of fintechs changed all that – but the most vocal bitcoiners remained in the past that the legacy system had long left behind, thinking that their magnificent invention still trumped the system against which bitcoin was created. For most uses it doesn’t: unless you’re living under authoritarian regimes or are trying to do business in the legal grey (two very important, yet comparatively small, market segments), using bitcoin for its initial transactional purposes isn’t that great.

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“Experts say that Markle may be the most qualified presidential candidate to ever run for office since she is a Democrat woman of color and has a ton of useful experience as a princess.”

Woman Who Thought Being A Princess Was Too Hard, To Run For President (BBee)

The former Duchess of Sussex, who left the royal family after realizing how hard it was to be a princess, is now eyeing a presidential run. According to sources, Meghan Markle is networking with Democratic leaders for a possible shot at becoming America’s first female president. “Being a princess was, like, the absolute worst,” said Markle to some trusted political consultants. “There were so many things to do, and so many annoying obligations I had to fulfill. I think being President of the United States will be much easier. Let’s do that instead!” Experts say that Markle may be the most qualified presidential candidate to ever run for office since she is a Democrat woman of color and has a ton of useful experience as a princess.


“Meghan Markle may be the one to finally save America and get all those migrant kids out of cages,” said local Meghan Markle enthusiast Camy Fumbertook. “Obama was a letdown, and Biden was a letdown, but I think Markle will be totally different due to her womanness and person-of-colorness.” In a statement, Biden announced support of Markle’s future run. “Don’t worry, sweetie,” he said as he descended his basement stairs for another nap. “The presidency is way easier than being a princess.”

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.

 

 

 

 

International trash-talk:

5. You are a potato with the face of a guinea pig (French)
4. Your brain is like two walnuts in a bag (Arabic)
3. My foot is in your butt’s destiny (Urdu)
2. You’re the son of a gender-neutral dog (Bengali)
1. Your gran masturbates standing up (German)

 

 

You are neither here nor there,
A hurry through which known and strange things pass
And catch the heart off guard and blow it open.


Lá fhéile pádraig

Seamus Heaney

 

 

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

 

Mar 112021
 


Edgar Degas Danseuse au Tutu Vert 1887

 

Mass Vaccinaton Amidst A Pandemic Creates An Irrepressible Monster (VDB)
UK Covid-19 Variant Has Significantly Higher Mortality Rate Than Others (RT)
Scientists Accuse CDC Of Misinterpreting Their Research (F.)
Digital Health Pass: IBM and Moderna to Capitalize on COVID Reset (MPN)
2 Separate Studies Debunk Theory That Vitamin D Protects Against Covid-19 (RT)
France Faces Challenge To Persuade Millions Of Vaccine Sceptics (Sky)
ECB To Signal Faster Money Printing To Combat Yield Rise (R.)
Putin Warns Against US ‘Retaliation’ For SolarWinds Hack (ZH)
Russia Begins Slowing Down Twitter, Warns It Could Block Service Altogether (RT)
Facebook Seeks Dismissal Of Antitrust Lawsuits (F.)
Google, Ad Tech, and the Gutting of the News Publishers (WS)

 

 


 

 

Excellent. We need many more alternative voices in the debate. Thinking of posting the whole letter, but it’s an editor’s nightmare, looks as if the “i” on his keyboard is AWOL half the time.

Geert Vanden Bossche, DMV, PhD, independent virologist and vaccine expert, formerly employed at GAVI and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundaton.

Mass Vaccinaton Amidst A Pandemic Creates An Irrepressible Monster (VDB)

As stated, I am not against vaccinaton. On the contrary, I can assure you that each of the current vaccines have been designed, developed and manufactured by brilliant and competent scientsts. However, this type of prophylactc vaccines are completely inappropriate, and even highly dangerous, when used in mass vaccinaton campaigns during a viral pandemic. Vaccinologists, scientsts and clinicians are blinded by the positve short-term efects in individual patents, but don’t seem to bother about the disastrous consequences for global health. Unless I am scientfcally proven wrong, it is difficult to understand how current human interventons will prevent circulating variants from turning into a wild monster.

Racing against the clock, I am completing my scientfc manuscript, the publicaton of which is, unfortunately, likely to come too late given the ever increasing threat from rapidly spreading, highly infectous variants. This is why I decided to already post a summary of my fndings as well as my keynote speech at the recent Vaccine Summit in Ohio on LinkedIn. Last Monday, I provided internatonal health organizatons, including the WHO, with my analysis of the current pandemic as based on scientfcally informed insights in the immune biology of Covid-19. Given the level of emergency, I urged them to consider my concerns and to initate a debate on the detrimental consequences of further ‘viral immune escape’. For those who are no experts in this feld, I am attaching below a more accessible and comprehensible version of the science behind this insidious phenomenon.

While there is no tme to spare, I have not received any feedback thus far. Experts and politcians have remained silent while obviously stll eager to talk about relaxing infecton preventon rules and ‘springtme freedom’. My statements are based on nothing else but science. They shall only be contradicted by science. While one can barely make any incorrect scientfc statements without being critcized by peers, it seems like the elite of scientsts who are currently advising our world leaders prefer to stay silent. Sufcient scientfc evidence has been brought to the table. Unfortunately, it remains untouched by those who have the power to act. How long can one ignore the problem when there is at present massive evidence that viral immune escape is now threatening humanity? We can hardly say we didn’t know – or were not warned. In this agonizing leter I put all of my reputaton and credibility at stake. I expect from you, guardians of mankind, at least the same. It is of utmost urgency. Do open the debate. By all means: turn the tide!

 

The key queston is: why does nobody seem to bother about viral immune escape? Let me try to explain this by means of a more easily understood phenomenon: Antimicrobial resistance. One can easily extrapolate this scourge to resistance to our self-made ‘antviral antbiotcs’. Indeed, antibodies (Abs) produced by our own immune system can be considered self-made antviral antibiotcs, regardless of whether they are part of our innate immune system (so-called ‘natural’ Abs’) or elicited in response to specifc pathogens (resulting in so-called ‘acquired’ Abs). Natural Abs are not germ-specifc whereas acquired Abs are specifcally directed at the invading pathogen. At birth, our innate immune system is ‘unexperienced’ but well-established.

It protects us from a multtude of pathogens, thereby preventing these pathogens from causing disease. As the innate immune system cannot remember the pathogens it encountered (innate immunity has no so-called ‘immunological memory’), we can only contnue to rely on it provided we keep it ‘trained’ well enough. Training is achieved by regular exposure to a myriad of environmental agents, including pathogens. However, as we age, we will increasingly face situatons where our innate immunity (often called ‘the frst line of immune defense’) is not strong enough to halt the pathogen at the portal of entry (mostly mucosal barriers like respiratory or intestnal epithelia). When this happens, the immune system has to rely on more specialized effectors of our immune system (i.e., antgen-specifc Abs and T cells) to fght the pathogen.

So, as we grow up, we increasingly mount pathogen-specifc immunity, including highly specifc Abs. As those have stronger affinity for the pathogen (e.g., virus) and can reach high concentratons, they can quite easily outcompete our natural Abs for binding to the pathogen/virus. It is precisely this type of highly specifc, high affinity Abs that current Covid-19 vaccines are inducing. Of course, the noble purpose of these Abs is to protect us against Covid-19. So, why then should there be a major concern using these vaccines to fight Covid-19? Well, similar to the rules applying to classical antimicrobial antibiotcs, it is paramount that our self-made ‘antviral antibiotcs’ are made available in suffficient concentraton and are tailored at the specifc features of our enemy

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This is what the above article addresses. The variants don’t arise despite the vaccines, but because of them.

UK Covid-19 Variant Has Significantly Higher Mortality Rate Than Others (RT)

The strain of Covid-19 originally discovered in Kent, South East England, is associated with a much higher risk of fatality, according to new research carried out by the universities of Exeter and Bristol. A study published on Wednesday in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) says that the B117 variant, often referred to as the ‘British’ or ‘Kent’ strain, is 30-100 percent more deadly than other Covid-19 variants in circulation. “Coupled with its ability to spread rapidly, this makes B117 a threat that should be taken seriously,” said Robert Challen, a researcher at Exeter University, who co-led the research. Challen’s team found that the new variant caused 227 deaths in a sample of 54,906 patients, while 141 people died in a sample of the same number of people who had been infected with other Covid-19 strains.


Leon Danon, a senior author of the study and a professor at the University of Bristol, said that “there is a real concern that other variants will arise with resistance to rapidly rolled out vaccines,” and stated that monitoring new variants must be “a key part of the public health response in the future”. Researchers had already estimated that the virus’s mutations meant it was 53 percent more contagious. The strain was first identified in September 2020 along with hundreds of other variants, but it wasn’t until the English lockdown in November that scientists realised it probably associated with surging infection rates in Kent and England’s South East as case numbers decreased in other parts of the country.

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“..science has shown “schools can remain fully open safely.”

Scientists Accuse CDC Of Misinterpreting Their Research (F.)

A group of researchers whose work has been cited by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is accusing the agency of ignoring their positive findings about low transmission rates in schools and putting out overly stringent school reopening guidelines. The four researchers—Dr. Tara Henderson and Dr. Daniel Johnson of the University of Chicago, Dr. Monica Gandhi of the University of California-San Francisco and Dr. Tracy Tracy Beth Hoeg of the University of California-Davis—labeled the guidelines released last month by the CDC “harmful” in a Tuesday USA Today op-ed, arguing that science has shown “schools can remain fully open safely.”

