Oct 222021
 
 October 22, 2021  Posted by at 7:52 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  No Responses »


M. C. Escher Still life and street 1937

 

Covid Vaccines Will Keep You From Acquiring Full Immunity (Berenson)
Vax Fight is On and Not Stopping – Gerald Celente (USAW)
NIH Changes Story, Confirms It Funded Wuhan Gain-of-Function Experiment (JTN)
Dr. Anthony Fauci Received Big Pay Increase To Prevent Pandemics (F.)
India Administers A Billion Covid Jabs (F24)
Over 300,000 Unvaxxed Australia Supermarket Workers To Lose Their Jobs (Sky)
Striking Hospital Staff Hold Protest In Athens (K.)
DeSantis Calls Special Session To Ban Covid-19 Vaccine Mandates (UPI)
The Real Reasons for the Congressional 1/6 Committee (Greenwald)
Jen Psaki Hates You (Klavan)
Edward Snowden: ‘If You Weaken Encryption, People Will Die’ (TNW)
Assange to Get Same Judge Who Sided with US on Appeal (Lauria)

 

 

Adverse reactions

 

 

Masks on kids

 

 

 

 

“I feel like I’m being groomed by an abusive partner.”

 

 

They’ll do much more than that.

Covid Vaccines Will Keep You From Acquiring Full Immunity (Berenson)

Don’t take it from me, I don’t even get to tweet anymore. Take it from a little place I call the British government. Which admitted today, in its newest vaccine surveillance report, that: “N antibody levels appear to be lower in people who acquire infection following two doses of vaccination.” (Page 23) What’s this mean? Several things, all bad. We know the vaccines do not stop infection or transmission of the virus (in fact, the report shows elsewhere that vaccinated adults are now being infected at much HIGHER rates than the unvaccinated). What the British are saying is they are now finding the vaccine interferes with your body’s innate ability after infection to produce antibodies against not just the spike protein but other pieces of the virus.


Specifically, vaccinated people don’t seem to be producing antibodies to the nucleocapsid protein, the shell of the virus, which are a crucial part of the response in unvaccinated people. This means vaccinated people will be far more vulnerable to mutations in the spike protein EVEN AFTER THEY HAVE BEEN INFECTED AND RECOVERED ONCE (or more than once, probably). It also means the virus is likely to select for mutations that go in exactly that direction, because those will essentially give it an enormous vulnerable population to infect. And it probably is still more evidence the vaccines may interfere with the development of robust long-term immunity post-infection. Aside from that, everything is fine.

Read more …

“This is the beginning of a civil war. There are going to be states seceding from the Union, and they are going to push for it..”

Vax Fight is On and Not Stopping – Gerald Celente (USAW)

Gerald Celente, a renowned trends researcher, is back this time to talk about the unrelenting full blown “Vax Wars” he predicted many months ago. Many people are being told “no vax, no job,” and now it’s really heating up. Celente explains, “The fight is on. The people that are not going to get it are not going to get it. They’re done. The fight is on. From the very beginning, I said about the ‘Covid War,’ it’s going to be anti-vax, anti-establishment, anti-immigration parties forming. This is the beginning of a new populous movement like we have never seen before. It is just the beginning. Remember, ‘it does not take a majority to prevail, but an irate tireless minority keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the hearts and minds of men,’ said Samuel Adams. . . .

‘Vax Wars,’ this is bigger than the Vax Wars. This is a war about freedom, and it’s going to rage around the world. Look what happened in Italy last week. Looks what’s going on in France. In the United States, it’s going to happen as well. This is the beginning of a civil war. There are going to be states seceding from the Union, and they are going to push for it. What they are doing is totally unconstitutional, un-American and un-Godly.” (as in God the Father.) All of the unions that usually support Democrats are up in arms about the coerced vax mandates. Is the DNC going to lose a huge segment of its base? Celente says, “Yes, they are. They are not the Democrat Party. They are not the Republican Party. It’s a crime syndicate. These are criminals. They are murderers and thieves. How much more proof does anybody need. . . .

Yes, the unions are going to run from the Democrat Party. There are going to be new forming parties. I say by their deeds you shall know them. Hey, you are too big to fail. The banksters, the Federal Reserve pumping in $29 trillion (in 2008 and 2009 to bail out their buddies.) . . . .They are murderers and thieves, and we are going to have a new political movement. You know what’s going to have to be behind this movement? Self-sustainability, it has to be a self-sustaining U.S. without supply chain backups. Why are we buying all that crap from China? . . . Why aren’t we making things in the United States? Because lowlife Democrat and Republican pieces of crap sold us out to get the products made overseas so they could mark up the prices when they brought them back.”

On the economic front, Celente says the trend is inflation and a coming collapse. What going to set that off? Celente says, “When they raise interest rates, this thing goes down — end of story. If they can’t put that monetary methadone out there for the money junkies for free anymore, this thing goes down. Inflation is going to make them raise rates. It’s going to make them start tapering. This is not a capitalist society, it’s fascist. They are buying $120 billion a month of government and corporate bonds. They are buying corporate bonds? Oh yeah, and junk bonds too. . . . That is a merger of state and corporate powers. That’s what Mussolini called fascism.” Celente says this is going to end badly, and he’s talking about “the greatest financial crash in history.” The little guy, meaning “We the People,” should prepare, and time to do that is running short. Celente says, “Prepare for the worst. If the worst doesn’t happen and you are prepared, you lose nothing. If the worst happens and you are not prepared, be prepared to lose everything.

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“Knowingly. Willfully. Brazenly.”

All of a sudden, lying to Congress is no longer a serious offence.

NIH Changes Story, Confirms It Funded Wuhan Gain-of-Function Experiment (JTN)

Two weeks after National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins announced his retirement, his agency has complicated congressional testimony by Collins and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci about alleged gain-of-function virus research sponsored by the U.S. Both officials have denied approving grants for such research through the EcoHealth Alliance and Wuhan Institute of Virology, but a letter Wednesday from NIH Principal Deputy Director Lawrence Tabak to House Oversight Committee ranking Republican James Comer describes an unforeseen experimental result that calls the denials into question.

The letter shows that “NIH — and specifically, Collins, Fauci, and Tabak — lied to Congress, lied to the press, and lied to the public,” Richard Ebright, lab director at Rutgers University’s Waskman Institute of Microbiology, tweeted Wednesday night when sharing the letter. “Knowingly. Willfully. Brazenly.” The final progress report submitted by EcoHealth in August described a “limited experiment” in which a modified bat coronavirus made mice “sicker” than than original virus, Tabak told Comer. “As sometimes occurs in science, this was an unexpected result of the research, as opposed to something that the researchers set out to do.”

NIH determined the proposed research didn’t meet the standard for “enhanced pathogens of pandemic potential” because it wasn’t shown these bat coronaviruses could infect humans. But “out of an abundance of caution” it required EcoHealth to “immediately” report “a one log increase in growth” if it happened, which would trigger a secondary review of the research by NIH. EcoHealth didn’t do that, Tabak wrote, and it now has five days to turn over “any and all unpublished data” from the research to NIH. The letter repeatedly emphasizes the viruses studied under the EcoHealth grant and “subaward” to the Wuhan lab “could not have become SARS-CoV-2” because the “sequences of the viruses are genetically very distinct.”

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How much do Pfizer, Moderna pay him?

Dr. Anthony Fauci Received Big Pay Increase To Prevent Pandemics (F.)

In a January article published at Forbes, our auditors at OpenTheBooks.com found that Dr. Anthony Fauci was the highest paid federal employee, earning $417,608 (2019). Dr. Fauci is still the top-paid federal employee earning $434,312 in 2020. Fauci is the Director of the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and current Chief Medical Advisor to the President. Fauci out-earned the U.S. president ($400,000); four-star generals in the military ($282,000); and roughly 4.3 million other federal employees. Now, new documents released via our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests from the NIH tell us a lot more. Dr. Fauci received a big pay hike for his biodefense research activities. In other words, Fauci was paid to prevent future pandemics.


The documents released to our non-profit organization OpenTheBooks.com reveal that Dr. Fauci was approved for a “permanent pay adjustment” in excess of his regular salary in December 2004, during the George W. Bush Administration. From 2004 through 2007, Fauci received a 68-percent pay increase from $200,000- to $335,000-a year. This award was permanent and carried forward through 2020. Fauci’s permanent pay raise was to “appropriately compensate him for the level of responsibility… especially as it relates to his work on biodefense research activities.” However, critics say that Fauci was funding research that was actually creating pandemic pathogens in labs that, if leaked or if fell into the wrong hands, might create the very human pandemic they were trying to prevent.

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Abusing the success of ivermectin to jab more people.

India Administers A Billion Covid Jabs (F24)

According to the government, around three-quarters of adults in the country of 1.3 billion people have had one shot and around 30 percent are fully vaccinated. However, hundreds of millions of Indians under 18 — who make up some 40 percent of the population — have not had a single shot. India suffered a huge spike in cases in April and May, reporting more than 400,000 infections and 4,000 deaths per day, with many hospitals unable to cope and crematoriums overwhelmed. Cases have since fallen sharply, with fewer than 20,000 infections per day, and most activity has returned to normal. Mumbai, one of India’s myriad teeming cities, recently reported zero deaths in a day for the first time since the pandemic began.

The government was reportedly set to celebrate the milestone with Prime Minister Narendra Modi thanking health workers, special announcements at railway stations and airports and monuments lit up in the national colours. Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya tweeted: “Congratulations India! This is the result of the visionary PM Modi’s able leadership.” Only China has administered more doses — the Chinese government says it has given more than 2.3 billion shots. India began vaccinations in January and after a slow start, it is now administering around eight million jabs per day. “During the first wave, I remember hearing people talking about whether coronavirus was real or not,” said Reham Ali, a 49-year-old taxi driver in New Delhi who said he has had one shot. “Now, people know that it is and there is less hesitancy. The second wave was an eye-opener.”

Exports of vaccines — halted earlier this year — have tentatively resumed, with officials saying the “pharmacy of the world” will be back in full swing again in 2022 Most restrictions on activity have been lifted, with crowds celebrating India’s main religious festival season — an important time for the battered economy — for the first time in two years. This has sparked concerns about a new wave of infections and a renewed push by the government to push people to get their second shots. Media reports last week said an expert panel of India’s drug regulator recommended the use of the homegrown Covaxin — one of seven Covid-19 vaccines approved in India — for under-18s. “I think it is unlikely that we will see a third wave that in any way resembles the second wave,” said Dr Gangandeep Kang, from the Christian Medical College, Vellore.

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Really? Where are they going to find 300,000 others?

Better grow your own food.

Over 300,000 Unvaxxed Australia Supermarket Workers To Lose Their Jobs (Sky)

More than 300,000 workers across Australia’s largest supermarket chains have been warned they will lose their jobs without a valid reason for not getting vaccinated. Woolworths employees in New South Wales, the ACT, the Northern Territory, Victoria and Western Australia have until January 31 next year to get vaccinated with a March 31 deadline set for workers in the remaining states. “If they don’t have a valid reason, we will engage with them, make sure they get the best possible advice and availability to vaccines,” Woolworths CEO Brad Banducci said. “But if they don’t have a valid religious or medical exemption, their employment at Woolworths will be terminated.”

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“..to protest staff shortages and compulsory coronavirus vaccinations..”

The two are closely related.

Striking Hospital Staff Hold Protest In Athens (K.)

Hundreds of state hospital workers marched Thursday through central Athens as part of a 24-hour strike to protest staff shortages and compulsory coronavirus vaccinations. About 500 protesters demonstrated in the center of the capital, heading past parliament toward the health ministry chanting slogans and holding up banners. Unions representing the doctors, nurses and other medical staff are protesting government plans they say exacerbate staffing shortages and lead to long working hours while undermining workers’ rights. Medical workers are also seeking to be included in the list of professions receiving extra hazard pay for “heavy and unhealthy” work. The unions have also objected to the suspension of unvaccinated health care workers, saying this only leads to further staff shortages.


Faced with rising infections and reluctance by many to get vaccinated, the government has introduced a series of incentives and penalties to encourage Greeks to get their anti-Covid-19 shots. Vaccinations have been made mandatory for health care workers and those working in care homes for the elderly, with those who refuse being suspended from work. Just over 60% of the country’s population of around 11 million people are fully vaccinated against Covid-19. The unions say that while they support vaccinations, individual staff members should have the right to choose. Greece has seen a spike in coronavirus infections this summer, and new daily cases stand at around 3,000. On Wednesday, the country saw 3,279 new cases and 38 new deaths, bringing the total confirmed cases to over 704,000 and the total death toll to nearly 15,500 in the country of nearly 11 million.

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What was normal all through our lives is now revolutionary.

DeSantis Calls Special Session To Ban Covid-19 Vaccine Mandates (UPI)

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday called a special session of the Florida Legislature to pass legislation banning COVID-19 vaccine mandates. Speaking from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Hangar, he announced the special session would take place in November. He called for lawmakers to provide protections for workers whose employment is threatened by vaccine mandates. “Your right to earn a living should not be contingent upon COVID shots,” DeSantis said. “When the vaccines first came out, we worked very hard to provide it, particularly to our elderly, but we said from day one: We will make it available for all, but we will mandate it for no one because ultimately we want individuals to make the determinations about what is right for them.

“I want a state in which people are able to maintain their livelihoods, earn a living, and provide for their families. And if the federal government or big corporations are hurting people, then we have a responsibility to step up and lead.” DeSantis was joined in the press conference by Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez, Attorney General Ashley Moody and Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo. “The governor has made it clear: Florida will not stand by and allow hard working citizens to be subjected to unemployment because they are being forced to show vaccine documentation, especially those who have remained on the front lines of COVID-19 for nearly two years now,” Ladapo said. “The Department of Health will continue to protect Floridians through multi-faceted and data-driven solutions, not overreach.”

In addition to banning mandates, DeSantis called for employers to be held accountable if an employee becomes sick or injured from taking a mandatory vaccine. Ahead of the press conferences, members of DeSantis’ staff handed out signs to attendees featuring an alligator on a yellow background reading “Don’t Tread on Florida.”

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“The endorphin-producing fantasies on which they fed for years [..] were way too viscerally arousing for them to simply forget that none of it happened.”

The Real Reasons for the Congressional 1/6 Committee (Greenwald)

Underlying so much of the anger and resentment surrounding 1/6 is the complete dissonance between the narrative fed to the citizenry by Democrats and their media allies on the one hand, and the legal realities on the other. It must be infuriating and baffling to a large sector of the population to have been convinced that what happened on January 6 was an unprecedentedly dangerous insurrection perpetrated by an organized group of seditious traitors who had plotted to kidnap and murder elected officials, only for the Biden DOJ to have charged exactly nobody with any criminal charges remotely suggesting any of those melodramatic claims.

This was the same frustration and confusion that beset a large portion of liberal America when they were led to believe for years that Robert Mueller was coming to arrest all of their political enemies for treason and criminal conspiracy with Russia, only for the FBI Superman to close his investigation without charging a single American with criminal conspiracy with Russia and then issuing a report admitting that he could not find evidence to establish any such crime. How to keep the flock loyal when the doomsday prophecies continue to be unfulfilled, as the World-Ending Date comes and goes without so much as a bang, let alone an explosion?

Adam Schiff’s new book — which essentially claims that Mueller is senile and was suffering from pitiful dementia — is obviously intended to provide some solace or at least a framework of understanding for disappointed liberals to keep the faith, but deep down, they know what they were expecting. The endorphin-producing fantasies on which they fed for years — of Trump and Trump, Jr. and Jared and Bannon and Ivanka being frog-marched out of the White House by armed, strapping FBI agents — were way too viscerally arousing for them to simply forget that none of it happened.

A repeat of this disorientation and disillusionment when it comes to 1/6 could be quite dangerous for Democrats. It could be devastating to the media outlets which survive on serving the Democrats’ messaging and feeding dramatic conspiracy theories to the beleaguered liberal flock. In the days and weeks following 1/6, liberals really thought that dozens of members of Congress — from Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz to Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene — would be not just expelled from Congress but summarily imprisoned as traitors by a newly righteous Justice Department. They were led to believe that, with Bill Barr out of the way, Trump and his mafia family would finally pay for their crimes.

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“Jen Psaki, sneering avatar of an aristocracy that regards working Americans as less than dirt.”

Jen Psaki Hates You (Klavan)

Let us now praise Jennifer Rene Psaki—English major, sorority girl, mother of two. Let us praise her seemingly endless supply of monochrome crew-neck blouses and pencil skirts, the way she peels her mask off after striding to the lectern. Jen Psaki has been briefed by her 11 staffers; she has had her coffee (and her bagel, if it’s Wednesday); she is freshly armed with the latest talking points and she is not going to take any of your guff today. Jen communicates just how on top of things she is by nodding ceaselessly throughout every question, interjecting an “uh-huh” or a “yep” to show she has not been caught off guard since the last clause of the reporter’s sentence. This is a patented bobblehead technique she perfected as a commentator at CNN in between the Obama and Biden Administrations.

What she is saying or listening to is less important than what she is communicating with her demeanor at all times: that she is serious, that she is informed, that she is the adult in the room. We have all met someone who behaves like this: someone who has done the homework and wants you to know it. Someone whose politeness is so aggressive that it can only be read as a kind of challenge. Jen Psaki dares you to find her off-putting. Why would you? She is smiling. She even had a joke written down that she made at the appropriate juncture. See? It says “laughing time” right here in the schedule from 5:01 to 5:03 PM. Then laughing time is over, and it is time for the lies and the jabs and the polite little smirks. Jen Psaki is frankly disappointed that you would stoop so low as to question Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s right to paternity leave during a supply chain “crisis.”

It’s not really a crisis, anyway: “people have more money, expendable resources, more people are working than they were a year ago.” The economy is getting built back better, says Jen, and our ports runneth over. What are you, some kind of Peloton slut who can’t wait five extra months for your new treadmill? This is what Trump’s critics meant when they said we needed to restore “civility” to the White House: they meant we need the right kind of disdain for the right kinds of people, expressed in the right kinds of ways. Gone are the mean tweets, the off-color jokes, the rough pugilism. Now instead we have Jen Psaki, sneering avatar of an aristocracy that regards working Americans as less than dirt. People are straining to put food on the table and gas in their cars; they increasingly fail to see the point in going to work at all. Psaki’s response is that of the anointed class she represents: shut up and take it.

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“This year alone, after the fall of the government of Afghanistan, we saw how crucial encryption is in keeping ordinary people safe.”

Edward Snowden: ‘If You Weaken Encryption, People Will Die’ (TNW)

Our online privacy faces growing threats. Governments around the world are calling for encryption backdoors that would enable access to personal information. They argue that encryption protects criminals. But it also protects activists, dissidents, persecuted groups, and ordinary citizens. Edward Snowden is among the most prominent beneficiaries. The whistleblower’s first messages to journalists were made with encryption. They resulted in revelations that millions of Americans had been under illegal mass surveillance. “If you weaken encryption, people will die,” said Snowden in a statement. “This year alone, after the fall of the government of Afghanistan, we saw how crucial encryption is in keeping ordinary people safe.” Snowden has joined the Global Encryption Coalition to launch a campaign to protect encryption.

The group of civil society organizations and tech firms warns that undermining encryption will leave people more vulnerable to crime and surveillance. “I have seen first-hand how governments can abuse the power they have to access the personal data of innocent people in the name of national security,” said Snowden. “Weakening encryption would be a colossal mistake that could put thousands of lives at risk.” End-to-end encryption would make it harder to implement spy programs like the one Snowden exposed — which may be one reason why governments want to circumvent it. It would not be the first time that lawmakers have undermined our privacy in the name of fighting terrorism. Politicians assert — with justification — that criminal gangs and paedophiles use encryption.

But so do racial justice protestors to avoid police surveillance, LBTQ+ people in countries where their sexual orientation is criminalized, and even some of the politicians who have called for Snowden to be put in jail. Reporters also rely on encryption to protect their sources. “Now more than ever, journalists are facing digital threats to their work and safety,” said Lisa Dittmer, advocacy officer for Internet Freedom, Reporters Without Borders. “Encryption plays a critical role in protecting journalists and their sources, enabling them to share information even in the most dangerous environments. Yet as the need for encryption grows, so do the efforts to weaken it. Governments from India to Australia are calling for tech companies to build backdoors into their end-to-end encrypted systems.

In the UK, new regulation could make service providers criminally liable for the acts of users if law enforcement can’t access their encrypted data. Their proposals, however, could actually make people more vulnerable. Any encryption backdoor may be a target for criminals. The information they access could threaten both national security and individual privacy. “Encryption makes us all safer,” said Snowden. “From families protecting photographs of their kids, to personal healthcare information, encryption keeps our private information private.” We all have private conversations that we don’t want overheard. Encryption backdoors would give malicious actors another way to access them.

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“Nothing in this case is proceeding as it should do.”

Assange to Get Same Judge Who Sided with US on Appeal (Lauria)

Lord Justice Timothy Holroyde, the High Court judge who reversed an earlier court order to bar the U.S. from appealing Julian Assange’s medical issues, will preside over the substantive U.S. appeal hearing at the High Court next week. In January, lower court Judge Vanessa Baraitser refused the U.S. request to extradite the WikiLeaks publisher because of his high risk of suicide and the conditions of U.S. prisons. The U.S. applied to appeal that decision, which was granted by the High Court in July. The court allowed three of five grounds of appeal, excluding the matter of Assange’s health. The U.S. challenged that ruling and in an Aug. 11 High Court hearing, Holroyde overturned the earlier court decision, siding with the U.S. argument that Baraitser’s finding on Assange’s health could be appealed.

That will be the central argument in the two-day hearing beginning next Wednesday at the Royal Courts of Justice in London. The U.S. says Assange is not too ill to be extradited and has accused him of being a malingerer. Joining Holroyde on the High Court bench will be Dame Judith Farbey, who remained silent during the Aug. 11 hearing. It is highly unusual for a judge who has already ruled in favor of one party to continue on the bench, according to Consortium News legal analyst Alexander Mercouris. In most cases, fresh judges would be brought in who have had no part in earlier rulings for either side.

After the Aug. 11 hearing, Mercouris said Holroyde’s “comments made it clear” that he would not be part of the appeal panel. “If he does turn up on the panel then that would be an extremely serious development,” he said, adding that it would be “open to legal challenge if he did.” It is not known at this time whether Assange’s lawyers will challenge Holroyde’s appointment to the case. After learning Holroyde would indeed oversee the hearing next week, Mercouris said it was “extremely disturbing news” and “very worrying. Nothing in this case is proceeding as it should do.”

