Apr 202021
 
 April 20, 2021  Posted by at 8:23 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  67 Responses »


Pablo Picasso Don Quixote 1955

 

100 Doctors Express Opposition To Vaccinating Children (JPost)
WHO Rejects Covid Passports; Vaccines Don’t Stop Virus Transmission (RT)
World Can Bring Covid-19 Pandemic Under Control In Months – WHO Chief (RT)
‘Do Not Travel’: State Department Updates Advisory For 80% Of The World (RT)
To Conquer Nature And Death, We Have Made A New Religion Of Science (Cook)
So Wait, Russia Got Biden Elected? (Malic)
Russian Jet Intercepts US, Norwegian Patrol Aircraft (ZH)
America Can Successfully Defend Taiwan Against China – In Its Dreams (Ritter)
The $2.3 Quadrillion Global Timebomb (von Greyerz)
The Movie Follows the Script (Jim Kunstler)
Why People Are Persistently Hungry All The Time (RT)
Nils Melzer Says The Treatment Of Assange Leaves Him “Speechless” (Maurizi)

 

 

 

 

Robert Kennedy jr. on Gates and Fauci

 

 

 

 

Population Scotland 5.5 million. Covid Deaths over 10 months: 596.

 

 

“..vaccinating children is not appropriate at this time because putting even a few children at risk of unknown side effects is not worth the protection it will afford them against a disease they say is not dangerous to children.”

100 Doctors Express Opposition To Vaccinating Children (JPost)

Some 100 medical professionals have expressed opposition to vaccinating children with the coronavirus vaccine and separating between vaccinated and unvaccinated people. “We believe there is no room for vaccinating children at this time [due to] caution, modesty, the understanding that ‘haste is from the devil’; the recognition that we do not understand everything about the virus and the vaccine against it; and the first commandment of medicine: ‘First, do not harm,’” they said in a letter to the Health Ministry on Sunday. They acknowledged that the Pfizer vaccine has prevented serious coronavirus infection and mortality in children. But they said children do not usually experience severe symptoms from the coronavirus, and the long-term possible side effects of the vaccine, even if rare, would only be known after years of study.


It is also unclear how long immunity from the vaccine lasts, which variants it works against, how often booster shots will be needed and what the far-reaching implications of the periodic immunization on the immune system and the evolution of the virus could be, they wrote. The prevailing view among the scientific community is that the vaccine cannot lead to herd immunity, meaning there is no justification for vaccinating children, they added. Some Israeli health officials have said the vaccination campaign has provided Israel with herd immunity in recent weeks. The authors of the letter said vaccinating children is not appropriate at this time because putting even a few children at risk of unknown side effects is not worth the protection it will afford them against a disease they say is not dangerous to children.

Get informed!

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“..concerns that vaccinations alone won’t prevent the transmission of the virus.”

WHO Rejects Covid Passports; Vaccines Don’t Stop Virus Transmission (RT)

The World Health Organization (WHO) has staunchly rejected the use of Covid passports to reopen travel in a meeting of its emergency committee, over concerns that vaccinations alone won’t prevent the transmission of the virus. Reiterating their previously stated position on Monday, the WHO’s Emergency Committee said it opposed the use of proof of vaccination documents as a condition of international travel due to the lack of evidence over the impact of vaccination on the transmission of coronavirus. The WHO’s declaration comes amid alarm from the group over “the persistent inequity in global vaccine distribution”, with the international health body stating that Covid passports would only further promote unequal freedom of movement.


Instead, the WHO has recommended that countries impose quarantine measures for international travellers and introduce “coordinated, time-limited, risk-based and evidence-based approaches for health measures.” Concerns about the inequality that would be caused by the use of Covid passports has been sparked by wealthier nations snapping up vaccines, while poorer countries have been left without enough doses to effectively vaccinate their population. The WHO has described this growing divide between national vaccine rollouts as a “moral outrage” and “catastrophic moral failure”, demanding world leaders support a more equitable distribution of vaccines.

DeSantis

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But how? He doesn’t say.

World Can Bring Covid-19 Pandemic Under Control In Months – WHO Chief (RT)

A consistent global approach to the Covid-19 pandemic could bring it under control before the end of the year, the director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO) has said, despite a record week for Covid-19 infections. “We have the tools to bring this pandemic under control in a matter of months, if we apply them consistently and equitably,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news briefing on Monday. The WHO chief also said the total number of new Covid-19 cases in the past seven days had increased for the eighth consecutive week, with a record 5.2 million infections reported.


“Big numbers can make us numb,” Ghebreyesus said, as he urged people not to forget that each death from the virus is a “tragedy” for families and communities. He also highlighted the “alarming” increase in infections and hospitalizations among those aged 25 to 59, “possibly” due to highly transmissible newer variants and the increased social mixing of younger generations. On Monday, the WHO’s emergency committee gave Ghebreyesus its advice on vaccines, variants, and international travel, among other coronavirus issues. The panel pushed back against Covid vaccine passport schemes, citing a lack of evidence that the jabs prevent transmission as well as ongoing global inequalities when it comes to getting hold of vaccine doses.

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“Americans who have completed immunization with FDA-approved vaccines are still considered “at increased risk for getting and possibly spreading new [Covid-19] variants,”

‘Do Not Travel’: State Department Updates Advisory For 80% Of The World (RT)

Citing “unprecedented risk” from the Covid-19 pandemic, the State Department is urging Americans to reconsider going abroad and is updating its travel advisory to the highest, Level 4 warning for most of the planet. On Monday, Foggy Bottom announced that it will be updating the travel advisory during the week, to “better reflect the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) science-based Travel Health Notices,” which will result in the number of places at Level 4: Do Not Travel advisory to increase to “approximately 80% of countries worldwide.” The change does not imply a judgment on the current health situation in any given country, the State Department explained, but an “adjustment” in the travel advisory system to “rely more on CDC’s existing epidemiological assessments” and reflect “logistical factors” such as the availability of testing.


There are currently only 34 countries with a Level 4 travel warning, including war zones such as Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq and Yemen; US-sanctioned countries like Venezuela, North Korea, Myanmar, Cuba and Russia; coronavirus-stricken Brazil and Argentina, and a number of African countries. The updated guidelines seem to be based on the CDC’s advisory published on Monday. Unvaccinated people are advised to delay or cancel any international travel. Americans who have completed immunization with FDA-approved vaccines are still considered “at increased risk for getting and possibly spreading new [Covid-19] variants,” the CDC says.

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“The UK’s pandemic response relies too heavily on scientists and other government appointees with worrying competing interests, including shareholdings in companies that manufacture covid-19 diagnostic tests, treatments, and vaccines.”

To Conquer Nature And Death, We Have Made A New Religion Of Science (Cook)

The British scientist James Lovelock who helped model conditions on Mars for NASA so it would have a better idea how to build the first probes to land there, is still ridiculed for the Gaia hypothesis he developed in the 1970s. He understood that our planet was best not viewed as a very large lump of rock with life-forms living on it, though distinct from it. Rather Earth was as a complete, endlessly complex, delicately balanced living entity. Over billions of years, life had grown more sophisticated, but each species, from the most primitive to the most advanced, was vital to the whole, maintaining a harmony that sustained the diversity. Few listened to Lovelock. Our god-complex got the better of us. And now, as the bees and other insects disappear, everything he warned of decades ago seems far more urgent.

Through our arrogance, we are destroying the conditions for advanced life. If we don’t stop soon, the planet will dispose of us and return to an earlier stage of its evolution. It will begin again, without us, as simple flora and microbes once again begin recreating gradually – measured in aeons – the conditions favourable to higher life forms. But the abusive, mechanistic relationship we have with our planet is mirrored by the one we have with our bodies and our health. Dualism has encouraged us to think of our bodies as fleshy vehicles, which like the metal ones need regular outside intervention, from a service to a respray or an upgrade. The pandemic has only served to underscore these unwholesome tendencies. In part, the medical establishment, like all establishments, has been corrupted by the desire for power and enrichment.

Science is not some pristine discipline, free from real-world pressures. Scientists need funding for research, they have mortgages to pay, and they crave status and career advancement like everyone else. Kamran Abbasi, executive editor of the British Medical Journal, wrote an editorial last November warning of British state corruption that had been unleashed on a grand scale by covid-19. But it was not just politicians responsible. Scientists and health experts had been implicated too: “The pandemic has revealed how the medical-political complex can be manipulated in an emergency.” He added: “The UK’s pandemic response relies too heavily on scientists and other government appointees with worrying competing interests, including shareholdings in companies that manufacture covid-19 diagnostic tests, treatments, and vaccines.”

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“..asked if he would run in 2024, Biden himself said he isn’t really thinking about it and adding, “I have no idea if there will be a Republican Party. Do you?”

So Wait, Russia Got Biden Elected? (Malic)

Announcing a series of anti-Russian measures – incorrectly called “sanctions” – last week, President Joe Biden claimed Moscow is engaging in “efforts to undermine the conduct of free and fair democratic elections and democratic institutions in the United States and its allies and partners.” Look, here’s the deal – to borrow a phrase from Biden himself – the only one doing the delegitimizing here are Americans themselves. It wasn’t ‘Russia’ that declared the 2020 election was the “most secure… in American history.” It wasn’t the Kremlin that claimed absolutely nothing had gone wrong with any votes anywhere, and anyone so much as wondering about it was evil and ought to be silenced – it was the corporate media and Biden’s Democrats. And it wasn’t VK or Telegram that rushed to do the silencing, but the very American-owned Facebook, Twitter and Google.

It’s not Russia, either, that’s currently engaged in a push to “reimagine” US politics, elections and the very system of government. That would actually be… Biden and his own party, the Democrats. The 800-page HR1, or “For The People” Act, would fundamentally transform US elections, expanding universal mail-in ballots, mandating automatic voter registration and California-style ballot harvesting, banning voter ID or updating voter rolls, taking from states the authority to draw congressional districts – and if you try challenging it in court, narrowly defines how it can be done to the point where it’s practically impossible. Just to be sure, the Democrats are now proposing to pack – “expand,” in their parlance – the US Supreme Court.

They want to appoint another four justices, and bring the ratio from the current 6:3 in favor of (nominal) ‘conservatives’ to a 7:6 ‘liberal’ majority. Never mind the SCOTUS has been the Nine since 1869, and when FDR – the closest thing to the American Caesar so far – had tried to expand the court in 1937, his own party repudiated him and refused to do so. Don’t forget the initiative to give statehood to Washington, DC – explicitly prohibited by the US Constitution – that would guarantee Democrats two more seats in the Senate. Or the fact that, asked if he would run in 2024, Biden himself said he isn’t really thinking about it and adding, “I have no idea if there will be a Republican Party. Do you?”

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Happens all the time.

Russian Jet Intercepts US, Norwegian Patrol Aircraft (ZH)

A major intercept incident between Russia and US-NATO allied aircraft has occurred over the far northern Barents Sea on Monday. “A Russian fighter jet on Monday reportedly intercepted and escorted US and Norwegian patrol aircraft,” The Hill reports. “The Russian Defense Ministry said the incident over the body of water near Sweden, Norway, Finland and Russia involved a MiG-31 fighter jet,” it continued, based on initial reporting by Russia’s state-run RIA news agency. NATO member Norway shares a far northern small section of Arctic border with Russia, thus the region of the Barents Sea has always been a highly sensitive defense sector for the Kremlin, for which it keeps fighter jets at Arctic bases at ‘the ready’.


It comes as tensions are still soaring over Ukraine, and after last week a Russia MiG-31 had intercepted a US spy plane near Russia’s far northeast Kamchatka Peninsula over the Pacific Ocean. Moscow has also recently denounced the US Air Force’s additional longrange bomber presence in Norway, out of which recent missions have flown over the Baltic and North seas in a ‘message’ to Russia.

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“The culpability of this systemic incompetence is so widespread, however, that there can be no serious accounting for what has transpired.”

America Can Successfully Defend Taiwan Against China – In Its Dreams (Ritter)

The US military has deteriorated to the point that the only way it could win a simulated war game in which it was called on to defend Taiwan from a ‘Chinese invasion’ force was by inventing capabilities it does not yet possess. In 2018 and 2019, the US Air Force conducted detailed simulated war games that had its forces square off against those of China. On both occasions, the US was decisively defeated, the first time challenging the Chinese in the South China Sea, and the second time defending Taiwan – which China sees as an integral part of its territory – against a Chinese invasion. In 2020, the US repeated the Taiwan scenario, and won – but only barely. The difference? In both 2018 and 2019, it played with the resources it had on hand.

Last year, it gave itself a host of new technologies and capabilities that are either not in production or aren’t even planned for development. In short, the exercise was as far removed from reality as it could get. The fact is the US can only successfully defend Taiwan from a full-scale Chinese invasion in its dreams. What the current war games underscored is that, as currently configured, equipped, and deployed, the US Air Force lacks the required combination of lethality and sustainability necessary to wage full-scale conventional conflict against a peer-level foe. The mix of aircraft currently in the US Air Force inventory was unable to ‘compete’ in the war game – even the current model of F-35 was excluded as not being up to the task of fighting and surviving against the Chinese military.

[..] Today, with the political decision having been made to depart Afghanistan, and a similar decision being brooded regarding Iraq and its corollary conflict, Syria, the US military is a fundamentally broken institution. It lost its ‘forever wars’ in the Middle East and Southwest Asia by not winning. As such, the senior leadership at the helm of the US military has been conditioned to accept defeat as de rigueur; it comes with the territory, a reality explained away by lying – either to yourself, your superiors, or both. Too many successful careers were created on the backs of lies repackaged as truth, of defeats sold as victories, as deficits portrayed as assets. In many ways, the recently concluded US Air Force war game is a byproduct of this psychosis – an exercise in self-delusion, in which reality is replaced by a fictional world where everything works as planned, even if it does not exist.

The US Air Force cannot wage a successful war against China today. Nor can it do so against Russia. Its ability to sustain a successful air campaign against either Iran or North Korea is likewise questionable. This is the kind of reality that would, in a world where facts mattered, cost a lot of senior people their jobs, in uniform and out. The culpability of this systemic incompetence is so widespread, however, that there can be no serious accounting for what has transpired. Instead, the US Air Force, having been confronted by the reality of its shortcomings, ‘invents’ a victory. In and of itself, this ‘victory’ is meaningless. If China were to invade Taiwan, there is literally nothing short of employing nuclear weapons the US could do to stop it. But by ‘beating’ China using fictional resources, the US Air Force has created a blueprint of procurement that will define its budgetary requests for the next decade.

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“..account managers and traders can bet billions on a daily basis with no skin in the game but massive potential upside if nothing goes wrong.”

The $2.3 Quadrillion Global Timebomb (von Greyerz)

As I warned in last week’s article on Archegos and Credit Suisse, investment banks have created a timebomb with the $1.5 quadrillion derivatives monster. A few years ago, the BIS (Bank of International Settlement) in Basel reduced the $1.5 quadrillion to $600 trillion with a pen stroke. But the real gross figure was still $1.5q at the time. According to my sources, the real figure today is probably over $2 quadrillion. A major part of the outstanding derivatives are OTC (over the counter) and hidden in off balance sheet special purpose vehicles. The $30 billion in Archegos derivatives that went up in smoke over a weekend is just the tip of the iceberg. The hedge fund Archegos lost everything and the normal uber-leveraged players Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, Nomura etc lost at least $30 billion.

These investment banks are making casino bets that they can’t afford to lose. What their boards and top management don’t realise or understand is that the traders, supported by easily manipulated risk managers, are betting the bank on a daily basis. Most of these ludicrously high bets are in the derivatives market. The management doesn’t understand how they work or what the risks are and the account managers and traders can bet billions on a daily basis with no skin in the game but massive potential upside if nothing goes wrong. But we are now entering an era when things will go wrong. The leverage is just too high and the bets totally out of proportion to the equity. Just take the notorious Deutsche Bank (DB) that has outstanding derivatives of €37 trillion against total equity of €62 billion.