The researchers say the CDC, which on its website cites one of their studies showing minimal transmission in Wisconsin schools with high community positivity rates, ignored their research, as well as findings from the broader scientific community that have highlighted the low risks associated with Covid-19 for children and the lack of science mandating 6-feet of distance between children wearing masks. “Although the guidance cites the work performed across Wisconsin districts performed by our group,” the researchers said, the CDC guidance does not “take that data and new analyses from that dataset into account.”

They argue keeping schools closed or even partially closed is “unwarranted, is harming children, and has become a human rights issue,” and sought to dispel fears about the impact of variants, arguing Switzerland and Belgium have demonstrated that K-12 schools can remain fully open safely even after the U.K. variant becomes the dominant strain. “President Joe Biden ran on a campaign indicating that science and data would guide his policy,” the researchers wrote. “As we approach the anniversary of the first Covid-19 shut down, this approach is needed more than ever, especially when it comes to schools.”

A study published Tuesday on the partial reopening of public schools in New York City found students did not have a higher prevalence of Covid-19 compared with the general community. Though the transmission rate was higher among teachers and staff, just 191 of the 36,000 students and staffers in schools quarantined after a school virus exposure tested positive for the virus (a 0.5% transmission rate).

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This is scarier than the virus.

Digital Health Pass: IBM and Moderna to Capitalize on COVID Reset (MPN)

IBM is partnering with Covid-19 mRNA vaccine maker Moderna to track vaccine administration in real time through its various blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, and hybrid cloud services. According to a company press release, the collaboration will “focus on exploring the utility of IBM capabilities in the U.S.,” such as a recently unveiled pilot program for a Covid-19 Digital Health Pass in the State of New York, which effectively deputizes private businesses to enforce government-imposed Covid-19 regulations. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the initiative, billed as the “Excelsior Pass,” during his 2021 State of the State Address in January and the program’s initial phase was tested at the Barclays Center during an NBA game, followed by another test at Madison Square Garden for an NHL game on March 2.

According to the state’s official website, the trial runs were designed to maximize “return on investment and saving development time” before submitting the “wallet app” to the Google and Apple app stores. “The Excelsior Pass will play a critical role in getting information to venues and sites in a secure and streamlined way,” said Cuomo, who in February rolled out the state’s reopening guidelines for sports and entertainment venues, which would pave the way “to fast-track the reopening of these businesses and getting us one step closer to reaching a new normal.” Built on IBM’s Digital Health Pass technology, the QR code-based health data tracking app is only one of multiple blockchain ledger applications the company will leverage as part of its partnership with Moderna.

Others include their Blockchain Transparent Supply and Food Trust services, which use the open-source Hyperledger technology to share supply-chain and food sourcing “credibility” data respectively with enterprise customers. IBM’s Blockchain World Wire cross-border payment processing service rounds out the blockchain ecosystem that will serve to “enhance” supply chain visibility and “real-time” vaccine management and administration. Using what have already become clichéd industry buzzwords like “transparency,” “trust,” and even “privacy,” IBM’s Digital Health Pass marketing literature describes the mass tracking app as a “smart way to return to society” that allows people to “return to the activities and things they love.”

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Oh sure.

2 Separate Studies Debunk Theory That Vitamin D Protects Against Covid-19 (RT)

Two separate non-peer-reviewed studies looking into the use and effectiveness of Vitamin D against Covid infection have both reached the same conclusion: there’s no clear benefit to using supplements. In the first study, researchers examined a database of nearly 450,000 mostly white people of European ancestry to understand whether giving them vitamin D supplements would lower the probability of contracting Covid-19. The researchers, from 10 separate universities in Canada, Israel, Japan, Italy and the UK, looked at genetic markers that would leave people predisposed to vitamin D deficiencies. They concluded that “vitamin D supplementation as a means of protecting against worsened Covid outcomes is not supported by genetic evidence,” they wrote in the study.

“Other therapeutic or preventative… avenues should be given higher priority for Covid-19 randomized controlled trials.” In the second study debunking vitamin D’s usefulness against Covid, researchers from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece examined data on vitamin D deficiency from 24 European countries and compared it to data on Covid infections, recoveries and deaths. The researchers, who did not include data from people living in nursing homes, looked at how vitamin D deficiency rates varied across European nations and compared that data to infection rates.

They concluded that the “prevalence of vitamin D deficiency was not significantly associated with either the number of infections, recoveries or mortality rate of Covid-19” across Europe. The two new studies contradict a preprint study released in mid-February by researchers at the University of Barcelona. It suggested that giving high doses of vitamin D to Covid patients in hospital could cut deaths by 60 percent. The Lancet, a leading medical journal in the UK, has since removed the paper from its server after concerns were expressed over the methodology used to support its conclusion.

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Odd mix of anti-vaxxers.

France Faces Challenge To Persuade Millions Of Vaccine Sceptics (Sky)

As much of the world desperately seeks COVID vaccines, there is evidence in France that millions of people are reluctant to have a jab. The most recent polls suggest around half of the adult population may refuse a vaccination – leading health professionals to worry about public safety long term. Vaccine scepticism is high in many European countries and in few places more than France where so-called “anti-vax” websites and platforms have drawn thousands of followers. One of the most active sites is run from a tiny French village by Marie Werbregue who believes her daughter and others developed autism from childhood vaccines – a claim widely disputed by the medical profession and pharmaceutical companies.

She tells us: “I have never, ever been scared of COVID. I know for a fact that it’s simply a nasty flu and that’s not what scares me.” She states she will not have a coronavirus vaccine and when challenged that could put others at risk she says: “If one uses the logic that the vaccine is effective, how does an unvaccinated person affect the life of a vaccinated person? “Let’s say that I get the vaccine, I take the risks. I have the right to choose, when it concerns my life. I’m not going to risk my life, or even die for someone else. Why should I make this sacrifice?” While Marie Werbregue’s view, and her outspoken positions on vaccines and big pharma companies represent an extreme position in France, there is plenty of evidence millions of people lack confidence in inoculations and historically have been much more reluctant to have them.

French health sociologist Dr Caroline De Pauw speaks to us from the University of Lille and says that fear and scepticism are rooted in past health scares especially over the hepatitis B vaccine in the 1990s. “At the time there was the scandal that linked the vaccine with cases of multiple sclerosis. And suddenly, a link was made which has since been denied by all health authorities, including independent medical authorities, because of links with the pharmaceutical industry. “And France has trouble going beyond this issue of hepatitis B and links with the pharmaceutical industry.”

[..] Even many medical professionals have refused to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine. And you don’t have to approach too many members of the public to hear the doubts. One man in Lille told us: “I’m against it, especially when we see so much pushback and that even nursing staff do not want to be vaccinated. “There is only a quarter of nursing staff in France who have accepted it, and that raises questions. So, ordinary people like me, we also ask ourselves questions.”

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One more effect of the American Rescue Plan. They can’t let the euro rise too much.

ECB To Signal Faster Money Printing To Combat Yield Rise (R.)

The European Central Bank is likely to signal faster money printing on Thursday to keep a lid on borrowing costs but it will stop short of adding firepower to its already aggressive pandemic-fighting package. Concerned that a steady rise in borrowing costs could derail the bloc’s recovery from a pandemic-fuelled recession, ECB policymakers meeting on Thursday will be keen to calm markets and recommit to rock-bottom rates until well into the recovery. But converting that commitment into specific policy action will be a delicate balancing act. The ECB cannot appear to micro-manage bond yields since that would tie its hands in the future and invite accusations it is shielding governments from market forces.


The euro zone’s central bank will also be keen not to overstate the rise in yields, which are still low by most standards, with the German yield curve, the benchmark for the 19-country bloc, still in negative territory up to 20 years. Having already committed to “maintaining favourable financing conditions”, however, it cannot ignore the rise in borrowing costs, which has not been matched by improving economic prospects and mostly mirrors a move in U.S. Treasuries. Policymakers have already approved all the firepower needed to combat the rise in yields, so technically no decision is required. The ECB still has a 1 trillion euro quota to buy bonds through next March, with flexibility to tailor volumes to market conditions.

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“..the White House is preparing a series of devastating cyberattacks on Russia..”

Putin Warns Against US ‘Retaliation’ For SolarWinds Hack (ZH)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has reacted fiercely to the contents of a report in the The New York Times this week that cited unnamed senior admin officials to say the White House is preparing a series of devastating cyberattacks on Russia as ‘retaliation’ for the SolarWinds hack. A spokesman for the Russian presidency, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters on Tuesday that the “alarming information” would constitute a “pure international cybercrime” and is thus condemned under international law. “The Russian state has never had anything to do with cybercrimes and cyberterrorism it is being accused of,” Peskov emphasized. Specifically addressing the NY Times report further, Peskov added, “the fact that the newspaper doesn’t rule out that the American state could be involved in cybercrime, is definitely of great concern to us.”


Amazingly, the anonymous Biden admin officials revealed to the Times that a “series of clandestine actions across Russian networks” are expected to start within the next three weeks. The cyber-operations will by design seek to get Putin and Russian intelligence’s attention while being concealed from the broader public when it occurs, the NYT report said. Detailing the Kremlin’s condemnation and warning against any such cyber espionage, US News & World Report writes: “He spoke in response to a series of claims from U.S. officials, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken and FBI Director Christopher Wray, that they are considering harsh punishments on Russia for the attack, including overt sanctions and some form of covert salvos in the cyber realm. Wray hinted at the action in testimony before Congress this month, saying the U.S. was preparing cyber “joint sequenced operations.”

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It’s not just Twitter.