Read more …

 

 

 

 

 

Soy Cuba

 

 

 

 

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Sep 012021
 
 September 1, 2021  Posted by at 9:05 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , ,  88 Responses »


Vincent van Gogh Ward in the hospital in Arles 1889

 

Who’s Really Being Hospitalized? (Margulis)
60% of Those Older Than 50 Who Die From Covid Are Double Vaxxed (Mercola)
‘Get Sicker’: Anatomy Of A Failed Policy (Pfeiffer)
There’s An Off Ramp – But It Has A Price (Denninger)
The Case For Covid Vaccine Passports Was Just Demolished (Fee)
Key Vaccine Leaders Departing FDA As Covid-19 Booster Questions Linger (FPhar)
Greek Health Ministry Bracing For ‘Great Exodus’ (K.)
Pharmacy Customers Refuse To Say What Ivermectin Prescription Is For (G.)
Zero Covid, A Once Wildly Popular Ideology, Quietly Faces Extinction (Subs)
Singapore Gives Up Goal of Zero Covid Despite High Vaccination Rate (Gizmodo)
Obama Officials’ Lies About Edward Snowden and Russia (Greenwald)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The stories are collapsing.

Who’s Really Being Hospitalized? (Margulis)

After a battery of testing, my friend was diagnosed with pancreatitis. But it was easier for the hospital bureaucracy to register the admission as a COVID case. Let me explain. This patient had none of the classic symptoms of COVID: No shortness of breath, no fever, no chills, no congestion, no loss of sense of smell or taste, no neurological issues. The only COVID symptoms my friend had were nausea and fatigue, which could also be explained by the surgery. However, nearly three weeks earlier, a COVID test had come back positive. The mainstream media is reporting that severe COVID cases are mainly among unvaccinated people.

An AP headline from June 29 reads: “Nearly all COVID deaths in US are now among unvaccinated.” Another, from the same date: “Vast majority of ICU patients with COVID-19 are unvaccinated, ABC News survey finds.” Is that what’s really going on? It’s certainly not the case in Israel, the first country to fully vaccinate a majority of its citizens against the virus. Now it has one of the highest daily infection rates and the majority of people catching the virus (77% to 83%, depending on age) are already vaccinated, according to data collected by the Israeli government. After carefully reviewing the available data, including the safety and efficacy profiles of the mRNA vaccines, my friend had taken a cautious approach. Though a medical doctor who gives vaccines in the office every day, my friend opted to wait and see.

According to WebMD, a “huge number” of frontline hospital workers have also chosen not to get the vaccine. Indeed, various news reports, from California to New York, confirm that up to 40% of health care workers have decided the risks of the vaccines do not outweigh the benefits. After admission, I spoke to the nurse on the COVID ward. She was suited up in a plastic yellow disposable gown, teal gloves, and two masks underneath a recirculating personal respiratory system that buzzed so loudly she could barely hear. The nurse told me that she had gotten both vaccines but she was feeling worried: “Two thirds of my patients are fully vaccinated,” she said. How can there be such a disconnect between what the COVID ward nurse told me and the mainstream media reports?

For one thing, it is very hard to get any kind of accuracy when it comes to actual numbers. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have publicly acknowledged that they do not have accurate data. As reported by the Associated Press, “The CDC itself has not estimated what percentage of hospitalizations and deaths are in fully vaccinated people, citing limitations in the data.” At the same time, data collection is done on a state by state basis. In most states, a person is only considered fully vaccinated fourteen days after they have had the full series of the vaccine. This means that anyone coming into an American hospital who has only had one dose, or who has had both vaccines but had the second one less than two weeks prior, will likely be counted as “unvaccinated.”

So when the South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control released a report about COVID severity on July 23, 2021, they reported higher morbidity and mortality rates in the “not fully vaccinated.” Are these people who have had one vaccine and gotten sick, two vaccines and gotten sick, or no vaccines at all? Without more details, it is impossible to know what is really going on. “We don’t have accurate numbers,” insists Dr. James Neuenschwander, an expert on vaccine safety based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. But what we do know, Neuenschwander says, is that the vaccines are not as effective as public health officials told us they would be. “This is a product that’s not doing what it’s supposed to do. It’s supposed to stop transmission of this virus and it’s not doing that.”

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“…breakthrough cases are now multiplying at breakneck speed. “There are so many breakthrough infections that they dominate..”

60% of Those Older Than 50 Who Die From Covid Are Double Vaxxed (Mercola)

The oft-repeated refrain right now is that we’re in a “pandemic of the unvaccinated,” meaning those who have not received the COVID jab make up the bulk of those hospitalized and dying from the Delta variant. For example, August 20, 2021, England’s chief medical officer professor Chris Whitty tweeted: “Four weeks working on a COVID ward makes stark the reality that the majority of our hospitalized COVID patients are unvaccinated and regret delaying. Some are very sick including young adults. Please don’t delay your vaccine.” Curiously, if you take the time to actually look at the data, you’ll find that this blanket statement is rather deceptive. Here’s a graphic published in the Evening Standard, sourced from Public Health England:

As you can see, as of August 15, 2021, 58% of COVID patients admitted to hospital who were over the age of 50 had actually received two doses of COVID injections and 10% had received one dose. So, partially or fully “vaccinated” individuals made up 68% of hospitalizations. Only in the 50 and younger category were a majority, 74%, of hospitalizations among the unvaccinated. Whitty, however, completely neglected to differentiate between the age groups. The same applies to deaths. Unvaccinated only make up the majority of COVID deaths in the under-50 age group. In the over-50 group, the clear majority, 70%, are either partially or fully “vaccinated.” It’s also unclear whether hospitals in the U.K. (and elsewhere) are still designating anyone who is admitted and tests positive with a PCR test as a “COVID patient.” If so, people with broken bones or any number of other health problems who have no symptoms of COVID-19 at all might be unfairly lumped into the “unvaccinated COVID patient” total.


In Israel, where vaccine uptake has been very high due to restrictions on freedom for those who don’t comply,4 data show those who have received the COVID jab are 6.72 times more likely to get infected than people with natural immunity. The fully “vaccinated” also made up the bulk of serious cases and COVID-related deaths in July 2021, as illustrated in the graphs below.8 The red is unvaccinated, yellow refers to partially “vaccinated” and green fully “vaccinated” with two doses. By mid-August, 59% of serious cases were among those who had received two COVID injections,9 mirroring the data coming out of the U.K.

In an August 16, 2021, Science article,10 Israeli Minister of Health Nitzan Horowitz is quoted saying the nation has entered a “critical time” in the race against the pandemic. Horowitz allegedly was given a third booster shot August 13, 2021, the day they began offering a third dose to people over the age of 50. From Public Health England’s data, it seems clear that the COVID shots are failing to protect people over the age of 50 in the U.K. as well, so it’s probably only a matter of time before booster shots are rolled out there too. And, provided the COVID injections are the same irrespective of country, there’s every reason to assume the same trends will emerge in other countries, including the U.S.


According to Science magazine, breakthrough cases are now multiplying at breakneck speed. “There are so many breakthrough infections that they dominate and most of the hospitalized patients are actually vaccinated,” Uri Shalit, a bioinformatician at the Israel Institute of Technology told Science. Nearly 1 million Israelis over the age of 50 have now received a third booster of Pfizer’s mRNA shot. Time will tell whether this will worsen the rate of breakthrough cases or tame it. Dvir Aran, a biomedical data scientist at the Israel Institute of Technology doesn’t seem very hopeful, telling Science the surge is already so steep, “even if you get two-thirds of those 60-plus [boosted], it’s just gonna give us another week, maybe two weeks until our hospitals are flooded” again.

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“Existing drugs could have relegated COVID to a manageable outpatient disease by the first half of 2021.”

‘Get Sicker’: Anatomy Of A Failed Policy (Pfeiffer)

Throughout COVID, the media has stepped into line like good soldiers in a war on disease, failing, in the process, to do its job. It gave government a pass on the dearth of outpatient care. It fostered the fiction that aggressively treating COVID is a right-wing construct. It dismissed vaccine side effects as rare. It enabled vast censorship. News outlets might be excused for initially minimizing falling vaccine efficacy in this dynamic situation. But it cannot be excused for its politicization of and disdain for generic early treatments. As a mainstream community journalist for decades, with two books and many awards, I am appalled at what this profession has become.

Existing drugs could have relegated COVID to a manageable outpatient disease by the first half of 2021. We have promising generics: ivermectin primarily but also fluvoxamine, hydroxychloroquine, budesonide and protocols that employ them with zinc, Vitamin D and the like. They have been suppressed around the globe, as countries – mainly, but not all, in the first world — have caved under pressure to conform to the U.S.-hatched strategy. In the white-hot frenzy of pack journalism, doctors’ licenses have been threatened, and reputations imperiled, including of a prison doctor who used ivermectin and kept inmates out of hospitals. Will nursing home practitioners, who told me of their own ivermectin success, be next in this witch hunt? Indeed, somehad used it to control scabies and found a remarkable drop in COVID.

As the globe is buttressed by new variants, vaccine efficacy is being tested and so is that of ivermectin. Leading proponents are adjusting doses and adding to treatment cocktails as part of a logical ongoing effort: Use emerging science and clinical experience to learn what works. Although off-label use of approved drugs is well established — accounting for 21 percent of office prescriptions and half of oncology drugs – doctors have instead been told to follow only a few, patented, government-sanctioned treatments, available only in hospitals. Who could blame them, in this heated environment, for not practicing medicine but following orders? Nonetheless, the forces of commerce and incompetence that have pushed a false narrative and demonized treatment for COVID must be held to account.

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“The fifth jab would put the risk of getting screwed at ten percent, which is approximately the rate of death from the original SARS and the sixth would be odds-on as literal suicide.”

There’s An Off Ramp – But It Has A Price (Denninger)

[..] all of the current vaccines deliberately produce that spike protein, which by itself causes disease, specifically clotting-related disease, in your body. Deliberately causing your body to produce that pathogen (which then elicits the antibody response) is how all of them work. This means there is no safe way to vaccinate against this disease because introducing the spike into your body, no matter how you do it, inherently runs the risk of serious clotting-based disorders. You might or might not get nailed but there is no avoiding the risk. That same risk is what kills you, most of the time, if you actually get Covid-19 and die but the premise that you avoid that risk when taking a jab is a lie.

You cannot; the risk is inherent in introducing the spike into your circulation and there is no way around that with an IM injection because the muscles of the body are very well-perfused (that is, there’s a lot of blood flow in them) even if the person who performs the injection does not hit a blood vessel, and they might. These facts are not up for debate on a scientific basis any longer. They also fully explain the myocarditis, pericarditis and myriad other so-called “rare” events that occur with these jabs such as strokes, heart attacks and other clotting-based disorders. In addition the data is that the 2nd shot in the 2-shot series is much more dangerous than the first, which implies an exponential expansion of risk. Whether that expansion of risk bleeds back off over a couple of months or so is entirely unknown as it has not been studied.

Without a data set of hundreds of thousands (so as to get statistical significance) and both baseline and follow-up d-Dimer testing, at minimum, we will never be able to put numbers on this, nor get a decay rate on the risk if it decays, and nobody is doing those studies. That’s the bad news; if you take repeated shots and the risk does not bleed off then eventually you will kill yourself. If, for example, the risk on the first shot is 1/100,000 (extremely rare), on the second 1/10,000 (that’s a bad pattern) and the risk does not bleed off over the space of three or four months then the risk from the third is 1/1,000 (that’s 0.1% and quite nasty) while the risk from a fourth jab rises to 1% at which point you’re in the ballpark for a severely morbid person when it comes to Covid-19 infection itself killing them.

The fifth jab would put the risk of getting screwed at ten percent, which is approximately the rate of death from the original SARS and the sixth would be odds-on as literal suicide. How many jabs did you say you’re willing to risk taking again? You cannot get your health back if you ruin it by being stupid. The younger you are the worse the risk is in terms of years of enjoyable life lost. To take that sort of risk when you’re 85, fat, diabetic, you have an almost-10% risk of death in the next year from all causes and the Coof is 10% likely to kill you is very different than to take that same risk to your health when you’re 17, male, have a BMI under 25, there’s not a damn thing wrong with you medically, your all-cause risk of death (most of it by violence) is 7/10,000 and your risk, by the CDC’s numbers, of Covid-19 killing you if infected is approximately 1/100,000.

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Never was one.

The Case For Covid Vaccine Passports Was Just Demolished (Fee)

A newly published medical study found that infection from COVID-19 confers considerably longer-lasting and stronger protection against the Delta variant of the virus than vaccines. “The natural immune protection that develops after a SARS-CoV-2 infection offers considerably more of a shield against the Delta variant of the pandemic coronavirus than two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, according to a large Israeli study that some scientists wish came with a ‘Don’t try this at home’ label,” the Scientific American reported Thursday. “The newly released data show people who once had a SARS-CoV-2 infection were much less likely than vaccinated people to get Delta, develop symptoms from it, or become hospitalized with serious COVID-19.” Put another way, vaccinated individuals were 27 times more likely to get a symptomatic COVID infection than those with natural immunity from COVID.

The findings come as many governments around the world are demanding citizens acquire “vaccine passports” to travel. New York City, France, and the Canadian provinces of Quebec and British Columbia are among those who have recently embraced vaccine passports. Meanwhile, Australia has floated the idea of making higher vaccination rates a condition of lifting its lockdown in jurisdictions, while President Joe Biden is considering making interstate travel unlawful for people who have not been vaccinated for COVID-19. Vaccine passports are morally dubious for many reasons, not the least of which is that freedom of movement is a basic human right. However, vaccine passports become even more senseless in light of the new findings out of Israel and revelations from the CDC, some say.

Harvard Medical School professor Martin Kulldorff said research showing that natural immunity offers exponentially more protection than vaccines means vaccine passports are both unscientific and discriminatory, since they disproportionately affect working class individuals. “Prior COVID disease (many working class) provides better immunity than vaccines (many professionals), so vaccine mandates are not only scientific nonsense, they are also discriminatory and unethical,” Kulldorff, a biostatistician and epidemiologist, observed on Twitter.

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Very odd moment: boosters.

Key Vaccine Leaders Departing FDA As Covid-19 Booster Questions Linger (FPhar)

Two key vaccine leaders will leave the FDA this fall, just as the agency faces key decisions over COVID-19 booster shots and as variants take a bite out of the shots’ efficacy. FDA Office of Vaccines Research and Review Director Marion Gruber, Ph.D. and Deputy Director Phillip Krause, M.D. will depart the agency. Both have been with the agency for decades and have been pivotal in the United States’ effort to authorize COVID-19 vaccines to fight the pandemic. The news was first reported by Biocentury. Gruber will leave the agency on Oct. 31 and Krause’s last day will be sometime in November, according to a letter shared by the FDA with Fierce Pharma. The letter was signed by Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, under which the vaccine research office sits.

Marks will serve as acting director of the OVRR for now as a search begins for a new chief. An acting director will be announced later. “[Gruber’s] contributions throughout her career have been immeasurable, but never more so than during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Marks said. “Her leadership in the center’s efforts to authorize three COVID-19 vaccines, and more recently to approve one of those vaccines, ensured that the vaccines met the high standards the public has come to expect from FDA, and has positively impacted the public health in the U.S. and across the globe.” [..] For his part, Krause was responsible for liaising with public health officials around the world to “address critical vaccine-related issues,” according to Marks. “His keen insight and experience in addressing a wide variety of challenges will truly be missed,” the letter said.

The departures are the latest high-profile officials to leave the key federal agency that still lacks a permanent leader. Janet Woodcock is leading the agency on an acting basis and will not be considered for the commissioner job permanently. Nevertheless, the FDA expressed confidence that the vaccine work would go on. “We are confident in the expertise and ability of our staff to continue our critical public health work, including evaluating COVID-19 vaccines,” an FDA spokesperson said. Gruber and Krause are leaving the agency following criticism of the White House’s decision to leap frog over the agency to recommend COVID-19 booster shots. The move to start boosters next month has been blasted by the World Health Organization, which questions the data to support the need for a third shot—especially as poorer nations continue to struggle with getting first shots to people.

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Note: in the top article, WebMD is cited as saying in the US, up to 40% of health care workers have chosen not to get the vaccine. But Greece claims “more than 90% of the doctors and 80% of the nurses had been vaccinated”.

Greek Health Ministry Bracing For ‘Great Exodus’ (K.)

With the deadline for the mandatory vaccination of health workers expiring on Wednesday, the Heath Ministry is preparing for an imminent “great exodus” of staff due to the suspensions that will ensue with a wide array of preemptive measures to fill the gaps and to ensure that services are fully operational. These measures include a reshuffle of healthcare workers within hospitals, mergers of clinics and departments, the replacement of those suspended with auxiliary staff and partnerships with the private sector for support services such as catering, care etc. Wednesday is the last day for staff to get at least the first dose of vaccine against Covid-19 so as to avoid suspension as of tomorrow. The government has insisted the relevant legislation for mandatory vaccinations will be strictly implemented.


Those who are exempt from the precepts of the legislation are obviously those that have already been vaccinated and workers who have been infected with the coronavirus within the last six months. Those who do not fall into these categories and have not received approval for exemption due to health issues by the competent committees will be suspended. Moreover, as clarified by the former deputy minister of health, Vassilis Kontozamanis, based on the payroll system in the public sector, which provides advance payment of earnings every two weeks, the government will request that they return this amount of salary as unduly paid. Speaking on the radio station 9.84 on Tuesday, Secretary General of Health Services Yiannis Kotsiopoulos estimated that about 10,000 health workers will not continue working in the National Health System. According to the most recent data, more than 90% of the doctors and 80% of the nurses had been vaccinated against Covid-19, while the percentages are lower for the rest of the staff.

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The Guardian campaign vs ivermectin. Check the picture they use.

Pharmacy Customers Refuse To Say What Ivermectin Prescription Is For (G.)

Australian pharmacists have reported an increasing number of people arriving with prescriptions for the drug ivermectin, but refusing to say what it will be used for. The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia said its members were encountering resistance from some customers when asked why they were seeking ivermectin. “PSA is aware that some pharmacists have experienced an increase in presentations of prescriptions for ivermectin, including where the patient is unwilling or unable to discuss what they are being used for,” a PSA spokesperson said. The Therapeutic Goods Administration on Monday said there had been a shortage of Stromectol 3mg ivermectin tablets in August.


The drug is typically used in humans for treating river blindness, scabies and roundworm infections, but has increasingly been sought as a treatment for Covid-19, despite not being approved for that use in Australia. The TGA also noted there had been a tenfold increase in detections of the drug being imported into Australia, prompting the regulator to warn against using the drug for Covid-19 treatment, stating there is “insufficient evidence” that it works and it may be dangerous to health. The university behind the initial lab trial for ivermectin used to treat Covid-19 has also warned against people self-medicating with the drug or buying drugs meant for livestock. Much of the initial focus on the drug as a Covid-19 treatment stemmed from an April 2020 lab trial at Monash University in Melbourne, where ivermectin was found to have killed the Covid-19 virus in a cell culture within 48 hours.

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“New Zealand is fully trapped in the Zero COVID death spiral, and it has no way out of it for the foreseeable future.”

Zero Covid, A Once Wildly Popular Ideology, Quietly Faces Extinction (Subs)

The Zero COVID ideology began with a Chinese government lie. Zero COVID once recruited almost unanimous advocates in world governments, “global health” organizations, and “public health experts” far and wide. Yet today, just 18 months after its first implementation, the Zero COVID ideology is so rare and so unpopular that you have to travel to remote parts of Oceania or within the confines of an elite American liberal arts university in order to find it. Zero COVID, the idea that demands the total elimination of a virus from a nation state, was spawned as part of a disinformation operation by the Chinese Communist Party in Wuhan, China. In early 2020, Chinese authorities declared the virus that causes COVID-19 had been successfully eliminated from the population through brute force restrictions such as lockdowns, masks, and using the power of a Police State to force people to stay inside their homes for an indefinite period of time.

When COVID-19 spread far and wide, almost every nation in the world (other than rare holdouts such as Sweden and Belarus) implemented the aforementioned draconian policies in an attempt to “stop the spread” and eliminate the virus from the world. In the beginning, even questioning these baseless, pseudoscientific ideas was tantamount to being something of a bioterrorist. Through much of 2020, yours truly was constantly castigated by actors across the political spectrum for asking about the wisdom of using the power of government to wage an elimination war against a submicroscopic infectious particle. Zero COVID was science. Zero COVID was truth. Zero COVID superseded every constitutional protection out there, because no right was too important when a virus was out there.

In 2020, COVID Zero’s membership roster was probably in the billions. Now, the adherents of the COVID Zero ideology are facing imminent extinction. The 18 month effort to contain COVID-19 was not only unsuccessful, it brought unprecedented economic and societal disaster in addition to the unconstrained virus problem. Today, few, if any governments have fully owned up to their failures. Most have taken the scapegoat approach, and without evidence, have blamed “the unvaccinated,” the “highly contagious” Delta variant, or some combination of the two to justify their catastrophic blunders. Over the past few months, the remains of the Zero COVID damn broke in the few nation state holdouts where rulers still adhered to the Zero COVID ideology.

In Australia, Vietnam, South Korea, Singapore, and elsewhere around the world, the lid on the pressure cooker came flying off, and local populations saw skyrocketing COVID numbers. Now, every country in the world but one has quietly, through their own policies, accepted the failure of the “global elites’” Zero COVID virus elimination strategy. Read some of the media stories that lauded Zero COVID “success story” nations, and you’ll find that they’ve come to age like months-old milk. New Zealand, the one Zero COVID country that remains, is currently under another hard lockdown, which has recently been extended until at least mid September. The country is now almost 2 years into its self siege, in which the government has decreed that the vast majority of citizens cannot enter or exit the country. As for a reopening timeline, Auckland no longer has one. New Zealand is fully trapped in the Zero COVID death spiral, and it has no way out of it for the foreseeable future.

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Bit late.

Singapore Gives Up Goal of Zero Covid Despite High Vaccination Rate (Gizmodo)

Singapore has decided to give up on the dream of covid-zero and will instead learn to “live with the virus,” according to the country’s Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong on Sunday. The decision comes despite the fact that Singapore has one of the highest covid-19 vaccination rates in the world, with 80% of the adult population fully vaccinated—second only to the country of Malta’s 82%. Singapore, a country of roughly 5.7 million people, has been among a handful of countries that have pursued a strategy of completely eliminating covid-19, rather than just suppressing the virus. Other covid-zero countries over the past year have included New Zealand, Taiwan, China, Vietnam, and Australia.

“It is no longer possible to bring covid-19 cases down to zero, even if we lock down for a long time. Therefore, we must prepare for covid-19 to become endemic, like the flu or chicken pox,” Lee said on Sunday during a speech to commemorate the country’s National Day, according to a transcript from the Strait Times. “Fortunately, with vaccination and added precautions, we can live with the virus and become ‘Covid resilient’,” Lee continued. Singapore has done exceptionally well during our global health crisis, reporting roughly 67,000 cases of covid-19 since the start of the pandemic, and just 55 deaths. And Singapore was reporting fewer than 30 cases per day for much of 2021 until a surge of cases in July that saw the country averaging 150 cases per day.