Thus the derivatives position is 600X the equity. Or to put it in a different way, the equity is 0.17% of the outstanding derivatives. So a loss of 0.2% on the derivatives will wipe the share capital and the bank out! Now the DB risk managers will argue that the net derivatives position is just a fraction of the €37 trillion at €20 billion. That is of course nonsense as we saw with Archegos when a few banks let $30 billion over a weekend. Derivatives can only be netted down on the basis that counterparties pay up. But in a real systemic crisis, counterparties will disappear and gross exposure will remain gross. So all that netting doesn’t stand up to real scrutiny. But it is typical for today’s casino banking world when depositors, shareholders and governments take all the downside risk and the management all the upside.

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“The video has the status of a religious icon, portraying, as it seems to, the vivid distillation of the black experience in America..”

The Movie Follows the Script (Jim Kunstler)

Former police officer Chauvin is charged with Murder 2, Murder 3, and Manslaughter all predicated on varying degrees of intention and recklessness in the death of George Floyd, the internationally acclaimed saint-of-oppressed-peoples who died under Mr. Chauvin’s knee in an indelible video shared ‘round the world last May. The video has the status of a religious icon, portraying, as it seems to, the vivid distillation of the black experience in America: pure, unalloyed, hateful, murderous subjugation. The trouble is what’s not in the indelible picture: Mr. Floyd’s prodigious ingestion of the world’s hardest narcotic, fentanyl, at a level likely to cause death, plus methedrine, plus THC, on top of a 90-percent blockage of a coronary artery, and other cardiopathies, and Covid-19, all according to the official medical examiner.

Also, as it happened in the instance of his arrest, Mr. Floyd was failing to follow police instructions, and acting dangerously deranged — behavior apt to lead to police restraint, under which he died, rest his soul. So, now it will be left to the jury to sort all this out, under the threat of getting “doxed” (having their home addresses disclosed) by the Black Lives Matter org, as well as following the $27-million lawsuit settlement on the Floyd family for “wrongful death” by the Minneapolis City Council before the trial commenced — not exactly a propitious lead-in for a fair outcome. One might even view the public expressions of black opinion leaders and politicians as coercive — but then coercion is the animating spirit of liberal Wokery, the wish and the will to punish at all costs.

In any case, the fine spring weather around the country invites the young and energetic to caper angrily in the streets after a harsh winter of lockdowns. The mobs will turn out, things will burn, businesses will get looted (and destroyed), and people will get hurt. So it will be for two reasons: groups of people follow social scripts and societies give tacit permission for the acting-out of feelings — in this case, feelings of grievance that demand retribution and vengeance. What’s actually at issue here is whether black people in America really want to join with the other ethnic groups present in the land in a national common culture — that is, a consensus about behavior, ceremonies, and manners — or would rather opt out of it, oppose it, or violently destroy what’s left of it.

Chauvin judge

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Blood glucose.

Why People Are Persistently Hungry All The Time (RT)

A study between multiple universities has revisited the link between blood sugar and appetite, and found the relationship is far more complex than previously understood, yielding new insights on how to tame persistent hunger. The researchers examined blood sugar responses and other indicators from 1,070 participants in the UK and the US, sourcing data from the PREDICT (Personalised REsponses to DIetary Composition Trial) nutrition research project. The volunteers ate standardised breakfasts, after which they were free to choose their remaining meals throughout the remainder of the day, observing a fasting window for three hours after breakfast. They continuously wore blood glucose monitors and recorded what and when they ate each day using a phone app, along with their self-reported hunger levels, over the study period of two weeks.


The researchers discovered that dips in blood glucose levels, aka “sugar dips,” were significantly linked with appetite levels and energy intake/calorie consumption. Participants with big blood sugar dips experienced a nine percent increase in appetite, consumed their second meal of the day half an hour sooner, and posted an overall average consumption of 300 calories more throughout the course of the day, than those who didn’t experience these sugar dips. The research shows “great potential for helping people understand and control their weight and long-term health,” says senior author and genetic epidemiologist Ana Valdes from the University of Nottingham. “Many people struggle to lose weight and keep it off, and just a few hundred extra calories every day can add up to several pounds of weight gain over a year.”

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“When you visited him, he told you: Please, save my life. What does he have in common with other victims of torture?”

Nils Melzer Says The Treatment Of Assange Leaves Him “Speechless” (Maurizi)

He deals with torture victims on a daily basis, so he is not easily shocked by abuses. And yet, he says, he is ‘speechless’ when it comes to the case of Julian Assange. The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer, has just published a book in German: “Der Fall Julian Assange”, which reconstructs his investigation based on exclusive documents. He tells Il Fatto Quotidiano what he has discovered and what he thinks is likely to happen. What made a Special Rapporteur on Torture work on the Assange case and write a book on it?

“When Julian Assange was still at the embassy in December 2018, his legal team actually reached out to my office. I remember it was just before Christmas, I saw this message pop up on my screen and I swiped it away immediately. I had this intuitive reaction: what does that guy want? He’s a rapist, a narcissist, a hacker, this isn’t serious, so I just discarded it. I have around 15 requests per day, and I can do one, it’s very routine for me to decide quickly, but I remember those negative emotions I had, that I usually don’t have. Three months later his lawyers came back to me in March 2019, and they also sent me Dr. Sondra Crosby’s medical assessment. And I knew Dr. Crosby was a big name as an independent medical expert, who was not associated with Assange activists.

I read these objective assessments by Dr. Crosby, by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, I also read an article by James Goodale the Pentagon Papers man. I realised that I had strong prejudices against Assange, even though it’s my profession as a Human Rights expert to be objective. I started investigating further, scratching the surface of this case. The deeper I got into the case, the more dirt and contradictions came to the light. I also knew that I could not rely on information in the media and in the press, because that’s precisely the source that had deceived me in the first place. To be objective, I had to go visit him in prison, and, to be sure, I took not one medical doctor, but even two medical doctors with me, who are independent from each other and are not employed by the UN; they work as external experts for the International Criminal Court, the International Committee of the Red Cross and so on.

We spent 4 hours with Julian Assange, I spoke to him for one hour, and the forensic expert had one hour for a physical examination, and the psychiatrist did a two-hour psychiatric examination. Each medical examination was done separately from the other, so they wouldn’t influence each other. All three of us at the end compared our conclusions and agreed that he showed all the signs that are typical of victims of psychological torture. I must admit that I didn’t expect such a clear result. I reported back to the involved governments by the end of May. I was convinced Julian Assange had been deliberately persecuted and kept in a legal limbo in Sweden, in the US, in the UK and everywhere to put him under pressure and to make him crack. It was done very publicly, in order to make an example of him, to scare other investigative journalists. The message was: ‘If you expose our dirty secrets, this is what is going to happen to you, and no one can protect you. We can violate your rights every day the way we want and no one can do anything about it.’

[..] When you visited him, he told you: Please, save my life. What does he have in common with other victims of torture? “Torture is used for a wide range of purposes. There is the classic context of interrogations, the other one is torture to intimidate, like when they come to a village and they rape a woman in the village square, in front of everybody, it’s not as much to punish her, as it is to intimidate the population. That’s a very common purpose of torture, even more common than interrogation, and that’s what they are doing with Assange. In a modern democratic society they are not doing it by flogging, but they are doing it using the psychological method, by excluding him from society, by defaming him, by humiliating him in the media, in the press. Think of the witch trials in the 17th century, when those women were stripped naked and paraded around the city and everyone spat at them, that’s a bit what they are doing with Assange.

Read more …

 

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Apr 042021
 
 April 4, 2021  Posted by at 2:31 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , ,  19 Responses »


Vincent van Gogh Lilac Bush 1889

 

 

Granted, there are various levels of dumb acts and theories being passed as science. Spain mandating a law that says people have to wear a face mask when swimming in the sea is a extreme example. That not only has nothing to do with science, though undoubtedly they will say it’s based on it, it’s acutely dangerous. But there’s so much more.

I was reading the following for the New York Times (through local paper Kathimerini) this morning, and it gave me just about the right amount of anger. There are so many clowns out there that tell you they base their measures and restrictions on “the science”, but have no idea what that is. Injecting millions with untested substances is not science, it’s the opposite of science. Science would require evidence that such substances do not do harm (Hippocrates), and there is no such evidence.

And now we’re going to let those who have been “fully vaccinated” with these so-called vaccines, loose upon the world. What could go wrong? Well, thing is, we have no idea. The CDC is not alone in grossly botching their job, but they’re at the vanguard.

 

CDC Says Travel Is Safe For Those Fully Vaccinated, But Issues Caution

Americans who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 can safely travel at home and abroad, as long as they take basic precautions like wearing masks, federal health officials announced Friday, a long-awaited change from the dire government warnings that have kept many millions home for the past year.

In announcing the change at a White House news conference, officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stressed that they preferred that people avoid travel. But they said growing evidence of the real-world effectiveness of the vaccines — which have been given to more than 100 million Americans — suggested that inoculated people could do so “at low risk to themselves.”

The shift in the CDC’s official stance comes at a moment of both hope and peril in the pandemic. The pace of vaccinations has been rapidly accelerating across the country, and the number of deaths has been declining.

Yet cases are increasing significantly in many states as new variants of the coronavirus spread through the country. Just last Monday, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the CDC director, warned of a potential fourth wave if states and cities continued to loosen public health restrictions, telling reporters that she had feelings of “impending doom.”

Some public health experts were surprised by Friday’s announcement and expressed concern that the government was sending confusing signals to the public.

“It’s a mix of ‘please don’t travel’ at the same time this is easing travel for a subset of people,” said Dr. Wafaa El-Sadr, professor of epidemiology and medicine at Columbia Mailman School of Public Health. “I think it’s very confusing and goes counter to the message we heard earlier this week to ‘stay put,’ ‘hold on,’ ‘be patient.’ And that worries me. Public health messaging has to be very clear, very consistent, and it has to be very simple.”

 

Walensky herself seemed to acknowledge the apparent mixed messaging during Friday’s news conference. “The science shows us that getting fully vaccinated allows you to do more things safely, and it’s important for us to provide that guidance even in the context of rising cases,” she said.

[..] Federal officials remained adamant that people who have not been fully vaccinated should not travel at all, a position widely supported by public health experts.

“If you are fully vaccinated, you can return to travel, but if you are not, there is still a lot of virus circulating, and it is still a risky undertaking, and you should defer until you get vaccinated or the situation improves,” said Caitlin Rivers, a public health researcher and assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

If unvaccinated people must travel, the CDC recommends they be tested for coronavirus infection one to three days before their trip and again three to five days after it is over. They should self-quarantine for seven days after a trip if they get tested and for 10 days if they do not get tested, the agency said.

People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine or two weeks after receiving the second dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna shot. Some 58 million people in the US, 22% of the adult population, have been fully vaccinated, according to the latest numbers from the CDC.

Just over a fifth of Americans have been fully vaccinated, and most of those people are too old and frail or otherwise compromised to do much traveling. Great moment to come with travel guidance. Moreover, as this little table from the Lancet shows, 40% of people are protected by their antibodies for only 90 days, and 70% for only 125 days. And that’s not the worst of it: according to the Forbes article I drew that graph from,

Though the correlates for protection weren’t exactly cut and dry, a handful stood out as potentially significant. Most salient among these was disease severity, meaning the price of admission to the persistent group was poorer health outcomes overall. The more robust a patient’s antibody response, the greater the chance they previously developed pneumonia, needed supplemental oxygen, spent time in the intensive care unit, and so on. A more technical determinant was the avidity, or binding strength, between SARS-CoV-2 and IgG antibodies, which typically help form the basis of a longer-term immune protection.


Table 1. A table based on data from the persistent antibody study. “DYNAMICS OF SARS-COV-2 NEUTRALISING ANTIBODY RESPONSES AND DURATION OF IMMUNITY: A LONGITUDINAL STUDY” HTTPS://WWW.THELANCET.COM/JOURNALS/LANMIC/ARTICLE/PIIS2666-5247(21)00025-2/FULLTEXT

 

That’s not a definitive word on antibodies, far from it, but that is exactly the problem. We simply don’t know, but some of us do pretend we do. Back to the “science”:

Scientists are still not certain whether vaccinated people may become infected, even briefly, and transmit the virus to others. A recent CDC study suggested such cases might be rare, but until that question is resolved, many public health officials feel it is unwise to tell vaccinated Americans simply to do as they please. They say it is important for all vaccinated people to continue to wear masks, practice social distancing and take other precautions.

How does that rhyme with Walensky’s “The science shows us that getting fully vaccinated allows you to do more things safely, and it’s important for us to provide that guidance even in the context of rising cases”? It is nonsense, that’s not what the science shows. All we have is a handful of experiments, theories and assumptions.

Under the new CDC guidance, fully vaccinated Americans who are traveling domestically do not need to be tested for the coronavirus or follow quarantine procedures at the destination or after returning home. When they travel abroad, they only need to get a coronavirus test or quarantine if the country they are going to requires it.

However, the guidance says they must have a negative coronavirus test before boarding a flight back to the United States, and they should get tested again three to five days after their return.

The recommendation is predicated on the idea that vaccinated people may still become infected with the virus. The CDC also cited a lack of vaccine coverage in other countries and concern about the potential introduction and spread of new variants of the virus that are more prevalent overseas.

The new advice adds to CDC recommendations issued in early March saying that fully vaccinated people may gather in small groups in private settings without masks or social distancing and may visit with unvaccinated individuals from a single household as long as they are at low risk for developing severe disease if infected with the virus.


Travel has already been increasing nationwide as the weather warms and Americans grow fatigued with pandemic restrictions. Last Sunday was the busiest day at domestic airports since the pandemic began. According to the Transportation Security Administration, nearly 1.6 million people passed through the security checkpoints at US airports.

If governments and their health boards like the CDC were actually interested in science, they would have campaigned starting a year or more ago, to boost the immune systems of their citizens. That is science. The impact of vitamin D on immune systems is science. The impact of healthy food is. The extra boost from ivermectin is. This could have saved millions of lives.

But your government did none of all that, so you’re on your own. Follow the science, not your goverment. They’re potentially dangerous for you, as are the “vaccines”. And yes, we get the notion of “fatigued with pandemic restrictions”, but stop calling your political calculations vis a vis that, science.

 

 

 

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Mar 292021
 


Rufino Tamayo The Dance of Joy 1950

 

 

We’re running two grand experiments at the same time: we inject 100s of millions with untested substances, and then we let them fly and gather and tell them it’s safe to do so.

 

 

First things first: none of the “vaccines” that are being injected as we speak into 100s of millions of people have been approved by “medical authorities”. The Pfizer and Moderna mRNA ones, as well as the AstraZeneca and in some places Johnson&Johnson “substances” have only, best case, gotten a permit for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).

This is needed because none of these things have ever been properly tested. The “logic” behind this is that we are in an emergency, so there’s no time for testing. Somehow, this “logic” is combined with claims about “listening to the science”. While not testing is the direct opposite of science.

In order to get the Emergency Use Authorizations, you need to show that there are no other substances available that could perform the job that the “vaccines” do. I put “Vaccines” in quotation marks because mRNA are not vaccines in the traditional sense, they are, at least potentially, much more invasive. A factor that has… never been properly tested.

The other substances that might work vs the coronavirus, repurposed drugs such as ivermectin and (hydroxy) chloroquine -about which many doctors have written very positive reviews-, if the (EUA) label is to be put on the new “vaccines”, must also remain untested, just like the “vaccines” themselves.