Russia Begins Slowing Down Twitter, Warns It Could Block Service Altogether (RT)

Twitter users in Russia are about to find it takes longer to share their thoughts online, as authorities start slowing the service’s connection speeds amid a row over illegal content hosted by the US-based social media giant. Communications regulator Roskomnadzor issued a statement on Wednesday morning announcing the decision, which it says is because Twitter “does not remove content that incites minors to commit suicide, contains child pornography or information about the use of drugs.” The watchdog claims it has sent more than 28,000 requests for posts, links and publications to be deleted or blocked on the platform. However, at present, “3,168 pieces of content containing prohibited information… remain not deleted.”

These reportedly include more than 2,500 calls for children to kill themselves and 450 involving child pornography. Accusing the network of failing to adhere to Russian laws, Roskomnadzor said that “the latest vivid example was the demonstrative disregard for the requirements of the regulator to remove calls to minors to commit mass suicide.” Unlike other social networks, officials claim, “Twitter did not delete the materials.” If the company continues to refuse to comply with the requests, Moscow says, “these measures will continue in line with regulations, up to the point of blocking” the service.

Anton Gorelkin, a member of the Russian Parliament’s information policy committee said that the assembly supported the move, and that “it is a pity that Russian users have become hostages to decisions by Twitter.” But, justifying the slowdown, he said, “the state simply has no other tools to influence the violator.” Senator Alexander Bashkin added that other social media sites should take notice, claiming that “this will act as a wake up call for YouTube and other networks that make gains at the expense of law and order in Russia.”

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These suits are a decade (too) late.

Facebook Seeks Dismissal Of Antitrust Lawsuits (F.)

Facebook asked a judge Wednesday to dismiss two landmark antitrust lawsuits against the company, teeing up what is expected to be a protracted legal battle that could result in the social network being broken up if it loses. Facebook is facing two lawsuits in U.S. District Court in Washington D.C., one from the Federal Trade Commission and one from 48 state attorneys general, alleging the company squashed competition through anticompetitive acquisitions of WhatsApp and Instagram. Facebook argued in a filing the FTC doesn’t have the authority to challenge acquisitions already approved by the agency, adding that it isn’t a monopoly because the government “cannot establish that Facebook has increased prices or restricted output” without losing market share.

Facebook argued the state lawsuit was grounded in “public policy concerns” instead of antitrust law, pointing to the states’ argument that Facebook froze out competing services that could have offered better privacy protections. Both lawsuits call for remedial action, such as forcing the company to potentially sell off Instagram or WhatsApp and requiring it to get prior approval before future mergers and acquisitions. “Antitrust laws are intended to promote competition and protect consumers. These complaints do not credibly claim that our conduct harmed either,” Facebook said in a blog post.

The FTC and state lawsuits represent the most significant regulatory action Facebook has ever faced. The social giant has been under fire from both parties in recent years following privacy mishaps in the Cambridge Analytica scandal and a growing concern that Facebook’s has too much control over political speech and information due to its sheer size. In October, House Democrats released a report concluding that Facebook and Google wield “monopoly power” and asked Congress to consider legislation breaking them up. House Republicans didn’t sign onto the final report and instead released their report opposing “onerous and burdensome regulation.”

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Yeah, we’re not the only victims. Looking for alternatives.

Google, Ad Tech, and the Gutting of the News Publishers (WS)

Other news publications have filed for bankruptcy without ever specifying the real reason for the losses. Big publishers like the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal have gutted their staff without specifying the real reason – the company that is the real reason. But separately, the bad boy of news publishing, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, which owns the Wall Street Journal among many other publications, officially broke the omertà about the existential issue for publishers: Google’s total dominance in multiple layers at the core and all over internet advertising. And its abuse of power in that arena.

Last year, it was reported that News Corp complained to antitrust authorities in the US and other countries that Google was abusing its power and sucking revenues out of the stream that should be going to publishers. And I see what Google is doing to publishers every day on my own site. The US Justice Department filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google in October last year, a decade behind the curve, after much of the damage had already been done. The New Media Alliance, which advocates for news publishers, repeated some industry data – a bitter but well-known dose of reality for publishers – in its latest missive of February 21, concerning the antitrust lawsuit:

“News publisher ad revenues have plummeted dramatically over the last two decades; between 2005 and 2018, news organizations saw their ad revenue fall by 70 percent. During that same period, Google’s ad revenue increased from approximately $6 billion to $116 billion, and Google’s market capitalization increased from approximately $100 billion to $1 trillion.” Since the endpoint of this data in 2018, the situation has continued on the same trajectory: Google siphoning out more money that should have gone to publishers, more publishers collapsing, more publishers losing more money and laying off more people, and Google’s advertising revenues rising 26% to $147 billion, and its market cap rising another 40% to $1.4 trillion.

I have seen this for years on my own site: Every year, ad revenues per million Google ads served declined. Via the Google empire, you need to get more and more traffic and serve more and more Google ads, and overall revenues from Google ads might still decline.

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Santorini bird’s eye

 

 

 

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Feb 282021
 
 February 28, 2021  Posted by at 10:21 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,  35 Responses »


Dome ceiling at the Ambassadors’ Hall in the Royal Alcazar of Seville, Spain 1427 (click to enlarge)

 

Vaccine Passports Are A Technical And Ethical Minefield (FT)
I’ve Had The Covid Jab – And All It Cost Me Was My Freedom (Hitchens )
First Vaccine To Fully Immunize Against Malaria Builds On RNA Tech (AT)
Czech Leader Asks Putin For Sputnik V Vaccine Without EU Certification (RT)
Biden Says US Will ‘Never’ Accept Russia’s Annexation of Crimea (Antiwar)
Putin, Crusaders, & Barbarians (Escobar)
Second Former Aide Accuses Gov. Andrew Cuomo Of Sexual Harassment (NYP)
The Danger of the Administrative State (AIER)
Can The US Become Self-Sufficient In Rare Earth Materials Again? (F.)
India Targets Climate Activists With the Help of Big Tech (Naomi Klein)
Why Bill Gates Is Now The US Biggest Farmland Owner (NYP)
Unmasking Bitcoin Inventor May Send Cryptomarket Into Tailspin – Coinbase (RT)

 

 

 

 

Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.
– Virginia Woolf

 

 

Promising title, missed opportunity.

Vaccine Passports Are A Technical And Ethical Minefield (FT)

Vaccine passports are essentially certificates that link proof of vaccination to the identity of the holder, a potential silver bullet to return to our pre-Covid-19 lives. Before the pandemic, the EU was working on plans for cross-border electronic certificates to replace the paper booklets that many travellers carry. At this week’s EU summit some leaders pressed for further steps towards coronavirus passports. A recent Royal Society report that I led came up with 12 different criteria that would need to be satisfied to make such passports feasible. This is a complex ecosystem that requires an understanding of everything from immunity and infection to technology, ethics and behavioural factors. But the underlying question must be: what would a vaccine passport be used for?

The head of Heathrow airport has called for digital health certificates to reboot international travel. Estonia and Iceland already link e-vaccination certificates to travel and exclusion from quarantine. Greece is pressing the EU to move quickly. There are precedents such as the airline industry group Iata’s travel pass initiative. But would these certificates only be required for international travel or could they be needed for getting a job, attending a football match, or buying some milk? Israel recently introduced a green pass heralded as “the first step back to an almost normal life”. It opens entry to gyms, cinemas, hotels and meets some our technical criteria such as verifiable credentials, portability, (attempts at) security for personal data and interoperability. It is valid for six months after a second dose and for “those who have recovered from coronavirus”.

But this could be problematic. Current vaccines protect against severe disease, but we do not yet know whether they stop transmission, how quickly immunity wanes or if they are compromised by emerging variants. Whether someone who has “recovered” meets immunity criteria remains a question. In addition to an expiry date, we would need the ability to revoke a vaccine passport. Israel’s warning of severe punishment for forgery is another reminder of what could go wrong. There is also the question of mission creep. Recall the UK’s early digital contact tracing app, which raised concerns about privacy, government surveillance and private sector data sharing. Or consider the technical problems with the Tawakkalna app, introduced in Saudi Arabia, which is used for entry into many places but recently froze.

All vaccine passports have the potential to block people from essential goods and services and exclude those who lack identification or do not own or cannot afford a smartphone. The RS criteria for a workable vaccine passport included equity, ethics and non-discrimination. That means we must ask who would we exclude? There is higher vaccine hesitancy among ethnic minorities and the jabs are being rolled out by age. Plus some people are excluded entirely: children, pregnant women and those with allergies.

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Using popular writers to soften resistance? “I’d tried to fight against it but I lost.”?

I’ve Had The Covid Jab – And All It Cost Me Was My Freedom (Peter Hitchens)

So sorry, Your Majesty, but I have had my first Covid vaccination for wholly selfish reasons. I did not do it for the good of others but for my own convenience. And I will have my second for the same purpose. A very important part of my family now lives abroad and I am deeply tired of not being able to see them. I get the strong sense that any sort of travel, and plenty of other things, will be impossible if I don’t have the necessary vaccine certificate. I hope it becomes known as the Blair Passport – as it is largely the warmongering Creature’s idea and people will come to hate it, as they have come to hate so many of his actions. So I have been more or less forced to have an immunisation I would not normally have bothered with.

Don’t, if you are wise, dare call me an ‘anti-vaxxer’. I have, in a long life, been injected against tetanus, smallpox, TB, polio, diphtheria and yellow fever. I’m a fiend for preventive medicine and the precautions I take when I’m in malarial areas are so elaborate my companions laugh at them – from swallowing horrible protective medicines to blasting my hotel room with ultra-strength death sprays to exterminate any possible mosquitoes. These are all terrible diseases and I think it’s wise to do this. And if you think Covid is as dangerous as them, I certainly don’t want to put you off the jab. Indeed, I don’t want to put you off in any way. It’s your business, not mine, and not even the Queen’s. I dislike her growing habit of getting involved in politics and I’d feel the same if she supported any cause I liked.