But Loong promises his government isn’t giving up on suppressing the virus, they’re just abandoning the covid-zero model. “We may have to tap on the brakes from time to time, but we want to avoid having to slam on the brakes hard. So in the next phase, we will move step by step. Not in one big bang like in some countries but cautiously and progressively, feeling our way forward,” Lee said. That “big bang” is likely a veiled reference to countries like the UK, which celebrated a “freedom day” in July where all covid-19 restrictions were lifted, only to see a surge in cases and deaths. Case numbers in the UK have started to plateau again, thanks largely to the vast majority of people in the region having covid-19 antibodies either through vaccination or previous infection, but cases are still very high at roughly 25,000 per day. The U.S. has also seen a surge of infections recently, with a seven-day average of about 157,000 new cases each day.

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“It is hard to overstate how dispositively Rhodes’ own book proves that Obama officials generally, and Rhodes specifically, lied blatantly and cavalierly to the public about what happened..”

Obama Officials’ Lies About Edward Snowden and Russia (Greenwald)

Ever since Edward Snowden received asylum from Russia in 2013, Obama officials have repeatedly maligned his motives and patriotism by citing his “choice” to take up residence there. It has long been clear that this narrative was a lie: Snowden, after meeting with journalists in Hong Kong, intended only to transit through Moscow and then Havana on his way to seek asylum in Latin America. He was purposely prevented from leaving Russia — trapped in the Moscow airport — by the very Obama officials who then cynically weaponized his presence there to imply he was a civil-liberties hypocrite for “choosing” to live in such a repressive country or, even worse, a Kremlin agent or Russian spy.

But now we have absolute, definitive proof that Snowden never intended to stay in Russia but was deliberately prevented from leaving by the same Obama officials who exploited the predicament which they created. The proof was supplied unintentionally in the memoir of one of Obama’s senior national security advisers, Ben Rhodes, entitled The World as It Is: A Memoir of the Obama White House. It is hard to overstate how dispositively Rhodes’ own book proves that Obama officials generally, and Rhodes specifically, lied blatantly and cavalierly to the public about what happened: a level of sustained and conscious lying that can be explained only by sociopathy.

The memoir of Rhodes, now appropriately an MSNBC contributor, is an incredibly self-serving homage to himself that repeatedly attempts to demonstrate his own importance and accomplishments. The passage about Rhodes’ conduct regarding Snowden is very much aligned with those goals. While repeatedly emphasizing how traumatic the Snowden revelations were for the Obama administrations, Rhodes boasts of the crucial role he played in preventing Snowden from leaving Russia as the NSA whistleblower was desperately attempting to do so — exactly the opposite of what people like Rhodes and Hillary Clinton were telling the public about Snowden.

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

 

Jul 282021
 


Blu Mural Rome, 2015 (click for more)

 

CDC Warns Covid-19 May Be A Few Mutations Away From Evading Vaccines (NYP)
Higher COVID Rate Found In Some Counties With Higher Vaccination Rate (CBS)
Booster Vaccines Could Be Offered As Soon As September (NT)
“Zero COVID” Experts Put Grandkids At Risk (ZH)
Unvaccinated Diners Only: California Restaurant (RT)
America, A Nation Which Once Championed Free Speech (Sinclair)
The Price of Conscience – Daniel Hale Sentenced to 45 Months (Chris Hedges)
Biden DOJ Wants Identity Of NoVA Woman’s Employer Kept Secret (Patch)
The Insecurity Industry (Snowden)
Julian Assange Stripped Of Citizenship By Ecuador (G.)

 

 

Does this say that even if a drug will be found to treat COVID19 the contract cannot be voided?!

 

 

 

 

So why would anyone want to get vaccinated now? Why not wait? “You’ll make it worse!” Me? On my own?

CDC Warns Covid-19 May Be A Few Mutations Away From Evading Vaccines (NYP)

COVID-19 may be “just a few mutations” away from being able to evade vaccines, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky warned Tuesday. Walensky said the current vaccines are effective against severe cases of the coronavirus, including those caused by its known variants, but its continuing spread could allow the disease to mutate beyond the immunizations’ protection. “The largest concern that I think we in public health and sciences are worried about is that virus and potential mutations … [have] the potential to evade our vaccine in terms of how it protects us from severe disease and death,” Walensky said at a press briefing.

“Right now, fortunately, we are not there. These vaccines operate really well in protecting us from severe disease and death. But the big concern is the next area that might emerge, just a few mutations potentially away, could potentially evade our vaccines.” The agency chief said the possibility is even more reason for people to get vaccinated — so that the virus can finally be off at the pass before it mutates into something that requires another vaccine. The CDC on Tuesday issued new indoor mask guidelines designed to help slow the spread of the virus in places experiencing surges in cases.

“In areas with substantial and time transmission, CDC recommends fully vaccinated people wear masks in public, indoor settings to help prevent the spread of the Delta variant and protect others,” Walensky said, referring to the highly contagious strain that comprises an estimated 83 percent of new cases nationwide. Health officials have stressed that rising coronavirus case numbers in the US are being driven by unvaccinated Americans. Currently, people who are not vaccinated are responsible for around 99.5 percent of COVID-19 deaths and 97 percent of hospitalizations, officials said.

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CBS Sacramento. The ways the story is “massaged” is a sight to behold.

Higher COVID Rate Found In Some Counties With Higher Vaccination Rate (CBS)

State workers and health care employees will now be required to show proof of vaccine or get tested for COVID at least once a week. The governor announced the new guidance today and is urging private employers to “replicate the example.” This comes as the highly contagious Delta variant is now dominant in the state and COVID rates have skyrocketed in the month since California officially reopened, including breakthrough cases among vaccinated Californians. A new analysis finds several counties with above-average vaccination rates also have higher COVID case rates, while case rates are falling in counties with below-average vaccination rates.

Statewide data analyzed by the Bay Area News Group found five counties, Los Angeles, San Diego, Alameda, Contra Costa, and San Francisco, have both a higher percentage of people who are fully vaccinated than the state average and a higher average daily case rate. Compare that to these five counties: Modoc, Glenn, Lassen, Del Norte, and San Benito, which have below-average vaccination rates and decreasing case rates. However, UCSF infectious disease expert Dr. Phillip Norris clarifies that the data doesn’t mean the vaccine is not working. He notes, first, the counties referenced with higher vaccination and case rates are more densely populated. “If there are a lot of people around you’re more likely to bump into one who has COVID,” Norris explained.

He, like other infectious disease experts, warns that vaccinated people may be unknowingly spreading the virus. Julie: A lot of people think if they’re vaccinated, they can’t transmit. Is that true? Phillip: So, originally we thought that might be true. But he says that’s no longer the case, thanks to the Delta variant. He points to preliminary data from China that indicates the viral load in the nose from the Delta variant may be 1,000 times higher than previous variants. “If that’s the case, even a little bit in somebody who’s vaccinated could be a lot,” he explains.

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Ireland. If I were me, I’d first want to know what’s in those booster shots. Different spike proteins perhaps?

Booster Vaccines Could Be Offered As Soon As September (NT)

A COVID-19 vaccine booster programme could get underway as soon as September, the Health Minister says. Stephen Donnelly says it will be done in conjunction with the flu vaccine, which is usually done in early autumn. It’s believed boosters will be offered first to people at high risk of illness or exposure to COVID-19 – in particular those who were vaccinated early in the rollout. Stephen Donnelly says we’re also likely to see “pop-up” vaccination centres in the coming weeks, to make it as “easy as possible” for young people to get vaccinated. He was speaking after NIAC and the Government gave the green light to extend vaccination to everyone aged 12-15. Around 70% of the adult population is now fully vaccinated against the virus, with nearly 85% having received at least their first dose.


Minister Donnelly told Newstalk Breakfast work is underway to figure out the best way to extend the vaccine programme in the coming weeks. He said: “My priority for some time has been children with underlying conditions. He said teenagers with underlying conditions may be able to book an appointment with their GP. However, it may ultimately be quicker to allow everyone in the age group to register at the same time for appointments in the mass vaccination centres. This weekend will also see the opening of the country’s first walk-in vaccination centres. Minister Donnelly said: “It’s this bank holiday weekend… it’s mRNA vaccines, so Pfizer or Moderna. Anyone over the age of 16… can just walk in.” He said it doesn’t matter if someone has already registered via the vaccine portal – they can still attend the new centre if they haven’t had their first dose yet.

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Zero covid is a thing of the past that hampers effective reactions.

“Zero COVID” Experts Put Grandkids At Risk (ZH)

The need to act on climate change is the fundamental moral imperative of our age, animated by the idea our sacrifices today will save the planet in the future. Yes, energy costs may be higher and some people will lose their jobs, but it’s worth it for the grandkids. Curiously, the grandkids haven’t been given much thought in our response to Covid-19. Our generation has foist extraordinary costs on future generations in a vain attempt to save lives from a disease that is lethal to a few. “The great majority of people … even in their 80s … will survive,” Britain’s chief scientific adviser Chris Whitty said in March last year, before collective psychosis took hold.

“Even in the most vulnerable, oldest groups, in a very stressed health service … the great majority of people who catch the virus – and not everyone will – survive it,” he told a parliamentary committee, having analysed the data from China and Italy. That was true then and it’s true now. Covid-19 was never an existential threat. After 18 months about four million people have died from or with Covid – most of advanced age apart for some tragic exceptions – in a world with a rapidly growing population of almost eight billion people. Sixty million people die every year. But we have behaved like it was, racking up trillions in extra debt and trashing norms of liberal democracy that might not quickly, if ever, return.

The idea that Sydney would be locked down in September 2021 or that American pediatricians would insist anyone over two years old wear a mask outside, to anyone living in February last year would have seemed ridiculous. Yet both, seemingly, are true. On this trend, silencing different scientific opinions or mandating individual tracking devices, all in the name of “saving lives”, may no longer be considered far-fetched. At the end of 2019 the federal budget papers forecast net debt of $361bn by June 2023. The latest budget papers forecast $835bn for the same period, rising to $980bn by mid-2025. Put another way, by 2030 the government’s gross debt burden is forecast to be more than 51 per cent of GDP, compared with 15 per cent forecast in 2019, according to the Intergenerational Report released last month.

By 2060, interest payments on federal debt will have doubled as a share of the economy, if interest rates start to return to more normal levels, it forecasts. A warmer planet won’t be the only burden we’re leaving for the grandkids. Future taxes will need to be higher, and expenditures on other goods and services lower, commensurately, than they otherwise would have been. We will have fewer resources to invest in cancer and dementia research, for example, much greater threats to welfare than Covid-19. “The Covid-19 pandemic and associated containment measures, however, have profoundly affected Australian society and the economy, and are likely to shape the future in ways that are not yet apparent,” the Intergenerational Report says. Who would have foreseen, for instance, a surge in babies being admitted to hospital in New Zealand for an “immunity debt” potentially caused by the government’s closed border policy?

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Of course not, or it would be no fun:

“An employee told the Los Angeles Times that the restaurant is not actually checking patrons’ vaccine status.”

Unvaccinated Diners Only: California Restaurant (RT)

A California restaurant has refused to back down after being bombarded with negative press and customer reviews for posting a sign demanding that all diners provide proof that they have not been vaccinated against Covid-19. With vaccination status increasingly becoming a prerequisite to participate in many ordinary activities, one Huntington Beach eatery has decided to take a slightly different approach to granting privileges based on personal medical decisions. On its storefront window, Basilico’s Pasta e Vino taped a sign reading: “PROOF OF BEING UNVACCINATED REQUIRED. We have zero tolerance for treasonous, anti-American stupidity. Thank you for pondering.”

The restaurant’s owner, Tony Roman, said that the unorthodox policy is designed to get people thinking as some Southern California businesses begin asking customers for proof of vaccination. “With the new and aggressive push for mandatory vax policies, we couldn’t resist, so we are sending a message of our own. Hopefully most are smart enough to read between the lines. Otherwise we will just sit back and have fun watching their heads explode over it,” Roman said in a statement to local media. An employee told the Los Angeles Times that the restaurant is not actually checking patrons’ vaccine status. The restaurant previously declared itself a mask-free zone and refused to shut its doors when eateries were ordered in March 2020 to curtail indoor dining as part of Covid restrictions.

Some appear to appreciate the intended message behind the odd measure. A vaccinated woman who cuts hair at a nearby barbershop told local media that she didn’t feel slighted by the no-vaxxed-allowed policy. “You got other places that want you vaccinated to come in. No different, right?” she noted to a local ABC affiliate. However, many others were furious over the move. The restaurant has been pelted with negative reviews on Yelp. One comment said that the provocative rule was a “slap in the face to all those who died from Covid-19.”

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Good idea, so-so rendition:

America, A Nation Which Once Championed Free Speech (Sinclair)

The elites of Silicon Valley, Wall Street, and Capitol Hill act as the true overlords of Western thought, guarding the borders of allowable speech. How on earth did we allow this to happen – and what can be done now? America has changed beyond recognition over the past few years, and performed a rather rapid about-face on the issue of free speech, a notion it once championed. The source of this is no longer merely the apparatus of Silicon Valley and its desire to control information flows (which it is meant to merely shepherd without bias). The same pressure has come from the superstate structure of America itself, particularly (and ironically) the politically ‘liberal’ faction, as well as from an overarching pressure from the consumer interests of Western-backed global finance.

There appears to be a mass consensus among American money-powers (and thereby state powers) to tightly control information, and to abandon utterly their so recently lauded values of free speech. The FBI in particular has seemingly transitioned into an institution of speech-referees and political oppressors, on guard primarily against America’s own citizens. Ironically, this has not halted America’s saber-rattling about political and informational oppressions from its geopolitical rivals in the east, which find themselves in the reverse role of shocked concern at the willingness of the American superstate to silence its political and moral enemies. Even to the extent of performing show trials.

[..] Facebook has led an initiative to officially create ‘snitches’ among its users, creating their own ‘social credit scheme’, along the lines of China’s. Again, in an act of unbridled obliviousness to the utter reversal of values they held as core only a few scant years ago, and while complaining out of the corner of their mouths about a Chinese variation of the same system. The nation which championed ‘free speech’ will now ban you from the public space and force you out of your job for the crime of ‘misgendering’. Among those who support the hard turn away from free speech, you will find devoted imbibers of neoliberal media, (CNN, MSNBC, BBC, NYT, etc). It is possibly here where you will find these attitudes are ‘created’ before being disseminated downstream among the elites of Silicon Valley, Wall Street, and Capitol Hill.

Once in consensus with the latest media buzzwords, these three may be considered part of a closed feedback loop. From there the true overlords of Western thought are those newly emerged sentinels who guard the borders of allowable speech. Today American citizens are tracked, monitored, and generally threatened more than ever before. Even my writing of this article, what would have been considered an innocuous expression of free political criticism only five or so years ago, might today be considered controversial to the new ‘American Stasi’. We in the West now live behind what we might call a new ‘iron curtain’ – and for those living behind this curtain, there is no longer any illusion of free speech, it is simply no longer talked about.

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Hale was caught because the Intercept got involved.

The Price of Conscience – Daniel Hale Sentenced to 45 Months (Chris Hedges)

Daniel Hale, a former intelligence analyst in the drone program for the Air Force who as a private contractor in 2013 leaked some 17 classified documents about drone strikes to the press, was sentenced Tuesday to 45 months in prison. The documents, published by The Intercept on October 15, 2015, exposed that between January 2012 and February 2013, U.S. special operations airstrikes killed more than 200 people. Of those, only 35 were the intended targets. For one five-month period of the operation, according to the documents, nearly 90 percent of the people killed in airstrikes were not the intended targets. The civilian dead, usually innocent bystanders, were routinely classified as “enemies killed in action.”

The Justice Department coerced Hale, who was deployed to Afghanistan in 2012, on March 31 to plead guilty to one count of violating the Espionage Act, a law passed in 1917 designed to prosecute those who passed on state secrets to a hostile power, not those who expose to the public government lies and crimes. Hale admitted as part of the plea deal to “retention and transmission of national security information” and leaking 11 classified documents to a journalist. If he had refused the plea deal, he could have spent 50 years in prison. The sentencing of Hale is one more potentially mortal blow to the freedom of the press. It follows in the wake of the prosecutions and imprisonment of other whistleblowers under the Espionage Act including Chelsea Manning, Jeffrey Sterling, Thomas Drake and John Kiriakou, who spent two-and-a-half years in prison for exposing the routine torture of suspects held in black sites.


Those charged under the act are treated as if they were spies. They are barred from explaining motivations and intent to the court. They cannot provide evidence to the court of the government lawlessness and war crimes they exposed. Prominent human rights organizations, such as the ACLU and PEN, along with mainstream publications, such as The New York Times and CNN, have largely remained silent about the prosecution of Hale. The group Stand with Daniel Hale has called on President Biden to pardon Hale and end the use of the Espionage Act to punish whistleblowers. It is also collecting donations for Hale’s legal fund. The bipartisan onslaught against the press — Barack Obama used the Espionage Act eight times against whistleblowers, more than all other previous administrations combined — by criminalizing those within the system who seek to inform the public is ominous for our democracy. It is effectively extinguishing all investigations into the inner workings of power.

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US woman kills someone on UK motorway, her fault, flees the country. US calls diplomatic immunity of sorts, no extradition. The US attorney who makes that case happens to be the same who tries hard to get Assange extradited the other way around.

Biden DOJ Wants Identity Of NoVA Woman’s Employer Kept Secret (Patch)

Radd Seiger, adviser and spokesperson for the Dunn family, said in a statement Monday that “as any parent might imagine, losing a child is the worst thing that can happen to you.” “But having to deal with the U.S. Government’s abuse and denial of justice as Harry’s family have had to since he died is unprecedented for us here in the U.K.,” he said. “Their conduct is and continues to be frankly unAmerican and against the core values of decency and compassion that we know most Americans hold dear to their hearts, including those who work for the intelligence agencies, many of whom have come forward to us privately to tell us how ashamed they are of their employer.”

Among the Justice Department officials who signed the motion for a protective order was Raj Parekh, acting U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia and an appointee of the Biden administration. In an ironic twist, Parekh supervises hundreds of Justice Department attorneys, including many who are seeking the extradition of foreign nationals to the United States. The most prominent case currently under Parekh’s direction is the U.S. government’s attempt to extradite WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, an Australian citizen, from the U.K. to the United States to face charges under the U.S. Espionage Act of 1917. David Davis, a Conservative member of the U.K. Parliament, wrote in an op-ed on Saturday that his government appears to have a one-sided relationship with the United States on the issue of extradition.

“[T]he UK is one of most amenable nations in the world to the surrender of its citizens to overseas courts — but we do not insist on corresponding arrangements with other governments,” Davis wrote in his July 24 column for the Daily Mail. [..] Sacoolas is scheduled to be deposed by the Dunn family’s lawyers on Aug. 24 as part of the lawsuit against her and her husband. Dunn’s parents were deposed in the civil proceeding in early July. At Sacoolas’s deposition, “she will be questioned regarding her activity as she drove from the base to the accident scene, and Plaintiffs are deeply concerned that the Government’s motion will needlessly thwart a legitimate inquiry on this and other relevant subjects,” the Dunn family lawyers wrote in their court filing on Monday. Seiger, the spokesperson for the Dunn family, said the July 23 motion filed by the Justice Department “is not an attempt to protect state secrets or national security.” “It is an attempt to keep Harry’s family from the truth and minimize what happened to him,” he said.

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“The first thing I do when I get a new phone is take it apart.”

The Insecurity Industry (Snowden)

The first thing I do when I get a new phone is take it apart. I don’t do this to satisfy a tinkerer’s urge, or out of political principle, but simply because it is unsafe to operate. Fixing the hardware, which is to say surgically removing the two or three tiny microphones hidden inside, is only the first step of an arduous process, and yet even after days of these DIY security improvements, my smartphone will remain the most dangerous item I possess. Prior to this week’s Pegasus Project, a global reporting effort by major newspapers to expose the fatal consequences of the NSO Group—the new private-sector face of an out-of-control Insecurity Industry—most smartphone manufacturers along with much of the world press collectively rolled their eyes at me whenever I publicly identified a fresh-out-of-the-box iPhone as a potentially lethal threat.

Despite years of reporting that implicated the NSO Group’s for-profit hacking of phones in the deaths and detentions of journalists and human rights defenders; despite years of reporting that smartphone operating systems were riddled with catastrophic security flaws (a circumstance aggravated by their code having been written in aging programming languages that have long been regarded as unsafe); and despite years of reporting that even when everything works as intended, the mobile ecosystem is a dystopian hellscape of end-user monitoring and outright end-user manipulation, it is still hard for many people to accept that something that feels good may not in fact be good. Over the last eight years I’ve often felt like someone trying to convince their one friend who refuses to grow up to quit smoking and cut back on the booze—meanwhile, the magazine ads still say “Nine of Ten Doctors Smoke iPhones!” and “Unsecured Mobile Browsing is Refreshing!”

In my infinite optimism, however, I can’t help but regard the arrival of the Pegasus Project as a turning-point—a well-researched, exhaustively-sourced, and frankly crazy-making story about a “winged” “Trojan Horse” infection named “Pegasus” that basically turns the phone in your pocket into an all-powerful tracking device that can be turned on or off, remotely, unbeknownst to you, the pocket’s owner.


The microphones inside my actual phone, prepped for surgery

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Officially stateless now? Nice. What says Australia?

Julian Assange Stripped Of Citizenship By Ecuador (G.)

Ecuador has revoked the citizenship of Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks who is currently in a British prison. Ecuador’s justice system formally notified the Australian of the nullity of his naturalisation in a letter that came in response to a claim filed by the South American country’s foreign ministry. A naturalisation is reconsidered when it is granted based on the concealment of relevant facts, false documents or fraud. Ecuadorian authorities said Assange’s naturalisation letter had multiple inconsistencies, different signatures, the possible alteration of documents and unpaid fees, among other issues. Carlos Poveda, Assange’s lawyer, said the decision was made without due process and Assange was not allowed to appear in the case.


“On the date [Assange] was cited he was deprived of his liberty and with a health crisis inside the deprivation of liberty centre where he was being held,” Poveda said. Poveda said he will file appeals asking for an amplification and clarification of the decision. “More than the importance of nationality, it is a matter of respecting rights and following due process in withdrawing nationality.” Assange received Ecuadorian citizenship in January 2018 as part of a failed attempt by the government of then-President Lenín Moreno to turn him into a diplomat to get him out of its embassy in London. On Monday, the Pichincha court for contentious administrative matters revoked this decision. Ecuador’s foreign ministry said the court had “acted independently and followed due process in a case that took place during the previous government and that was raised by the same previous government”.