So there are a few “tests” out there that applied HCQ and ivermectin, but in the wrong environment. See, if you give them only to 80+ year-olds who are already on an intubator and have multiple co-morbidities, you may well end up with the verdict that they did not prevent that person from dying. The thing is, the same would be true if you gave that person an mRNA “vaccine”. But that last bit, we don’t hear about.

We recently had this from a medical journal in Holland, Google translated:

High Fine For Doctors Who Incorrectly Prescribe HCQ Or Ivermectin (MC)

Doctors who prescribe (hydroxy) chloroquine or ivermectin against covid-19 will now receive a fine of up to 150,000 euros imposed by the inspection. This may also include other medications that are prescribed outside the guidelines. The IGJ calls on pharmacists to report. The Health and Youth Care Inspectorate regularly receives reports that doctors prescribe medicines that are contrary to the treatment recommendations for covid-19, the IGJ reports on its website.


When asked, the IGJ spokesperson cannot explain exactly how many doctors this is about and what their specialty is. “We have talked to a number of doctors about this, but because some of them continue to do so, we are now going to impose fines. We are not going to warn anymore, “said the spokesman. [..] According to the IGJ, (hydroxy) chloroquine has been proven to be ineffective against covid-19 and at the same time can cause serious side effects. There is also no scientific basis for the use of ivermectin.

They either don’t test HCQ and ivermectin at all, or they test them in the wrong environment. When someone is dying from old age and co-morbidities, and then catches Covid, you’re not going to save them with HCQ or ivermectin. But nobody ever said you would. Moreover, you wouldn’t save them with mRNA either.

Chloroquine, later (hydroxy) chloroquine, was discovered in 1934, and used as a malaria treatment, for decades. Some 200 million people were treated with it, primarily in Africa, since, with great success. In fact, so many people were treated that it lost its effectiveness because the parasite that causes malaria slowly developed an immunity against it. But we would still have known if it killed large numbers of people. Same goes for ivermectin.

Ivermectin stems from 1975, long time ago, (though Joe Biden had been a senator for 3 years already ;-)), and many many millions were successfully treated with it as an anti-parasite drug. There’s an entire library by now of ivermectin vs Covid 19 studies. But the health board in Holland says :“There is also no scientific basis for the use of ivermectin.”. Yeah, sure. Look, what there is no scientific basis for is the use of the newfangled untested “vaccines”. Not testing equals not scientific. You could label it “technology” if you will, but not science.

 

Then we have Prof Anthony Harnden talking about the AstraZeneca vaccine reducing transmission by some 50%. Given the uncertainties and lack of testing and investigation, I would be inclined to label this prof a ‘lying, dog-faced pony soldier’. Yes, I am getting tired of this spiel.

Vaccines Do Not Completely Stop Transmission, JCVI Member Says

Covid-19 vaccines do not completely prevent transmission, Prof Anthony Harnden, deputy chair of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has said. He told BBC Breakfast on Sunday that while they appear to reduce transmission by about 50%, vaccinated people can still get the virus and spread it to others. He added:


“There’s some good evidence now from Public Health England and from the Oxford/AstraZeneca trials that the vaccines do prevent transmission. But they don’t completely prevent transmission. The figures are still being calculated but it’s in the order of 50%. So, there will be some reduction in transmission, no doubt at all, but it’s still possible, even though you’ve been vaccinated, to get infected, have no symptoms and transmit it to others. That’s why it’s important that all those who get vaccinated still stick to the rules.”

In other words: Get that needle in your arm, stay home, put some underwear on your face, and keep your clap shut. The European Medicines Agency has two cents to spare as well:

EMA advises against use of ivermectin for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19 outside randomised clinical trials

EMA has reviewed the latest evidence on the use of ivermectin for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 and concluded that the available data do not support its use for COVID-19 outside well-designed clinical trials. In the EU, ivermectin tablets are approved for treating some parasitic worm infestations while ivermectin skin preparations are approved for treating skin conditions such as rosacea. Ivermectin is also authorised for veterinary use for a wide range of animal species for internal and external parasites. Ivermectin medicines are not authorised for use in COVID-19 in the EU, and EMA has not received any application for such use.

Following recent media reports and publications on the use of ivermectin, EMA reviewed the latest published evidence from laboratory studies, observational studies, clinical trials and meta-analyses. Laboratory studies found that ivermectin could block replication of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19), but at much higher ivermectin concentrations than those achieved with the currently authorised doses. Results from clinical studies were varied, with some studies showing no benefit and others reporting a potential benefit.

Most studies EMA reviewed were small and had additional limitations, including different dosing regimens and use of concomitant medications. EMA therefore concluded that the currently available evidence is not sufficient to support the use of ivermectin in COVID-19 outside clinical trials. Although ivermectin is generally well tolerated at doses authorised for other indications, side effects could increase with the much higher doses that would be needed to obtain concentrations of ivermectin in the lungs that are effective against the virus. Toxicity when ivermectin is used at higher than approved doses therefore cannot be excluded.

So that’s experiment number 1. 100s of millions of people injected with untested substances. For which there seems to be some evidence that they make a person less sick. But that’s all the evidence there is. They can still be infected, and there’s still no evidence that they can’t infect others. So by all means, let’s bet the house on that, shall we? And if we have to kill drugs that might do a much better job to get there, we will.

 

Then comes experiment number 2. The people who have been injected with this stuff will now be able to get vaccine passports of one sort or another, and travel, get into planes and theaters and what not, and, according to the CDC, gather without wearing masks. While “there’s still no evidence that they can’t infect others”.

I know that politicians are getting desperate, after a full year of lockdowns. But they could all have started nationwide campaigns of improving immune systems through vitamin D a year ago. That was the easiest thing ever, and still is, potentially decreasing both infections and deaths by 50%. Yes, there’s scientific literatute for this.

They could have initiated large scale trials with ivermectin, HCQ, doxycycline and other drugs, but none of them did, outside of countries like India, Peru, Argentina. So that didn’t happen either. Now all they have left are a bunch of non-proven and questionable technologies, and they’re promoting those as if their lives and careers depend on them.

And then we all double down and tell people they’re safe after getting a couple of “jabs”, and everyone around them is too, though there is zero evidence for this. That is a big gamble. But gambling is all we have left. Economies need to open or else. People must be able to see people or else. Governments need to get out of the way and let people take responsibility for their own lives.

We can only wait for the first politician and government and their “expert” advisers to come clean and say they failed. That would at least be a breath of fresh air. Here in Athens after a hard lockdown of almost 6 months, case numbers and intubations are higher than ever. The least they can do is say: we’re sorry, we were wrong, we screwed up.

But politicians and “scientists” don’t do that, unless they’re forced to, even if countless lives are lost in the process. So what do you do? Well, you force them to. And then you make them leave, and start saving lives.

 

 

 

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Mar 062021
 
 March 6, 2021  Posted by at 2:41 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  32 Responses »


Auguste Renoir The umbrellas 1881-6

 

 

 

The Washington Post said recently: “The anti-vaccine movement is comparable to domestic terrorism, and must be treated that way”, while the Guardian had this:

“When it comes to shifting attitudes to vaccines, it is crucial to distinguish between public information campaigns that seek to educate the public and those that seek to persuade them,” said Philipp Schmid, a behavioural scientist researching vaccine scepticism at the University of Erfurt. “[..] if you don’t proactively tackle the problem at all, you end up playing catch-up with the anti-vaxxers. In a way, governments have to work on a parallel vaccine rollout – immunising the public against science denial.”

But WHO spokesperson Margaret Harris said: “it’s very important for people to understand that at the moment, all we know about the vaccines is that they will very effectively reduce your risk of severe disease. We haven’t seen any evidence yet indicating whether or not they stop transmission.” And Dr. David Martin claimed: It’s Gene Therapy, Not a Vaccine. One might add: It’s not science, it’s a sales job.

Now, I don’t know exactly who the WaPo refers to when they say “the anti-vaccine movement”, or that German guy with “the anti-vaxxers”, but it appears there is a widespread movement going on to promote mRNA vaccines, both by governments and by the press. And we’re not supposed to ask questions. Well, I’m sorry, but I make a living asking questions. And I think asking questions is not just everybody’s right, it’s an obligation. So don’t come at me with “domestic terrorism” or “anti-vaxxers”, a term that has nothing to do with the topic to begin with. Asking questions is not the same as being against something.

 

In essence the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA substances are a giant experiment, nothing else. If you can tell me what the logic is behind injecting -soon- hundreds of millions of people with something about which the WHO itself says: “we haven’t seen any evidence yet indicating whether or not they stop transmission,” try me. And how you get from there to issuing “vaccine passports” is as puzzling as the entire propaganda campaign. Who’s engaging in “science denial” here? In its core essence, an Emergency Use Authorization is unscientific.

A vaccine used to mean something that relied on -mostly- dead virus material to get your body to produce immunity “material”. What mRNA does -in this case – is force your body to produce an S1 spike protein, which is toxic to your body. Someone compared it to sticking a USB stick in your body, but one you can never take out anymore. Actually, it’s more like sticking such a USB stick into -almost- every single cell of your body. Forever.

Can it be successful? Maybe, but we have no idea. No research. No clue what mRNA does in the long term. There’s a lot of concern about what it might do to our immune systems. So lots of questions. But we’re not allowed to ask those questions, because then we’re domestic terrorists. Or maybe we can ask them, but only after getting inoculated.

 

There’s an eery similarity here to the banning of Huckleberry Finn, the Odyssey, and Dr. Seuss. We apparently cannot be trusted to form our own opinions anymore. And if we apply the same rules that got Mark Twain and Dr. Seuss banned, how on earth can the Bible remain politically acceptable? I’m sure they’ll get to that yet.

And the press help shape this new world, and Big Tech becomes Big Brother. There’s nothing either journalists or 20-something social media “guardians” like more than to tell you what you can see, hear, read or think, and I bet you never imagined that’s what George Orwell imagined. Or Mark Twain, for that matter. There is no real difference between banning books and burning them.

 

The way this is broadcast to us, is that the mRNA substances are safe, based on the fact that not too many people have died from being “vaccinated”. But not only are short-term effects not the main worry about them, there are already plenty headlines like this:
• Injuries Reported to CDC After COVID Vaccines Climb by 4,000 in One Week
• 34 Spontaneous Miscarriages, Stillbirths After COVID-19 Vaccination
• Danger of mRNA Vaccines To Elderly: 16 Deaths In Switzerland
• Norway warns of Covid-19 vaccine risk after 23 die

When you see that in Germany, France and Switzerland, half of care home workers don’t want to get vaccinated, perhaps it’s good to ask a question. Or how about this: “About 60% Of Nursing Home Staff Declined Covid Vaccines, Walgreens Exec Says”, about which Whitney Webb tweeted: “Just wondering if people consider the 60% of nursing home staffers and 1/3 of US troops declining the experimental COVID-19 vaccine to all be “crazy anti-vaxxer conspiracy theorists”

 

I apparently have to be afraid of what reading Huck Finn or the Odysseus will do to me, my brain, the brains of my children and neighbors. But I’m not afraid of that at all, I think the books will enrich their brains, as they have mine, and I’m confident they will be able to figure out what is just and right in the words they read, and what is not.

I’m not overly concerned about Covid19, but I do take a cautious approach. Which means taking vit. C&D and zinc, with ivermectin in my near future. But it doesn’t rule my life, certainly not as much as the lockdowns in Athens do. And frankly, I’m more afraid of sticking a genetic USB stick that generates untested genetic material in my body for the rest of my life, than I am of a virus that is unlikely to kill me.

By now we should be asking what being ruled by fear for a prolonged period of time does to the mindset of not just individuals, but of entire societies. Well, for one thing, it makes it much easier to censor people’s thoughts and actions, to shape their lives before they themselves do it. Be very afraid, roll up your sleeve, and don’t ask questions. And if you behave the way we tell you to, you may be able, in a year, or two, three, to return to the “old normal”.

Which unfortunately absolutely certainly will no longer exist once you get there. Your society will instead look like a warzone because its economy has been ravaged by fear. For one thing, if “they” allow stores, bars, restaurants to reopen this summer (doubtful), it may well be because they can no longer afford the emergency support for businesses and workers. The very first thing to happen then is mass lay-offs. Which will snowball into more businesses closing and more lay-offs.

It’s simply all gone on too long. For our economies, our societies and our minds. And if only to help us (re)cover, we should ask questions. It’s a obligation.

 

I like this from John Scott Lewinski on fear:

Panic Has Become A Twisted New Virtue

The Covid-19 pandemic has warped humanity’s mindset, turning fear into an intellectual value. Panic is now the smart choice, and those who reject it are considered dangerous barbarians. Sociologists, political theorists and other experts credit the ongoing coronavirus pandemic with forging countless changes in global society. Some are practical, some psychological. Some are temporary, while others will remain in evolving forms.

It’s difficult to deduce if the most troubling change we’re seeing really resulted from the viral crisis, or whether it had been waiting under the surface noise of daily life for full exposure by Covid-19. For the first time in human history, fear is now considered a sign of intellectual superiority, while the choice to resist panic is seen as stubborn foolishness.

[..] If you don’t stay locked in your bedroom in favor of going about your life – still masked, scrubbed and distanced – you’re a fool. Even worse, you’re a reckless fool who lacks compassion for the people you might infect. Regardless, the underlying theme is “crisis” and desperation in place of “challenge” and problem solving.

[..] Finally, if we allow a little old-time religion into the fray and check in on the Gospel writers, we’re told Jesus wept in fear the night before defeating its temptations and facing the crucifixion. Halfway around the world, the Buddha stated: “The whole secret of existence is to have no fear. Never fear what will become of you.” The current psychological zeitgeist would ridicule all of those figures or those authors and their protagonists as hasty and brainless for not running away and hiding from a threat indefinitely until it did its damage or decided to go away.

Those in the cult of alarm will say all of those references are fiction, and Covid is real life. I would motion over to Joseph Campbell and remind them that myths and their fables indicate cultural values. No one ridiculing their fellows for not wearing a mask while alone in their cars, dining outside of their own kitchens or even longing to get back to their workplaces has any part to play in any stirring touchstone story or in the real world events that inspire them.

Perhaps this new worship of trepidation is another symptom of the coronavirus that will pass. Until then, we live in hope for a vaccine against our 2020 affliction of dull, self-adulatory dread.

 

Fear is a healthy and useful natural reaction to events. It can save your life. But it’s not healthy for an individual to live in fear for a prolonged period of time, and fear should never take on a mass identity. Entire societies living in fear for a prolonged period of time are highly toxic to their citizens. In war time, societies are saved not by those who fear, but by the individuals who refuse to let fear lead their lives, and turn it into bravery. Because, as the Buddha says: “The whole secret of existence is to have no fear.”

 

 

 

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Mar 012021
 


Lucien Hervé The Accuser, Delhi, India 1955

 

 

As I was trying to get this article together, I read something in the Greek press just now, and wondered how far one can move goalposts without it being noticed:

A Return To Normalcy Seen In November

Experts say the return to normalcy will happen when “herd immunity” is achieved. For that to happen, they say, 70% of the population must be vaccinated. Then, of course, there are questions of how long the immunity lasts, whether the disease will recur, and so on. According to a team of researchers at Aristotle University in Thessaloniki who have developed a Covid-19 risk evaluation model, the vaccination of 70% of the population, and thus herd immunity, will be achieved in November, provided there are 1 million vaccinations per month.


[..] By the end of May, a “wall of immunity” for the most vulnerable groups – the elderly and those suffering from serious underlying diseases – will have been built, the researchers say. “[The wall] doesn’t mean complete freedom but at least means the likelihood of lockdown becomes remote,” says Dimosthenis Sarigiannis, professor of environmental engineering at Aristotle University.