Of course my selfish injection didn’t hurt. I’m a blood donor (so also please don’t call me selfish), used to far bigger needles in my arm, for a lot longer. But I did feel a pang of regret and loss. For me, the vaccination was a gloomy submission to a new world of excessive safety and regulation. I’d tried to fight against it but I lost. The New Jerusalem, in which we allow the state to boss us around even more, in the name of our own good, is now coming into being.

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Now test it properly. Yes, that takes years, we know.

First Vaccine To Fully Immunize Against Malaria Builds On RNA Tech (AT)

Consistently ranked as one of the leading causes of death around the world, malaria doesn’t have an effective vaccine yet. But researchers have invented a promising new blueprint for one — with properties akin to the novel RNA-based vaccine for COVID-19. Making a vaccine for malaria is challenging because its associated parasite, Plasmodium, contains a protein that inhibits production of memory T-cells, which protect against previously encountered pathogens.

If the body can’t generate these cells, a vaccine is ineffective. But scientists recently tried a new approach using an RNA-based platform. Their design circumvented the sneaky protein, allowed the body to produce the needed T-cells and completely immunized against malaria. The patent application for their novel vaccine, which hasn’t yet been tested on humans, was published by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office on Feb. 4. “It’s probably the highest level of protection that has been seen in a mouse model,” said Richard Bucala, co-inventor of the new vaccine and a physician and professor at Yale School of Medicine.

The team’s breakthrough could save hundreds of thousands of lives, particularly in developing nations. In 2019 alone, there were an estimated 229 million cases of malaria and 409,000 deaths worldwide. Of those deaths, 94% were in Africa, with children being the most vulnerable. “It affects societies and populations that have the least amount of resources and expertise to manage these infections well,” Bucala told The Academic Times. “We need new vaccines, and we need more tools.” Novartis Pharmaceuticals and the National Institutes of Health funded the work. GlaxoSmithKline is an assignee on the patent, which if approved, will allow the company to produce the vaccine and make it available to the public.

At present, the only vaccine to prevent malaria is called RTS,S. Approved two years ago, this vaccine is the result of nearly two decades of research, but is only about 30% effective. And after four years, that figure drops to 15%.“It doesn’t work very well,” Bucala said. “And the research studies all have the conclusion that the people who fail to mount a vaccine response, or who get reinfected, have poor memory T-cell responses.”

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“According to data from Johns Hopkins University, its death rate per 100,000 people is currently the worst in the world.”

Czech Leader Asks Putin For Sputnik V Vaccine Without EU Certification (RT)

Czech President Milos Zeman says he has sent a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin, asking for a Sputnik V vaccine shipment. Zeman said that Prague won’t insist on EU agency approval for use of the jab. Speaking to CNN Prima News on Saturday, Zeman revealed that the letter to the Russian leader was penned in agreement with the country’s PM Andrej Babis. The Czech leader said that he expects Putin to approve the request. “If I am properly informed, this request will be granted,” he told the channel. Zeman noted that the jab will need to be certified by the local regulator, the State Institute for Drug Control (SUKL), before the Russian vaccine can be rolled out. He added that its seal of approval will be “enough” to launch the vaccination campaign.

Zeman’s statement appears to run contrary to that of his top health official, Jan Blatny, who has been health minister since October, representing Babis’ pro-EU Action of Dissatisfied Citizens (ANO) populist party. Earlier this month, Blatny ruled out the possibility of the Czech Republic importing Sputnik V on his watch unless it is first greenlighted by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). Amid a spike in coronavirus infections, believed to be driven by a new, highly contagious variant, the Czech government extended a state of emergency on Friday, which will now run until March 28. Under the newly extended emergency, the authorities are expected to tighten curbs on the freedom of movement, including the imposition of bans on non-essential travel to other countries.

Interior Minister Jan Hamacek said the sweeping travel ban will be enforced by the military and the police. The restrictions will also see nurseries and schools for disabled children shut their doors, and people will be banned from leaving their municipalities other than for essential purposes. “We have to do it to prevent a total collapse of our hospitals,” Babis said on Friday, warning that if the lockdown is not properly enforced, “the whole world will watch Bergamo in the Czech Republic.” The country, with a population of 10.7 million, has reported some 1.2 million confirmed cases of Covid-19, including 20,000 fatalities from the virus. According to data from Johns Hopkins University, its death rate per 100,000 people is currently the worst in the world.

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It makes zero difference. You lost.

Biden Says US Will ‘Never’ Accept Russia’s Annexation of Crimea (Antiwar)

President Biden released a statement on Friday marking the seventh anniversary of Russia’s annexation of Crimea where he said the US will “never” accept Russian sovereignty over the peninsula. “The United States continues to stand with Ukraine and its allies and partners today, as it has from the beginning of this conflict,” Biden said. “The United States does not and will never recognize Russia’s purported annexation of the peninsula, and we will stand with Ukraine against Russia’s aggressive acts.” Left out of Biden’s statement was the reason for the Russian annexation.


In 2014, the US-orchestrated a coup in Ukraine. The largely ethnic Russian population of Crimea rejected the new nationalist anti-Russian government in Kyiv that even had neo-nazis in its midst. Polls after the annexation show the majority of Crimeans were in favor of joining Russia. The Biden family benefited greatly from the coup. Shortly after the change in government, President Biden’s son Hunter landed a high-paying job on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian natural gas company. President Biden tapped an architect of the Ukraine coup for a high-level position in the State Department. Victoria Nuland, the wife of neoconservative Robert Kagan, is the nominee to be the under secretary of state for political affairs.

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“Orthodox Christian, thus appealing to swaths of the West; consolidated as major Eurasian power; a military, hypersonic superpower; and boasting unrivaled diplomatic skills, appreciated all across the Global South.”

Putin, Crusaders, & Barbarians (Escobar)

Moscow is painfully aware that the US/NATO “strategy” of containment of Russia is already reaching fever pitch. Again. This past Wednesday, at a very important meeting with the Federal Security Service board, President Putin laid it all out in stark terms: “We are up against the so-called policy of containing Russia. This is not about competition, which is a natural thing for international relations. This is about a consistent and quite aggressive policy aimed at disrupting our development, slowing it down, creating problems along the outer perimeter, triggering domestic instability, undermining the values that unite Russian society, and ultimately to weaken Russia and put it under external control, just the way we are witnessing it transpire in some countries in the post-Soviet space.”

Not without a touch of wickedness, Putin added this was no exaggeration: “In fact, you don’t need to be convinced of this as you yourselves know it perfectly well, perhaps even better than anybody else.” The Kremlin is very much aware “containment” of Russia focuses on its perimeter: Ukraine, Georgia and Central Asia. And the ultimate target remains regime change. Putin’s remarks may also be interpreted as an indirect answer to a section of President Biden’s speech at the Munich Security Conference. According to Biden’s scriptwriters, “Putin seeks to weaken the European project and the NATO alliance because it is much easier for the Kremlin to intimidate individual countries than to negotiate with the united transatlantic community … The Russian authorities want others to think that our system is just as corrupt or even more corrupt.”

A clumsy, direct personal attack against the head of state of a major nuclear power does not exactly qualify as sophisticated diplomacy. At least it glaringly shows how trust between Washington and Moscow is now reduced to less than zero. As much as Biden’s Deep State handlers refuse to see Putin as a worthy negotiating partner, the Kremlin and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have already dismissed Washington as “non-agreement capable.” Once again, this is all about sovereignty. The “unfriendly attitude towards Russia,” as Putin defined it, extends to “other independent, sovereign centers of global development.” Read it as mainly China and Iran. All these three sovereign states happen to be categorized as top “threats” by the US National Security Strategy.

Yet Russia is the real nightmare for the Exceptionalists: Orthodox Christian, thus appealing to swaths of the West; consolidated as major Eurasian power; a military, hypersonic superpower; and boasting unrivaled diplomatic skills, appreciated all across the Global South. In contrast, there’s not much left for the deep state except endlessly demonizing both Russia and China to justify a Western military build-up, the “logic” inbuilt in a new strategic concept named NATO 2030: United for a New Era. The experts behind the concept hailed it as an “implicit” response to French President Emmanuel Macron’s declaring NATO “brain dead.” Well, at least the concept proves Macron was right.

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Your daily Cuomo drip drip.

Second Former Aide Accuses Gov. Andrew Cuomo Of Sexual Harassment (NYP)

A second woman has accused Gov. Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment, according to a new report. Charlotte Bennett, a 25-year-old former aide to Cuomo, told The New York Times that the governor asked her inappropriate personal questions, told her he was open to relationships with women in their 20s, and left her feeling that he “wanted to sleep with me.” Bennett, who worked as an executive assistant and health-policy adviser, told the Times the interactions took place in the spring, as the coronavirus pandemic flared. Cuomo, 63, never made any physical advances, she said. Still, she described a June meeting in Cuomo’s Albany office, during which he griped about being lonely during the pandemic and whined he “can’t even hug anyone.”