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Jun 182021
 


Roy Lichtenstein Crying girl 1964

 

Kids, Adults Have Similar Seroprevalence (HT)
Avalanche of Numbers (D’Eramo)
VAERS ID: 1026783 (OpenVaers)
Hong Kong Pays Off 3 Patients Who Suffered “Adverse” Reaction To Vaccines (ZH)
Vaccine Passports: Business Rights vs Personal Freedom (Smith)
Scientist Backing Probe Into Wuhan Lab: We Waited Because Of Trump (DW)
The Real B3W-NATO Agenda (Escobar)
Swexit (Streeck)
The Role Of Public Debt And Private Debt In The Next Crisis (Steve Keen)
Lifting The Mask (Edward Snowden)

 

 

 

 

Biden + Kamala vaccines
https://twitter.com/i/status/1405804353240420353

 

 

Dr. Byram Bridle

 

 

Has India reached herd immunity?

Kids, Adults Have Similar Seroprevalence (HT)

The exposure of children to Covid-19 has been similar to adults’, a serological surveillance study spearheaded by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has found, addressing fears that a third wave of Covid-19 could disproportionately affect children. The seroprevalence, presence of virus-fighting antibodies against Sars-CoV-2, among children was 55.7% across five study sites, in comparison to 63.5% among adults — the difference was judged to be statistically insignificant. In Delhi, which was one of the five sites for the study, the researchers found that 74.7% of the population – both children and adults – had been exposed to the infection. This is much higher seroprevalence than the state government’s survey from January where 56.1% were found to have antibodies against the virus.

The samples for the AIIMS study were collected between April and May, and would not have detected antibodies of those who got the infection during the second wave. There was also an urban-rural divide in prevalence in Delhi-NCR. As compared to the 74.7% in urban settlements of South Delhi, the prevalence was 59.3% in villages of Delhi and Ballabhgarh. “Results show that a large majority of the population had already been infected by the time we conducted the study at Delhi urban site which belongs to lower and middle socioeconomic strata population and very congested neighbourhood,” the study said. With all locations other than Delhi being rural, the average seroprevalence in rural areas stood at 58.8% as per the study. The highest seroprevalence was found in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh where 87.9% of the people had been exposed to the infection.

More importantly, the seroprevalence among children and adults in the same regions were similar. “Wherever the prevalence of antibodies was high among the adults, it was high among the children, busting the myth that so far children have been less affected. The thing is, the binding of the virus to the human cell receptors is not very good in children and hence they mostly develop either asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic infection,” said Dr Sanjay Rai, one of the authors of the study and the head of the department of community medicine at the AIIMS. He added, “People have been saying that after the young, the third wave will impact children more. The fact is most of them have been already exposed to the infection along with their families. And, numerous studies have now shown that natural infection can provide better and longer protection against a second infection.”

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More India.

Avalanche of Numbers (D’Eramo)

In the last few weeks, a report has been circulating in the online fora of the ultranationalist Indian diaspora. Its author, Shantanu Gupta, an ideologue closely associated with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatya Janata Party, ‘tracked the coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic in India of 6 global publications – BBC, the Economist, the Guardian, Washington Post, New York Times and CNN – via web search results over a 14-month period’. His argument is that these outlets have distorted and exaggerated the effects of coronavirus in India. On what does Gupta base this thesis? On the fact that all these sources have used absolute numbers rather than cases per million. By the latter metric, we are told, ‘India is one of the better performing countries on the global map’. Here he is undoubtedly correct.

Countless times this spring we’ve seen the dramatic, record-shattering daily death counts from India, as it reportedly became the country with the third highest Covid deaths in the world. A quick look at these records: deaths in India reached their highest level on May 18th, with 4,525 per day. The USA topped this morbid leaderboard on January 12th with slightly lower numbers: 4,466. The UK reached its peak on January 20th, with 1,823 daily deaths; Italy on December 3rd with 993.

The problem is, India’s population stands at 1.392 billion. The USA’s is just 332 million, while the UK and Italy have 68 and 60 million respectively. If, then, we were to count the number of deaths per million inhabitants, ranking the highest daily death count yields quite different results: the UK holds a strong lead, with 28 deaths a day per million inhabitant; Italy is in second place with 17; the USA follows with 14; and India comes last, with just 3 per million inhabitants. Regarding the total number of deaths per million since the beginning of the pandemic, each country is almost identical, the only change coming at the very top: Italy clinches gold with 2,091 deaths per million, the UK 1,873, the USA 1,836, and India just 243.

One might argue that Indian statistics are unreliable (a fair objection, no doubt), due to the impossibility of accurately recording deaths in slums and other deprived areas. We now know that the true Covid death count in Peru was around triple the official figure. But multiply the Indian death count by four and it would still be inferior to that of more developed countries with far higher per capita incomes such as the USA, UK and Italy.

So has the pandemic in India been a bed of roses, as Modi has repeated for around a year, and as Gupta still maintains? Not at all. Try selling this to the families brought to ruin buying oxygen tanks on the black market or rooms in facilities with ventilators, or to the millions of precarious workers sent back home on foot, without a penny or subsidy to speak of. Even if, epidemiologically, Covid has not hit India more violently than other countries, it nonetheless spelled catastrophe for the health service and the wider economy. The numbers presented to underscore India’s Covid ‘tragedy’ in reality told an entirely different story. They were a testament to the brutal inequality of Indian society and the awful state of its health service: underfunded, staffed with underpaid workers, and lacking all kinds of vital equipment.

Malone

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Can vaccinated pilots be trusted to fly a plane?

VAERS ID: 1026783 (OpenVaers)

AGE: 33| SEX: M|State: MS. i noticed a headache in the very top of my head within an hour of getting the vaccine. i thought it was normal because everyone i know said they got a headache from it. over the next few hours, the pain moved down the back of my neck and became a burning sensation at the bottom of my skull. the pain was not excruciating but was constant. i thought it would eventually go away. i’m a pilot and fly for a living. two days after receiving the vaccine i flew my plane and immediately noticed something was wrong with me. i was having a very hard time focusing. approximately 2 hours into my flying i felt sudden and extreme pressure in my head and nearly blacked out.

i immediately landed and stopped flying. two days later i tried flying again and the exact same thing happened again after 20 minutes. the burning in my neck intensified and was now accompanied by dizziness, nausea, disorientation, confusion, uncontrollable shaking, and tinkling in my toes and fingers. i immediately went to my hometown doctor and he diagnosed me with vertigo. he prescribed me meclizine on friday 02/05/2021. i took the medicine as prescribed all weekend with no relief. monday 02/08/2021 i made an appointment for that wednesday at the institute.

during wednesday 02/10/2021-02/11/2021 i had roughly 10-15 test performed on me including balance, eye and hearing test, ct scan, mri, and measured my spinal fluid pressure. the physician determined on 02/11/2021 that i had an allergic reaction to the pfizer covid vaccine the severely increased the pressure in my spinal cord and brain stem. that pressure causes my vision problems and ultimately ruptured my left inner ear breaking off several crystals in the process. i cannot fly with this condition. i’m currently taking diamox to reduce the pressure in my spinal cord and brain stem.

BA pilots

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Vaccination Indemnity Fund.

Hong Kong Pays Off 3 Patients Who Suffered “Adverse” Reaction To Vaccines (ZH)

For the first time since its mass-vaccination campaign kicked off three months ago, Hong Kong’s vaccination indemnity fund has paid out a total of HK$450,000 ($58,000) as compensation for patients who suffered particularly severe reactions to inoculation against COVID. Out of more than 3MM doses of vaccines that have been administered in the city-state since February, HK’s Food and Health Bureau said it had received 74 applications for compensation as of June 10, 58 of which were still being processed. As of Sunday, 3,605 people had reported an adverse reaction to their jabs, roughly 0.12% of all vaccination recipients. Only 1.2MM, or 16.3% of the city’s population, has been fully vaccinated.


Awards were given to patients whose reactions were deemed especially severe. “The principles of severity assessment include fairness to applicants, prudent use of public funding, transparency to the public, and based on medical science,” the bureau said in a statement. “Severity of individual cases is subject to case-by-case assessment according to their circumstances.” The compensation figures were revealed while authorities also confirmed a new imported case from Sri Lanka, which brought the city’s official tally to 11,881, with 210 related deaths. So far 21 deaths have been recorded involving people who received a jab two weeks before dying, although no connection has been made between he vaccination and the deaths, according to the state authorities.

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“Do private property rights and free markets extend to them as well, even if their goal is the destruction of the very principles of freedom we hold dear?”

Vaccine Passports: Business Rights vs Personal Freedom (Smith)

The formation of totalitarianism is often insidious in that it is almost always sold to the public as “humanitarian”; a solution for the greater good of the greater number. But beyond that, tyrants will also exploit the ideals of the target population and use these principles against them. Like weaknesses in the armor of a free society, our ideals of freedom are not necessarily universally applicable at all times and in all circumstances; we have to place some limits in order to prevent oligarchy from using liberalism as a tool to gain a foothold. This battle for balance is the defining drama of all societies that endeavor to be free. It might sound hypocritical, and your typical anarchist and some libertarians will completely dismiss the notion that there should be any limits to what people (or companies) can do, especially when it comes to their private property.

But at what point do private property rights encroach on the rights of others? Is it simply black and white? Does anything go? The bottom line is, in the wake of covid controls and mass online censorship, it is time for those of us in the liberty movement to have a frank discussion about where the line is for the rights of businesses. The problem went mainstream initially a few years back when Big Tech companies that control the majority of social media sites decided that they were going to start actively targeting conservative users with shadow bans and outright censorship. Here’s the thing: If we are talking about smaller websites run by private individuals, then yes, I would argue in defense of their right to remove anyone from their site for almost any reason.

Their website is their property, and much like their home they can do whatever they want within it. Denial of access to an average website is not going to damage the ability of a person to live their normal lives, nor will it fundamentally restrict their ability to share information with others. There are always other websites. But what if we are talking about massive international conglomerates? Should these corporations be given the same free rein to do as they wilt? Do private property rights and free markets extend to them as well, even if their goal is the destruction of the very principles of freedom we hold dear? And, what if a host of small businesses in a given place decide they are going to implement freedom crushing mandates along with major corporations? What if they are all manipulated by government incentives or pressure? What if governments do not need to implement totalitarianism directly at first because businesses are doing it for them? Do the dynamics of private property change in this case?

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“..a xenophobic cousin to climate change denialism and anti-vaxxism..”

Scientist Backing Probe Into Wuhan Lab: We Waited Because Of Trump (DW)

A scientist that signed onto a letter recently backing a probe in the possibility that the coronavirus pandemic originated from the Wuhan Institute of Virology admitted in an interview this week that she and other scientists did not come forward sooner to back the possibility that the pandemic originated in a lab because they did not want “to be associated with Trump.” NBC News reports: Chan was one of 18 scientists who published a letter in the journal Science last month calling for a more in-depth investigation into the virus’s origin that takes into account theories about both natural occurrence and laboratory spillovers. The letter helped kick-start a new round of calls to investigate the “lab leak hypothesis,” including demands from President Joe Biden and several leading scientists.

The report noted that numerous experts in the field have said that little-to-no evidence has emerged over the last year or so and that the only thing that has changed is the “context and circumstances” around the debate of the pandemic’s origins. The report continued: “Chan said there had been trepidation among some scientists about publicly discussing the lab leak hypothesis for fear that their words could be misconstrued or used to support racist rhetoric about how the coronavirus emerged. Trump fueled accusations that the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a research lab in the city where the first Covid-19 cases were reported, was connected to the outbreak…” “At the time, it was scarier to be associated with Trump and to become a tool for racists, so people didn’t want to publicly call for an investigation into lab origins,” Chan claimed in the interview.

Scientists rushed to downplay the possibility that the pandemic could have originated in the lab by publishing a letter in The Lancet that cast it “as a xenophobic cousin to climate change denialism and anti-vaxxism,” Vanity Fair reported. “The Lancet statement effectively ended the debate over COVID-19’s origins before it began.” “To Gilles Demaneuf, following along from the sidelines, it was as if it had been ‘nailed to the church doors,’ establishing the natural origin theory as orthodoxy,” the report added. “‘Everyone had to follow it. Everyone was intimidated. That set the tone.’” Former CDC Director Robert Redfield said this week that he believes that the pandemic originated in the lab and that those who moved to shut down the lab leak theory were “very anti-science.”

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It’s all one big movement.

The Real B3W-NATO Agenda (Escobar)

For those spared the ordeal of sifting through the NATO summit communique, here’s the concise low down: Russia is an “acute threat” and China is a “systemic challenge”. NATO, of course, are just a bunch of innocent kids building castles in a sandbox. Those were the days when Lord Hastings Lionel Ismay, NATO’s first secretary-general, coined the trans-Atlantic purpose: to “keep the Soviet Union out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.” The Raging Twenties remix reads like “keep the Americans in, the EU down and Russia-China contained”. So the North Atlantic (italics mine) organization has now relocated all across Eurasia, fighting what it describes as “threats from the East”. Well, that’s a step beyond Afghanistan – the intersection of Central and South Asia – where NATO was unceremoniously humiliated by a bunch of Pashtuns with Kalashnikovs.

Russia remains the top threat – mentioned 63 times in the communiqué. Current top NATO chihuahua Jens Stoltenberg says NATO won’t simply “mirror” Russia: it will de facto outspend it and surround it with multiple battle formations, as “we now have implemented the biggest reinforcements of our collective defense since the end of the Cold War”. The communiqué is adamant: the only way for military spending is up. Context: the total “defense” budget of the 30 NATO members will grow by 4.1% in 2021, reaching a staggering $1.049 trillion ($726 billion from the US, $323 billion from assorted allies). After all, “threats from the East” abound. From Russia, there are all those hypersonic weapons that baffle NATO generals; those large-scale exercises near the borders of NATO members; constant airspace violations; military integration with that “dictator” in Belarus.

As for the threats from China – South China Sea, Taiwan, the Indo-Pacific overall – it was up to the G7 to come up with a plan. Enter “green”, “inclusive” Build Back Better World (B3W), billed as the Western “alternative” to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). B3W respects “our values” – which clownish British PM Boris Johnson could not help describing as building infrastructure in a more “gender neutral” or “feminine” way – and, further on down the road, will remove goods produced with forced labor (code for Xinjiang) from supply chains. The White House has its own B3W spin: that’s a “values-driven, high-standard, and transparent infrastructure partnership” which will be “mobilizing private-sector capital in four areas of focus – climate, health and health security, digital technology, and gender equality – with catalytic investments from our respective development institutions”

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“..that a foreign court with foreign judges should be allowed to overrule a majority of the Swiss people proved incompatible with the Swiss idea of democracy..”

Swexit (Streeck)

On May 26, the Swiss government declared an end to year-long negotiations with the European Union on a so-called Institutional Framework Agreement that was to consolidate and extend the roughly one hundred bilateral treaties now regulating relations between the two sides. Negotiations began in 2014 and were concluded four years later, but Swiss domestic opposition got in the way of ratification. In subsequent years Switzerland sought reassurance essentially on four issues: permission to continue state assistance to its large and flourishing small business sector; immigration and the right to limit it to workers rather than having to admit all citizens of EU member states; protection of the (high) wages in the globally very successful Swiss export industries; and the jurisdiction, claimed by the EU, of the Court of Justice of the European Union over legal disagreements on the interpretation of joint treaties.

As no progress was made, the prevailing impression in Switzerland became that the framework agreement was in fact to be a domination agreement, and as such too close to EU membership, which the Swiss had rejected in a national referendum in 1992 when they voted against joining the European Economic Area. There are interesting parallels with the UK and Brexit. Both countries, in their different ways, have developed varieties of democracy distinguished by a deep commitment to a sort of majoritarian popular sovereignty that requires national sovereignty. This makes it difficult for them to enter into external relations that constrain the collective will-formation of their citizenry. Britain of course partly solved this problem by becoming the centre of an empire, as opposed to being included in one, defending its national sovereignty by appropriating the national sovereignty of others; while Switzerland became forever neutral and ready to defend itself, as de Gaulle had put it for France, tous azimuts.

Constitutionally, British popular sovereignty resides in a parliament that is not bound by a written constitution and can therefore decide everything with a simple majority, no two-thirds or other supermajority ever required. Also, there is no constitutional court that could get in Parliament’s way, nor can the second chamber, the House of Lords. That a supreme court like the EU Court of Justice should be entitled to overrule the British parliament was always fundamentally incompatible with the British idea of democracy-cum-sovereignty, and became a major source of British popular discontent with the EU, leading to Brexit and undoing Brentry. Similarly, that a foreign court with foreign judges should be allowed to overrule a majority of the Swiss people proved incompatible with the Swiss idea of democracy, standing in the way of Swentry and thereby making a future Swexit dispensable.

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Private debt is the ignored killer.

The Role Of Public Debt And Private Debt In The Next Crisis (Steve Keen)

Their roles are opposite in any crisis, like two sides of a see-saw: private debt causes crises, and public debt, to some extent, ends them. But conventional economic theory gets this completely wrong, by ignoring private debt, while seeing government debt as a problem rather than a solution. The conventional economic argument is firstly, that private debt simply transfers spending power from one private person to another—the debtor has more money to spend when money is borrowed, the creditor has more to spend when debt is repaid. In the aggregate, this cancels out: the borrower’s spending power rises when debt is rising and falls when it is falling, but the lender’s spending power goes in the opposite direction. They claim, therefore, that changes in the level of private debt have very little impact on the economy.

As Ben Bernanke put it in his book Essays on the Great Depression, “pure redistributions should have no significant macroeconomic effects” (Bernanke 2000, p. 24). On the other hand, they see government debt as “crowding out” the private sector, by competing with private borrowers for the available stock of “loanable funds”, and thus driving up the interest rate—the price of borrowed money. Excessive government deficits add to the demand for money, drive up interest rates, and therefore reduce private investment, and hence the rate of economic growth. As Gregory Mankiw puts it in his influential textbook, “government borrowing reduces national saving and crowds out capital accumulation” (Mankiw 2016, pp. 556-57).

This is why the Maastricht Treaty put limits on government debt and deficits, but completely ignored private debt and credit. Spain shows the impact of this conventional attitude to debt: while government debt halved from 72% to 36% GDP from the introduction of the Euro until just after the Global Financial Crisis in 2007, private debt almost trebled, from 88% of GDP to a peak of 227% of GDP in 2010.

The USA shows a similar pattern—unrestrained growth in private debt until the crisis, government debt growing after it in response to the collapse of demand as credit turned negative.

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Snowden wants to make the internet have integrity again.

Lifting The Mask (Edward Snowden)

Since 2013, it feels as though the world has accelerated, when really only the rate of opinion has — through the sheer speed and volume of bite-sized algorithmically “curated” social media. On Facebook, and especially on Twitter, plots and characters appear and vanish in moments, imparting emotions, but never lessons, because who has time for those? The only thing that most of us manage to take away from social media, besides the occasional chuckle, is an updated roster of villains — the daily roll-call of transgressors and transgressions. This is the reality of the fully commercialized mainstream internet: our exposure to an indigestible mass of shortest-form opinions that are purposefully selected by algorithms to agitate us on platforms that are designed to record and memorialize our most agitated, reflexive responses.

These responses are, in turn, elevated in proportion to their controversy to the attention — and prejudice — of the crowd. In the resulting zero-sum blood sport that public reputation requires, combatants are incentivized to occupy the most conventionally defensible positions, which reduces all politics to ideology and splinters the polis into squabbling tribes. The products of the irreconcilable differences this process produces are nothing more than well-divided “audiences,” made available to the influence of advertisers, and all that it cost us was the very foundation of civil society: tolerance. For this reason, I’d like to do my part in encouraging a return to longer forms of thinking and writing, which provide more room for nuance and more opportunity for establishing consensus or, at the very least, respecting a diversity of perspective and, you know, science.

I want to revive the original spirit of the older, pre-commercial internet, with its bulletin boards, newsgroups, and blogs — if not in form, then in function. The utopianism of these blogs might seem as quaint today as the sites’ graphics (and glamorous MIDI audio), but whatever those outlets lacked in sophisticated design, they more than made up for in curiosity and intelligence and in their fostering of originality and experimentation. They were, when it comes down to it, not curated and templated “platforms” so much as direct expressions of the creative primacy of the individual.

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Mar 022021
 
 March 2, 2021  Posted by at 10:00 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,  26 Responses »


Pablo Picasso Acrobat 1930

 

“Did You Agree To This? Everybody’s Locked Up” – Edward Snowden (ZH)
Coronavirus Crisis Unlikely To Be Over By The End Of The Year – WHO (G.)
WHO Panel: Hydroxychloroquine Should Not Be Used To Prevent COVID-19 (Hill)
Data On Long Covid In UK Children Is Cause For Concern, Scientists Say (G.)
A Return To Normalcy Seen In November (K.)
Party Like It’s 1984 (Jim Kunstler)
US, EU Set To Impose Sanctions On Russia (NBC)
Duckworth Calls For Russian Bounties Intelligence To Be Declassified (Hill)
Stefan Halper’s Role In Crossfire Hurricane Larger Than Previously Known (ET)
Halper Reports Reveal Wider-Ranging Operation To Spy On Trump Campaign (JTN)
Bernie Sanders Vows To Force Vote On $15 Minimum Wage (Hill)
Joe Biden Says His Hands Are Tied On $15 Minimum Wage. That’s Not True (Sirota)
Finance As Culture (Luttig)
Mob Justice May Be Poetic Justice, But Cuomo Deserves Due Process (Turley)
Cuomo Swears He Always Kept Mask On While Sexually Harassing Women (BBee)
Odyssey Banned for Violence, Sexism; Is this the End of World Classics? (GR)

 

 

Update: as you may notice, we’re experimenting with ads a bit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Word!

“Did You Agree To This? Everybody’s Locked Up” – Edward Snowden (ZH)

A new video montage of recent interviews with former NSA contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden exposes how the global COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns – which have been particularly severe and far-reaching in Western countries like the UK, Canada, and in a number of major US cities – coupled with the already immense power of Silicon Valley and its allies in the national security state, has served to keep individuals and entire populations ‘gated off’ from one another. “This is just the beginning,” Snowden warns of these unprecedented times. “All of these things today have consequences which we are not informed about.” “I would say this is sort of unusual… we’re all spread all over the world in different rooms, everybody’s locked up… but for me this is how I’ve always lived.”

He narrates that so much of our life is “intermediated by the screens.” Increasingly our lives are “intermediated by these screens. We spend less time outside and more and more time staring into glass or through glass to connect with that larger world – something beyond ourselves.”Ultimately he poses the following questions as a warning in the video entitled, “Edward Snowden 2021: The Most VICIOUS HONEST 10 Minutes of your LIFE!”… “Increasingly it feels something distinct from us, something apart from us – something that we are witnessing rather than participating in. Ask yourself: Is this your will? Is this what you want? Did you agree to this? Is this consistent with the vision of the future you want to see?