Now, a year ago, there also was a lot of talk about herd immunity. But that had nothing to do with the “vaccines”, because none of them existed back then. Way back when, “herd immunity” meant that enough people had been infected, and not gotten sick. Some estimates said 20% would be enough, others said 70%. But none talked about vaccines. And now all of a sudden it’s all about vaccines? For which the companies that produce them say there is no evidence that they protect the vaccinated from getting infected, or them from infecting others? Excuse me?

There already is a huge amount of herd immunity. 90-95% of people do not get sick, period. Because they have strong enough immune systems of themselves, or because they’re young, or any combination of factors. It would seem very irresponsible to claim all of these people should be jabbed before there can be herd immunity. It’s just shoddy science, or, rather, shoddy masquerading as science.

 

 

I want to return to a topic I covered a month ago in The One Year Emergency, That is, “emergency”, and its legal implications. Much of the world lives under some State of Emergency, at least a Public Health Emergency. There appears to be a State of Emergency that allows for lockdowns and facemasks to be forced on populations, and a second State of Emergency that lets governments force PCR tests, mRNA “vaccines” and tentatively, vaccine passports upon their citizens. Or is it all the same?

First, from a Dr. David Martin piece I posted a few days ago:

The fact is that a PCR test is not going to make or not make a confirmed diagnosis of anything because PCR tests cannot confirm a diagnosis. [..] The only reason we are using PCR tests is that governors and the Department of Health and Human Services are maintaining a state of emergency. The second that that state of emergency is lifted in any state or in the country, the PCR test won’t be allowed to be used.


We’re maintaining a state of emergency so that manufacturers can keep selling a thing that would never be approved if it was subject to a clinical trial. It goes for what’s being called vaccines too. The gene therapy that Moderna and Pfizer are doing, both of those would be suspended immediately if the state of emergency got lifted. People don’t understand that if you lift the state of emergency, the whole house of cards falls.

And remember that the man who got a Nobel Prize for inventing the PCR test, Kary Mullis, repeatedly stated it should never be used for the purpose we are now using it for. Mullis died in 2019, but if he were still alive, he would most likely have been very vocal, and not in a positive sense, about what is going on today.

A few days ago, I asked a question at the Automatic Earth comments section, and received some nice replies from two responders, Doc Robinson and Herr Werner. I thought I’d share some of those. My question:

Q: In most, if not all, states/countries where the vaccines are administered, this goes through some form of Emergency Use Authorization (because they haven’t been properly tested), which is mostly only possible if there is some sort of State of Emergency. If countries now want to open up again, it would appear that they -legally- have to lift their State of Emergency. But then they can no longer allow people to be vaccinated with the vaccines, can they?

 

 

Doc Robinson: Q: …If states/countries now want to open up again, it would appear that they -legally- have to lift their State of Emergency. But then they can no longer allow people to be vaccinated with the vaccines, can they?

In the US, a Determination of Public Health Emergency is used to justify the Emergency Use Authorization of some vaccines, but travel restrictions are not necessarily required during the Public Health Emergency.

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/02/07/2020-02496/determination-of-public-health-emergency
https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/03/27/2020-06541/emergency-use-authorization-declaration

If there is no Public Health Emergency, then there can be no Emergency Use Authorization, and the Covid vaccines could not be widely distributed until getting FDA approval after years of testing.

Even if there is a Public Health Emergency, the Covid vaccines could not obtain Emergency Use Authorization if an effective treatment is acknowledged to be available.

With a Public Health Emergency in place, the PREP act (Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act for Medical Countermeasures Against COVID-19) provides liability immunity to both public and private distribution channels for the vaccines, including those who prescribe, dispense, and administer the vaccines.

“Liability immunity” means that the “covered person is immune from suit and liability under Federal and State law with respect to all claims for loss caused by, arising out of, relating to, or resulting from the administration or use of a covered countermeasure [such as a vaccine].”

In addition, “to the extent that any State law that would otherwise prohibit the employees, contractors, or volunteers who are a “qualified person” from prescribing, dispensing, or administering COVID-19 vaccines or other Covered Countermeasures, such law is preempted.”

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/02/16/2021-03106/sixth-amendment-to-declaration-under-the-public-readiness-and-emergency-preparedness-act-for-medical

 

 

Ilargi: Ok, so no travel restrictions in the US. But how about other countries, what do their laws say? Anybody looking at that? Can the government here in Greece, for example, invite tourists back in while still in a Public Health Emergency? Tourists that could bring in the very virus the emergency is meant to fight?

Also, this is of course pivotal: “Even if there is a Public Health Emergency, the Covid vaccines could not obtain Emergency Use Authorization if an effective treatment is acknowledged to be available.”

Pivotal, because no government, at least in the west, has done any widespread application of vitamin D, ivermectin or HCQ programs. Are these substances “effective”? The reason we don’t know is that although there is plenty literature to suggest they might be, they were never tested. So are the current “vaccines” effective (and safe)? We don’t know that either. There’s a big sales job going on about them, but that’s it.

 

 

Doc Robinson: In the US, the emergency declaration can be renewed. An EUA is in effect for one year, or shorter if the emergency declaration is no longer in effect. The EUA can be revoked if the criteria are no longer met (such as, the requirement that “there is no adequate, approved, and available alternative to the product for diagnosing, preventing, or treating the disease or condition.”)

Criteria for EUA Authorization—The FDA will issue an EUA if the FDA commissioner finds all of the following:
• The CBRN agent specified in the declaration of emergency can cause a serious or life-threatening disease or condition.
• Based on the scientific evidence available, it is reasonable to believe that the product may be effective in diagnosing, treating, or preventing the disease or condition specified in the declaration of emergency or caused by another medical product to diagnose, treat, or prevent a disease or condition caused by the specified agent.
• The known and potential benefits outweigh the known and potential risks of the product when used to diagnose, prevent, or treat the serious or life-threatening disease or condition that is the subject of the declaration.
• There is no adequate, approved, and available alternative to the product for diagnosing, preventing, or treating the disease or condition.


The EUA is in effect for one year from the date of issuance or for as long as the HHS secretary’s §564 emergency declaration is in effect, whichever is shorter. The emergency declaration can be renewed. The EUA can be amended and may be revoked earlier if the criteria for issuance are no longer met or revocation is appropriate to protect public health or safety.

https://astho.org/Programs/Preparedness/Public-Health-Emergency-Law/Emergency-Use-Authorization-Toolkit/Section-564-of-the-Federal-Food,-Drug,-and-Cosmetic-Act-Fact-Sheet/

 

 

Ilargi: Some story, basically: “[If] There is no adequate, approved, and available alternative to the product for diagnosing, preventing, or treating the disease or condition.”

“Effective, adequate, approved, and available alternative..” How does one determine these terms? Especially if those alternatives are not tested?

But sure, as long as a government can waive the “Emergency” flag in your face, what are you going to do?

 

 

Doc Robinson: Yesterday, Pfizer and Moderna got their Covid vaccine EUA reissued by the FDA, and the duration of the EUA can last until the emergency declaration is “terminated.”

IV. Duration of Authorization
This EUA will be effective until the declaration that circumstances exist justifying the authorization of the emergency use of drugs and biological products during the COVID-19 pandemic is terminated under Section 564(b)(2) of the Act or the EUA is revoked under Section 564(g) of the Act.

https://www.fda.gov/media/144412/download
https://www.fda.gov/media/144636/download

 

 

Ilargi: A year, and then we add on another year, and before you know it we need to look up the definition of “emergency” in a dictionary.

Then this from commenter “Herr Werner”, which is a bit long, but interesting:

 

 

Herr Werner: I have had a very straightforward question to ask about the safety of covid vaccines, in particular the mRNA ones. The question has nagged me for months, and I spent time this week working on it. It was a difficult question to answer. I wrote this up with the idea of talking within my circle of ppl, I thought the TAE community might find it of interest. Kind of long, apologies –

As I write this, over 200MM people have received covid vaccine doses. While there is more than one vaccine out there, the two available in the West currently are the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. (The JnJ vaccine – based on a more conventional technology – will likely be available in early March, but going forward if you show up for the shot, you are not likely to know ahead of time which one you’ll get.) Both Pfizer and Moderna’s are based on mRNA, a topic of much study but little widespread deployment. In the US both are released on an Emergency Use Authorization or its equivalent in other nations, and full approval is not expected until early 2023. Nevertheless the media, the CDC, and political and medical “authorities” are unanimous and incessant in the message that it is “safe and effective.”

Dissenting views on safety are relegated to the fringes, and the existence of vaccines other than just the two mRNA ones (with different, more conventional modes of action) is never mentioned in the Western media. There are several promising aspects to mRNA technology, and still more unknowns about it, particularly long-term effects which most likely would manifest as autoimmune disorders. Being a new technology, early animal studies were often plagued with unexpected negative results as the methods and delivery agents were refined. So where are we in our knowledge and expertise as a species with mRNA, now that we are jabbing tens of millions of people with these vaccines?

The straightforward questions I have are, “How do we know how safe mRNA vaccines are? How well-studied are their long-term effects?”

Those two questions do not yield to an interwebs search. Even an in-depth search mostly returns mostly self-referential information, or secondhand info repackaged and parroted by an authority figure whose motives are unclear (or simply dubious.) Specifically for the covid mRNA vaccines, no long-term data exist, as even the earliest human trials began only in late 2020. At best, we can only infer from other studies done using mRNA technology. A strong case for safety of mRNA could be made if there is a large base of data – say 200 studies, ending over 5 or (better yet) 10 years ago, and a total of a few million people involved in the trials. Even with a large database, there are unknown unknowns once you move outside the confines of clinical study and enter the real world with its long (statistical) tails. Still, large studies with years of follow-up would suggest confidence in their safety.

On the other hand, if there turned out to be just a few studies, or they don’t cover much time history, or include only a small sample of people, that would not support a strong case for mRNA safety. If the latter is the case, then – being generous here – it would be “risky” at best to be giving millions of people a vaccine with this new technology. Severity matters too in the risk/reward calculation: if a disease like Ebola or Lhasa takes hold, they are so deadly and the situation so dire that greater risks are worth taking – including a vaccine with side-effects or other measures that cause harm.

My approach was to answer 3 questions that follow from the first ones –
1) HOW LONG have mRNA interventions been tested on humans?
2) HOW MANY people have been tested (thousands? millions, tens of millions?)
3) …and from 1 and 2, do THOSE numbers suggest that vaccinating large numbers of people with an unapproved mRNA product is safe?

For a starting point I used a Forbes article “What Are The Long-Term Safety Risks Of The Pfizer and Moderna Covid-19 Vaccines?” It was published in Dec 2020 and, unsurprisingly, concludes that they are safe. (In fact the article leads off with a strawman, perhaps an attempt at humor, the author’s husband asking if these vaccines are going to turn us into zombies.) The author is Ellen Matloff, in her bio a certified genetic counselor, and she also runs a company that “specializes in scalable, updating, digital genetic counseling.” She is coauthor of several papers in genetics, including subjects related to gene therapy and patient advocacy. It is safe to say she knows what she’s talking about on the topic. Like many authorizes it is equally safe to assume she has a vested interest – both financially and as a personal belief system – in promoting genetic technology.

Spoiler alert: If you want to skip the rest, here’s the answer: about 1,675. That’s the number of people enrolled in (completed) mRNA clinical trials (32 of them) that ended before 2017. Keep in mind the number that received the mRNA treatment-under-study is about half that; most of these are blinded studies and half of them got a placebo. Of those, only 8 studies were conducted on an mRNA treatment against an infectious agent (HIV, rabies) a more realistic comparison which brings the number down to 985 persons. So the size of the database (hundreds) relative to the number of people now receiving doses of the technology (tens of millions) is quite small.

Matloff first discusses the Pfizer vaccine trial and its ability to identify short-term effects “Pfizer vaccine clinical trial study explain[s] that their data show a greater than 83% likelihood of finding at least one adverse, or undesirable, event, if the true incidence of that event is 1 in 10,000. However, the study does not include enough participants, nor has it followed them for enough time, to reliably detect adverse events that are rarer than 1 in 10,000.” That refers to the clinical trials conducted and self-reported by the producer of the vaccine. Assuming their studies are honest and well-run, that covers short-term risks. And it seems to be borne out thus far in the frenzy of arm-jabbing between the end of 2020 and now. We seem to be “in the clear” on short-term effects – safety seems to be on par with any other vaccine, if not a bit better. Though it does suck to be one of those few hundred (?) worldwide that reacted severely and died after the first or second jab, or someone close to them.

On long term risks, the article suggests ‘safe and effective’ though both the article and scientific evidence become decidedly hazy. In Forbes she writes “Of course, the only way to know what, if any, long-term side effects result from the use of these mRNA vaccines is to follow the participants of the Pfizer and Moderna clinical trials, vaccinate and study many more people, and then follow all of them for several years. That effort is well underway.” By way of supporting the long-term knowledge, she mentions “mRNA vaccines are not as new as you may think. In fact, mRNA vaccines have been studied over the past two decades and have shown great promise for both infectious disease and cancer.” She links to several sources and particularly calls out an mRNA rabies vaccine trial to support her case. No adverse events are noted in the study. This trial involved 101 participants and ended in 2017. It is neither a large study (many participants to extrapolate the lessons out to millions of people) nor an old study (completed just four years ago.)

The rest of this analysis looks only at numbers; the number people enrolled in mRNA studies and when. This research was performed with data from the US gov’t clinical trials database. One unknown about mRNA or any vaccine is the length of time for long-term effects, if any, become evident. Pulling a number out of the air, let’s look at three years of follow up. That should be enough time for side effects, such as exposure to the infectious agent that the vaccine targets. Let’s round that up to four, that allows for lag of ending the study and publishing out results. This is Feb 2021 so I looked at studies ending before Jan 2017.

Searching on mRNA returns 103 studies. This includes all studies most of which (like the 20 Covid-related ones) are ongoing. All of those studies in total have 90,000 participants. Filtering out incomplete or terminated studies, and ones newer than that arbitrary point in time, gives 32 studies and 1,675 persons. As I mentioned above the number that received the mRNA treatment-under-study is about half that; most of these are blinded studies and half of them got a placebo. Of those, only 8 studies were conducted on an mRNA treatment against an infectious agent (HIV, rabies) a more realistic comparison which brings the number down to 985 persons. Quite a small population to draw conclusions of long-term safety from – that entails extrapolating to a population four orders of magnitude larger.

BTW my approach is admittedly coarse. And I want to emphasize, it does *not* suggest that mRNA technology is dangerous. The approach simply looks at how large the database is that supports how “safe and effective” mRNA vaccines are. Questions such as long-term follow-up, adverse events, and other factors from the individual studies are outside my area of expertise, and unlikely to be found in publicly available sources. We are vaccinating large numbers of people (tens of millions) based on an experience of small size (hundreds) and not much history (going back 1-5 years in most cases.) Again, it does not suggest that mRNA technology is dangerous – it suggests that we do not have enough data. I find insufficient evidence to support the assertion that mRNA technology is “safe and effective” – we SIMPLY DO NOT KNOW.

 

 

Ilargi: And then Doc Robinson’s reply to that:

 

 

Doc Robinson: HerrWerner: “She links to several sources and particularly calls out an mRNA rabies vaccine trial to support her case. No adverse events are noted in the study. This trial involved 101 participants and ended in 2017.”

If that’s what she wrote, then she’s not a trustworthy source of information (for whatever reasons). No adverse events?

Actually, 78% reported systemic adverse events in that trial. And 10% reported “Grade 3 events — which means the reaction is severe enough to cause hospitalization, and/or is disabling (but not immediately life threatening.)