Cuomo, 63, then pressed her: “Who did I last hug,” she said. She tried to dodge the question by saying she missed hugging her parents. “And he was, like, ‘No, I mean like really hugged somebody,’” she said. “I understood that the governor wanted to sleep with me, and felt horribly uncomfortable and scared,” Bennett told the Times. “And [I] was wondering how I was going to get out of it and assumed it was the end of my job.” Bennett, who grew up in Westchester County, is around the same age as Cuomo’s oldest daughters. She said she told the governor how she had once played soccer against one of his girls. When she told Cuomo in May of her experience as a sexual-assault survivor, he seemed fixated by the revelation, she said.

She told a friend via text message: “The way he was repeating, ‘You were raped and abused and attacked and assaulted and betrayed,’ over and over again while looking me directly in the eyes was something out of a horror movie,” according to the Times. “It was like he was testing me.” Cuomo told her he was lonely since his relationship celebrity chef Sandra Lee, his girlfriend of 14 years, ended in 2019. He stressed to her that Lee was “out of the picture,” and referred to “wanting a girlfriend, preferably in the Albany area.” “Age doesn’t matter,” he told her, as he asked about her feelings about age differences in relationships — a conversation she told a friend about at the time, in a text reviewed by the Times.

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It’s not just the state. Hospitals often have more managers and administrators than doctors and nurses.

The Danger of the Administrative State (AIER)

The chilling narrative about the growth of the administrative state, which is essentially the regulatory apparatus of the executive branch, is usually confined to specialist professions. The ever-present danger of a slowly expanding and unaccountable apparatus of bureaucrats that threatens to sap the life out of American society and drown it in a sea of paperwork is typically a concern that only keeps policy wonks and lawyers up at night. Although many lawyers probably celebrate this dystopian vision because they benefit from the compliance fees. The regulatory state not only threatens to make society that much slower and dreary with its excessive onslaught of regulation but it also makes us poorer. Robert Samuelson writes for the Washington Post that

“No one really knows by how much, but “there is ample evidence that regulation has expanded and that this expansion has limited economic growth,” as Ted Gayer and Philip Wallach of the Brookings Institution recently wrote. One study estimates that regulation has shaved 0.8 percent off the U.S. annual growth rate, which — if confirmed by other studies — would be huge.” The regulatory state refers to organizations such as the Environmental Protection Agency, the Centers for Disease Control, the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Education, the Department of Justice, the Internal Revenue Service, and all the other three-letter agencies in Washington, DC. If you would like to see how long the list of agencies is, take a look at the Federal Register, to which there are 455.

That number is absolutely mind-boggling and you don’t need a fancy degree in political science like I have to say that society can function without their oversight. A paper by Peter Strauss at Columbia Law School notes that there are currently over 2 million civilians employed in the federal government alone. He notes that for context, “The first Congress to meet once the Constitution was ratified created a Post Office and Departments of War, Navy, Foreign Affairs, and Treasury, each in unique ways suited to its responsibilities; this new government employed few civil servants to manage all its affairs. The first serious count of federal civilian employees, in 1816, reported that they numbered 4,837.”

The drastic expansion of the administrative state has come at a cost to not only our liberty, which is slowly being eroded by a sea of paperwork and regulations, but it also undermines our democracy. According to Article 1 of the Constitution, the legislative branch or Congress is supposed to be the primary law-making body of our government. That is because if there are bad laws or laws society doesn’t like, we can hold people accountable. However, more and more power has been shifted to the executive branch because of the growth of the administrative state. Even the judicial system is losing power to the administrative state after the establishment of a legal doctrine known as Chevron Deference, which binds the court system to defer to the administrative agency’s interpretation of a rule, not the Constitutional interpretation of a sitting judge.

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These things are dirty.

Can The US Become Self-Sufficient In Rare Earth Materials Again? (F.)

The extraction process involves crushing the ore and milling it into granules, followed by some range of mechanical separation processes which might involve using magnetic sorting, gravity separation, or floatation. This is then usually followed by acid leaching, baking, or a solvent extraction step. This is why we don’t like processing it in the U.S. – it creates toxic wastes which have to be dealt with. Sometimes you get radioactive elements with it, like radium and thorium in the waste streams, which makes it even worse. So when we export it to China for processing, we really are exporting a lot of pollution with it.

China is the largest provider in the world today. It has three major ore deposits in Inner Mongolia, Sichuan, and Shangdong Provinces, as well lower grade deposits mainly in Jianxi, Guangdong, Fujian, and Guanxi Provinces in which the rare earths are adsorbed onto the surface of clay minerals. Though these lower-grade “weathered crust elution deposits” have lower concentrations of the actual rare earth elements, they are easier to extract. Dissolving them in salt water or ammonium sulfate solutions, and then precipitating them out with oxalic acid or ammonium bicarbonate – inexpensive chemicals – does the trick. It is a much less expensive process than extracting from ores, which has given Chinese producers a significant cost advantage.

During the 1960s and 1970s, the U.S. led the world in research on rare earths, but by the 1980s funding for the chemistry, separation technology, and processing was reduced. Low-pricing from China made U.S. mining and processing uncompetitive, and the Mountain Pass mine was closed in the 1990s, only to be reopened in 2013 after China restricted supplies. Could the U.S. become self-sufficient again? Bokan Mountain, on Prince of Wales Island in southeastern Alaska, is the site of a project by Nova Scotia-based Ucore Rare Metals. The company is trying to extract dysprosium, terbium, and yttrium over the projected 11 – 15 year life of the mine. From the 1950s – 1970s, the area was the location of a uranium mine, so the contaminated soil and waste rock today mark a Superfund site.

NioCorp. is also trying to develop a mine for rare earths and niobium in Elk Creek, Nebraska. In addition to rare earths, it could be one of the world’s largest sources of niobium, a critical ingredient in high temperature alloys used in jet and rocket engines, as well as in low-temperature superconducting wire. Bear Lodge, in the northeast corner of Wyoming, is another prospective mine development. Lynas Corp. and Texas Mineral Resources Corp. are also building processing plants in the U.S. MP Materials also plans to begin domestic processing in 2022.

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They’re everywhere.

India Targets Climate Activists With the Help of Big Tech (Naomi Klein)

The bank of cameras that camped outside Delhi’s sprawling Tihar jail was the sort of media frenzy you would expect to await a prime minister caught in an embezzlement scandal, or perhaps a Bollywood star caught in the wrong bed. Instead, the cameras were waiting for Disha Ravi, a nature-loving 22-year-old vegan climate activist who against all odds has found herself ensnared in an Orwellian legal saga that includes accusations of sedition, incitement, and involvement in an international conspiracy whose elements include (but are not limited to): Indian farmers in revolt, the global pop star Rihanna, supposed plots against yoga and chai, Sikh separatism, and Greta Thunberg. If you think that sounds far-fetched, well, so did the judge who released Ravi after nine days in jail under police interrogation.

Judge Dharmender Rana was supposed to rule on whether Ravi, one of the founders of the Indian chapter of Fridays For Future, the youth climate group started by Thunberg, should continue to be denied bail. He ruled that there was no reason for bail to be denied, which cleared the way for Ravi’s return to her home in Bengaluru (also known as Bangalore) that night. But the judge also felt the need to go much further, to issue a scathing 18-page ruling on the underlying case that has gripped Indian media for weeks, issuing his own personal verdict on the various explanations provided by the Delhi police for why Ravi had been apprehended in the first place. The police’s evidence against the young climate activist is, he wrote, “scanty and sketchy,” and there is not “even an iota” of proof to support the claims of sedition, incitement, or conspiracy that have been leveled against her and at least two other young activists.

Though the international conspiracy case appears to be falling apart, Ravi’s arrest has spotlighted a different kind of collusion, this one between the increasingly oppressive and anti-democratic Hindu nationalist government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Silicon Valley companies whose tools and platforms have become the primary means for government forces to incite hatred against vulnerable minorities and critics — and for police to ensnare peaceful activists like Ravi in a high-tech digital web. The case against Ravi and her “co-conspirators” hinges entirely on routine uses of well-known digital tools: WhatsApp groups, a collectively edited Google Doc, a private Zoom meeting, and several high-profile tweets, all of which have been weaponized into key pieces of alleged evidence in a state-sponsored and media-amplified activist hunt.

At the same time, these very tools have been used in a coordinated pro-government messaging campaign to turn public sentiment against the young activists and the movement of farmers they came together to support, often in clear violation of the guardrails social media companies claim to have erected to prevent violent incitement on their platforms.

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Gates is all about money.

Why Bill Gates Is Now The US Biggest Farmland Owner (NYP)

Late last year, Eric O’Keefe was researching a mysterious recent purchase of 14,500 acres of prime Washington state farmland. His magazine, The Land Report, tracks major land transactions and produces an annual list of the 100 biggest US landowners. Sales of more than a thousand acres are “blue-moon events,” O’Keefe noted, so this one stood out. And Eastern Washington has some of the richest, most expensive farmland in the country. But the purchaser of record was a small, obscure company in Louisiana. “That immediately set off alarm bells,” O’Keefe says. He assigned his research team to dig a little deeper. Soon they came back with the answer: The Louisiana company was acting on behalf of Cascade Investment LLC, the secretive investment firm that manages most of the huge fortune belonging to Bill Gates.

O’Keefe knew Gates had been acquiring farmland for years, mostly through various Cascade subsidiaries. The mogul’s holdings include large tracts in Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, California, and about a dozen other states. With the Washington state acreage and other recent additions to his portfolio, O’Keefe calculated, Gates now owns at least 242,000 acres of American farmland. “Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft, has an alter ego,” O’Keefe wrote: “Farmer Bill, the guy who owns more farmland than anyone else in America.” The Land Report scoop made headlines. Many stories focused on Gates’ longstanding interest in climate change and sustainability and suggested those concerns might be driving the land purchases. Newsweek called him a “sustainable agriculture champion.”