Snowden continues, “The institutional powers of our day… which have assumed for themselves some mandate – whether to conduct business, whether its to govern the lives of others, whether it’s to make war, .. these institutional powers don’t seem to particularly care about your answer to that question: is this what you wanted? Is this OK? Did you agree to it?” The answer is frequently “you don’t have a choice” as to whether you agree or not… “because they have the gun, they have the baton. And Facebook would say ‘Click OK to continue’ – and if you don’t you can’t do anything…”

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the “virus is very much in control”…

Coronavirus Crisis Unlikely To Be Over By The End Of The Year – WHO (G.)

Despite the spread of Covid-19 being slowed in some countries due to lockdowns and vaccination programs, it is “premature” and “unrealistic” to the think the pandemic will be over by the end of the year, the World Health Organization’s executive director of emergency services has said. Speaking at a press briefing Geneva, Dr Michael Ryan said while vaccinating the most vulnerable people, including healthcare workers, would help remove the “tragedy and fear” from the situation, and would help to ease pressure on hospitals, the “virus is very much in control”. “It will be very premature, and I think unrealistic, to think that we’re going to finish with this virus by the end of the year,” Ryan said.


“If the vaccines begin to impact not only on death and not only on hospitalisation, but have a significant impact on transmission dynamics and transmission risk, then I believe we will accelerate toward controlling this pandemic.” The number of new global infections rose last week for the first time in almost two months. Reported cases increased in four of the WHO’s six regions: the Americas, Europe, south-east Asia and the eastern Mediterranean. “This is disappointing, but not surprising,” said the director general of the WHO, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “We’re working to better understand these increases in transmission. Some of it appears to be due to relaxing of public health measures, continued circulation of variants, and people letting down their guard.” He said while vaccines would help to save lives, “if countries rely solely on vaccines, they’re making a mistake”.

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Meawhile in Greece…

A Return To Normalcy Seen In November (K.)

Greek authorities’ main concern is now the timeline for a return to normalcy, after a year of the pandemic. The economy cannot withstand many more months of lockdowns and increasing coronavirus fatigue is gripping the population. 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.


Under this caveat, the percentage of the vaccinated population, now standing at 9%, will reach 30% at the end of May, 38% in June, 46% in July, 54% in August and 62% in September. 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.

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Ok, let’s see the trials.

WHO Panel: Hydroxychloroquine Should Not Be Used To Prevent COVID-19 (Hill)

The anti-inflammatory drug hydroxychloroquine should not be used to prevent COVID-19, according to a new recommendation from the World Health Organization. Multiple clinical trials of more than 6,000 people showed the drug had no meaningful effect on death or admissions to the hospital in people who had no prior exposure to COVID-19. The trials showed a “moderate certainty” that not only did hydroxychloroquine have no meaningful effect on laboratory confirmed COVID-19 infection, it also probably increased the risk of adverse effects.


The WHO’s recommendation was published in The BMJ, a medical journal. A WHO expert panel is studying different drugs that could be used to prevent COVID-19 infection, and the hydroxychloroquine recommendation is the first that the panel has published. “The panel considers that this drug is no longer a research priority and that resources should be used to evaluate other more promising drugs to prevent COVID-19,” the WHO said in a statement. The recommendations are meant “to provide trustworthy guidance on the management of COVID-19 and help doctors make better decisions with their patients,” the WHO said.

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No word on how many children are affected. If it’s just five, maybe they should tell us.

Data On Long Covid In UK Children Is Cause For Concern, Scientists Say (G.)

Scientists have warned that emerging data on long Covid in children should not be ignored given the lack of a vaccine for this age group, but cautioned that the evidence describing these enduring symptoms in the young is so far uncertain. Recently published data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has caused worry. The data suggest that 13% of under 11s and about 15% of 12- to 16-year-olds reported at least one symptom five weeks after a confirmed Covid-19 infection. ONS samples households randomly, therefore positive cases do not depend on having had symptoms and being tested.

With schools in England poised to reopen on Monday – Prof Christina Pagel, a member of the Independent Sage committee and director of clinical operational research at University College London – in a Twitter post suggested that although emerging data on long Covid in children was uncertain, it should not be ignored, particularly given there was no licensed vaccine for these age groups, and there probably won’t be until the end of this year or early next year. Although children are relatively less likely to become infected, transmit the virus and be hospitalised, the key question is whether even mild or asymptomatic infection can lead to long Covid in children, said Danny Altmann, professor of immunology at Imperial College London.

[..] Some children are initially asymptomatic or have mild symptoms but then it might be six or seven weeks before they start experiencing long Covid symptoms, which can range from standard post-viral fatigue and headaches to neuropsychiatric symptoms such as seizures, or even skin lesions. At the moment there is no consensus on the scale and impact of long Covid in adults, but emerging data is concerning. For children, the data is even more scarce. Recent reports from hospitals in Sweden and Italy have generated concern, but this data is not from national trials – they are single-centre studies – and include relatively small patient numbers, said Sir Terence Stephenson, a Nuffield professor of child health at University College London.

Stephenson was awarded £1.36m last month to lead a study investigating long Covid in 11- to 17-year-olds. “I don’t have a scientific view on what long Covid is in young people is – because frankly, we don’t know,” he said.

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Of course, steers and cows are easier to push around than bulls, and the technology for transforming bulls into steers — or men in to eunuchs — is not that complex or nuanced..

Party Like It’s 1984 (Jim Kunstler)

Chalk up a fatal blow to The Patriarchy. That avatar of toxic masculinity, Mr. Potato Head has been dumped into the same humid chamber of perdition where the ghosts of Nathan Bedford Forrest, Theodore Bilbo, and Phyllis Schlafly howl and squirm — liberating the billions of potatoes world-wide from the mental prison of binary sexuality. The move by Hasbro (bro? really??) may yet disappoint the legions in Wokesterdom as a-bridge-not-far-enough while they await the debut of Transitioning Potato Head, complete with play hormone syringe and play scalpel, so that the under-six crowd can begin to map out their own gender reassignments without the meddling of Adult 1 and Adult 2, formerly known as Mommy and Daddy.

Was it mere coincidence that the action in Toyland happened the same week that one Rachel Levine was grilled in hir Senate confirmation hearing for the post as Assistant Secretary for Health in the Department of Health and Human Services? The hearing tilted toward transphobia when Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) asked zie, a little too aggressively, if they were in favor of pubescent children opting for sexual reassignment in opposition to xyr parents. The nominee, who hirself transitioned from “male” to “female” in 2011, answered that transgender medical issues are “complex and nuanced.” True (perhaps). And probably more than a Senator who transitioned from ophthalmologist to politician might appreciate.

Such are the great preoccupations of American leadership in these late days of empire. Are their any “historic firsts” left for Progressives to achieve in the march to a transhuman nirvana? An “undocumented” president? Animal representation in the House and Senate? A-I “entities” qualifying for public office — Governor Smartphone? Let’s face it, the pitiful old school humans in charge of things for so long are making a hash of our affairs. A cash register could probably do a better job as Chairman of the Federal Reserve than the always-waffley Jerome Powell. And a MacBook Pro might make a better president than Joe Biden in the brief daily operational hours before his managers a “call a lid.” We’d have to come up with some new personal pronouns for them, of course.

Pundits and observers-of-the-scene have warned us that all this artificially-generated turmoil over the sex-of-things is but one part of the prelude to a “Great Reset” in which people the world over are to be herded into corrals of ultra-regulated behavior. Of course, steers and cows are easier to push around than bulls, and the technology for transforming bulls into steers — or men in to eunuchs — is not that complex or nuanced. The question is: will enough American men submit to castration, either chemical, financial, political, or literal? Maybe not.

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Oh, cut it out already.

US, EU Set To Impose Sanctions On Russia (NBC)

The U.S. and the European Union are expected to impose coordinated sanctions on Russia as early as Tuesday for the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny and his arrest and detention that followed, three sources familiar with the planning said. The sources spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not otherwise authorized to speak to the media. The sanctions will be the first to target Moscow since Joe Biden became president and opened a comprehensive review of U.S.-Russia policy, including the Kremlin’s actions against Navalny, interference into the U.S. election, the Solar Winds hack and reported bounties offered to Taliban-linked groups to target U.S. forces in Afghanistan. The Trump administration declined to take action against Russia for the attempted assassination of Navalny.

The U.S. is expected to use legal authorities to impose sanctions on Russia for its use of a chemical nerve agent against Navalny in August, said a senior administration official, a congressional aide and a Western diplomat. Toxicology tests conducted in Germany, France and Sweden and by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons found that Navalny was poisoned with a novel form of the Novichok nerve agent in violation of the international Chemical Weapons Convention. The Kremlin has denied any involvement in the attack. Upon his return to Russia in January, Navalny was arrested and sentenced to more than two years in jail. He has been transferred to a penal colony. The E.U. has taken action against Russia for poisoning Navalny, restricting travel and freezing the assets of six Russians in October, but this week’s sanctions would be the first issued under the E.U.’s new human rights regime.

E.U. Foreign Minister Josep Borrell told the Atlantic Council last week that Secretary of State Antony Blinken had asked the E.U. to coordinate with the U.S. on the new sanctions. The E.U.’s procedural vote to formally adopt the sanctions will close at noon Tuesday Brussels time. “I wouldn’t want to speak to any measures that we may have coming, but suffice it to say that we have coordinated very closely,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said Monday about the cooperation between the U.S and the E.U. Price did not elaborate on the timing of the sanctions but added, “We’ve been working on it as an urgent challenge.” An investigation by U.N. experts released Monday found that the attack against Navalny falls within a wider trend, observed over several decades, of arbitrary killings and attempted killings of Russian citizens and government critics, both within Russia and extraterritorially.

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I said cut it out!

Duckworth Calls For Russian Bounties Intelligence To Be Declassified (Hill)

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) on Monday called for the Biden administration to declassify intelligence related to reports that the Kremlin offered bounties to Taliban forces for targeting U.S. troops in Afghanistan. “While any intelligence assessment on this matter is understandably sensitive, the American public, and Gold Star Families in particular, have a pressing need to know if there is any truth to these claims,” Duckworth wrote in a letter to Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines first obtained by Politico. “I believe such a finding may be presented while protecting classified information.” The intelligence, first reported last year, was dismissed as a “hoax” by then-President Trump.

Last September, Gen. Frank McKenzie, who oversees U.S. troops in Afghanistan, said the military was still investigating, adding that the report “has not been proved to a level of certainty that satisfies me.” Haines has been tasked with reviewing intelligence on recent Russian activity, including the alleged bounty initiative. In her letter, Duckworth asked for Haines to publish an unclassified report to “provide urgently needed transparency on this grave matter.” Duckworth, a veteran who lost both legs in Iraq, was one of the leading voices calling for action in response to the report last year. In July, she led a letter from Senate Democrats asking to see the then-president’s intelligence briefings relating to the alleged bounties.

“Despite my persistent attempts to bring transparency to these alarming reports, the Trump administration failed to provide an official response to basic questions: did the United States Government or our partners assess the likelihood of the existence of the GRU bounty payment activity, and did the United States Government find evidence indicating correlation or causation between GRU bounty payments and deadly attacks on U.S. troops by Taliban-linked militants?” Duckworth wrote in the letter on Monday, referring to Russia’s secretive military intelligence agency.

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Always thought his role was quite substantial.

Stefan Halper’s Role In Crossfire Hurricane Larger Than Previously Known (ET)

Newly released FBI documents shed light on two meetings between FBI Agent Stephen Somma and FBI source Stefan Halper, providing further insight into the wide scope of the FBI’s investigation into the Trump 2016 presidential campaign—and the active role played by Halper, who acted as a confidential human source (CHS) for the FBI. Although Halper was not considered an official CHS for the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation prior to these meetings, Somma had known Halper since 2011, according to the Department of Justice Inspector General’s report on FISA Abuse. Additionally, Somma had served as Halper’s handler from “2011 through 2016” as part of Somma’s “regular investigative activities.”

The FBI’s meetings with Halper on Aug. 11 and 12, 2016, were done at the proposal of Somma, who said he “lacked a basic understanding” of political campaigns. Somma said that he selected Halper because he knew that Halper had been “affiliated with national political campaigns since the early 1970s” and “might have information about, and potentially may have met, one or more of the Crossfire Hurricane subjects”—Trump campaign advisers Carter Page and George Papadopoulos and Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. Somma said that he did not initially tell Halper that there was already an open FBI investigation or who the subjects were, nor, he told the IG, did he tell Halper of the conversation between Papadopoulos and Australian diplomat Alexander Downer, which was the FBI’s claimed reason for opening Crossfire Hurricane.

Somma was proven to be prophetic, as Halper already had direct knowledge of two of the three people considered subjects of Crossfire Hurricane. And Halper would later fashion a meeting in London with Papadopoulos, the one person he didn’t already know. Halper also managed a meeting with Sam Clovis from the Trump campaign. Additionally, based on the FBI documents obtained by Just The News, it appears that Halper was responsible for pushing Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as a “person of interest” to the FBI with what appears to have been a false story that the FBI failed to immediately verify—and then later failed to correct as the story gained traction in the media during a crucial period of the Trump presidency.

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Problem remains: who will investigate the investigators?

Halper Reports Reveal Wider-Ranging Operation To Spy On Trump Campaign (JTN)

Once-secret reports show the FBI effort to spy on the Trump campaign was far wider than previously disclosed, as agents directed an undercover informant to make secret recordings, pressed for intelligence on numerous GOP figures, and sought to find “anyone in the Trump campaign” with ties to Russia who could acquire dirt “damaging to Hillary Clinton.” The now-declassified operational handling reports for FBI confidential human source Stefan Halper — codenamed “Mitch” — provide an unprecedented window both into the tactics used by the bureau to probe the Trump campaign and the wide dragnet that was cast to target numerous high-level officials inside the GOP campaign just weeks before Americans chose their next president in the November 2016 election.

Among the revelations, the memos make clear that: Almost immediately after the FBI opened a Russia collusion probe on July 31, 2016 narrowly focused on the foreign lobbying of a single Trump campaign aide named George Papadopoulos, agents pressed Halper for information on more than a half dozen other figures, including future Attorney General Jeff Sessions, foreign policy adviser Sam Clovis, campaign chairman Paul Manafort, economic adviser Peter Navarro, future National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and campaign adviser Carter Page. Halper provided significant exculpatory evidence to the FBI — including transcripts of conversations he recorded of targeted Trump advisers providing statements of innocence — that was never disclosed to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that approved a year of surveillance targeting the Trump campaign, and specifically Page.

While current FBI Director Chris Wray has insisted the bureau did not engage in spying on the Trump campaign, Halper’s taskings include many of the tradecraft tactics of espionage, including the creation of a fake cover story (he wanted a job at the Trump campaign), secret recordings, providing background on targets, suggested questions to ask and even contact information for potential targets. But the memos’ most explosive revelations are the sheer breadth of the FBI’s insufficiently predicated dragnet targeting the Trump campaign, and the agents’ clearly stated purpose of thwarting any Trump campaign effort to get dirt from Russia that could hurt his Democratic rival.

“The Crossfire Hurricane investigative team is attempting to determine if anyone in the Trump campaign is in a position to have received information either directly or indirectly from the Russian Federation regarding the anonymous release of information during the campaign that would be damaging to Hillary Clinton,” one of the early FBI electronic communications (ECs) from Halper’s undercover work stated. Ordinarily, FBI counterintelligence investigations that target Americans legally must be predicated on specific allegations that narrowly focus the bureau’s spy powers on limited targets to avoid unnecessary infringement of privacy and civil liberties. But the Halper documents reveal a large, unfocused FBI search with little substantiation of alleged wrongdoing, and significant evidence that undermined the core allegations, experts told Just the News.

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Bernie vs Ol’ Joe.

Bernie Sanders Vows To Force Vote On $15 Minimum Wage (Hill)

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) says Democrats should “ignore” the recent ruling of the Senate parliamentarian and is vowing to force the Senate to vote this week on an amendment to set the federal minimum wage at $15 an hour. Sanders on Monday declared he would not back down on his signature wage initiative after Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough ruled last week that a provision setting the federal minimum wage at $15 an hour would not be eligible under special budget rules Democrats are using to avoid a filibuster while passing their coronavirus relief bill. “My personal view is that the idea that we have a Senate staffer, a high-ranking staffer, deciding whether 30 million Americans get a pay raise or not is nonsensical.


“We have got to make that decision, not a staffer who’s unelected, so my own view is that we should ignore the rulings, the decision of the parliamentarian,” Sanders told reporters. Sanders added, “Given the enormous crises facing this country and the desperation of working families, we have got to as soon as possible end the filibuster.” “We cannot have a minority of members define what the American people want,” he said. Sanders said he will force a vote on an amendment raising the federal minimum wage this week. “To the best of my knowledge, there will be a vote on the minimum wage, and we’ll see what happens,” he said. “I intend to offer the bill that will raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, and we’ll see how the votes go.” “If we fail in this legislation, I will be back,” he warned. “We are going to keep going. “We are going to raise that minimum wage very shortly to $15 an hour,” he said.

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LBJ did it.

Joe Biden Says His Hands Are Tied On $15 Minimum Wage. That’s Not True (Sirota)

When a Republican is president, Democratic politicians, pundits and activists will tell you that the presidency is an all-powerful office that can do anything it wants. When a Democrat is president, these same politicians, pundits and activists will tell you that the presidency has no power to do anything. In fact, they will tell you a Democratic president cannot even use the bully pulpit and other forms of pressure to try to shift the votes of senators in his own party. A tale from history proves this latter myth is complete garbage – and that tale is newly relevant in today’s supercharged debate over a $15 minimum wage. In that debate so far, we have seen Democratic senators prepare to surrender the $15 minimum wage their party promised by insisting they are powerless in the face of a non-binding advisory opinion of a parliamentarian they can ignore or fire.

That explanation is patently ridiculous and factually false, so Democratic apologists are starting to further justify the surrender by suggesting that even if the party kept a $15 minimum wage in the Covid relief bill, conservative Democrats such as Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema would block it anyway. The White House itself is now falling back on the idea that it doesn’t have the votes to do much of anything, insinuating that Joe Biden – who occupies the world’s most powerful office – somehow has no power to try to change the legislative dynamic. And this spin is being predictably amplified across social media. [..] it is laughable and preposterous to argue that a newly elected president has zero power to even try to shift the dynamic.

And yet, whether you call this all deliberate deception or learned helplessness, this fantastical myth of the Powerless President will inevitably be used to shield Biden from criticism for abandoning his pledge to fight for a $15 minimum wage. The apologism is particularly absurd because unlike his predecessor Barack Obama, who was a relative newcomer to politics, Biden’s major selling point was that he knows “how to make government work”. The guy explicitly pitched himself as the best Democratic presidential candidate by suggesting that in an era of gridlock, he knows how to make the Democratic agenda a reality and Get Things Done™, like master of the Senate Lyndon Baines Johnson. That’s where LBJ himself comes in to destroy the narrative that Democratic presidents in general – and Biden specifically – are inherently helpless.

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Memes “R” Us.

Finance As Culture (Luttig)

In practice, what does financialization look like? We’ve all heard the institutional narrative. The US stock market has nearly tripled in the past 10 years. The FIRE sector (finance, insurance, real estate) now accounts for 20% of US GDP, versus 10% in 1947. S&P buybacks nearly doubled in the 2010s. IPOs grew 2.5x in 2020. But financialization is no longer purely institutional; it has seeped into our culture. A combination of low interest rates, a historic tech bull run, and the resulting torrent of fomo has tethered us to our monitors to watch candlestick charts. The financialization of culture has manifested in two primary ways: lottery culture and equity culture. We’ve always had lottery culture, in which people trade assets hoping to make money without understanding or conviction of their fundamental value.

In the summer of 1929, for example, Joe Kennedy’s shoe shine boy gave him stock tips, signaling the market peak. But lottery culture has exploded in the past few years. Robinhood has achieved its vision of democratizing access to financial markets, boasting over ten million monthly active users and exponential growth. Retail investor trading as a percentage of stock market volume has more than doubled since 2010. When “stocks only go up”, people realize the stock market is a casino with much better payouts. Gamified trading has tethered us to our phones and bank accounts. Through GameStop, even protest became financialized. At the peak of the GameStop saga, millions of Americans owned GME, arming themselves against hedge funds.

This was part protest, part nihilistic hail mary to get rich. The number of subscribers to the wallstreetbets (WSB) subreddit certainly spiked in 2021, but the exponential compounding for years beforehand implies a degree of inevitability. Memes took lottery culture to new heights. Stocks popular among a retail audience, like Apple, have historically traded at higher multiples than others in their category. Tesla accelerated the divergence between retail excitement and fundamentals: TSLA revenue grew 50% over the past two years, but meme culture helped its market cap grow by 12x. GameStop completed the meme-fundamentals duality: investors don’t even pretend that the company’s fundamentals will ever substantiate its market cap.WSB revealed where Robinhood culture was headed all along: a nihilistic lottery. It was historically viewed as a disorganized and degenerate mob, but the mob has evolved into a laser-focused and motivated militia.

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So do the people who died in care homes.

Mob Justice May Be Poetic Justice, But Cuomo Deserves Due Process (Turley)

In 2012, Attorney General Eric Holder appeared before at Northwestern University Law School to announce President Obama’s “kill list” policy, under which he reserved the right to unilaterally order the death of any American deemed an imminent threat. After all, Holder explained, “the Constitution guarantees due process, not judicial process.” The response was as chilling as the message: The audience of judges, lawyers and law students applauded an attorney general who just told them that any of them could be killed tomorrow on the president’s order. Some of us denounced the “kill list” policy, which foreshadowed what has become a campaign against due process. In our hair-triggered culture of Twitter attacks and “canceling” opponents, due process is treated as hopelessly arcane and inconvenient.

Our political discourse must now be tweet-worthy — less than 280 words — and delivered in a news cycle measured in minutes. Due process, like free speech, is rarely valued until its loss becomes personal. Take Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.). Cuomo advanced his political career by positioning himself at the front of every mob pursuing political rivals, as during Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing. Before hearing the defense of now-Justice Kavanaugh, Cuomo described the allegations against him by Christine Blasey Ford as presumptively true. He not only effectively called Kavanaugh a rapist, without any due process, but demanded that Kavanaugh take a polygraph as a condition to be believed. Cuomo was not alone. Many Democratic leaders insisted that “women must be believed” when raising sexual harassment allegations and declared Kavanaugh guilty before hearing any testimony.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) dismissed due process concerns for Kavanaugh, adding: “When we talk about … due process and justice, it must focus on the victim.” Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) said Kavanaugh was not entitled to a presumption of innocence and that men should “just shut up” and accept the allegations. Last year, when Lindsey Boylan’s allegations went public, I wrote a column asking if Cuomo would presume himself guilty, absent a polygraph. Now, after Boylan added details of Cuomo’s alleged kissing and propositioning her, many are struggling with his (and their) prior positions against due process. While CNN, MSNBC and other networks blacked-out the story or barely covered it, others — including many on the right — have declared Cuomo to be guilty and dangerous.