Safety and immunogenicity of a mRNA rabies vaccine in healthy adults: an open-label, non-randomised, prospective, first-in-human phase 1 clinical trial The Lancet, September 2017
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0140673617316653

…we enrolled and vaccinated 101 participants... 50 (78%) of 64 intradermally vaccinated participants and 29 (78%) of 37 intramuscularly vaccinated participants reported solicited systemic adverse events, including ten grade 3 events… intradermal or intramuscular needle-syringe injection was ineffective, with only one participant (who received 320 μg intradermally) showing a detectable immune response.

 

 

1 year into the pandemic, we are still stuck with facemasks that, according to physics, appear to have very little effect. We’re stuck with lockdowns that already have destroyed millions of businesses and jobs, for not terribly obvious purposes. Does locking down entire countries or cities prevent a virus from spreading? Not that we know. Here in Athens, this has been in effect since early November, and guess what, numbers are rising again…

How can you force these kinds of things on people if you refuse to try and boost their immune systems? If the only things you do is force them to stay indoors, inarguably a riskier environment, and then tell them to take an untested “vaccine”, or else?

It makes less sense all the time, going forward. And I don’t think it’s because of some great evil plan, there are simply too many people having to make too many decisions they are not at all qualified to make. So they follow “the science”. What else do you do when you’re way out of your league? Virus? Ask a virologist, or epidemiologist. But those people cover only a very small part of the issue. They are clueless when it comes to economic apocalypse, and yet they are in charge of decisions that feed it.

Look, if you put an elephant in a circus, you have a traumatized animal. Which will somehow adapt perhaps, since there’s life around him/her, feeders, audience, and nowhere to go, but still a walking trauma. Inmates will bond with fellows to an extent, there’s life around them, but they’re still traumatized.

And now we’ve excluded millions upon millions of people from their social contacts, the life their ancestors always had, and we’re telling them that a jab of some experimental substance will make it good. Even though we all know there is no guarantee of that whatsoever. None.

We lost our way, and our heart, and your brains. We lost what it means to be human. And mRNA vaccines are not human.

 

 

Here’s another interview with PCR inventor Kary Mullis, A controversial guy, for sure, but he did invent it. And maybe that merits a listen:

Kary Mullis

 

 

 

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Dec 282020
 


Eugene Delacroix Greece expiring on the Ruins of Missolonghi 1826

 

 

A little personal thank you note from the Automatic Earth is in order. 2020 has been an annus horribilis across the world, but we have been blessed with lots of attention and comments, as well as great support from our readers throughout the year, both for the Automatic Earth itself and for the Monastiraki social kitchen in Athens. Problem is, I have so many people to say thank you to.

We started covering the coronavirus early on, in January, and never looked back. Many people got their first exposure to the virus through us (pun very much intended). What developed throughout 2020 was not just a solid reader-base, but also a maturing comments section, that taught me as much as it did readers.

Thank you for that. The comments from medical professionals and others became a strong part of the entire story. And it was by no means a one-sided thing; opinions were always all over the place, as they should be.

That’s the big problem in my view that we face these days: our media have become one-dimensional, the exact opposite of what they should be. This became clear through the Trump era, and the incessant hammering of one actor vs the deafening silence about all others in the same theater and on the same stage.

 

And we see that again today: try, if you can, to find in the MSM a critical opinion about lockdowns, or facemasks, or about the newly-fangled vaccines. It’s very hard if not impossible. This one-dimensionality hides behind “the science”. Which is something that doesn’t really exist, as we know because scientists in different countries contradict each other, as do those in the same country, and scientists even often contradict themselves.

If you want people to “follow the science”, you need to convince them that this is the right thing to do. You can’t just force them to do it. Or, rather, you can try that for a short period of time, and then they will come after you. People don’t live their lives in one dimension; they can’t.

Are facemasks useful? Sure, in crowded indoor spaces. But outdoors? I have yet to see the first evidence of that, and I do read an awful lot. Let’s inject some nuance here: if there is a risk of 1 in 100,000 that someone gets infected outdoors, it that worth forcing 99,999 people to put facemasks on? Or would you rather ask them to wear those where it demonstrably matters?

Are lockdowns useful? Sure, but they can only ever be emergency measures, short and “sweet”. Because they risk destroying entire economies and societies. Lockdowns should only be used when there are no other measures available anymore.

But we haven’t exhausted the scope of all other measures, not at all. There are no governments promoting the large scale use of vitamin D, or the proper use of hydroxychloroquine, and Chris Martenson even sees his videos about ivermectin banned from YouTube. As all three substances show great promise in preventing infections, and/or limiting the consequences of being infected.

We’ve been reduced to one-dimensional lives. By now, politicians and “scientists” would rather see everyone be infected, and then “cured” by a vaccine, then not get infected in the first place. In one dimension, the world easily gets turned upside down. You just wouldn’t be able to see it, because you need three dimensions to recognize what “upside down” looks like.

 

The Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines may work very well, but we don’t know, because we haven’t researched that. Which, if you want to “follow the science”, is a very strange thing to do. Of course we would all like the virus to be gone, but ignoring the science doesn’t look like the way to achieve that. And that’s what we’re doing: we’re not following the science, we’re ignoring it where that fits our purposes.

We don’t know if the Pfizer vaccine protects you from being infected, we don’t know if it keeps you from infecting others, but we do know governments and airlines are talking about requiring evidence that you’ve received a dose. But for what purpose, then, exactly? Just to let all the MPs and CEOs people claim they did what they could?

-Too- many people have lost their jobs and their businesses without any country seriously having tried to stop people from becoming infected through the use of vit. D, HCQ, ivermectin. Many of these jobs and businesses will never come back. Is this worth it? Maybe if we could say we tried everything we could, but we obviously haven’t.

We sold our souls to the “science” and then to the vaccine. Which are two very very different things.

If there’s ever been a time to ask questions, it must be now. About lockdowns, facemasks and viruses, about people, communities, societies, economies. That we are being pressured into not asking those questions, makes them even more necessary.

 

Anyway, those are all issues and questions that will need to be addressed in 2021, we’ve run out of 2020 time. It’s just that it wouldn’t have been necessary; we could easily have done much if not most of it this year. But we have become information-poor, and by design to boot. Which is the opposite of what the Automatic Earth wants to be and do. We want to present all the information, and that without paywalls or things like that.

There are too many of those already, and their main effect is to restrict information at a time when people arguably need more of it. Our model of increasingly relying on donations has worked out alright in 2020, and we hope the same will be true in the new year. Thank you again so kindly for making that possible.

 

A last word, again, about the Monastiraki kitchen: when you see things get harder for yourself, as so many have, it should be a natural reflex to wonder how they are for those less fortunate, because it’s a safe bet they will be hit even harder. It took me way too long to learn that. The team at the kitchen have that down: give, give, and never take. Enormous thanks to all of them.

That you allow me to support them is an honor, and a great responsibility which I take very seriously, both to those who donate and those who receive. Thank you, all of you.

One day when you’re old, and you ask yourself what has been the most important thing you did in your life, the answer will have to be what you did for other people. That is both the only possible outcome, and it’s also at the same time the very thing that is threatened most by the incessant lockdowns and facemask mandates. People need people.

Have a great 2021, stick with the Automatic Earth, and stick with each other.

 

 

 

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

 

 

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


Paul Cézanne The Card Players 1892-3

 

 

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

What The COVID Vaccine Hype Fails To Mention

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

New Study Highlights Alleged Accounting Error Regarding Covid Deaths

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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Nov 092020
 


Jean-Michel Basquiat Untitled 1982

 

COVID Risk Exaggerated, Talk Of A Second Wave Misleading – 500 Academics (DM)
Biden’s First Move As President-elect? Mask Mandate For All (Fox)
COVID Set Back Attitudes To Public Transport By Two Decades (G.)
The Bush/Cheney Administration Was Far Worse Than Trump (Greenwald)
Inside Trump’s Legal Warfare (Axios)
Kerry For Climate Chief, Buttigieg For Veterans, Yates For DOJ (ZH)
Donald Trump Jr: “Declassify Everything” (sundance)
Software That Gave Biden 1000s Of Michigan Votes Used In 28 Other States (JTN)
EHRC Report Into Labour Antisemitism Is The Real Political Interference (Cook)
NATO Says Biden Victory Will Help With ‘Assertive Russia’ (RT)

 

 

 

 

How old is the president?

 

 

“Listen to the science” becomes hollow and meaningless when scientists start contradicting each other. Because it shows there is no such thing as “the science”.

COVID Risk Exaggerated, Talk Of A Second Wave Misleading – 500 Academics (DM)

Official data is ‘exaggerating’ the risk of Covid-19 and talk of a second wave is ‘misleading’, nearly 500 academics told Boris Johnson in open letter attacking lockdown. The doctors and scientists said the Government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has become ‘disproportionate’ and that mass testing has distorted the risk of the virus. They said tests are likely to be producing high numbers of ‘false positive’ results and the Government must do more to put infection and death rates within the context of normal seasonal rates. The letter criticised the Government’s handling of coronavirus for ‘causing more harm than good’. It comes after the UK yesterday confirmed a further 24,957 positive Covid tests, up just 13.9 per cent on last week’s total.

Top scientists suggested the UK’s second wave of coronavirus has already peaked. Professor Tim Spector, who leads the Covid Symptom Study app aiming to track the spread of Covid-19 in the UK, confirmed that there were ‘positive signs’ the country has ‘passed the peak of the second wave’. The open letter to the Prime Minister was signed by 469 medics and is titled First Do No Harm – the medical principle that a cure must never be worse than the disease itself. It is signed by immunologist Dr Charlotte R Bell, paediatrician Dr Rosamond Jones, consultant surgeon and Keith Willison, Professor of Chemical Biology at Imperial College.

The letter reads: ‘The management of the crisis has become disproportionate and is now causing more harm than good. ‘We urge policy-makers to remember that this pandemic, like all pandemics, will eventually pass but the social and psychological damage that it is causing risks becoming permanent. ‘After the initial justifiable response to Covid-19, the evidence base now shows a different picture.

Read more …

Mask mandates in the US are an invitation for unrest.

Biden’s First Move As President-elect? Mask Mandate For All (Fox)

One of Joe Biden’s first priorities as president-elect will be implementing mask mandates nationwide by working with governors. The future 46th president, however, says if they refuse than he will go to mayors and county executives and get local masking requirements in place. Fox News medical contributor Dr. Marc Siegel believes that while masks are “the icing on the physical distancing cake” and should be worn properly both indoors and outdoors, especially when people are too close together, a more punitive approach to mask wearing may have the opposite impact of what the administration intends.

“I think masks are quite useful, but they have a place and they’re not the be all and end all,” Siegel said. “I’m worried that mandating this with fines and such may actually lead to more of a rebellion against it.” He noted that the use of masks should be determined based on how much of the risk of exposure to the coronavirus is in a specific area rather than mandating it everywhere. As for social distancing, Biden’s plan says it will be used as more of a “dial” approach that will determine the risk of spread using evidence-based guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a move Siegel says is a mistake.

“I don’t think social distancing is dial. I think masks are a dial,” Siegel said. “Social distancing is something we should just be doing right now. You never know how much virus was in the community.” He believes physical distancing is actually more important to curbing the spread than masks are. “I think physical distancing is more important than masks,” Siegel argued. “If you’re 10 feet away from someone, you’re not going to get the virus. If you’re one foot away with a mask, you might.”

Read more …

But not nearly as much as the destruction of public transport did.

COVID Set Back Attitudes To Public Transport By Two Decades (G.)

The pandemic has put back attitudes to driving versus public transport by two decades, with almost two-thirds of UK car owners now considering their vehicle essential, research has found. A clear majority would now refuse to switch to a greener alternative even if better trains or buses were available, according to the RAC. The research for its annual Report on Motoring found reluctance to use public transport was now at its highest for 18 years. Compared with 2019, significantly more young drivers, and those living in the capital – around 65% of each – regard their vehicle as essential.

Although 50% reported actually using their car less overall this year, with 33% of the 3,000 respondents currently working from home, more than half, some 57%, perceived access to a car as more important now than before the coronavirus pandemic. While 54% said safety was a consideration, an increasing number now deemed a car necessary to shop or visit friends. Meanwhile, only 43% agreed they would use their cars less if there was better public transport, a sharp fall from 57% in 2019, and the lowest figure since 2002. The findings will further concern transport campaigners, with optimism dwindling that lower traffic volumes and increased cycling and walking could be maintained as a positive side-effect after the pandemic.

Cycling trips fell significantly below pre-pandemic levels in October, and people largely continued to avoid public transport. Passenger numbers were around 30% of normal demand on rail, and 60% on buses, while car use had risen to around 90% of pre-pandemic levels, according to the latest government figures up to last Monday. Other sources showed road traffic leapt in the following days before new lockdown restrictions, with data from satnav providers showing some of the worst congestion in two years on Wednesday.

Read more …

Something I’ve mentioned numerous times:

“Numerous media outlets that in 2015 were sputtering if not collapsing, and numerous television personalities about to be fired because nobody was watching them, were first rescued and then propelled into the stratosphere by The Trump Show.”

The Bush/Cheney Administration Was Far Worse Than Trump (Greenwald)

That the liberal belief in and fear of a Trump-led fascist dictatorship and violent coup is actually a fantasy — a longing, a desire, a craving — has long been obvious. The Democrats’ own actions proved that they never believed their own melodramatic and self-glorifying rhetoric about Trump as The New Hitler — from their leaders joining with the GOP to increase The Fascist Dictator’s domestic spying powers and military spending to their (correct) belief that the way to oust The Neo-Nazi Tyrant was through a peaceful and lawfully conducted democratic election in which vote totals and, if necessary, duly constituted courts would determine the next president. The motives for concocting this Wagnerian fantasy about coups, dictatorship, concentration camps and civil war are numerous.

Politics is boring, and your life unspectacular, if it’s dedicated to a goal as banal and uninspiring as empowering a septuagenarian career-politician — the centrist-authoritarian author of the 1994 Crime Bill, the credit card industry’s most loyal servant, and key Iraq War advocate — along with his tough-on-crime prosecutor-running-mate who always seems as if she just left a meeting of the Aetna Board of Directors where massive hikes in deductibles were approved. Glory is available only if one can convincingly herald oneself as a front-line warrior risking it all to courageously battle unprecedented evil and a Nazi-like menace. But working to do nothing more than elect Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and the rest of the painfully ordinary and mediocre corporatist and imperialist Democratic Party politicians through a standard American election?

There’s no glory residing in that, no courage needed for it, to put it mildly. Posturing as a courageous soldier in an existential battle for freedom, democracy and the survival of the marginalized against Nazi despotism is far more exciting and psychologically satisfying (and financially profitable) than being an obedient liberal drone marching in perfect tune to the dreary, McKinsey-scripted musical theater produced by Tom Perez and the DNC. That is therefore the delusional storyline adopted by many. Then there’s the multi-pronged profit that the Trump-as-Hitler motif has generated for virtually every institution of American authority. Numerous media outlets that in 2015 were sputtering if not collapsing, and numerous television personalities about to be fired because nobody was watching them, were first rescued and then propelled into the stratosphere by The Trump Show.

“It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS,” said the network’s then-CEO Les Moonves in 2016 about Trump TV. Of course media outlets don’t want to declare the 2020 election over: they will milk the abundant Trumpian cash cow until the very last drop has been monetized. The frightening spectre of a Dictatorial Menace also led liberal advocacy groups such as the ACLU to drown in previously unimaginable quantities of #Resistance cash, frenetically donated in the name of stopping Trump’s incomparable evil. Rotted and discredited institutions like the CIA, NSA and FBI re-branded themselves as patriotic guardians of liberal democracy and stalwart protectors of a besieged population.

Read more …

First cases to be launched today in an increasingly uphill battle. Legal costs will be phenomenal.