[..] Investment guru Michael Larson, who has worked with Gates since 1994, runs the Washington-based Cascade Investment, as well as supervising the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s nearly $50 billion endowment. “The arrangement is simple,” The Wall Street Journal wrote in a 2014 profile. “Mr. Larson makes money, and Mr. Gates gives it away.” Larson and his team are famously tight-lipped. Cascade employees almost never speak to the press. According to the Journal, they are even discouraged from using Facebook and other social-media platforms. Larson sees to it that Gates’ wealth is sensibly, even conservatively, invested.


He’s the new MacDonald: Bill Gates owns hundreds of thousands of acres across the United States — including 242,000 acres of farmland — making him the country’s top agricultural landholder, according to Eric O’Keefe’s The Land Report. NY Post graphic/Mike Guillen

According to public records, the billionaire’s portfolio includes shares in Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate, a Coca-Cola bottling company, and the tractor manufacturer Deere & Co., among other non-flashy investments. Larson also makes sure Gates keeps his eggs in a wide variety of baskets. His portfolio is diversified, in other words. And that’s where the land purchases come in. Most of us imagine farmers tilling the soil that has been in their families for generations. But many farmers lease at least some of the land they cultivate. According to Bruce Sherrick, a professor of agricultural economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, about 60 percent of row-crop farmland in the Midwest is leased. The landowners can include investors like Gates.


For investors who know what they’re doing, agricultural land offers financial stability in uncertain times. “Farmland has had a remarkably consistent ability to hedge against inflation,” Sherrick says. And it tends to be “negatively correlated” against other investments, he adds: If the stock market is going down, the return on farmland is likely to be going up. But farmland isn’t easy to buy.

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“At bitcoin’s current value, Nakamoto’s fortune could exceed $50 billion..”

Unmasking Bitcoin Inventor May Send Cryptomarket Into Tailspin – Coinbase (RT)

The largest US cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, which is getting ready to go public, has named bitcoin’s developer, known to the world as Satoshi Nakamoto, as one of the major risks to its business.In its IPO filing sent to the Securities Exchange Commission earlier this week, Coinbase listed Nakamoto, an individual creator or a group of people thought to be behind the creation of the world’s largest cryptocurrency, as one of the recipients of the document. However, the same anonymous inventor could pose a risk to the entire “cryptoeconomy.”


According to the filing, if the identity is revealed or if Nakamoto’s bitcoins are transferred, the prices of the most valued digital coins, bitcoin and ethereum, may deteriorate. The creator, or a group of creators, are believed to hold around 1.1 million bitcoin, which account for around five percent of all bitcoins that can be ever mined. At bitcoin’s current value, Nakamoto’s fortune could exceed $50 billion, making him almost as rich as Chinese entrepreneur and the founder of Alibaba, Jack Ma. Since Nakamoto published the white paper titled ‘Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System’ in 2008, various theories have emerged about his identity. However, little is still known about him.

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Feb 132021
 
 February 13, 2021  Posted by at 10:24 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  22 Responses »


James Karales Selma to Montgomery March Alabama 1965

 

Sputnik V Developers Work On Vaccine For Several COVID19 Strains At Once (RT)
South Africans Being Infected With COVID19 Variant Again After Recovering (RT)
The Bombhole Era (Matt Taibbi)
Cuomo And The Lincoln Project Are Media-Created Monsters (DP)
NY Dems Want To Strip Cuomo Of Coronavirus Emergency Powers (JTN)
Inside the Lincoln Project’s ‘Toxic’ Workplace (19th)
Lincoln Project Accused by its Own Co-Founder of Likely Criminality (Greenwald)
Lincoln Project Faces Questions Over The Spending And Compensation (Turley)
Trump Lawyers Argue His Jan. 6 Rhetoric Is ‘Protected’ Free Speech (JTN)
MSM’s Narrative About The Murderous Capitol Mob Has Collapsed (Cox)
Hillary Clinton Could Be Charged Under Precedent Set In Trump Trial (RT)
Great Reset? Putin Says, “Not So Fast” (Luongo)
The Trials of Wokery (Kunstler)

 

 

When you open Pandora’s box, things tend to come out.

@AceSix4
https://twitter.com/i/status/1360063639894507520

 

 

One of the stranger arguments. But sure, let’s inject some controversy.

 

 

 

 

Russia to the rescue.

Sputnik V Developers Work On Vaccine For Several COVID19 Strains At Once (RT)

The Gamaleya Institute behind Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine said it’s working on a technology that will lead to an effective jab against several coronavirus variants and which could also be swiftly updated to tackle new mutations.
The multiplying variants of Covid-19, which could turn out to be resistant to current vaccines and prolong the pandemic even further, have recently become a source of major concern for governments and medics around the globe. But the solution to the problem may be just around the corner, as the Gamaleya Institute’s director, Alexander Gintsburg, revealed that the Moscow-based research body “has developed a technology that allows to quickly and efficiently create vaccine agents that will include antigens not from one, but two, three, four or five different coronavirus variants.”


Such a vaccine should be able to provide immunity from all coronavirus strains that could threaten a population at any given time, Gintsburg said, in an interview with the Rossiya 24 channel. So far, all of the known mutations appear to be covered by the vaccines, but that may well change as RNA viruses like Covid-19 are the most rapidly changing objects in the world, he pointed out. The Russian multi-variant vaccine is currently in its research phase, with clinical trials scheduled to begin by the end of the year. The finished drug will likely be made available to customers in 2022, Gintsburg estimated. Numerous strains of coronavirus have been already discovered by scientists, but three of them are causing the most worries at the moment. The so-called UK, South Africa and Brazil variants have shown multiple changes in their spike protein, through which the virus attaches itself to human cells.

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“substantial or complete escape” from the human body’s neutralizing antibodies that target Covid-19..”

South Africans Being Infected With COVID19 Variant Again After Recovering (RT)

Some people in South Africa have been re-infected with variants of Covid-19 after they had already recovered from the virus, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) chief scientist, Soumya Swaminathan, said on Friday.
“We are now getting reports of people getting re-infected with the new variant of the virus, and there have been some initial reports from South Africa suggesting that people who have had prior infection could get infected again,” she told a WHO news briefing. Swaminathan did not specify the number of people re-infected in South Africa, but said that ongoing scientific studies are looking at how long antibodies protect people after they have contracted the virus.

The scientist did say that a recent UK study of health workers found that 85 percent of the cohort had developed protection against being re-infected with Covid-19 six to eight months after they first caught the virus. One study from South Africa published in pre-print format last month found the country’s indigenous mutation, 501Y.V2, showed “substantial or complete escape” from the human body’s neutralizing antibodies that target Covid-19. “These data highlight the prospect of re-infection” and may “foreshadow reduced efficacy” of vaccines, according to the study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed.

Another larger, more generalized study of 43,000 people with Covid-19 antibodies in Qatar concluded that re-infection is “rare,” and that natural infection elicited strong protection against the virus for at least seven months. The South African variant features more genetic mutations than previous forms of the virus, including the E484K mutation, which appears to have an impact on the body’s immune response, potentially increasing the likelihood of re-infection. It accounts for more than 80 percent of cases in South Africa, and has spread to at least 32 countries worldwide.

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“This technique of using the next bombshell story to push the last one down a memory-hole — call it Bombholing — needed a polarized audience to work.”

The Bombhole Era (Matt Taibbi)

News in the Trump years became a narrative drama, with each day advancing a tale of worsening political emergency, driven by subplots involving familiar casts of characters, in the manner of episodic television. It worked, but news directors and editors hit a stumbling block. If you cover everything like there’s no tomorrow, what happens when there is, in fact, a tomorrow? The innovation was to use banner headlines to saturate news cycles, often to the exclusion of nearly any other news, before moving to the next controversy so quickly that mistakes, errors, or rhetorical letdowns were memory-holed. The American Napoleon generated controversies at such a fantastic rate that stations like CNN and MSNBC (and Fox too) were able to keep ratings high by moving from mania to mania, hyping stories on the way up but not always following them down.

The moment the narrative premise of any bombshell started to fray, the next story in line was bumped to the front. News outlets paid off old editorial promises with new headlines: Ponzi journalism. This technique of using the next bombshell story to push the last one down a memory-hole — call it Bombholing — needed a polarized audience to work. As surveys by organizations like the Pew Center showed, the different target demographics in Trump’s America increasingly did not communicate with one another. Democrats by 2020 were 91 percent of the New York Times audience and 95 percent of MSNBC’s, while Republicans were 93 percent of Fox viewers. When outlets overreached factually, it was possible, if not likely, that the original target audience would never learn the difference.

This reduced the incentive to be careful. Audiences devoured bombshells even when aware on a subconscious level that they might not hold up to scrutiny. If a story turned out to be incorrect, that was okay. News was now more about underlying narratives audiences felt were true and important. For conservatives, Trump was saving America from a conspiracy of elites. For “liberal” audiences, Trump was trying to assume dictatorial power, and the defenders of democracy were trying to stop him. A symbiosis developed. Where audiences once punished media companies for mistakes, now they rewarded them for serving up the pure heroin of shaky, first-draft-like blockbusters. They wanted to be in the trenches of information discovery. Audiences were choosing powerful highs over lasting ones.

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View from the left.