Cuomo deserves due process, despite loudly denying it for others. Simply because Boylan made the allegations is not proof of guilt. Both sides have a right to be heard — not a right to be believed solely on their word. Due process allows us to determine who is a victim — not, as AOC suggested, to vindicate one party as the declared victim. [..] Of course, as Gov. Cuomo has learned, one can lead a mob one day only to be pursued by the mob on the next. It would be easy to leave him to the mob and call it poetic justice, but that is not justice of any kind. Cuomo should receive all of the due process he denied to others — not because he deserves it, but because he embodies the costs of ignoring it.

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He’ll be arrested any day now.

Cuomo Swears He Always Kept Mask On While Sexually Harassing Women (BBee)

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo apologized this weekend for his long-standing habit of sexually abusing young women he holds power over. And while that all sounds quite bad, Governor Cuomo did make it clear to the public that he always wore a mask and socially distanced during these interactions– a fact that has some folks saying he should get off free. “I have the greatest respect for my employees,” Cuomo explained during a press conference. “Especially the girls—we’ve got a lot of young girls on staff who do a really good job.” Cuomo paused for a moment and seemed to wink at someone offscreen.


“And I can guarantee you right now, sure I might be a sexual predator, but not once did I remove my mask, never once broke the six-foot rule during conversations with my girls– at least in 2020. Isn’t that right, Kelly?” Cuomo went on to explain how some of his sexual jokes may not have landed with the women since they couldn’t see his facial expressions. He also claimed that the women may have misheard him since his words were muffled by his mask and they were standing so far apart. “Do I regret making those comments?” Cuomo asked as he stood up to leave the press conference. “No. Now if you’ll excuse me I’ve got some strip poker, er– I mean poker, to play.”

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Ban the Bible!

Odyssey Banned for Violence, Sexism; Is this the End of World Classics? (GR)

Odyssey, Homer’s classic of world literature written in the time of Ancient Greece, was recently banned in Lawrence, Massachusetts for portraying ideas that do not conform to modern norms of behavior. The move, reported recently by the Wall Street Journal, appears to stem from a “social justice” movement, created by Twitter users, called #DisruptTexts. Its proponents believe that any world literature that does not portray the norms that they hold today in terms of gender roles, violence and racial equality must be banned in the interest of shaping a new generation that will not be allowed to come into contact with concepts that they consider repugnant — or even just outdated.

Penelope, sitting at her loom patiently for twenty years while hubby Odysseus goes off to fight in the Trojan War, is not the model of female behavior that teachers who espouse this new type of book banning want their students to emulate. But not only do they not want their students to emulate these behaviors — they want to ban books that contain they want to ban books that portray violence, traditional gender roles and racism, making sure that future generations will never learn about the many adventures of Odysseus and his companions as they made their way across the sea, fought against Troy and wended their way back home after twenty years away.

Books such as this, which provide a treasury of historical references and form the basis of educated peoples’ understanding of the Classical world, naturally contain violent images of battle and strife and portray the social milieu of the day. Until recently, however, teachers would focus on the tremendous literary and historical merit of the world of Homer and other ancient writers, leaving their students to come to their own conclusions as to whether or not they would like to wage warfare or alternatively sit at home weaving while the husband is away at battle.

[..] But the politically-correct rush to judgment, which began in recent years with the banning of American classics such as Tom Sawyer, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and even more recent works such as How to Kill a Mockingbird — for the use of the n-word — has come back to bite society now that the floodgates have been opened. Originally, the pendulum swung the other way, and it was conservative Americans who were originally guilty of banning books — despite the freedom of speech and expression explicitly enshrined in the Constitution. The first book to be officially banned in America was Thomas Morton’s “New English Canaan,” published in 1637.

A massive, three-volume work, it contained not only Morton’s insightful observations about Native Americans, but also — raising the ire of those who had settled Plymouth and the Massachusetts Bay Company — a biting satire of the Puritans. As the centuries went on, it wasn’t just political positions that drew the ire of book banners, it was more often portrayals of sex that attracted the eye of censors and caused works of literature to come under scrutiny. And the list of banned books in America is shamefully long, including Peyton Place,The Great Gatsby, The Catcher in the Rye, The Grapes of Wrath, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Color Purple, James Joyce’s Ulysses, Beloved, and The Lord of the Flies.

Read more …

 

 

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Tulsi Syria
https://twitter.com/i/status/1366391821362819077

 

 

 

 

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Dec 152020
 


William Merritt Chase Back Of A Nude 1888

 

Biden Lashes Out At Trump In Post-Electoral College Speech (ZH)
Republican Electors In Five Disputed States Cast Votes For Trump (JTN)
Offstage Noises (Jim Kunstler)
Barr Steps Down As AG, Decries ‘Frenzied And Baseless’ Russia Allegations (JTN)
The Case For Pardoning Edward Snowden By President Trump (Greenwald)
Left and Right Unite in Calls for Snowden Pardon (MPN)
Trump’s Last Chance to Snub the Deep State (SCF)
Democrats Make Wreck of Covid-19 Relief Negotiations (Taibbi)
Stimulus Bill Bails Out Defense Contractors, Denies Families Payments (DP)
Fauci: Masks, Social Distancing Likely Needed Until ‘Early Next Winter’ (JTN)
The Covid-19 Data is a ‘Travesty’ (OffG)
Venezuela’s Guaido-Led Opposition Holds Alternative Vote, Burns Ballots (RT)
Sunday Times Claims Navalny Was Poisoned Twice (Robinson)

 

 

Hats off to Jimmy Dore.

 

 

Me, I fear for the future of the country.

Biden Lashes Out At Trump In Post-Electoral College Speech (ZH)

Joe Biden lashed out at President Trump Monday night, saying in a 14-minute speech following his win in the electoral college that Trump’s ongoing challenges to the 2020 election are “an unprecedented assault on our democracy,” and that claims of widespread fraud are “baseless” – despite the fact that the Supreme Court elected not to review the merits of various cases. “Every single avenue was made available for President Trump to contest the results. He took full advantage of each and every one of those avenues.


“President Trump was denied no course of action he wanted to take,” Biden added – also slamming the 17 GOP Attorneys General and 126 GOP Congressmembers who challenged the results of the election as well. Biden implied Trump has both abused – and won’t let go of power, saying “In America, politicians don’t take power — the people grant it to them,” adding “The flame of democracy was lit in this nation a long time ago. And we now know that nothing — not even a pandemic or an abuse of power — can extinguish that flame.”

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“It’s our duty to the people of Michigan and to the U.S. Constitution to send another slate of electors if the election is in controversy or dispute, and clearly it is..”

Republican Electors In Five Disputed States Cast Votes For Trump (JTN)

Republican electors in four states said Monday that they would cast their procedural votes for President Trump from the Nov. 3 elections, and Michigan sent two separate slates of electors to Capitol Hill, 16 electors for Trump and 16 electors for Democrat Joe Biden. “It’s our duty to the people of Michigan and to the U.S. Constitution to send another slate of electors if the election is in controversy or dispute, and clearly it is,” said Meshawn Maddock, Republican at-large national elector. Michigan state Rep. Daire Rendon said: “What it comes down to is this: have the secretary of state, director of elections, and election officials proved to you that the election had accuracy and integrity? They have not. And because of this, the election is in dispute.”

Under the Constitution, state legislatures have plenary power over their respective elections. Because there is an ongoing dispute over the Michigan 2020 general election, members of the Michigan legislature have called on Washington, D.C., to not count Michigan electors until further action from the Michigan legislature, according to a press release about the Michigan effort. Congress will count electoral votes Jan. 6. The Trump campaign embraced the alternate slate of electors’ actions, saying it preserved legal options before the Jan. 6 deadline. “We applaud the Republican electors in those states for showing up and casting the votes,” the campaign’s senior legal counsel Jenna Ellis told Just the News.

The Republican electors in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Nevada, Arizona all said they voted for Trump. It comes as their states formally appointed Democratic electors who voted for Biden and running mate Kamala Harris, according to the Epoch Times. The Pennsylvania GOP said in a news release that electors met at the state capital to “cast a conditional vote” for Trump and Pence “at the request of the Trump campaign.” Democratic electors voted in the Pennsylvania Electoral College for Biden and Harris.

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“If Dominion vote tabulation machines all over America are not allowed to be hooked up to the Internet, how can they be a network? And why would they need a server?”

Offstage Noises (Jim Kunstler)

President Trump’s 2018 Executive Order 13848 requires the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), John Ratcliffe, to report forty-five days after the election on foreign election interference. That’s this Friday. What might Mr. Ratcliffe know? Well, supposedly everything. Except both the CIA and the FBI must be considered undependable now, with RussiaGate prankster Gina Haspel in charge of the CIA, and Christopher Wray slow-walking every requested declassified FBI document for years. So, Mr. Ratcliffe must be receiving more dependable intelligence from others, most likely Defense Intelligence. Many readers may have heard about a supposed raid on the CIA cyber-warfare station in Frankfurt, Germany, and the seizure there of the Dominion computer servers by US Army special ops personnel.

Forty-five days was probably enough time for Defense Intelligence to run forensic analysis on those servers, if, in fact, they existed and the raid actually happened. Standing by on that. We just don’t know. But if so, then Mr. Ratcliffe must have some results by now. What nobody has asked is: in the first place, what on earth would the Dominion servers be doing in Frankfurt, outside the USA, in possession of the CIA? Is the CIA monitoring the vote tabulation… or assisting in it? This raises another question no one has addressed: Servers serve computer networks, which operate via the Internet. If Dominion vote tabulation machines all over America are not allowed to be hooked up to the Internet, how can they be a network? And why would they need a server? If I’m missing something there, please discuss in the comments section.

Which raises another question: Is there not sufficient evidence to see that the use of computers has completely screwed up our election process? Is this not a classic Joseph Tainter style quandary of overinvestments in complexity producing diminishing returns — which, when enough of them pile up, gets you to the collapse of civilizations? Are we going to allow further screw-ups by letting the State of Georgia conduct their January 5 senate run-off election on the same Dominion machines that they used on November 3? Apparently, that’s exactly what Georgia intends to do.

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Did Bill Barr just make room for Trump to pardon Assange and Snowden?

Barr Steps Down As AG, Decries ‘Frenzied And Baseless’ Russia Allegations (JTN)

William Barr has decided to step down as attorney general before Christmas, ending a tumultuous tenure that saw his department clear President Trump of Russia collusion and crack down on violent gangs, Chinese spies and religious liberty violations. Trump announced the departure Monday evening on Twitter shortly after meeting with Barr, ending a tense week in which the president and his allies criticized the attorney general for both failing to reveal the existence of a Hunter Biden probe before the election and taking little public action to punish those who perpetrated the false Russian collusion narrative, “Just had a very nice meeting with Attorney General Bill Barr at the White House. Our relationship has been a very good one, he has done an outstanding job!” Trump tweeted. “As per letter, Bill will be leaving just before Christmas to spend the holidays with his family.”

“Deputy Attorney General Jeff Rosen, an outstanding person, will become Acting Attorney General. Highly respected Richard Donoghue will be taking over the duties of Deputy Attorney General. Thank you to all!” the president added. In his letter, Barr revealed his last day will be Dec. 23 and that the purpose of his meeting with the president Monday was to brief the president about his department’s efforts to investigate voter fraud. Barr also went out of his way in the letter to decry the “frenzied and baseless” narrative of Russia collusion that hampered the first two-plus years of the Trump presidency.

“Your record is all the more historic because you accomplished it in the face of relentless, implacable resistance. Your 2016 victory speech in which you reached out to your opponents and called for working together for the benefit of the American people was immediately met by a partisan onslaught against you in which no tactic no matter how abusive and deceitful was out of bounds,” Barr wrote. “The nadir of this campaign was the effort to cripple, if not oust your administration, with frenzied and baseless accusations of collusion with Russia,” he added.

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Calls for pardons are getting loud.

The Case For Pardoning Edward Snowden By President Trump (Greenwald)

A U.S. appellate court in September unanimously ruled that the NSA’s program of mass domestic surveillance was illegal, as well as likely a violation of the Fourth Amendment’s guarantee against “unreasonable searches and seizures.” The court, and the broader public, knew about this illegal mass surveillance program created by the NSA only because Edward Snowden, while working inside that agency, discovered its existence and concluded in 2012 that the American public has the right know about what was being secretly done to them and their privacy by their own government. Upon making the decision to blow the whistle on this security state illegality, Snowden delivered the documents relating to that program and other then-unknown systems of mass online surveillance not by dumping them indiscriminately on the internet or selling them or passing them to foreign governments, but by providing them to journalists (including myself) with The Guardian, The Washington Post and other news outlets.

The documents Snowden provided were accompanied by requests to report them responsibly. He thus relinquished the power entirely to make decisions about which documents would and would not be published, leaving those decisions exclusively to news outlets. That meant that Snowden himself never made a single document publicly available; every document that was reported was the result of decisions by newsrooms around the world that their publication would be in the public interest and would not endanger innocent people. That method of whistleblowing chosen by Snowden — patterned after the one Daniel Ellsberg used in 1971 to make the public aware of years of lying to the American public by the U.S. Government about the Vietnam War, when he gave the top-secret Pentagon Papers to The New York Times and asked them to report it in the public interest — enabled journalists to inform the American citizenry about illegal and unconstitutional spying by the U.S. Government in the most responsible manner possible.

Indeed, the very first program we reported — on June 6, 2013 — was the mass domestic spying program which the appellate court just ruled was illegal and likely a violation of the constitutional rights of all Americans. That first article we published revealed a top secret court order under which “the National Security Agency is currently collecting the telephone records of millions of US customers,” and required major telecommunications carriers “on an ‘ongoing, daily basis’ to give the NSA information on all telephone calls in its systems, both within the US and between the US and other countries.”

The months of reporting that followed, all singularly enabled by Snowden’s courageous whistleblowing, triggered so much vital public debate about privacy and mass surveillance, and fostered so many legal and technological privacy reforms around the world, that the reporting earned virtually every award journalism has to give, including the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. For those who have not seen it, the 2014 documentary by Laura Poitras about the work Snowden did with journalists, Citizenfour, which received the 2015 Academy Award for Best Documentary, shows much of the Snowden story in real time and can be viewed on YouTube; the feature film “Snowden,” available on Netflix and other platforms, separately explores the trajectory which Snowden traversed from enlisted U.S. Army soldier, CIA contractor and NSA expert to one of this generation’s most consequential whistleblowers.

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“I support pardons for Snowden, Assange and especially Chelsea Manning. All exposed the criminality of the Bush-Obama/Biden period.”

Left and Right Unite in Calls for Snowden Pardon (MPN)

Amid mounting speculation that President Trump is about to announce a list of presidential pardons, calls for — and against — NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden’s name to be included are growing louder. In November, as is customary, Donald Trump pardoned a turkey for Thanksgiving. Now, in the lame duck session of his presidency, he appears to be making a customary list of people to pardon as well. Influential and well-connected publication Axios reported, in a scandalized tone, that he is planning to hand out pardons “like Christmas gifts” to “every person who ever talked to [him].” In August, the president was asked about Snowden specifically, responding by saying that, “I’m going to take a very good look at it. I’ve seen people that are very conservative and very liberal and they agree on the same issue…I’m going to take a look at that very strongly.”


Now, a host of figures are calling in unison for Trump to follow through on the proposal. “President Trump is listening to the many of us who are urging him to pardon Snowden. It’s the right thing to do,” Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz said yesterday. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul agreed, slamming former Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, in the process. “Clapper brazenly lied to Congress denying that the Deep State was spying on all Americans. Snowden simply revealed Clapper’s lies and exposed unconstitutional spying. He deserves a pardon from Donald Trump,” he wrote. Those calls were joined by a number of voices on the left, including former Green Party vice-presidential candidate Ajamu Baraka, who said, “I support pardons for Snowden, Assange and especially Chelsea Manning. All exposed the criminality of the Bush-Obama/Biden period.” The American Civil Liberties Union, who have previously described Snowden as a “patriot,” concurred, stating, “Edward Snowden blew the whistle on illegal government activity kept secret for years. Our democracy is better off because of him.”

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“Wasn’t Trump supposed to be the anti-Deep State candidate? Now’s his chance to prove it.”

Trump’s Last Chance to Snub the Deep State (SCF)

The Trump administration calls the International Criminal Court a kangaroo court. He refuses to allow any U.S. soldier to be brought before the court for purported war crimes in Afghanistan. None of the court investigators or judges will receive visas to enter U.S. territory. Any property or bank accounts they have in the U.S. will be confiscated. If any court is a disingenuous kangaroo court it is the extradition trial against Julian Assange, in London. The first magistrate who sat in judgment of possible extradition to the U.S. for alleged violations of its Espionage Act, is a subject in Wikileaks’ revelations. Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot, and her husband, James Arbuthnot, who was a defense minister for procurement, have “earned” money from two companies exposed by Wikileaks.

During the August-September extradition hearings, Arbuthnot “stepped down” to be supervisor of the new magistrate, Vanessa Baraitser. During three weeks of hearings, Baraitser looked at her laptop to read decisions she had written before defense lawyers had made their arguments, or witnesses had testified. I am not the only one hoping that Donald Trump will do the right thing with Julian Assange, and Edward Snowden too. The last president, one Trump hates, first put Assange’s key whistleblower in prison, in isolation, under torture. Chelsea Manning was sentenced to 35 years. Obama leaving office with a gesture of “goodwill”, commuted Chelsea’s sentence once she served seven years. She was later jailed for another year for not snitching on Julian.

Tulsi Gabbard, the only Democratic presidential candidate in 2020 who wasn’t a war hawk, is asking Trump for goodwill. She tweeted tagging Trump, “Since you’re giving pardons to people, please consider pardoning those who, at great personal sacrifice, exposed the deception and criminality of those in the deep state,” and named Assange and Snowden for him to drop charges. The proposal for Trump to pardon Assange was also endorsed at this recent webinar which included speakers Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, Law Professor Marjorie Cohn, Consortium News editor-in-chief Joe Lauria. If Trump did the honorable thing of halting the persecution of Julian Assange, it would be a blow for freedom and a middle finger to the Deep State including Obama and Clinton. Wasn’t Trump supposed to be the anti-Deep State candidate? Now’s his chance to prove it.

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“They totally caved..”

Democrats Make Wreck of Covid-19 Relief Negotiations (Taibbi)

A senior Democratic congressional aide is irate tonight. “The Democrats,” the aide seethed, “have just done the worst negotiating in modern history.” At issue: a pair of new Covid-19 relief bills, just submitted by a bipartisan group of Senators. Republican Senator Susan Collins gushed that a“Christmas Miracle” allowed the two parties came together on the twin bills, which the press describes as totaling $748 billion and $160 billion, respectively. “Bipartisanship and compromise is [sic] alive and well in Washington,” clucked West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin. It sure is. With the election over, the Democratic leadership in the space of a few weeks somehow negotiated against themselves, working with Republicans to push the total amount of a Covid-19 relief deal further and further downward, to the point where previous plans offered by the likes of Mitch McConnell and Steve Mnuchin now look like LBJ’s Great Society.

Democrats ultimately settled for less than a third of what they had set as a baseline for state and local aid, accepted a package without any $1,200 direct payments, and signed off on a plan that, after offsets, includes less than $350 billion in new money, well below a slew of pre-election proposals rejected by Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer as being too low. “They totally caved,” the aide says. Back in May, the Democrat-led House passed the HEROES Act, a $3.4 trillion relief package that was pitched as the bill Democrats really wanted. It contained $413 billion new dollars for $1,200 direct payments to citizens, as well as $437 billion in additional unemployment benefits, and a whopping $1.13 trillion for state and local governments.

Trump said the bill was “dead on arrival,” McConnell blasted it as a “$3 trillion left-wing wish list,” and the anti-spending group Taxpayers for Common Sense seethed that Democrats unrealistically put “everything they could think of” in the bill. Still, Democrats insisted this was the right amount, at the right time, a moral necessity. “The House has passed a major bill dealing with COVID,” Schumer said in May, blasting his Senate Republican colleagues for a “pause” in negotiations. “We have done nothing.”

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Meanwhile, what a mess.

Stimulus Bill Bails Out Defense Contractors, Denies Families Payments (DP)

Earlier this year, Republican senators slammed the idea of spending money to pay Americans not to work during the pandemic. Only a few months later, a group of GOP senators has signed onto stimulus legislation that would authorize the government to pay idle defense contractors to not work, even as those contractors’ rack up big profits during the pandemic. Meanwhile, the same bill excludes bipartisan provisions authorizing direct payments to millions of Americans struggling to survive. The stimulus legislation released by Republican and Democratic senators this afternoon includes an extension of a program to replace the wages of certain government contractors who miss work due to COVID-19.

The program, Section 3610 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, allows federal agencies to reimburse contractors who are unable to work in person due to the pandemic, and whose jobs do not allow telework, for up to 40 hours per week of lost wages. In effect, the program uses government money to reimburse defense contractors for giving paid leave to their employees. The provision was added to the last page of the 525-page bill after defense contractors sent a letter to congressional lawmakers lobbying for the language. The same bill does not authorize direct payments to millions of Americans — nor does it reimburse small businesses for providing paid leave benefits to their workers.

While the bill would fund $300-a-week in new federal unemployment benefits, that’s half as much as Congress distributed under the CARES Act — and millions of people will still see their unemployment benefits lapse on December 26, as it will likely take weeks to reprogram state unemployment systems. “This is about need and not greed,” said Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., one of the Democratic sponsors of the bill who has called new direct payments to families “a bad idea.” Nearly 12 million U.S. renters will be behind $5,850 in rent by January, according to the Washington Post. Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., have been pushing lawmakers to include language in stimulus legislation giving $1,200 stimulus checks to millions of families. That was not included in the same stimulus that includes the subsidy program for defense contractors.

In July, Senate Republicans introduced a stimulus package which included $11 billion in appropriations to reimburse defense contractors for payments made under Section 3610, following lobbying from the defense industry. “Section 3610 provides authority for agencies to cover from existing funds certain contractor costs and keep key personnel and skilled workers in a ready state,” lobbying groups and executives from representing defense contractors and other government contractors wrote on December 11.

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How is it possible that in so many countries that failed so miserably in their pandemic fights, all the same faces hold on to all their same jobs?

Fauci: Masks, Social Distancing Likely Needed Until ‘Early Next Winter’ (JTN)

As the distribution of the coronavirus vaccine gets underway, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the American public should anticipate likely needing to wear masks and socially distancing through next winter. Fauci was asked Monday when he thinks society will be able to get back to pre-coronavirus normality. “I think we will know when we see the level of infection in the country at a dramatically lower level than it is right now that we can start gradually tiptoeing towards normality,” Fauci said during a discussion hosted by the Center for Strategy and International Studies. “I don’t believe we’re going to be able to throw the masks away and forget about physical separation and congregate settings for a while, probably likely until we get into the late fall and early next winter, but I think we can do it. The numbers will guide us.”