Inside Trump’s Legal Warfare (Axios)

President Trump plans to brandish obituaries of people who supposedly voted but are dead — plus hold campaign-style rallies — in an effort to prolong his fight against apparent insurmountable election results, four Trump advisers told me during a conference call this afternoon. Obits for those who cast ballots are part of the “specific pieces of evidence” aimed at bolstering the Trump team’s so-far unsupported claims of widespread voter fraud and corruption that they say led to Joe Biden’s victory. Fueling the effort is the expected completion of vote counting this week, allowing Republicans to file for more recounts Team Trump is ready to announce specific recount teams in key states, and it plans to hold a series of Trump rallies focused on the litigation.

In Georgia: Doug Collins, the outgoing congressman who lost to Sen. Kelly Loeffler in a special election to fill former Sen. Johnny Isakson’s seat, will be leading the campaign’s recount efforts. The team has also redeployed 92 staffers from Florida to Georgia, doubling its group on the ground In Arizona: Kory Langhofer, former counsel for Trump’s 2016 transition, will serve as lead attorney. In Pennsylvania: Porter Wright’s Ron Hicks is heading up the legal effort. Nationwide: They’re assembling additional surrogates and lawyers. “We want to make sure we have an adequate supply of manpower on the ground for man-to-man combat,” one adviser said. The group is also staffing a campaign-style media operation.

The team led by Trump communications director Tim Murtaugh is now a surrogate messaging center. It will pump out “regular press briefings, releases on legal action and obviously things like talking points and booking people strategically on television,” one adviser said. They’ll also make a big play to raise money for their legal defense fund. Trump’s formal legal team includes 2020 campaign manager Bill Stepien, lawyer Justin Clark, and senior advisers Jason Miller and David Bossie. Reps. Jim Jordan and Scott Perry, as well as former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, are also advising.

Read more …

Meet the swamp creatures. For pete’s sake, John Kerry? Climate? Sally Yates? Wasn’t she supposed to be in jail?

Kerry For Climate Chief, Buttigieg For Veterans, Yates For DOJ (ZH)

While Trump is still far from conceding the election, whose outcome is called not by the media, but by the Electoral College on Dec 14… … Joe Biden is already busy forming his cabinet, where he need to draw a fine line between the hard-left progressive in the Democratic party (AOC has already been quite vocal in her criticism of how the Squad has been ignored) and centrist elements. Also, in addition to rolling out such new policies as fighting climate change and aggressively promoting women and minorities, Biden will focus on an economic team that will confront the surging unemployment and business slowdown touched off by the coronavirus pandemic. In total, as he builds out his economic team Biden will need to fill out the nearly two dozen cabinet-level positions in his administration.

Starting at the very top, Bloomberg reports that Biden will look for a Treasury secretary and other key officials “to negotiate with Congress on more stimulus, roll back some of President Donald Trump’s tax cuts and mend relations with U.S. trading partners.” Among the contenders that have emerged to fill the top economic-policy job are Fed Governor Lael Brainard for Treasury and economist Heather Boushey as director of the National Economic Council. Other crucial jobs include naming the secretaries of Defense, State and Homeland Security, together responsible for carrying out administration policy and overseeing a federal bureaucracy with more than 2 million civilian employees.

While Biden will be mindful of the possibility that a Republican-controlled Senate would almost certainly scuttle nominees for top posts who belong to the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, liberal groups will be policing Biden’s choices closely, fearful that he won’t reach into their ranks for top positions but will instead choose “moderate” Democrats in his own mold. Biden may try to tamp down that sentiment by putting a liberals in jobs that don’t require Senate confirmation. Most importantly, this means that “the swamp” which Trump vowed to fight – and lost – is back, because in forming his cabinet, Biden will rely on an inner circle of longtime veterans from the Obama administration as well as Wall Streeters. Finally, while Biden could make history by naming the first women to lead the Defense and Treasury departments, his key White House advisers are likely to be White men.

Read more …

Too late: “I don’t think post-election this will work, because the executive branch cabinet officers will refuse to support it. The enemies inside the gate will protect DC.”

Donald Trump Jr: “Declassify Everything” (sundance)

Amid all of the election ramifications and discussions, Donald Trump Jr. outlined a thought today that has likely been on the mind of many, myself included. I have spent a great deal of time thinking about this since the media began their insufferable onslaught and “president-elect Biden” narrative. The time has long past for President Trump to fully demand his executive cabinet members declassify the evidence outlining intrusive government surveillance upon not only himself, but all Americans. CTH has a rather unique perspective on the declassification angle. This conversation has traveled with me for over two years as I have talked to people inside the machinery.

Ultimately the discussion ends around something like this: Is the DC political surveillance state, and all of the ramifications within that reality, so fundamentally corrupt and against our nation’s interests, that no entity dare expose the scope and depth of it? And ultimately… is it the preservation of institutions that is causing so many disconnected outcomes from evidence intentionally downplayed? If we assume the scale of unconstitutional conduct has become systemic, that likely answers the questions. Personally, I believe this is the most likely scenario. “Likely” meaning the entire apparatus, DOJ, FBI, Legislative Oversight and the Intelligence Community (IC), is now so enmeshed within this corrupt out-of-control state that no-one, even the good guys, is willing to expose it because the institutional collapse would be devastating.


This is what I would call the Biggest of the Big Ugly. This catastrophic outcome, in combination with DC having made the system the primary source of their income, is what unites the Republicans and Democrats to stop anyone from exposing it. Once any elected official goes inside this system, they end up serving it. All of that said, I have previously outlined a pre-election process for President Trump to declassify information that would lay the system naked to We The People. However, I don’t think post-election this will work, because the executive branch cabinet officers will refuse to support it. The enemies inside the gate will protect DC.

Read more …

Nancy Pelosi’s Chief of Staff Is Chief Executive and Feinstein’s Husband a Major Shareholder at Dominion Ballot Counting Systems

Software That Gave Biden 1000s Of Michigan Votes Used In 28 Other States (JTN)

Election software that incorrectly awarded thousands of votes to Joe Biden in Michigan is used in a majority of U.S. states, including statewide in Georgia where it has reportedly been implicated in several voting-related “glitches” there. The Michigan Secretary of State confirmed on Friday that a software error in Antrim County, Michigan, in which Joe Biden was incorrectly awarded thousands of votes that led him to be declared the county winner, was caused by an error in which the county clerk “did not update the software used to collect voting machine data and report unofficial results.” The software is administered by the company Dominion Voting Systems. Following the correction of the error, the county flipped back to Trump, who walked away with 2,500 more votes than Biden.

Beyond Michigan, Dominion Voting System is also used in a majority of U.S. states, with the company boasting on its website of having “customers in 28 states,” including “9 of the top 20 counties” and “4 of the top 10 counties” throughout the county. The system was used for a presidential election in Georgia for the first time this year, after the state announced in July of 2019 that Dominion would be given a statewide contract to provide systems and software to the state’s 159 counties. Multiple election-related “glitches” have been reported in the state since Tuesday. In one instance, voting in two Georgia counties ground to a halt for several hours after an unknown update was applied to voting machines there.

In another county, a “software glitch” caused a delay in counting thousands of absentee ballots. Dominion reportedly received a $107 million contract last year to install 30,000 voting machines throughout the state. Georgia was moving away from its earlier election equipment provider, Election Systems & Software, after complaints following the 2018 midterm elections. Joe Biden currently leads in Georgia by about 7,000 votes.

Standard deviations

Read more …

The report says no antisemitism, so it’s used to suggest … antisemitism. Works exactly the way Russiagate does.

EHRC Report Into Labour Antisemitism Is The Real Political Interference (Cook)

I recently published in Middle East Eye a detailed analysis of last week’s report by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission into the question of whether the UK Labour party had an especial antisemitism problem. (You can read a slightly fuller version of that article on my website.) In the piece, I reached two main conclusions. First, the commission’s headline verdict – though you would never know it from reading the media’s coverage – was that no case was found that Labour suffered from “institutional antisemitism”. That, however, was precisely the claim that had been made by groups like the Jewish Labour Movement, the Campaign Against Antisemitism, the Board of Deputies and prominent rabbis such as Ephraim Mirvis.

Their claims were amplified by Jewish media outlets such as the Jewish Chronicle and individual journalists such as Jonathan Freedland of the Guardian. All are now shown to have been wrong, to have maligned the Labour party and to have irresponsibly inflamed the concerns of Britain’s wider Jewish community. Not that any of these organisations or individuals will have to apologise. The corporate media – from the Mail to the Guardian – are continuing to mislead and misdirect on this issue, as they have been doing for the best part of five years. Neither Jewish leadership groups such as the Board of Deputies nor the corporate media have an interest in highlighting the embarrassing fact that the commission’s findings exposed their campaign against Corbyn as misinformation.

What the report found instead were mainly breaches of party protocol and procedure: that complaints about antisemitism were not handled promptly and transparently. But even here the issue was not really about antisemitism, as the report indicates, even if obliquely. Delays in resolving complaints were chiefly the responsibility not of Corbyn and his staff but of a party bureaucracy that he inherited and was deeply and explicitly hostile to him. Senior officials stalled antisemitism complaints not because they were especially antisemitic but because they knew the delays would embarrass Corbyn and weaken him inside the party, as the leaked report of an Labour internal inquiry revealed in the spring.

Read more …

The swamp hasn’t had a new war in ages.

NATO Says Biden Victory Will Help With ‘Assertive Russia’ (RT)

After Joe Biden declared victory in the US presidential election on Saturday, there are fears that tensions between Russia and the West could escalate under his leadership. Congratulating the Democratic candidate on his projected win, which incumbent President Donald Trump continues to allege is the result of electoral fraud, the secretary general of NATO singled out Moscow as a priority for the incoming American leader. In a statement on the US-led military bloc’s website, Jens Stoltenberg wrote, “I warmly welcome the election of Joe Biden as the next president of the United States. I know Mr. Biden as a strong supporter of NATO and the transatlantic relationship.”

He continued: “We need this collective strength to deal with the many challenges we face, including a more assertive Russia, international terrorism, cyber and missile threats, and a shift in the global balance of power with the rise of China.” Russia’s Foreign Ministry has argued that NATO is increasingly succumbing to anti-Russian rhetoric. Spokesperson Maria Zakharova told reporters last month in a discussion about tensions with Sweden that the bloc was the source of “invented anti-Russian phobias” and “fanning tensions and the escalation of military activities in Northern Europe, one of the most stable regions in the world until recently.”

The past record of Biden, a stalwart of the US Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee, has concerned many Moscow lawmakers. The presumptive winner is unlikely to oversee an easing of tensions between the two countries, cautioned Leonid Slutsky, who heads the State Duma Committee on Foreign Affairs, which is the Russian equivalent to the body which Biden chaired, adding that he didn’t “expect essential changes for the better.” “Biden, together with President [Barack] Obama, launched the flywheel of new deterrents against Russia, with a series of sanctions at various levels,” Slutsky said.He also pointed to comments that Biden made in the past in which the Democratic candidate positioned Russia as America’s “main enemy” in his pre-election rhetoric.

Read more …

 

 

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Nothing much trickling down from the untold billions the banks have gotten.

 

 

“The secret to happiness, of course, is not getting what you want. It’s wanting what you get.”

– Alex Trebek, (1940 – 2020).

 

 

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Oct 252020
 


Henri Matisse Sorrow of the King 1952

 

Politics Can Never Really ‘Follow The Science’ (G.)
Costco Sells Coronavirus Saliva Test Kits Online — Here’s What They Cost (Fox)
Long-Standing Claims Of Biden Corruption All But Confirmed (Schweizer/Bruner)
Chinese Hunter Biden Leaker: Over 10,000 Pictures Coming, More Videos (GP)
CNN’s Van Jones: Trump ‘Has Done Good Stuff For The Black Community’ (JTN)
Make America Jeffersonian Again (Escobar)
After 224 Years, Virginia To Let Judges Decide Sentences (DM)
Global Wealth Shrugs Off Pandemic To Hit $400 Trillion For First Time Ever (F.)
Capitalism Double-Bills: We Pay For Our Future To Be Stolen From Us (Cook)
France Recalls Turkey Envoy After Erdogan Says Macron Needs Mental Check (BBC)
BBC White Helmets ‘Documentary’ Targets Syria War Narratives Challengers (RT)
Amy Coney Barrett Adopts Local Troubled Youngster Named Hunter (BBee)

 

 

“Now he speaks for almost no one. He is making his own decisions, which is what we pay him to do.”

“In the end, political decision-making has to rest on personal judgment – there is no scientific manual to tell leaders what to do.”

Politics Can Never Really ‘Follow The Science’ (G.)

What happened to following the science? In the spring, when Boris Johnson and his scientific advisers were proceeding in lockstep, there was no disagreement about the necessity of shutting the country down. Now the government is coming to its own conclusions about what is needed, and the scientists on the Sage advisory group have started distancing themselves from No 10’s decisions. Critics complain that the politicians are chancing it rather than being led by the evidence. But as the German sociologist Max Weber argued a century ago, politics can never really follow the science. Pretending that it can is where the trouble starts. Weber believed that politics and science do not mix. In the end, political decision-making has to rest on personal judgment – there is no scientific manual to tell leaders what to do.

More to the point, scientists are not well suited to making those decisions. They want the facts to speak for themselves. That is wishful thinking: facts alone cannot tell us what to do. In politics, expecting the evidence to point the way does not reduce the arbitrariness of the outcome. All political choices are arbitrary to a degree. Using statistics to justify difficult decisions just makes them appear more arbitrary for anyone who happens to disagree. The widespread consensus in March that a national lockdown was needed – shared not just by national politicians and their expert advisers, but by the public too – was not primarily driven by the science. It came from a joint conviction that things were getting out of control. Something had to be done. Most people began social distancing well before the government mandated it, and many stopped before the government told them it was safe.

In the spring, Johnson could plausibly claim to speak for the country as a whole when he took drastic action. Now he speaks for almost no one. He is making his own decisions, which is what we pay him to do. His problem is that he can’t admit it. He has to pretend that nakedly political judgments – about who gets what, and who pays the price – are being calibrated to a more nuanced understanding of the evidence. He is weighing up a virus whose health impacts are concentrated locally against economic consequences where the effects are national. Manchester v London is not a problem that can be solved by an algorithm or better stats.

Read more …

What happens when politics does follow science. The last thing you want is for the cost to keep people from being tested.

Costco Sells Coronavirus Saliva Test Kits Online — Here’s What They Cost (Fox)

A saliva PCR test kit alone costs $129.99, but the kit with a video observation costs $139.99 It turns out, you really can get everything at Costco. The wholesale retailer is now selling at-home coronavirus test kits on its website. The saliva PCR tests are administered by telemedicine platform AZOVA and cost $129.99 for just the test kit or $139.99 for the test kit with a “video observation,” according to the product descriptions. People who buy the $129.99 test kit are expected to get their results within 24-72 hours after the lab receives their kit. Those who buy the more expensive test can expect their results within 24-48 hours from when the kit gets to the lab.


A PCR test, according to the AZOVA website, is “a type of ‘molecular diagnostic test’” that is “much more sensitive than most antigen tests.” On the Costco website, the PCR tests are described as “the gold standard testing method with the most accurate sensitivity and specificity currently on the market.” And unlike many other coronavirus tests, the AZOVA saliva test doesn’t involve “a painful nasal swab,” the product description says. According to the product pages, the tests are FSA eligible and have been authorized by the FDA under the Emergency Use Act. The tests are “highly accurate, with a sensitivity of 98% (meaning 98% of positive tests are correct) and a specificity of 99% (meaning 99% of negative tests are correct),” the description says.

Read more …

What we know so far.