Cuomo And The Lincoln Project Are Media-Created Monsters (DP)

In the chaos of 2020, the national press corps used all of its magical mythmaking and storytelling powers to conjure two towering political heroes for a country in crisis. From the maw of the media machine, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Lincoln Project emerged as our alleged sentinels bravely battling a deadly pandemic and an authoritarian president — and supposedly leading us with principles and morality into a new era of accountability and integrity. For millions of credulous liberals already binging on West Wing reruns, the twin tales conjured some more of that good old-fashioned hope-and-change nostalgia, and seemed to serve as a cheeky reminder that not all heroes wear capes.


But in the last 24 hours, the entire façade has collapsed, revealing that those bravely trying to sound the alarm for months were right all along — and those benefiting from the media-driven fraud were attempting to evade accountability and self-servingly cover up a grotesquerie of mismanagement, corruption, and abuse. Will the wrongdoers face any consequences or accountability? Or will they be treated like the purveyors of previous frauds, like the Iraq War and the financial crisis, and continue to be platformed and valorized by the press corps? And will our media overlords engage in any self-reflection about the monsters they manufactured? The details of the two tales vary, but the narrative arcs are eerily similar. That they crescendoed in the same single news cycle makes their cautionary tales all the more poignant.

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About a year too late.

NY Dems Want To Strip Cuomo Of Coronavirus Emergency Powers (JTN)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo was reprimanded on Friday by a group of New York Democrats who are demanding that the governor be stripped of his emergency powers that he has exercised in response to the coronavirus pandemic in New York state. The reprimand came in a statement from 14 lawmakers who were acting following the news that Cuomo’s top aide, Melissa DeRosa, had admitted during a video conference call with Democratic leaders that the administration covered up the true extent of nursing home deaths in 2020 because they were concerned about a possible federal investigation by the Trump administration. The New York Post broke the story of DeRosa’s confession to the group of Democratic lawmakers who were thought to be put in a difficult situation as result of the coverup.


“While COVID-19 has tested the limits of our people and state — and, early during the pandemic, required the government to restructure decision making to render rapid, necessary public health judgments,” the prepared statement from the 14 Democratic state senators said — “it is clear that the expanded emergency powers granted to the Governor are no longer appropriate.” “While the executive’s authority to issue directives is due to expire on April 30, we urge the Senate to advance and adopt a repeal as expeditiously as possible.”

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Very toxic. Tucker’s take is dead on.

Inside the Lincoln Project’s ‘Toxic’ Workplace (19th)

The Lincoln Project’s founders were some of the highest-profile players in Republican politics before they rejected Trump and became apostates within their own party. There was George Conway, a high-profile conservative lawyer who is married to Kellyanne Conway, who was a top adviser to Trump. Weaver worked on Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaigns, as did Galen and Schmidt. Mike Madrid is a strategist specializing in Latinx voting trends. Jennifer Horn is a former GOP chair in New Hampshire. Wilson worked on Rudy Giuliani’s mayoral and Senate campaigns. Ron Steslow started his own consulting firm after working at the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Conway was the first to leave in August, citing family obligations. Weaver took medical leave around the same time.

A three-person board — Galen, Madrid and Steslow — was created without input from some of the other co-founders. Eventually, disputes over that board, and its scope, led to bitter infighting that involved individual co-founders lawyering up and threatening one another with “oppo” research, Washington speak for the type of negative information amassed by a political campaign or organization to use against a rival. In late 2020, Conway stepped in to help mediate what was quickly becoming a civil war within the organization. Madrid and Steslow departed in December after signing nondisclosure agreements and receiving separation packages that those familiar with the negotiations describe as lucrative.

On December 21, the Lincoln Project paid Madrid’s firm, Grassroots Lab, two round sum payments of $1.1 million and $300,000. On the same date, it paid Steslow’s firm, TUSK Digital, $900,000. All of the payments were described as for “political strategy consulting” on campaign finance filings. The Lincoln Project was organized as a super PAC, meaning it could raise and spend unlimited sums of money but had to disclose only basic details about where the money was going. The firms that some of the co-founders brought with them to the Lincoln Project’s work became a source of internal frustration, as more than half of the nearly $90 million raised by the project flowed to firms controlled by its various founders. Once it was there, there was usually no way to track how they spent or kept it.

As of late January, Galen’s firm, Summit Strategic Communications, had received roughly $27.5 million from the Lincoln Project, with the bulk of that going to “independent expenditures” such as television or Internet advertisements and nearly $7 million to consulting. Steslow’s firm, TUSK, received $22.4 million, with $7.1 million for consulting. Schmidt’s firm, SES Strategies, received $1.5 million for consulting, but he told the Chicago Tribune he returned it. Madrid’s Grassroots Lab received nearly $2.2 million for consulting services. The Lincoln Project paid Horn directly in amounts of $5,000 or $10,000 per month, campaign finance filings show. In the fall, she began receiving additional payments from LPTV, but in all, her annual compensation was approximately $150,000, sources familiar with the situation said.

Tucker Lincoln Project
https://twitter.com/i/status/1360413135144771585

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George Conway. Strange player in all this.

Lincoln Project Accused by its Own Co-Founder of Likely Criminality (Greenwald)

The group of life-long Republican Party consultants who, under the name “The Lincoln Project,” got very rich in 2020 with anti-Trump online messaging has spent weeks responding to numerous scandals on multiple fronts. Despite the gravity of those scandals, its conduct on Thursday night was in a whole new category of sleaze. It not only infuriated their long-time allies, but also constituted the abuse of Twitter’s platform to commit likely illegal acts. That the primary effect of the Lincoln Project was to personally enrich its key operatives by cynically exploiting the fears of U.S. liberals has long been obvious. Reporting throughout 2020 conclusively demonstrated that the vast majority of the tens of millions of dollars raised by the group was going to firms controlled by its founders.


One of its most prominent founders — GOP consultant Rick Wilson — personally collected $65,000 from liberals through GoFundMe for an anti-Trump film he kept promising but which never came; to this date, he refuses to explain what he did with that money. A study conducted after the 2020 election found that the group’s effect on the election’s outcome was trivial to non-existent — not surprising given its penchant for spending money on ads that aired in electorally irrelevant places such as Washington, D.C. or which circulated almost exclusively in liberal cable news and social media venues, and thus had no purpose other than to enable its consultants to take large commissions from the ad spending. They were producing ads solely for liberals, with the overriding intent not of defeating Trump but inflating their net worth. And it worked: until they were no longer needed.

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Do they ever.

Lincoln Project Faces Questions Over The Spending And Compensation (Turley)

The Lincoln Project has had a rough couple of weeks. One of its co-founders, John Weaver, was accused of sexual harassment of young men and the Project attacked him as a sexual predator. As co-founders like George Conway denied any real familiarity or interaction with Weaver, others accused of the Project of turning a blind eye to his conduct. Then one of its other co-founders, Jennifer Horn, resigned in protest only to be attacked by other Project members as allegedly trying to get more money out of the organization. Now, the Lincoln Project is having serious questions raised over its compensation for co-founders and an accounting for tens of millions of dollars that may have gone to them or their own firms. Lincoln famously declared “with malice toward none, with charity for all,” but the Lincoln Project is accused of malice towards many but charity for a few.

[..] The latest controversy comes after an Associated Press story that the Project was able to raise over $90 million but only spent a third of that ($27 million) on advertisements during the 2020 campaign. The AP noted “That leaves tens of millions of dollars that went toward expenses like production costs, overhead — and exorbitant consulting fees collected by members of the group.” It also suggested that the Project was using tactics to hide the money trial and spending decisions. Reporters Steve Peoples and Brian Slodysko said that “[t]he vast majority of the cash was split among consulting firms controlled by its founders, including about $27 million paid to a small firm controlled by Galen and another $21 million paid to a boutique firm run by former Lincoln Project member Ron Steslow, campaign finance disclosures show.”

I have been critical of some of the Lincoln Project commercials and advertisements. However, my main objection was its role in harassing and even doxxing lawyers who represented the Trump campaign or the Republican party. That effort was funded by thousands of lawyers as well as Democratic donors. At first, I thought the Lincoln Project could serve a useful role in establishing a Republican opposition base to Trump and add greater diversity in the party. Instead, it adopted increasingly juvenile and vicious ads that seemed to pander to the lowest common denominator in politics. This week the Lincoln Project ad features a chicken and taunts Trump for declining to testify despite the fact that presidents traditionally have not testified and such a decision should not be treated as evidence of guilt.

Yet, such commercials play well to donors and bring in more money. The question is whether the windfall of money was the byproduct or the purpose of the Project’s founding. The AP story suggests that the Project has used accounting systems that make it difficult to track payments. The Project can easily make this all transparent. While no one is going to run ads showing the founders juxtaposed with chickens, a few donors may want to know if the founders enriched themselves and their firms as part of the 2020 campaign.

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Pandora’s box.

Trump Lawyers Argue His Jan. 6 Rhetoric Is ‘Protected’ Free Speech (JTN)

Attorney David Schoen argued the impeachment managers relied heavily on media reports to make their case against Trump rather than actual evidence. He said people get more “due process” fighting a parking ticket than Trump did in this trial. Schoen also questioned why the House managers held the “never-before-seen” Capitol security footage and did not release it to the public or Trump himself ahead of the trial. Schoen also argued that the House impeachment managers “manipulated” Trump’s words when playing a clip of him saying there were “fine people on both sides” after the Charlottesville protest. The full remarks included Trump denouncing white supremacists and neo-Nazis.

The House impeachment managers focused heavily on Trump’s “fight like hell” comment during his Jan. 6 speech. Schoen showed video clips of Democrats using rhetoric that could be interpreted as violent. His video montage included House Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying Democrats have to learn how to “throw a punch” and former Vice President Joe Biden saying he would “beat the hell” out of Trump in high school. He also played clips of Democrats like then-Sen. Kamala Harris saying Democrats have to “fight” in the Trump era. “We like a good fight,” Harris said.