Fauci also said that having a vaccine distributed before the end of the year was “unimaginable” at the beginning of the pandemic. He referred to Operation Warp Speed, a public-private partnership implemented under the Trump administration, as a “success story,” given that a “group of vaccines” for COVID-19 have been produced. “I think Operation Warp Speed, putting hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars, into facilitating the technical aspects of the trial, the clinical trial, the pre-purchasing of hundreds of millions of doses of vaccine is unprecedented,” he said. “So it’s really quite a success story, I must say.”

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We should have this down by now. We don’t.

The Covid-19 Data is a ‘Travesty’ (OffG)

If we turn our attention back to the Covid death data, just because someone has tested positive for Covid-19 and died sometime after (even if we put aside for a second that some tests are known to give false positives), that does not mean that Covid-19 caused that person to die. Yet, the main figure certain countries around the world are using to express Covid-19 deaths is simply recorded, or coded, as essentially any death involving a positive Covid-19 test within 28 days of death. Because correlation does not equal causation, simply recording Covid-19 deaths as any deaths involving a positive Covid-19 test within a given period of time is an extremely poor way to measure how many people have died. For instance, in the UK, the main figure being used for Covid-19 deaths is coded, as stated on the official Coronavirus website, as the…

number of deaths of people who had had a positive test result for COVID-19 and died within 28 days of the first positive test. This completely ignores the problem of causality, and thus, produces a much larger death toll than there actually is. For instance, if someone has had an underlying heart condition for 10 years, and has a heart complication and dies, their death was most likely mainly caused by the heart condition that has plagued them for a decade. However, if that person had tested positive for Covid-19 for the first time within 28 days of them dying, that person could be included as a Covid-19 death in the UK, if all is required to be categorized as a Covid-19 death is simply a positive test result.

For those who understand that the way you code deaths dramatically changes the number of deaths you get, the UK authorities kindly illustrate this for us. There is a second number recorded by UK authorities which codes deaths as… people whose death certificate mentioned COVID-19 as one of the causes. By coding deaths this way, there are thousands more Covid-19 deaths compared to when deaths are coded as… people who had had a positive test result for COVID-19 and died within 28 days of the first positive test. Despite the UK authorities having two ways to code Covid-19 deaths however, none of them are particularly accurate in my opinion. This is because the positive test figure does not deal with the issue of causality, and the death certificate figure only mentions Covid as needing to be “one of the causes” of death, rather than “the primary cause,” in addition to the death certificate figure not explicitly demanding the need for a positive Covid-19 test result.

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Right on cue, Guaido and Navalny are back in the western news, two people who play no role whatsoever in their own home countries. What’s the mechanism behind this?

Venezuela’s Guaido-Led Opposition Holds Alternative Vote, Burns Ballots (RT)

Venezuelan opposition led by US-backed ‘interim president’ Juan Guaido has held “popular consultations” to demonstrate rejection of the nation’s government after boycotting parliamentary vote but ended up burning ballots instead. The so-called “popular consultations” organized by the supporters of the self-styled “interim president” started online on Monday and concluded with an in-person participation on Saturday. The move was held after an official election held earlier this month handed control over the Venezuelan National Assembly to President Nicolas Maduro’s Socialist PSUV party. As it was during the 2018 presidential elections that handed victory to Maduro himself, most of the opposition boycotted the official vote.

After losing what was considered its last institutional stronghold, Guaido’s supporters decided to demonstrate the scale of the alleged popular rejection of the Venezuelan government they continue to call illegitimate. Although the turnout for the official election was not particularly high, Guaido’s initiative has hardly faired any better since, according to the organizers’ own estimates cited by Reuters, just under 6.5 million out of roughly 17.5 million eligible voters took part in the “consultation,” including some 845,000 people living abroad. The outcome of the “consultation” did not seem to affect the political situation in the Latin American nation hit by strict US sanctions targeting its oil sector and exacerbating a prolonged economic crisis.

Maduro himself brushed off the opposition’s initiative by saying that “no internet consultation has constitutional status” or any “legal value.” In 11 out of 24 Venezuela’s states, the law enforcement sought to disrupt the in-person participation in the “consultation” by removing the informal voting sites, the organizers complained. Still, they themselves ended up destroying all the traces of the “consultation”, at least at some of the improvised polling stations. A video published on the social media shows a pile of ballots and voting records burning on the floor at one of such sites in the northern Miranda state. The organizers claimed they did so to protect the identities of the participants.

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“..the murder of Grigory Rasputin in December 1916 proves “Russia’s penchant for poisoning”

Sunday Times Claims Navalny Was Poisoned Twice (Robinson)

This weekend’s article in the Sunday Times is probably meant to undermine the doubters. In reality, it’s likely to have the opposite result. For its claims are so outrageous that many thinking people will react with laughter, and then perhaps start questioning the poisoning story as a whole. According to the Sunday Times, Navalny wasn’t poisoned by a nerve agent smeared on his water bottle, as has previously been asserted, but rather was attacked by means of his underpants. Moreover, he wasn’t poisoned once, but twice, and despite Novichok’s reputation for extreme deadliness, both attempts failed.

When examined, though, these claims don’t amount to much. The Sunday Times story is nearly 4,000 words long, but 95 percent of it is irrelevant filler, including the comical assertion that the murder of Grigory Rasputin in December 1916 proves “Russia’s penchant for poisoning” (because, of course, nobody other than Russians ever poisoned anyone). The allegations regarding the attack on Navalny take up a mere 100 words of the 4,000-word total. As well as being brief, they are to say the least unproven. The Sunday Times says: “Vladimir Uglev, a retired Russian chemist who developed nerve agents, believes Navalny’s poisoners would have been instructed to place novichok on the elastic waistband of his pants, where it would come into contact with his skin. … A German laboratory later found traces of a nerve agent on the surface of one of the water bottles. Uglev, the retired chemist, believes that this is because Navalny touched it having got novichok on his fingers after putting on his underpants.”

In other words, the underpants story is just what a single Russian scientist, unconnected to the case, happens to think. Nothing more. Does Uglev provide any evidence to prove his assertion? No. He just “believes” it. Yet, this is sufficient for the Sunday Times to treat the story as essentially true, leading off its article with the claim that, “Navalny was exposed to a nerve agent – not, as initially believed, when he drank a cup of tea in the departure lounge but when he got dressed that morning.” This is not exactly good reporting. If the underwear story smells a little off, so too does the claim that Russian secret agents tried to murder Navalny not once, but twice.

As evidence, the Sunday Times says that, “German security sources have told their associates in the UK that the attackers struck again as Navalny lay in an induced coma before being put on a medical flight to Germany. ‘This was with a view to him being dead by the time he arrived in Berlin,’ one source said.” To put it another way, an anonymous person (probably a member of the British intelligence or security services) told a journalist that some other anonymous person believes that this is so. In other words, it’s not just hearsay, but anonymous hearsay. One can believe it if one wishes. But there’s no particular reason why one should.

Read more …

 

 

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Dec 142020
 


Adolphe Yvon Genius of America c1870

 

Data Shows Ample US Hospital Capacity Nationwide (JTN)
‘Autoantibodies’ May Be Driving Severe Covid Cases (G.)
‘Like Nothing Happened’: Sydney Restaurants Are Bustling (AFR)
Ivermectin May Improve the Prognosis of Patients With COVID-19 (Science)
Sen. Manchin: Bipartisan COVID19 Relief Plan To Be Released On Monday (JTN)
Electoral College Voting Is Slated For Monday (JTN)
China’s Global Power Tops The US? New Measures Say No! (Brands)
Major Leak Of Members ‘Lifts The Lid’ On The Chinese Communist Party (Sky.au)
Expect the Most Evictions in History as Ban Expires (Mish)
Iowa Autopsy Report: DNC Meddling Led To Caucus Debacle (Pol.)
Hillary So Far Finds No Role On Team Biden (JTN)
Britons Told Not To Stockpile Food Ahead Of January (BBC)
President Trump Open to the Idea of Pardoning Edward Snowden (LH)

 

 

 

 

Too much panicking about this. To know if a system is overwhelmed at any given point, you must know what its normal occupancy rate is. 90% capacity sounds scary, but not if it’s always at that capacity this time of year.

Data Shows Ample US Hospital Capacity Nationwide (JTN)

As fears persist of overwhelmed medical systems and at-capacity hospitals nationwide, data indicate that ample hospital space remains available for both COVID-19 patients and other medical needs, with one official at a major hospital network stating that the country is “managing pretty well” the latest surge of COVID-19. For most of 2020, rising positive test results of COVID-19 have brought with them fears of swamped hospitals, overwhelmed medical systems, emergency patients being turned away, and COVID-19 patients being triaged, suffering and dying in hallways and vestibules. Much of that fear crystallized in the early stages of the pandemic, when parts of the northern Italian medical system were put under significant strain due to a crush of COVID-19 patients.

In response, leaders and medical officials around the world suspended elective surgeries and constructed emergency medical facilities to cope with anticipated waves of COVID-19 patients. In many cases those facilities were eventually shuttered for lack of patients, even after millions of dollars had been invested in their construction. In Chicago, for instance, the city spent $120,000,000 on four facilities to treat a total of 38 patients. The latest spike in positive COVID tests has brought renewed fears of hospitals straining under an influx of COVID-19 patients, with some facilities across the country reporting difficulties managing large numbers of patients, either from a dwindling number of scarce beds or not enough medical officials to man them, or both.

Yet federal government data compiled from state-level reports suggests that hospitals nationwide have considerable space left to deal with both routine medical issues and COVID-19 patients. The Department of Health and Human Services offers on its website estimates of hospitalization rates across the United States. The data, the department says, is “estimated from hospital submissions, either reported through their state or reported through HHS Protect,” which the department describes as “a secure data ecosystem … for sharing, parsing, housing, and accessing COVID-19 data.” The HHS numbers belie forecasts of impending collapse of the U.S. medical system. As of Saturday, the department estimated that hospitals nationwide were at about 75% capacity. ICU beds were even lower, at 63.5%. Patients who had tested positive for COVID-19 occupied just under 15% of all beds nationwide.

Even in areas that have recently posted huge surges in positive COVID tests, the numbers were largely similar to the national average: In New York, 76% of hospital beds (and 61% of ICU beds) were taken. Dr. Joanne Roberts, the chief value officer of Providence St. Joseph Health system, told Just the News that “a well-functioning hospital probably runs about 85% capacity on an average day.” The problem, she pointed out, is that a virus like COVID-19 can “quickly overwhelm that last 15%” due to its virulency and ability to send a significant number of patients to the hospital at once.

Read more …

“Because antibodies can persist for a long time, it’s conceivable that they may contribute to the development of long-Covid diseases..”

‘Autoantibodies’ May Be Driving Severe Covid Cases (G.)

Dramatic levels of “friendly fire” from the immune system may drive severe Covid-19 disease and leave patients with “long Covid” – when medical problems persist for a significant time after the virus has been beaten – scientists have said. Researchers at Yale University found that Covid-19 patients had large numbers of misguided antibodies in their blood that targeted the organs, tissues and the immune system itself, rather than fighting off the invading virus. The scientists compared immune responses in patients and uninfected people and discovered scores of aberrant antibodies in the former.These blocked antiviral defences, wiped out helpful immune cells, and attacked the body on multiple fronts, from the brain, blood vessels and liver to connective tissue and the gastrointestinal tract.

Further tests revealed that the more “autoantibodies” patients had in their blood, the worse their disease. The Covid-19 patients had more antibodies that had turned on them than people with lupus, an autoimmune disease caused by similar wayward antibodies. “Covid-19 patients make autoantibodies that actually interfere with immune responses against the virus,” said Aaron Ring, an immunobiologist at Yale and senior author on the study. Numerous other autoantibodies attacked parts of the body that are known to become damaged in those with the disease. “We certainly believe that these autoantibodies are harmful to patients with Covid-19,” said Ring, adding that the harmful effects may well continue after the infection has abated, leaving patients with longer-lasting medical problems. “Because antibodies can persist for a long time, it’s conceivable that they may contribute to the development of long-Covid diseases,” he said. Ring partnered with Akiko Iwasaki, a professor of immunobiology at Yale, to screen 194 patients and hospital workers with varying severities of Covid infection for autoantibodies that targeted nearly 3,000 human proteins.

Antibodies disable viruses by latching on to proteins on the virus surface, but autoantibodies are the wrong shape and mistakenly bind to proteins that are on, or have been released by, human cells. Writing in the study, which has yet to be peer reviewed and published in a journal, the scientists describe how Covid patients had “dramatic increases in autoantibody reactivities” compared with 30 healthy hospital workers who did not have the virus. While certain autoantibodies in some patients were apparently present before Covid-19 infection, others appeared and ramped up as the disease progressed. More than 5% of hospitalised patients had autoantibodies that weakened a key arm of the immune defence that is orchestrated by proteins called interferons. These patients were unable to control the amount of virus in their bodies and so developed more serious illness.

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Has the word “ivermectin” been banned on social media? I see people spell it as iv3rm3ctin.

Ivermectin May Improve the Prognosis of Patients With COVID-19 (Science)

Dear Editor:
The pandemic coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has been spread rapidly worldwide with considerable morbidity and mortality. COVID-19 patients have various clinical presentations: asymptomatic, exhibit mild flu-like symptoms, be severely ill or death. In addition to elder age and comorbidities, higher levels of D-dimer and C-reactive protein (CRP) and lower levels of lymphocyte and eosinophil as well as a cytokine storm are associated with disease severity in COVID-19 patients. The virus load may be a main determinant underlying the pathological diversity in COVID-19 patients.

Thus, an effective antiviral treatment is essential to improve the prognosis of patients with COVID-19.7 In the absence of specific anti-SARS-CoV-2 agents, various drugs with antiviral potential are now used to contain the virus in COVID-19 patients. Ivermectin, a US FDA-approved anthelminthic, has garnered enormous interest for treating COVID-19 as it is safe and cheap and has strong antiviral activities against board ranges of viruses including SARS-CoV-2 in vitro. Despite the widespread use of ivermectin, to our knowledge, there is currently no published clinical reports of ivermectin in COVID-19 patients. Here, we assessed the clinical efficacy of ivermectin in COVID-19 patients.

This retrospective study enrolled a total of 325 consecutive patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection confirmed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) of nasal swabs in SK hospital, a unit dedicated to COVID-19 at Mymensingh Medical College Hospital (MMCH), Mymensingh, Bangladesh, from April to June 2020. Of these, the present study included 248 adult COVID-19 patients free from any other serious pathological conditions: 115 received ivermectin plus standard care (SC), while 133 received only SC. Remaining 77 patients who were under 18 years of age or transferred from other facilities and received different management approaches including partial hospital stays or treated with different therapeutic agents prior to hospital admission were excluded from the analysis.

The two groups were compared in terms of time to SARS-CoV-2 negativity, disease progression (develop pneumonia to severe respiratory distress), duration of hospital stays, and mortality rate. Ivermectin was given once at dose of 12 mg within 24-h after hospital admission. SC was provided as required and included antipyretics for fever, anti-histamines for cough, and antibiotics to control secondary infection. The study was approved by MMCH and informed consent was obtained from all patients or their relatives before starting treatment. Categorical variables are shown as frequencies and percentages and continuous variables as the median and interquartile range (IQR). Differences with 95% confidence intervals (CI) were computed to show the level of certainty. Paired t-tests or Pearson Chi-square test were used to analyze statistical differences. All calculations were performed using SAS, version 9.4 (Cary, NC, USA).

Read more …

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world…

‘Like Nothing Happened’: Sydney Restaurants Are Bustling (AFR)

At lunchtime in Barangaroo in downtown Sydney, it’s as though the pandemic never happened. Restaurants and cafes are bustling, and Matias Munoz, assistant manager at Bel and Brio, says the Italian restaurant has been flat out from open to close. “I think it’s because they’ve had a really tough year and they want to celebrate. That’s what the customers say to me,” Mr Munoz said. The NSW government on Monday lifted a public health order requiring employers to let staff work from home in the hope of bringing customers back to struggling city businesses. New mobility data shows residents in most capital cities are driving more than ever, with Sydney 17 per cent above the benchmark set in January before the pandemic lockdown.

Capacity on NSW’s public transport is being boosted as the government rolls back health restrictions and social distancing requirements. Most employers do not plan to bring workers back to their desks until early next year, and consumer data shows hospitality venues in central business districts have been gutted. But tell that to Mr Munoz, whose restaurant reopened in July after the first lockdown. “We reopened and it looked like nothing happened. People were coming like normal,” he said. The restaurant is handling 400 bookings per day. Trade lulled during the early days of Victoria’s second wave as even Sydneysiders stayed home before quickly recovering.

“Compared to the last year, we’re doing the same numbers,” Mr Munoz said. Even on a Monday, typically their quietest day, the restaurant is packed. Joseph Le, manager at nearby Lotus, was overseeing a full house and said it was good to be back to normal after the worrying he experienced during the early days of the pandemic. “[I thought] am I going to lose my job? How can I pay my bills?” Mr Le said. “I’m so happy and lucky to be here.”

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Better get it done, and done well. It’s Christmas time.

Sen. Manchin: Bipartisan COVID19 Relief Plan To Be Released On Monday (JTN)

Senator Joe Manchin during an interview on Fox News Sunday with host Chris Wallace said that a bipartisan group of lawmakers’ proposed COVID-19 relief legislation will be released on Monday. Wallace asked if a $908 billion compromise plan is off the table, and if there were a chance that Congress would leave Washington for the rest of the year without passing a COVID relief bill. Manchin responded that “the plan is alive and well,” and he shot down the concept of Congress skipping town before approving any relief. “We’ll have a bill produced for the American people tomorrow, $908 billion dollars,” the West Virginia Democrat said about the proposal that will be shared. “We’re trying to get through the toughest first quarter of our country that we’ve ever faced.”


Manchin said he could not guarantee that the legislation would pass. “But I can tell you one thing: What’s the alternative? What are you going to do? We’ve given one month, day and night, our staffs have worked around the clock,” he said. “We’ve done everything we can to put an all-inclusive product together. Pick whatever parts you like, whatever parts you don’t like. Put it all together or take it as a whole. We’re gonna give it to you the way we think the American people need it. In an emergency situation, we need this legislation.”

Read more …

Sidney Powell announced 4 major cases to go before SCOTUS. We’re not done yet, but we’re getting there.

Electoral College Voting Is Slated For Monday (JTN)

Members of the Electoral College will cast their votes for president on Monday, with Joe Biden expected to receive 306 electoral votes compared to just 232 for President Trump. A candidate must secure 270 to win the presidency. The step comes as President Trump has so far chosen not to concede to Biden, filing a host of lawsuits alleging that fraud tainted the 2020 election. The U.S. Constitution provides that each state will have a quantity of electors equivalent to the combined number of senators and House members that the state is entitled to have in the nation’s legislature. Thus, states with larger populations have more electoral votes than states with smaller populations. The candidate who wins the national popular vote does not always win the Electoral College vote.

But the Electoral College vote, not the national popular vote, determines which candidate wins the presidential contest. The Associated Press reported that the Electoral College does not meet in one central location, but electors for every state and the District of Columbia gather at a location selected by their own legislature. With the exception of Maine and Nebraska, states award all of their Electoral College votes to the winner of the state’s popular vote. Nevada and Maine divide their Electoral College votes between the statewide winner and the victor in each congressional district. “Maine awards two of its four electoral votes to the statewide winner, but also allocates an electoral vote to the popular vote winner in each of its two congressional districts,” according to CBS News. “Nebraska gives two of its five electoral votes to the statewide winner, with the remaining three going to the popular vote winner in each of its three congressional districts.”

“In 32 states and the District of Columbia, laws require electors to vote for the popular-vote winner,” the AP reported. “Electors almost always vote for the state winner anyway, because they generally are devoted to their political party,” the outlet noted. On Jan. 6, Vice President Mike Pence will preside over a joint session of the U.S. Congress and the votes will be counted. If a minimum of one lawmaker from each chamber of the nation’s bicameral legislature objects via writing to some electoral votes, each chamber would debate the matter separately. “An objection to a state’s electoral vote must be approved by both houses in order for any contested votes to be excluded,” according to the Congressional Research Service.

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How to measure power.

China’s Global Power Tops The US? New Measures Say No! (Brands)

Traditionally, measures of power focused on attributes such as population, energy consumption and production of steel or other indicators of industrial strength. In the information age, these indices tell us relatively little about whether a country can get its way in world affairs. It is still common, though, to assess power through blunt measures like GDP or military spending. Analysts who argue that Beijing is overtaking the U.S. habitually note that China’s GDP may soon surpass America’s. But GDP is a snapshot of activity rather than a measure of overall wealth. Some countries that spend massively on military power, such as Saudi Arabia, are quite useless in projecting it. So how can we determine the balance of advantage in a long rivalry? The groundbreaking academic work is giving us better answers.

The first category focuses on refining our grasp of economic and military might. Michael Beckley of the American Enterprise Institute (where I am also a fellow) has developed a model that measures net power rather than gross power by accounting for things such as security costs (“the price a government pays to police and protect its citizens”) and production costs (how much it costs, in material and environmental degradation, to build that coal power plant). He finds, not surprisingly, that the U.S. fares far better than China, an authoritarian state with vast internal security costs and a prodigiously wasteful approach to stimulating growth. Similarly, it is critical that American per capita GDP dwarfs China’s, because that means the U.S. has more wealth left over, after it feeds its population, to pursue global influence. Other work has better accounted for the way wealth accrues over time, and found that the U.S. will still have far more overall economic power than China even after China’s GDP eclipses America’s.

The second category better captures the reality of “network power.” In a landmark paper published in 2019, Abraham Newman of Georgetown University and Henry Farrell, my colleague at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, argue that the centrality of the dollar to international financial networks — which persists, despite decades of handwringing about its decline — gives the U.S. outsized coercive leverage. Scholars have also affirmed something that policymakers have long understood: America punches far above its own weight in global affairs, because of the network of military, economic and diplomatic partners it leads. China has nothing equivalent.

The third category accounts for less tangible forms of power. For decades, analysts have grasped that soft power — the degree of admiration and emulation a country inspires — matters enormously. An intriguing study by Ted Hopf of the National University of Singapore, Bentley Allan of Johns Hopkins and Srdjan Vucetic of the University of Ottawa demonstrates that, even though America’s global favorability ratings have plummeted under President Donald Trump, there remains strong global support for democracy and free-market economic policies. That’s a body blow for an authoritarian, mercantilist China, which, the authors predict, “is unlikely to become the hegemon in the near term.” It also helps explain why European states are systematically turning away from Beijing even amid enormous turbulence in their relations with the U.S.

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A lot of interest in China these days.