Long-Standing Claims Of Biden Corruption All But Confirmed (Schweizer/Bruner)

In response to [our 2018 book]“Secret Empires,” one of Joe Biden’s aides said “we aren’t going to engage on a politically motivated hit pieces …” Team Biden did not bother to respond to specific allegations that the Biden family vacuumed up millions, in the exact locales where Biden was Obama’s policy “point man.” When the issue reemerged during the campaign, Team Biden continued to call it a “conspiracy theory” but this time, Joe Biden firmly put himself on record. “I have never discussed with my son or my brother or anyone else anything having to do with their businesses — period,” he told reporters in August 2019. “I never talk with my son or my brother or anyone else in the distant family about their business interests, period.” He repeated similar blanket denials on numerous occasions. These denials all proved to be untruthful. Period.

We now know that Joe Biden met directly with his son’s Chinese business partner, Jonathan Li, in a Chinese hotel lobby on a fateful trip in 2013 (a trip that allowed Hunter to spend hours with his father, the vice president, on a transoceanic flight to Beijing aboard Air Force Two). Ten days later, Hunter landed an unprecedented $1 billion private equity deal, bankrolled by the Chinese government. But this was not the only meeting Joe Biden had with Biden family business partners. As the New York Post reported, e-mails on Hunter Biden’s hard drive reveal that on April 16, 2015, Joe Biden met with a high-level official of a controversial Ukrainian energy company, Burisma, which had put Hunter on its board. And a recently unearthed photo shows that Vice President Biden met with Hunter’s Kazakh business associate in Washington D.C.

After first dismissing the gathering scandal as a “conspiracy theory,” the Biden team shifted to the position that Joe had never talked with his family about their business dealings, then shifted again to the position that he’d never met with his family’s business partners. Now, with the latest document revelations, Joe Biden unveiled his latest defense in the recent debate: “I have not taken a single penny from any country whatsoever, ever.” Team Biden points to Joe and Jill Biden’s tax returns as evidence that Joe did nothing improper. It is worth noting that the family members upon whom foreign entities showered money are not required to disclose their finances.

We now know the Biden paydays were anything but conspiracy theories. Hunter was getting roughly $1 million per year from Burisma. Treasury Department alerts reveal that Russian oligarch Elena Baturina wired $3.5 million to Biden’s interests. New text messages reveal that China Energy Company Ltd (CEFC) apparently paid $5 million to the Biden family. Another e-mail indicates Hunter demanded a $10 million per year “fee” from one of his Chinese business partners. There is no more doubt.

Read more …

Where did this guy come from? Where did he get the material?

Chinese Hunter Biden Leaker: Over 10,000 Pictures Coming, More Videos (GP)

The Chinese billionaire behind the website where explicit photographs and videos of Hunter Biden were leaked on Saturday night has warned that “there will be more than 10,000 pictures” and “more and more videos.” Lude (Wang DingGang), founder of Lude Media and part of the Whistle-Blower Movement that is aimed at exposing the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), was banned on Twitter soon after the leaks started. Undeterred, Lude began posting about the leaks on Parler, a freer speech alternative to Twitter, where he quickly gained thousands of followers. “There will more and more than 10000 pictures coming,” Lude wrote on the social network. “There will be more and more videos coming!” The explicit leaks are riddled with drugs and what appear to be prostitutes. They have called into question whether or not a Biden presidency would be a national security threat with the amount of blackmail material on his son.

Read more …

You heretic!

CNN’s Van Jones: Trump ‘Has Done Good Stuff For The Black Community’ (JTN)

CNN commentator Van Jones on Friday gave unexpected praise of President Trump during a roundtable, arguing that the president should be recognized more for what Jones said are the beneficial things his administration has done for black Americans. “… I get beat up by liberals every time I say it but I keep saying it, he has done good stuff for the Black community,” Jones, who is black himself, said during the panel discussion. “Opportunity Zone stuff, black college stuff, I worked with him on criminal stuff, I saw Donald Trump have African-American people, [formerly] incarcerated, in the White House, embraced them, treated them well.”


“There is a side to Donald Trump that I think he does not get enough credit for,” added Jones, who once served as an adviser for Barack Obama. The commentator during his remarks did express disappointment at Trump’s recent comparison of himself to Abraham Lincoln. He also said that Trump’s alleged “playing footsie on Twitter with … white nationalists organizations” turns off many black voters to Trump’s overall message. “[T]hat’s the tragedy of these mixed messages from the Trump White House,” he argued.

Read more …

“Self-evident truths” were back with a bang. One can’t make this stuff up.”

Make America Jeffersonian Again (Escobar)

The whole planet has every reason to be terminally puzzled at how all those lofty Enlightenment ideals Thomas Jefferson embedded in the 1776 Declaration of Independence ended up with… Trump vs. Biden. Jefferson borrowed freely from Locke, Rousseau, Hume to come up with an eminently quotable Greatest Hits, featuring “self-evident” truths such as “all men are created equal”, “unalienable rights”, and that searing “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Well, Baudrillard would have dubbed the exercise a mere simulacrum, because in real life none of this uplifting rhetoric applied to Native Americans and enslaved Africans. Still, there’s something endlessly fascinating about these “self-evident truths”.


They actually radiated like Spinoza axioms, spawning abstract truths that can be extrapolated at will. Jefferson’s “self-evident truths” ended up creating the whole, massive structure of what we define as “Western liberal democracy”. So it’s no wonder that America – perennially self-described as “leader of the free world” – consider these “self-evident truths” as the basis of an ideal society. And it’s this messianic river of fervent truth flowing out of a Himalaya of Morality that leads Americans to dismiss as “malign actors” every nation or society that is judged to be “deviating” from such obvious evidence. Cut to a mini-remix of the last Trump-Biden presidential debate. In foreign policy terms, it went something like this.

The moderator is desperate to move on as she’s very much aware of time constraints and looming, incandescent clashes: “Now I want to move on to Defense. It’s established Russia and China are interfering in our election process…” Here’s classic “self-evident truth” material, delivered according to strict Council on Foreign Relations guidelines. Cut to Biden: any country that interferes with the American elections “will pay a price”. Russia’s “been involved, China has been involved to some degree, and Iran’s been involved.” They are interfering with “American sovereignty”. Rudy Giuliani was used “as a Russian pawn”. Trump is “unwilling” to confront Putin. Russia has “destabilized NATO” and is “paying bounties to kill Americans in Afghanistan.” And China “has to play by the rules” – or else.

Cut to Trump: “You mean the laptop from hell is another Russia, Russia, Russia hoax?” For the record: Joe Biden did blame the contents of son Hunter’s laptop from hell on Russia. And discussing North Korea, when Trump said he got along fine with Kim Jong-Un, Biden stated, “We had a good relationship with Hitler before he invaded Europe.” Incidentally, Germany is and remains in Europe. And it’s quite something to see Biden acknowledging in public proven US industrial and political support to Nazism. So, inevitably, the laptop from hell had to show up. The FBI had Hunter Biden’s laptop since December 2019 – as it had issued a subpoena for it in the first place. And yet the FBI sat on the laptop for 11 months doing nothing.

That must have given plenty of time for those pesky Russians to steal the laptop and plant incriminating evidence. Well, not really. The FBI was busy mulling how to conduct an investigation on “money laundering”. And not on child porn – which, according to Giuliani, is the piece de resistance in the laptop. No one knows if these alleged “investigations” are ongoing. Now, the FBI and the Department of Justice have finally “concurred”: Hunter Biden’s laptop and emails were not part of a Russian disinformation campaign – directly contradicting what Joe Biden said in the debate. But then, right before the debate, a bombshell presser – including the FBI and Homeland Security – had announced those pesky Russians and Iranians were in fact “trying to influence opinion” on the US elections. “Self-evident truths” were back with a bang. One can’t make this stuff up.

Read more …

‘Jurors have no idea what a normal sentence is..’

After 224 Years, Virginia To Let Judges Decide Sentences (DM)

Virginia juries have been allowed to decide punishments for criminals for more than 200 years, but a new state bill could put that sentencing power in the hands of judges. Defense attorneys call it ‘the jury penalty’ – a centuries-old sentencing system in Virginia that calls for juries to decide punishment for criminal defendants, which often leads to stiffer sentences than what judges give or prosecutors offer in plea deals. This sentencing structure has been in place for 224 years, but under a bill recently approved by the state legislature, Virginia is expected to turn sentencing over to judges, joining the vast majority of states around the country. Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam, a strong supporter of criminal justice reform, is expected to sign the bill into law.

The proposal sparked fierce debate during a special legislative session focused on criminal justice and police reform. Supporters of the change said giving judges the sentencing responsibility will result in fairer sentences, but prosecutors predicted it will result in more jury trials and therefore require additional judges, court clerks and public defenders. The bill’s sponsor, Democratic Sen. Joe Morrissey from Richmond, said that under the current system, many people charged with crimes in Virginia are so fearful of getting a severe sentence from a jury that they often accept a plea deal from prosecutors that includes a longer sentence than they would typically get from a judge. Unlike judges, juries in Virginia are not given state sentencing guidelines that would tell them what a typical sentence would be for a particular crime, and they tend to hand out stiffer sentences.

In fiscal year 2019, sentences handed down by juries went above sentencing guidelines 37 per cent of the time, and in 2018, juries exceeded sentencing guidelines nearly 50 per cent of the time, according to annual reports by the Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission. ‘Jurors have no idea what a normal sentence is,’ Morrissey said. ‘That’s why it is important to have a judge sentencing who has the guidelines and can put it into context.’

Read more …

Unparalelled wealth transfer.

Global Wealth Shrugs Off Pandemic To Hit $400 Trillion For First Time Ever (F.)

Despite the pandemic plunging economies worldwide into their deepest slumps on record and tens of millions being made unemployed, global wealth has risen to its highest level ever. Since the start of the year, total household wealth has grown by $1 trillion, or 0.25%, to top $400 trillion for the first time, according to Credit Suisse’s annual global wealth report. Most of this increase has been due to the rapid rebound of stock markets from their March lows. This was driven by governments pumping billions into their economies to stave off collapse as the pandemic gathered pace. On the face of it, the average global household’s wealth is little changed in 2020, despite the economic turmoil. But drilling deeper into the numbers reveals huge disparities, with the headline figures masking a vast gulf between the economic winners and losers this year.


Average household wealth rose by 0.25% between the start of the year and the end of June. However, average wealth per adult actually fell slightly, by 0.4% to $76,984 because the number of adults rose quicker during the six months. Anthony Shorrocks, Credit Suisse’s economist and the report author, said: “Given the damage inflicted by Covid-19 on the global economy, it seems remarkable that household wealth has emerged relatively unscathed.”The volatility this year has been a marked contrast to the upward trajectory of wealth growth seen in 2019. Last year, total global wealth rose by $36.3 trillion, or 8.5%, a record pace as global stock markets surged. In the first three months of this year, $17.5 trillion was wiped off household wealth worldwide as the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic sparked a savage equity crash. The subsequent recovery meant that total household wealth is slightly up on the year.

Read more …

“..externalities – and capitalism – are inherently violent…”

Capitalism Double-Bills: We Pay For Our Future To Be Stolen From Us (Cook)

Here is a word that risks deterring you from reading on much further, even though it may hold the key to understanding why we are in such a terrible political, economic and social mess. That word is “externalities”. It sounds like a piece of economic jargon. It is a piece of economic jargon. But it is also the foundation stone on which the west’s current economic and ideological system has been built. Focusing on how externalities work and how they have come to dominate every sphere of our lives is to understand how we are destroying our planet – and offer at the same time the waypost to a better future. In economics, “externalities” are usually defined indifferently as the effects of a commercial or industrial process on a third party that are not costed into that process.

Here is what should be a familiar example. For decades, cigarette manufacturers made enormous profits by concealing scientific evidence that over time their product could prove lethal to customers. The firms profited by externalising the costs associated with cigarettes – of death and disease – on to those buying their cigarettes and wider society. People gave Philip Morris and British American Tobacco their money as these companies made those smoking Marlboros and Lucky Strikes progressively unhealthier. The externalised cost was paid – is still paid – by the customers themselves, by grieving families, by local and national health services, and by the taxpayer. Had the firms been required to pick up these various tabs, it would have proved entirely unprofitable to manufacture cigarettes.

Externalities are not incidental to the way capitalist economies run. They are integral to them. After all, it is a legal obligation on private companies to maximise profits for their shareholders – in addition, of course, to the personal incentive bosses have to enrich themselves, and each company’s need to avoid making themselves vulnerable to more profitable and predatory competitors in the marketplace. Companies are therefore motivated to offload as many costs as possible on to others. As we shall see, externalities mean someone other than the company itself pays the true cost behind its profits, either because those others are too weak or ignorant to fight back or because the bill comes due further down the line. And for that reason, externalities – and capitalism – are inherently violent.

Read more …

The lira plunged again this week. Everytime that happens, Erdogan plays more to his hardcore supporters to blame outsiders.

France Recalls Turkey Envoy After Erdogan Says Macron Needs Mental Check (BBC)

France has recalled its ambassador to Turkey for consultations after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan insulted his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron. He said Mr Macron needed a mental health check for pledging to defend secular values and fight radical Islam. Mr Macron has spoken out forcefully on these issues after a French teacher was murdered for showing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in class. France “will not give up our cartoons”, he said earlier this week. Depictions of the Prophet Muhammad can cause serious offence to Muslims because Islamic tradition explicitly forbids images of Muhammad and Allah (God). But state secularism – or laïcité – is central to France’s national identity.


Curbing freedom of expression to protect the feelings of one particular community, the state says, undermines the country’s unity. Responding to Mr Macron’s campaign to defend such values – which began before the teacher was murdered – Mr Erdogan asked in a speech: “What’s the problem of the individual called Macron with Islam and with the Muslims?” He added: “Macron needs treatment on a mental level. “What else can be said to a head of state who does not understand freedom of belief and who behaves in this way to millions of people living in his country who are members of a different faith?” In the wake of the remarks, a French presidential official told AFP news agency that France’s ambassador to Turkey was being recalled for consultations, and would be meeting Mr Macron.

Read more …

The UK gov’t needs this, to maintain the Skripal and Navalny narratives.

BBC White Helmets ‘Documentary’ Targets Syria War Narratives Challengers (RT)

The BBC is preparing an attack against journalists, former diplomats, academics and scientists who challenge the dominant pro-war narratives against Syria underpinned by the pseudo-humanitarian White Helmets. The British public broadcaster has sent out requests for comments to those who have dared to expose the role the UK government and its intelligence agencies have played in the destabilization of Syria, which look more like neo-McCarthyist charge sheets. The producer of an upcoming Radio 4 documentary series had been in email and telephone conversation with the author of this article, as well as Peter Ford, former UK ambassador to Syria, and members of the Working Group on Syria, Media and Propaganda (WGSMP) since June 2020. The result of those conversations, during which the evidence emanating from serious scientific research and on-the-ground testimony was presented to the producer, was a familiar list of accusations of “conspiracy theorism” and suggestions of “incentivized” Russian or Syrian bias.

Fellow independent journalist Eva Bartlett has spent long periods of time inside Syria, reporting from many of the most high-risk areas during the Syrian Arab Army allied campaigns to liberate swathes of Syrian territory from the US coalition-proxy occupation. She had this to say about the email she received a few days ago: “The questions emailed to me by the BBC evidence a predetermined intent to character assassination. This approach shows an utter lack of journalistic integrity on the part of the BBC. The BBC’s hostile insinuations against me arrogantly infer that neither I nor the Syrians I interview think for ourselves, but are puppets of the Syrian and Russian governments. My journalism dates back to 2007 and is quite extensive, with 13 years of on the ground experience, from Palestine and Syria, to Venezuela and eastern Ukraine, and elsewhere.