House impeachment managers argued that Trump’s “stop the steal” message was unprecedented. To respond to that argument, Schoen showed video of 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton saying that you could be a major political party’s presidential nominee and have the election “stolen” from you. He also played Democratic Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown saying Stacey Abrams’ gubernatorial election was “stolen” from her. Van der Veen played additional video of “robust” rhetoric from Democrats about punching Trump in the face and said the First Amendment should be applied “evenly.” “All robust speech should be protected and it should be protected evenly for all of us,” he said. “The Senate cannot ignore the First Amendment.”

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“..when lead House impeachment manager Jamie Raskin (D-Maryland) got caught lying on Wednesday about the content of an alleged telephone call between Trump and a Republican senator during the Capitol riot, he admitted that his claim was false and shrugged it off.”

MSM’s Narrative About The Murderous Capitol Mob Has Collapsed (Cox)

As their dishonest narrative collapses around them, mainstream media outlets and Democrat politicians are trying to hold together their latest bid to destroy Donald Trump, but some of the lies are getting too big to shrug off. I’m reminded of the media-speak popularized during the Trump era – lightly used words or phrases that became ubiquitous in the talking points, like “violating norms” – especially the term “debunked.” In the eyes of MSM and their controllers, Trump was a president who needed to be debunked thousands of times. Whether it was about the size of his Inauguration Day crowd, the animal-like savagery of MS-13 gang-bangers or the fact that Haiti is “a s**thole”, any Trump claim had to be debunked, false or not.

When an obnoxious loudmouth constantly blurts out things that lift the skirt on the ruling class’ treachery, his voice must be discredited. And even if just part of his story can be attacked, the rest will be forgotten. It’s like a Jenga game where all the pieces automatically fall down when one is removed. But the same standard doesn’t apply to the media’s own story lines. No matter how many times MSM and establishment politicians are exposed as liars — from the MLK bust in the Oval Office to the Russia collusion hoax — the people are supposed to keep believing the gist of their arguments. The Jenga tower can be levitating with entire floors missing, but the con artists insist that it’s still standing. We’re seeing it again in Trump’s second Senate impeachment trial. Giant holes have been blown in the MSM-DNC narrative about the January 6 “insurrection” at the US Capitol, but that’s not supposed to matter.

For instance, when lead House impeachment manager Jamie Raskin (D-Maryland) got caught lying on Wednesday about the content of an alleged telephone call between Trump and a Republican senator during the Capitol riot, he admitted that his claim was false and shrugged it off. “This is much ado about nothing because it’s not critical in any way to our case,” he said. Never mind that the point was apparently considered important enough to submit as evidence. Raskin was essentially allowed to wriggle out as if he said, “The fact that we’re lying about this doesn’t reflect whatsoever on the veracity of anything else we’re telling you.” A far bigger and more central piece of the impeachment Jenga tower shouldn’t be sloughed off so easily. In fact, Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick is so central to the narrative that his cremated remains were displayed in honor at the Capitol Rotunda to remind everyone of the viciousness of the alleged Trump domestic-terrorism army.

The tale of the brutal Trump mob is always punctuated with the fact that five people were “killed” during the riot, er, “white-supremacist insurrection.” One of those people was Ashli Babbitt, one of the rioters, who was fatally shot by a law enforcement officer. Three others were election-fraud protesters who died from health crises – a heart attack, a stroke and an unidentified medical emergency – during the January 6 demonstration and riot. The talking heads who wish Trump supporters dead in every other case are counting Trump supporters in the death toll from an incident perpetrated primarily by Trump supporters. It’s as if they’re leading a story on a hostage crisis by saying that 30 people were killed without mentioning that 25 of those were hostage takers, including 22 who died of food poisoning.

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hypothetical

Hillary Clinton Could Be Charged Under Precedent Set In Trump Trial (RT)

A lawyer for former president Donald Trump said the current impeachment drive is a partisan effort that could backfire on Democrats if they lose leverage, suggesting ex-secretary of state Hillary Clinton could also be impeached. Responding to a question from Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) during Friday’s impeachment hearing, Trump attorney Michael van der Veen argued that the Obama-era secretary could face similar impeachment proceedings sometime in the future. “Is it not true that under this new precedent, a future House – facing partisan pressure to ‘lock her up’ – could impeach a former secretary of state, and a future Senate be forced to put her on trial and potentially disqualify her from any future office?” Rubio asked.

“If you see it their way, yes,” van der Veen said, referring to the Democratic impeachment managers. “If you do this the way they want it done, that could happen to the example there – a former secretary of state – but it could happen to a lot of people. And that’s not the way this is supposed to work.” The lead impeachment manager in the House, Jamie Raskin (D-Maryland), pushed back, however, insisting Rubio’s hypothetical had “no bearing on this case,” as Clinton “was not impeached in office for conduct while in office.” At Friday’s hearing, the Trump lawyer also argued that the ex-president’s statements leading up to the January 6 riot on Capitol Hill – which he is accused of “inciting” as the basis of the impeachment effort – were “virtually indistinguishable” from rhetoric used by American politicians for “hundreds of years.”

“Countless politicians have spoken of ‘fighting for our principles.’ Joe Biden’s campaign slogan was ‘Battle for the Soul of America.’ No human being seriously believes that the use of such metaphorical terminology is incitement to political violence,” van der Veen said. He added that while Trump at no point engaged in “language of incitement,” many Democrats in Washington have themselves resorted to “profoundly reckless, dangerous and inflammatory rhetoric in recent years,” singling out Clinton, who he said “ridiculously declared the [2016] election [was] stolen by Russia.”

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“Do you understand what you have done?”

Great Reset? Putin Says, “Not So Fast” (Luongo)

Did you happen to catch the most important political speech of the last six years? It would have been easy to miss given everything going on. In fact, I almost did, and this speech sits at the intersection of nearly all of my areas of intense study. The annual World Economic Forum took place last week via teleconference, what I’m calling Virtual Davos, and at this year’s event, of course, the signature topic was their project called the Great Reset. But if the WEF was so intent on presenting the best face for the Great Reset to the world it wouldn’t have invited either Chinese Premier Xi Jinping or, more importantly, Russian President Vladimir Putin. And it was Putin’s speech that brought down the house of cards that is the agenda of the WEF.

The last time someone walked into a major international forum and issued such a scathing critique of the current geopolitical landscape was Putin’s speech to the United Nations on September 29th, 2015, two days before he sent a small contingency of Russian air support to Syria. There he excoriated not only the U.N. by name but most importantly the U.S. and its NATO allies by inference asking the most salient question, “Do you understand what you have done?” having unleashed chaos in an already chaotic part of the world? As important as that speech was it was Putin’s actions after that which defined the current era of geopolitical chess across the Eurasian continent. Syria became the nexus around which the resistance to the “ISIS is invincible” narrative unraveled

And the mystery of who was behind ISIS, namely the Obama administration, was revealed to anyone paying attention. President Trump may have taken credit for beating ISIS, but it was mostly Putin and Russia’s forces retaking the Western part of Syria which allowed that to happen, while our globalist generals, like James Mattis, did as much damage to Syria itself and as little to ISIS as possible, hoping to use them again another day. And regardless of whether you agree or disagree with the U.S.’s policy in Syria, which I most definitely do not, it is hard to argue that Russia’s intervention there fundamentally changed the regional politics and conflicts for the foreseeable future.

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Jim needs some time to re-focus.

The Trials of Wokery (Kunstler)

How do you like the party you supposedly voted into power so far? Or is it perhaps too much to say they were actually voted into anything? And if so — if there was something, let’s say, a little irregular with the ballot tabulation, maybe even more than a little — have they not succeeded splendidly in pissing-off more than half the people across the land? And then attempted to rub that half’s faces into the squishy, fetid loam of the DC Swamp? I’d say that every move they make, every breath they take, seems calculated to spark a new civil war. Yesterday’s spiteful exercise in cognitive dissonance was a humdinger: Mr. Biden threatened to cut off travel to Florida for flouting his regime’s policy on Covid-19 lockdowns, while over in Texas (and several other states), he ordered a general unlocking-down of the border with Mexico, permitting the unchecked illegal ingress of thousands of possible Covid-19 carriers a day. Ron DeSantis, Florida’s governor, responded, saying — if I may paraphrase — see you in court, asshole.

Meanwhile, the cancellation reign-of-terror among the regime’s self-appointed guardians of Wokeness rages on. In the name of diversity and inclusion, no one in the USA is allowed to publicly question the Woke narrative of the moment, or else be deprived of your livelihood. The New York Times fired forty-year veteran science reporter Donald G. McNeil, Jr., for using the freighted word “n*gg*r” while answering a student’s question about the history of the word’s usage, just as I am explaining his use of it in the incident at issue — that is, academically.

Though Mr. McNeil’s intent was incontrovertibly innocent as viewed by persons not insane — including, only briefly, the paper’s executive editor Dean Baquet — the decision to not sack Mr. McNeil provoked a reflexive uproar among the Times’s staff, as something in the wind might provoke a flight of grasshoppers transforming into a swarm of locusts, and Mr. Baquet reversed himself, forcing Mr. McNeil to choose demotion or resignation. Then, to make matters worse, the Times’s publisher, AG Sulzberger, spiked a column by nominally “conservative” op-ed writer Bret Stephens that attempted to argue some legalistic points about intent in the conduct of a witch hunt, an apparent affront to the Times’s witch-hunters, who seem to prefer their witch-hunting as a straight-up blood sport.

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