[..] The former UK ambassador to Syria, Peter Ford, also received the BBC bill of indictment and he issued this statement in response: “The BBC have systematically tried to suppress views on Syria which run counter to the standard one-sided narrative. This programme’s efforts to smear dissenters takes BBC conduct to a new low. By alleging conspiracy theorising where there is only evidence-based reporting and analysis, the BBC is showing its frustration at being unable to stifle truth-telling. The only conspiracy here is whatever coordination has taken place between the BBC and British authorities responsible for failing to achieve regime change in Syria despite throwing many millions of taxpayer money at the effort. Why is the BBC not drawing attention to the biggest failure of British foreign policy since Suez, as judged by its self-proclaimed objective of removing Assad, rather than busying itself with trying to take down unsupported individual dissenters who have ranged against them the vast wealth and resources of the establishment?

Read more …

“He has also renounced his old ways and paid back a Ukrainian gas company fourfold.”

Amy Coney Barrett Adopts Local Troubled Youngster Named Hunter (BBee)

According to sources, Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett has adopted her 8th child, a troubled local youngster named Hunter. In a touching story of love triumphing over all odds, the Barrett family fought for custody of Hunter and welcomed him into their family for the first time this week. “This family has love to spare,” said Judge Barrett. “We just knew we had another child out there somewhere. We were told by the agency that young Hunter had his fair share of issues, but we knew we would be up to the challenge.” According to friends of the family, Hunter is slowly adjusting to his new home and family. He has kicked an old drug habit and is now attending church with the rest of the family.

He has also renounced his old ways and paid back a Ukrainian gas company fourfold. “We love having Hunter with us!” said the leader of the small church group Hunter attends every week. “Whenever we share testimonies, he puts our testimonies to shame with stories of drugs, corruption, and horrific scandal, unlike anything we’ve heard. Awesome!” Judge Barrett is still struggling to teach Hunter the value of hard work. He is being paid a few dollars to do chores around the house when he’s used to being paid $50,000 per month for nothing. “We’re still working on it,” she said.

Read more …

 

 

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Mar 262018
 


Dorothea Lange Gravestone St. George, Utah 1953

 

There are numerous ways to define the Precautionary Principle. It’s something we can all intuitively understand, but which many parties seek ways to confuse since it has the potential to stand in the way of profits. Still, in the end it should all be about proof, not profits. That is exactly what the Principle addresses. Because if you first need to deliver scientific proof that some action or product can be harmful to mankind and/or the natural world, you run the risk of inflicting irreversible damage before that proof can be delivered.

In one of many definitions, the 1998 Wingspread Statement on the Precautionary Principle says: “When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically.”

Needless to say, that doesn’t easily fly in our age of science and money. Cigarette makers, car manufacturers and oil companies, just to name a few among a huge number of industries, are all literally making a killing while the Precautionary Principle is being ignored. Even as it is being cited in many international treaties. Lip service “R” us. Are these industries to blame when they sell us our products, or are we for buying them? That’s where governments must come in to educate us about risks. Which they obviously do not.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb -of Black Swan and Antifragile fame- has made the case, in his usual strong fashion, for applying the Precautionary Principle when it comes to GMOs. His argument is that allowing genetically modified organisms in our eco- and foodsystems carries unknown risks that we have no way of overseeing, and that these risks may cause irreversible damage to the very systems mankind relies on for survival.

Taleb is not popular among GMO producers. Who all insist there is no evidence that their products cause harm. But that is not the point. The Precautionary Principle, if it is to be applied, must turn the burden of proof on its head. The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Monsanto et al must prove that their products do no harm. They can not. Which is why they have, and need, huge lobbying, PR and legal departments.

 

But I didn’t want to talk about GMOs today, and not about Precautionary Principle alone. I wanted to talk about this: Paragraph 2 of article 191 of the European Union’s Lisbon Treaty (2009) states that:

“Union policy on the environment shall aim at a high level of protection taking into account the diversity of situations in the various regions of the Union. It shall be based on the precautionary principle and on the principles that preventive action should be taken, that environmental damage should as a priority be rectified at source and that the polluter should pay.”

In other words, the EU has committed itself to the Precautionary Principle. Well, on paper, that is. However, then we get to a whole series of reports on wildlife in Europe, and they indicate all sorts of things, but not that Brussels cares even one bit about adhering to the Precautionary Principle, either for its people or its living environment. One voice below calls it a “state of denial”, but I would use some other choice words. Let’s start with the Guardian this morning, because they have an interesting perspective:

Most Britons remain blithely unaware that since the Beatles broke up, we have wiped out half our wildlife…

since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the number of flying insects on nature reserves in Germany had dropped by at least 76% – more than three-quarters…

Things like ‘since you were born’, ‘since man landed on the moon’, ‘since the wall came down’ or ‘since 9/11’ may be a bit clearer than 100 years, or 25 years. Moreover, I read somewhere that since Columbus landed in 1492, America has lost on third of all its biodiversity, but that doesn’t yet explain the rate of acceleration that is taking place.

In October last year, the Guardian had this:

 

Three-Quarters Of Flying Insects In Germany Have Vanished In 25 Years

The abundance of flying insects has plunged by three-quarters over the past 25 years , according to a new study that has shocked scientists. Insects are an integral part of life on Earth as both pollinators and prey for other wildlife and it was known that some species such as butterflies were declining. But the newly revealed scale of the losses to all insects has prompted warnings that the world is “on course for ecological Armageddon”, with profound impacts on human society.

The new data was gathered in nature reserves across Germany but has implications for all landscapes dominated by agriculture, the researchers said. The cause of the huge decline is as yet unclear, although the destruction of wild areas and widespread use of pesticides are the most likely factors and climate change may play a role. The scientists were able to rule out weather and changes to landscape in the reserves as causes, but data on pesticide levels has not been collected.

“The fact that the number of flying insects is decreasing at such a high rate in such a large area is an alarming discovery,” said Hans de Kroon, at Radboud University in the Netherlands and who led the new research. “Insects make up about two-thirds of all life on Earth [but] there has been some kind of horrific decline,” said Prof Dave Goulson of Sussex University, UK, and part of the team behind the new study. “We appear to be making vast tracts of land inhospitable to most forms of life , and are currently on course for ecological Armageddon. If we lose the insects then everything is going to collapse.”

[..] When the total weight of the insects in each sample was measured a startling decline was revealed. The annual average fell by 76% over the 27 year period, but the fall was even higher – 82% – in summer, when insect numbers reach their peak. Previous reports of insect declines have been limited to particular insects, such European grassland butterflies, which have fallen by 50% in recent decades. But the new research captured all flying insects, including wasps and flies which are rarely studied, making it a much stronger indicator of decline.

Then last week from AFP:

 

France’s Bird Population Collapses As Pesticides Kill Off Insects

Bird populations across the French countryside have fallen by a third over the last decade and a half, researchers have said. Dozens of species have seen their numbers decline, in some cases by two-thirds, the scientists said in a pair of studies – one national in scope and the other covering a large agricultural region in central France. “The situation is catastrophic,” said Benoit Fontaine, a conservation biologist at France’s National Museum of Natural History and co-author of one of the studies. “Our countryside is in the process of becoming a veritable desert,” he said in a communique released by the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), which also contributed to the findings.

The common white throat, the ortolan bunting, the Eurasian skylark and other once-ubiquitous species have all fallen off by at least a third, according a detailed, annual census initiated at the start of the century. A migratory song bird, the meadow pipit, has declined by nearly 70%. The museum described the pace and extent of the wipe-out as “a level approaching an ecological catastrophe”. The primary culprit, researchers speculate, is the intensive use of pesticides on vast tracts of monoculture crops, especially wheat and corn. The problem is not that birds are being poisoned, but that the insects on which they depend for food have disappeared.

“There are hardly any insects left, that’s the number one problem,” said Vincent Bretagnolle, a CNRS ecologist at the Centre for Biological Studies in Chize. Recent research, he noted, has uncovered similar trends across Europe, estimating that flying insects have declined by 80%, and bird populations has dropped by more than 400m in 30 years. Despite a government plan to cut pesticide use in half by 2020, sales in France have climbed steadily, reaching more than 75,000 tonnes of active ingredient in 2014, according to EU figures. “What is really alarming, is that all the birds in an agricultural setting are declining at the same speed, even ’generalist’ birds,” which also thrive in other settings such as wooded areas, said Bretagnolle.

Not that it’s just Europe, mind you. Still ‘ove’ this one from Gretchen Vogel in ScienceMag, about a year ago, on a phenomenon most of you stateside will have noticed too:

 

Where Have All The Insects Gone?

Entomologists call it the windshield phenomenon. “If you talk to people, they have a gut feeling. They remember how insects used to smash on your windscreen,” says Wolfgang Wägele, director of the Leibniz Institute for Animal Biodiversity in Bonn, Germany. Today, drivers spend less time scraping and scrubbing. “I’m a very data-driven person,” says Scott Black, executive director of the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation in Portland, Oregon. “But it is a visceral reaction when you realize you don’t see that mess anymore.”

Some people argue that cars today are more aerodynamic and therefore less deadly to insects. But Black says his pride and joy as a teenager in Nebraska was his 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1—with some pretty sleek lines. “I used to have to wash my car all the time. It was always covered with insects.” Lately, Martin Sorg, an entomologist here, has seen the opposite: “I drive a Land Rover, with the aerodynamics of a refrigerator, and these days it stays clean.”

Though observations about splattered bugs aren’t scientific, few reliable data exist on the fate of important insect species. Scientists have tracked alarming declines in domesticated honey bees, monarch butterflies, and lightning bugs. But few have paid attention to the moths, hover flies, beetles, and countless other insects that buzz and flitter through the warm months. “We have a pretty good track record of ignoring most noncharismatic species,” which most insects are, says Joe Nocera, an ecologist at the University of New Brunswick in Canada.

After all those numbers, and before they get worse -which they will, it’s already baked in the cake-, you would expect the EU to remember the Precautionary Principle all its member nations signed on to for the Lisbon Treaty. You would expect wrong. Instead Brussels vows to continue with the exact same policies that have led to its mind-boggling biodiversity losses.

 

EU In ‘State Of Denial’ Over Destructive Impact Of Farming On Wildlife

Europe’s crisis of collapsing bird and insect numbers will worsen further over the next decade because the EU is in a “state of denial” over destructive farming practices, environmental groups are warning. European agriculture ministers are pushing for a new common agriculture policy (CAP) from 2021 to 2028 which maintains generous subsidies for big farmers and ineffectual or even “fake” environmental or “greening” measures, they say. In a week when two new studies revealed drastic declines in French farmland birds – a pattern repeated across Europe – the EU presidency claimed that the CAP continued to provide safe food while defending farmers and “protecting the environment”.

“The whole system is in a state of denial,” said Ariel Brunner, head of policy at Birdlife Europe. “Most agriculture ministers across Europe are just pushing for business as usual. The message is, keep the subsidies flowing.” Farm subsidies devour 38% of the EU budget and 80% of the subsidies go to just 20% of farmers , via “basic payments” which hand European landowners £39bn each year.

Because these payments are simply related to land area, big farmers receive more, can invest in more efficient food production – removing hedgerows to enlarge fields for instance – and put smaller, less intensive farmers out of business. France lost a quarter of its farm labourers in the first decade of the 21st century, while its average farm size continues to rise.

A smaller portion – £14.22bn annually – of EU farm subsidies support “greening” measures but basic payment rules work against wildlife-friendly farming: in Britain, farmers can’t receive basic payments for land featuring ponds, wide hedges, salt marsh or regenerating woodland. Signals from within the EU suggest that the next decade’s CAP [..] will continue to pay farmers a no-strings subsidy, while cash for “greening”, or wildlife-friendly farming, may even be cut. Birdlife Europe said the “greening” was mostly “fake environmental spending” and wildlife-friendly measures had been “shredded” by “loophole upon loophole” introduced by member states.

[..] This week studies revealed that the abundance of farmland birds in France had fallen by a third in 15 years – with population falls intensifying in the last two years. It’s a pattern repeated across Europe: farmland bird abundance in 28 European countries has fallen by 55% over three decades, according to the European Bird Census Council. Conservationists say it’s indicative of a wider crisis – particularly the decimation of insect life linked to neonicotinoid pesticides.

20% of farmers work 80% of the land in Europe. That is used as an argument to single them out to pay them billions in subsidies. But it simply means these 20% use the most detrimental farming methods, most pesticides, most chemicals. The subsidies policy guarantees further deterioration of an already disastrous situation. The polluter doesn’t pay, as the Lisbon Treaty demands, but the polluter gets paid.

And even that is apparently still not enough for the fast growing bureaucracy. In a move perhaps more characteristic of the EU than anything else, it approved something last week that a million people had vehemently protested: the Bayer-Monsanto merger. The European parliament may have thrown out all Monsanto lobbyists recently, and voted to ban Roundup, but the die has been cast.

A million citizens can protest in writing, many millions in France and Germany and elsewhere may do the same on the street, none of it matters. The people who brought you WWII nerve gases and Agent Orange can now come together to take over your food supply.

 

EU Approves Buyout Of Monsanto By German Chemical Firm Bayer

German conglomerate Bayer won EU antitrust approval on Wednesday for its $62.5bn (£44.5bn) buy of US peer Monsanto, the latest in a trio of mega mergers that will reshape the agrochemicals industry. The tie-up is set to create a company with control of more than a quarter of the world’s seed and pesticides market. Driven by shifting weather patterns, competition in grain exports and a faltering global farm economy, Dow and Dupont, and ChemChina and Syngenta had earlier led a wave of consolidation in the sector. Both deals secured EU approval only after the companies offered substantial asset sales to boost rivals.

Environmental and farming groups have opposed all three deals, worried about their power and their advantage in digital farming data, which can tell farmers how and when to till, sow, spray, fertilise and pick crops based on algorithms. The European Commission said Bayer addressed its concerns with its offer to sell a swathe of assets to boost rival BASF [..] “Our decision ensures that there will be effective competition and innovation in seeds, pesticides and digital agriculture markets also after this merger,” European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement. “In particular, we have made sure that the number of global players actively competing in these markets stays the same.”

[..] Vestager said the Commission, which received more than a million petitions concerning the deal, had been thorough by examining more than 2,000 different product markets and 2.7 million internal documents to produce a 1,285-page ruling. [..] Online campaigns group Avaaz criticised the EU approval. “This is a marriage made in hell. The Commission ignored a million people who called on them to block this deal, and caved in to lobbying to create a mega-corporation which will dominate our food supply,” Avaaz legal director Nick Flynn said.

Dow-Dupont, ChemChina and Bayer Monsanto have a lot more political influence than a million Europeans, or ten million Americans. They have even convinced numerous, if not most, people that without their products the world would starve. That their chemicals are needed to feed a growing human population. Farming based on algorythms.

They are not ‘seed companies’. They are ‘seeds-that-need-our-chemicals-to-grow’ companies. And they are out to conquer the entire world. A 100-times worse version of Facebook. And our governments subsidize the use of their products. As we not-so-slowly see our living world be massacred by those products.

We don’t know how bad GMOs will turn out to be. Which is in itself a very good reason to ban them. Since once they spread, they can’t be stopped anymore. Then the chemical boys will own all of our food. But we do know how bad the pesticides and other chemicals they produce are. And we’re not even banning those. We just eat all that sh*t and shut up.

It’s a failure to understand what science is: that you must proof harm first before banning stuff. The only real science is the one that has adopted the Precautionary Principle. Because science is supposed to be smart, and there’s nothing smart about destroying your own world. Because science should never be used to hurt people or nature. Science can only be good if it benefits us. Not our wallets, but our heads and hearts and forests, and our children. Do no harm.

Yeah, I know, who am I fooling, right?