Major Leak Of Members ‘Lifts The Lid’ On The Chinese Communist Party (Sky.au)

A major leak containing a register with the details of nearly two million CCP members has occurred – exposing members who are now working all over the world, while also lifting the lid on how the party operates under Xi Jinping, says Sharri Markson. Ms Markson said the leak is a register with the details of Communist Party members, including their names, party position, birthday, national ID number and ethnicity. “It is believed to be the first leak of its kind in the world,” the Sky News host said. “What’s amazing about this database is not just that it exposes people who are members of the communist party, and who are now living and working all over the world, from Australia to the US to the UK,” Ms Markson said. “But it’s amazing because it lifts the lid on how the party operates under President and Chairman Xi Jinping”.


Ms Markson said the leak demonstrates party branches are embedded in some of the world’s biggest companies and even inside government agencies. “Communist party branches have been set up inside western companies, allowing the infiltration of those companies by CCP members – who, if called on, are answerable directly to the communist party, to the Chairman, the president himself,” she said. “Along with the personal identifying details of 1.95 million communist party members, mostly from Shanghai, there are also the details of 79,000 communist party branches, many of them inside companies”. Ms Markson said the leak is a significant security breach likely to embarrass Xi Jinping. “It is also going to embarrass some global companies who appear to have no plan in place to protect their intellectual property from theft. From economic espionage,” she said.

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In a pandemic. Is there a worse idea possible?

Expect the Most Evictions in History as Ban Expires (Mish)

“Millions of U.S. renters face the prospect of eviction in January unless federal officials extend protections put in place during the Covid-19 pandemic. That month is when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s ban on evictions is set to expire. The moratorium protects tenants who have missed monthly rent payments from being thrown out of their homes if they declare financial hardship. The CDC ordered the halt on evictions under the Public Health Service Act, which allows the federal government to enact regulations that help stop the spread of infectious diseases. Between 2.4 million and 5 million American households are at risk of eviction in January alone, and millions more will be vulnerable in the months after, according to estimates from the investment bank and financial-advisory firm Stout Risius Ross.

Landlords have already filed more than 150,000 eviction petitions during the pandemic in the 27 cities tracked by Princeton University’s Eviction Lab. Many of those tenants have lost their cases, and are now on the hook for all their back rent.” ‘I don’t see how it’s possible that we’re not going to see more evictions on Jan. 1 than we’ve ever seen in a month,’ said John Pollock, staff attorney at the Public Justice Center It’s easy to sympathize with tenants but what about landlords who cannot pay mortgages? Are we to postpone evictions forever while landlords lose their property? There has been no discussion in any of the recent Covid packages for further moratoriums nor aid to landlords who have not been paid for months. So unless there is specific aid sufficient aid in the bill to allow tenants to catch up, millions of evictions are on the way.

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After protecting the DNC for years, the press suddenly wake up?!

Iowa Autopsy Report: DNC Meddling Led To Caucus Debacle (Pol.)

Democratic National Committee meddling, combined with missteps by the state Democratic Party, were the primary drivers of the chaos that torpedoed the Iowa caucuses earlier this year, according to a new audit commissioned by the state party. The report, which was distributed to the Iowa Democratic Party State Central Committee at a meeting Saturday morning and obtained by POLITICO, identified a series of errors made by the DNC, IDP and the technology company contracted by the state party to build a reporting app to collect caucus results. The February caucuses were overrun by foul-ups: The state party was unable to report a winner on caucus night, the mobile app to report results failed to work for many precinct chairs, the back-up telephone systems were jammed and some precincts had initial reporting errors.

The state party chair, Troy Price, resigned in the wake of the debacle, which put Iowa’s status as the first in the nation nominating contest in serious jeopardy. But the report pins the blame squarely on the DNC for the heart of the problem on caucus night — the delay in the reporting of the results. According to the report, the DNC demanded the technology company, Shadow, build a conversion tool just weeks before the caucuses to allow the DNC to have real-time access to the raw numbers because the national party feared the app would miscalculate results. The DNC’s data system used a different database format than Shadow’s reporting app, which caused multiple problems.

“Attempting to graft an entirely new software element onto the back-end reporting system at the proverbial eleventh hour is likely always going to be problematic, and it was ultimately the cause of a major problem on caucus night,” the report concludes. “Furthermore, the IDP was not involved in the development of this tool. The IDP simply permitted the DNC to direct the IDP’s vendor.” The audit states the conversion tool had coding errors that spit out inaccurate numbers and caused confusion about the accuracy of the results, eventually leading to delays in reporting. But the state party’s app never malfunctioned nor was hacked, the report concludes.

“When the DNC’s database conversion tool failed to work correctly, it caused the DNC to wrongly stop the IDP from reporting its results, and the IDP’s entire planned reporting process was thrown into disarray,” the report says. “The DNC’s interjection was the catalyst for the resulting chaos in the boiler room and in the IDP’s attempts to manually collect and confirm caucus results by hand. If the DNC had not interjected itself into the results reporting process based on its erroneous data conversion, caucus night could conceivably have proceeded according to the IDP’s initial plan.”

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But Samantha Power is back in, it appears.

Hillary So Far Finds No Role On Team Biden (JTN)

Have you noticed? Hillary Clinton is suddenly — and finally — nowhere to be found. Well before she lost the 2016 presidential election to President Trump, the former first lady pushed a conspiracy theory that eventually grew into a major, two-year investigation: Trump had colluded with the Russians in order to alter the outcome of the race. That didn’t pan out, but Hillary had other excuses. For months — which turned into years — she blamed FBI Director James Comey, Russia, computer bots, WikiLeaks, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Facebook, Joe Biden, fake news, Twitter, voter ID laws, the vast right-wing conspiracy, sexism, Barack Obama, ageism, child sex pervert Anthony Weiner, white women, xenophobia, black people, the Electoral College, the Democratic National Committee, misogyny, women cowed by their husbands, and even former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (how America’s Mayor caused Clinton to lose Wisconsin and Pennsylvania and Michigan and Florida is anybody’s guess).

But the mainstream media despises Trump, and Clinton was a reliable gadfly, so she stayed in the news regularly. She even made millions hawking her book, “What Happened,” her take on why she lost the election. Yet it’s been more than a month since Election Day 2020, and Americans haven hardly heard a peep out of her. What’s more, the former secretary of state for President Barack Obama has been given no role in a prospective Biden administration, even though at 72 she’s younger the 78-year-old Biden. It’s not like Biden hasn’t made room for others from former administrations. After all, he found room as climate czar for John Kerry, who served as secretary of state from 2013 to 2017 under Obama. But so far, nothing for Clinton.

Clinton’s omission is odd, given that she won nearly 66 million votes in 2016. She also represents a powerful wing of the party — albeit an old and fading faction — along with her husband, former President Bill Clinton, who remains extremely popular with the rank and file of the party. And she’s got the bona fides: Secretary of State, two-term senator, and architect of a planned overhaul of health care that eventually morphed into Obamacare. As Biden made room for Kerry on climate, he could give Clinton a role on health care. And the former vice president could tap Hillary’s decades of experience, even if just as an adviser, whether formal or informal.

Shortly after Election Day, rumors circulated that Biden was considering Clinton for a role in his administration, perhaps as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. The move “would be a way for Biden to highlight the importance of that position in his administration, and that placing her there would raise the prestige of the U.N. itself at a time when global cooperation and the U.S. role on the world stage, has ebbed,” sources told the Washington Post. But a few weeks later, Biden picked Linda Thomas-Greenfield, a 35-year veteran of the foreign service who oversaw the Bureau of African Affairs during the Obama administration, for the slot.

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Yes, you got that right. The day after the UK government tells supermarkets to stockpile food, they now tell their citizens to do the opposite. Sweet Jesus.

Britons Told Not To Stockpile Food Ahead Of January (BBC)

Households have been warned not to stockpile food and toilet roll ahead of 1 January when the UK stops trading under EU rules. On Sunday, the UK and the EU agreed to extend a deadline aimed at reaching a deal on post-Brexit trade. The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said ongoing uncertainty made it harder for firms to prepare for the New Year. But it said shops had plenty of supplies and shoppers must not buy more food than usual. “Retailers are doing everything they can to prepare for all eventualities on 1 January – increasing the stock of tins, toilet rolls and other longer life products so there will be sufficient supply of essential products,” said BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson.


“While no amount of preparation by retailers can entirely prevent disruption there is no need for the public to buy more food than usual as the main impact will be on imported fresh produce, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, which cannot be stored for long periods by either retailers or consumers.” Supermarkets are now used to dealing with anxious shoppers. During the first lockdown earlier this year to stop the spread of the coronavirus, grocers introduced limits on goods such as toilet roll, dried pasta and UHT milk after panic buying by Britons. There are fears shoppers might think disruption at ports after 31 December could lead to shortages in shops as the UK transitions to new trading rules with the EU.

Read more …

Of course Snowden has urged him to pardon Assange.

President Trump Open to the Idea of Pardoning Edward Snowden (LH)

The push to have President Trump pardon NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is heating up as a group in Congress has been urging the President to do the right thing and free this patriot. There have been a growing list of Republicans and Democrats that are pushing the outgoing President to do the right thing and grant a full and complete pardon of Snowden so he can return home to the United States. Edward Snowden is famous for declassifying an NSA program that was used to spy on the American people. He has been hunted for years by the federal government and has sought asylum in multiple countries.

Currently he resides in Russia where is viewed in Liberty circles as a patriot for his act to expose the governments attempt to pry into the lives of ordinary Americans. He deserves a pardon and Trump needs to use one of his last acts as President to make history right. Call your Congressman and women and urge them to put pressure of the White House. Contact the White House as well using this link.

Read more …

 

 

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Dec 012020
 


Vincent van Gogh Women Picking Olives 1889

 

Vitamin D Insufficiency May Account for Almost 9 of 10 COVID19 Deaths (MDPI)
The Wuhan Files (CNN)
It Could Take 4 Years To Regain The 22 Million Jobs Lost During COVID19 (F.)
Black Friday Foot Traffic Down More Than 52% (RetailDive)
US Billionaires Have Gained $1 Trillion Since The Pandemic Started (ZH)
Trump’s Hill Allies Could Take One Last Shot To Overturn The Election (Pol.)
GA Govt Lawyers Defend Dominion ‘Trade Secrets’ To Stop Forensic Analysis (NP)
Neera Tanden: Unhinged, Venomous, Corrupt, Pathologically Dishonest (Greenwald)
Biden Picks Budget Director Who Pushed Social Security Cuts (DP)
The Case Against Sally Yates (Turley)
Behind the Scenes in Swamptopia (Kunstler)
Trump Pardons Flynn…It’s a Good Start! (Ron Paul)
We Can’t Vote ‘Em Out (Lee Camp)
Establishment Journalists Are Piling On To Smear Robert Fisk (Cook)

 

 

Fauci get kids back into school

 

 

How Churchill procured alcohol during prohibition.

 

 

White Hat hackers
https://twitter.com/i/status/1333500580287950849

 

 

“..statistically attributable..”

Vitamin D Insufficiency May Account for Almost 9 of 10 COVID19 Deaths (MDPI)

Evidence from observational studies is accumulating, suggesting that the majority of deaths due to SARS-CoV-2 infections are statistically attributable to vitamin D insufficiency and could potentially be prevented by vitamin D supplementation. Given the dynamics of the COVID-19 pandemic, rational vitamin D supplementation whose safety has been proven in an extensive body of research should be promoted and initiated to limit the toll of the pandemic even before the final proof of efficacy in preventing COVID-19 deaths by randomized trials. We read, with great interest, the recent article by Radujkovic et al. that reported associations between vitamin D deficiency (25(OH)D < 12 ng/mL) or insufficiency (25(OH)D < 20 ng/mL) and death in a cohort of 185 consecutive symptomatic SARS-CoV-2-positive patients admitted to the Medical University Hospital Heidelberg, who were diagnosed and treated between 18 March and 18 June 2020 [1].

In this cohort, 118 patients (64%) had vitamin D insufficiency at recruitment (including 41 patients with vitamin D deficiency), and 16 patients died of the infection. With a covariate-adjusted relative risk of death of 11.3, mortality was much higher among vitamin D insufficient patients than among other patients. When translated to the proportion of deaths in the population that is statistically attributable to vitamin D insufficiency (“population attributable risk proportion”), a key measure of public health relevance of risk factors [2], these results imply that 87% of COVID-19 deaths may be statistically attributed to vitamin D insufficiency and could potentially be avoided by eliminating vitamin D insufficiency.

Although results of an observational study, such as this one, need to be interpreted with caution, as done by the authors [1], due to the potential of residual confounding or reverse causality (i.e., vitamin D insufficiency resulting from poor health status at baseline rather than vice versa), it appears extremely unlikely that such a strong association in this prospective cohort study could be explained this way, in particular as the authors had adjusted for age, sex and comorbidity as potential confounders in their multivariate analysis. There are also multiple plausible mechanisms that may well explain the observed associations, such as increased concentrations of pro-inflammatory cytokines, as well as decreased concentrations of anti-inflammatory cytokines in vitamin D insufficiency..

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The timing for this report is a tad curious perhaps.

The Wuhan Files (CNN)

A group of frontline medical workers, likely exhausted, stand huddled together on a video-conference call as China’s most powerful man raises his hand in greeting. It is February 10 in Beijing and President Xi Jinping, who for weeks has been absent from public view, is addressing hospital staff in the city of Wuhan as they battle to contain the spread of a still officially unnamed novel coronavirus. From a secure room about 1,200 kilometers (745 miles) from the epicenter, Xi expressed his condolences to those who have died in the outbreak. He urged greater public communication, as around the world concerns mounted about the potential threat posed by the new disease. That same day, Chinese authorities reported 2,478 new confirmed cases — raising the total global number to more than 40,000, with fewer than 400 cases occurring outside of mainland China.

Yet CNN can now reveal how official documents circulated internally show that this was only part of the picture.In a report marked “internal document, please keep confidential,” local health authorities in the province of Hubei, where the virus was first detected, list a total of 5,918 newly detected cases on February 10, more than double the official public number of confirmed cases, breaking down the total into a variety of subcategories. This larger figure was never fully revealed at that time, as China’s accounting system seemed, in the tumult of the early weeks of the pandemic, to downplay the severity of the outbreak. The previously undisclosed figure is among a string of revelations contained within 117 pages of leaked documents from the Hubei Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention, shared with and verified by CNN.


Taken together, the documents amount to the most significant leak from inside China since the beginning of the pandemic and provide the first clear window into what local authorities knew internally and when. The Chinese government has steadfastly rejected accusations made by the United States and other Western governments that it deliberately concealed information relating to the virus, maintaining that it has been upfront since the beginning of the outbreak. However, though the documents provide no evidence of a deliberate attempt to obfuscate findings, they do reveal numerous inconsistencies in what authorities believed to be happening and what was revealed to the public.

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You’re not going to “regain” them, they will have to be new jobs.

It Could Take 4 Years To Regain The 22 Million Jobs Lost During COVID19 (F.)

As the bull market for stocks rages on and even bests pre-pandemic levels, some American households are bouncing back much more slowly than others, unearthing a pattern indicative of a K-shaped (or lopsided) economic recovery, Goldman Sachs said on Sunday–and without additional fiscal relief, it could take years for employment to fully recover. The biggest driver of the K-shaped recovery taking shape is that pandemic job losses were “highly concentrated in virus-sensitive industries” like retail, leisure and hospitality–all of which disproportionately employ low-wage workers, Goldman analyst Joseph Briggs wrote in a weekend note. Some companies have turned to technology in an effort to boost productivity in the absence of real workers, and it’s working (which is bad news for American workers).

Productivity is up 4% this year despite major job losses, according to Moody’s Analytics, which now estimates the 22 million jobs lost this spring won’t come back until early 2024. While stimulus measures have helped keep overall disposable income afloat during the pandemic, Americans making less than $30 per hour are feeling the most economic pain. Slowed wage growth has also been markedly worse for lower-income workers–further contributing to the disparate economic recovery, the Goldman report goes on to say. Goldman projects a lack of new fiscal relief will cause a fourth-quarter decline in disposable income that will hit the bottom 25% of earners “particularly hard,” while also weighing on consumer spending this winter.

The outlook for lower-income workers will get “significantly worse” if Congress doesn’t pass another fiscal stimulus package of at least $700 billion in the first quarter, Goldman notes, adding that additional relief coupled with widespread vaccination could actually help yield a V-shaped recovery, which is characteristic of a quicker, more equitable economic bounceback. “The largest pandemic casualties have been less productive industries including retailing, leisure and hospitality, while the biggest winners have been in more productive industries like technology, wholesaling and professional services,” Moody’s Analytics Chief Economist Mark Zandi said in a weekend note, adding that within industries, smaller businesses have fared worse than their larger, more productive counterparts, which are more able to afford large investments in technology and organizational changes.

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Shopkeepers will become Amazo delivery workers.

Black Friday Foot Traffic Down More Than 52% (RetailDive)

With COVID-19 cases hitting new highs, it comes as little surprise that many shoppers opted to stay away from physical stores this year. That said, the differences between Black Friday 2020 and those that preceded it were stark. “Our traditional store checks over the holiday weekend were like none other we’ve ever experienced in our lifetime — no hustle and bustle, no lines at the register,” said MKM Partners Managing Director Roxanne Meyer in an emailed research note. Retailers have anticipated and prepared for that, even nudged consumers into changing up their holiday shopping plans to keep them from packing into stores. Major players like Walmart and Target have been spreading Black Friday-like discounts through the month of November and encouraging online purchases and curbside pickup.


Many also followed Amazon’s lead by launching online sales events in October, which pulled holiday purchases into the month and heralded the beginning of the holiday shopping spree. Black Friday still had a major impact. Sales in the U.S. were up 177% Friday against their October average, according to Criteo data emailed to Retail Dive. By category, fashion was up 240%, consumer electronics were up 359% and home goods were up 148%. However, year-over-year Black Friday sales were down 5%, meaning that even the online sales surge couldn’t fully make up for the lost foot traffic. Criteo’s data shows, however, that the prior weeks’ discounting may have affected sales on Black Friday itself — which was the plan among retailers all along. Sales in the first three weeks of November were up 7% year over year, Criteo said.

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Tax the crap out of them.

US Billionaires Have Gained $1 Trillion Since The Pandemic Started (ZH)

American billionaires haven’t been just immune to the pandemic, they have been thriving in it, drastically increasing their collective wealth. An analysis by Chuck Collins at the Institute for Policy Studies found that American billionaires have been their wealth grow by $1 trillion since March of this year – more than 34 percent. That was not the case during the 2008 financial crisis when it took Forbes’ 400 richest people three years to recoup their losses from the Great Recession. Collins’ findings highlight a wealth gain by a mere 650 individuals that, as Statista’s Niall McCarthy notes, seems obscene at a time when nearly 7 million Americans are at risk of eviction when moratoriums expire at the end of the year.


There are 650 billionaires on the list, out of which 47 are new arrivals with 11 dropping out due to death or financial decline. There were numerous impressive financial gains among notable billionaires on the lit with Jeff Bezos growing his fortune by $69.4 billion between March 17 and November 24. The Amazon boss and richest man on the planet is now with $182.4 billion. The most impressive gain on the list was recorded by Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk who has seen his fortune experience a meteoric rise. In the above period, his weath surged a whopping 414 percent, climbing from “just” $24.6 billion to $126.2 billion, making him the world’s second richest man after Bezos. Illustrating the gulf in financial inequality in the U.S. today, the analysis states that U.S. billionaires own $4 trillion, 3.5 percent of all privately held wealth in the country. Billionaire wealth is now twice the amount of wealth held by the bottom 50 percent of all American households combined, approximately 160 million people.

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By running a plan the Dems used extensively.

Trump’s Hill Allies Could Take One Last Shot To Overturn The Election (Pol.)

The framers declared that the presidential election isn’t official until lawmakers certify the winner. The voters, on Nov. 3, picked 306 electors for Biden and 232 for Trump. Those electors will cast their formal votes for president on Dec. 14. An obscure 1887 law called the Electoral Count Act, and several subsequent updates, spell out the process, setting Jan. 6 after a presidential election as the official certification date and outlining vague, complicated procedures. On that day, the House and Senate meet in a joint session at 1 p.m. — just three days after a newly constituted Congress is sworn in. One of their first orders of business is to pass judgment on the Electoral College vote. That same federal law also gives a tiny number of lawmakers enormous power to challenge the results.

If a single House member and a single senator join forces, they can object to entire slates of presidential electors. They must do so in writing and provide an explanation, though there are no guidelines on how detailed it must be. If they do, the House and Senate must retreat to their chambers and debate the outcome for up to two hours before voting on the matter. Each state’s electors are certified separately, meaning lawmakers bent on challenging the results have multiple chances to force lengthy delays. If the Democrat-run House and GOP-controlled Senate disagree? That outcome has never been tested before, though it would likely give governors in key states — including the Democrats who lead Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan — a larger role.

A few House Democrats have previously tried and failed to challenge GOP presidencies in 2001 and 2017 — after Al Gore and Hillary Clinton won the national popular vote but lost the Electoral College to George W. Bush and Trump, respectively. And congressional Democrats went even further in 2005, when John Kerry lost to Bush, forcing a full-fledged debate on Ohio’s electoral votes before both the House and Senate voted to reject the challenge.

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“..defending a private, foreign company’s “trade secrets” instead of attempting to secure the vote of the American public..”

GA Govt Lawyers Defend Dominion ‘Trade Secrets’ To Stop Forensic Analysis (NP)

A buried lead in Judge Timothy C. Batten’s order released late last night from an Atlantic District Court describes Georgia State lawyers – ostensibly acting on behalf of the public via the local government – defending Dominion Voting Systems’ “trade secrets”. The court ordered that voting software and information contained therein should not be destroyed, or erased or altered in Cobb, Gwinnett, and Cherokee Counties. But the order also revealed: “Defendants’ counsel also argued that allowing such forensic inspections would pose substantial security and proprietary/trade secret risks to Defendants.”


The bizarre nature of government lawyers defending a private, foreign company’s “trade secrets” instead of attempting to secure the vote of the American public will raise further questions about the company’s involvement in U.S. voting systems. The term “trade secret” is used no fewer than NINE times in the contract between Georgia and Dominion Voting Systems.

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Is she what the country deserves?

Neera Tanden: Unhinged, Venomous, Corrupt, Pathologically Dishonest (Greenwald)

The announcement that Joe Biden intends to nominate Neera Tanden as his Director of the Office of Management and Budget — a critical position overseeing U.S. economic and regulatory policy — triggered a wide range of mockery, indignation and disgust from both the left and the right. That should not be surprising: though a thoroughly mediocre and ordinary D.C. swamp creature from the perspective of both ideology and competence, Tanden’s uniquely unhinged, venomous, corrupt and pathologically dishonest conduct as a Clinton Family and DNC apparatchik and President of the corporatist-and-despot-funded Center for American Progress (CAP) has earned her a list of enemies far longer and more impressive than her accomplishments.

[..] Tanden owes her entire career to the patronage of Hillary Clinton, and her devotion to Hillary approaches restraining-order levels of creepiness (here you can watch Tanden beam with adoration as then-Senator Hillary Clinton, on the Senate floor in 2004, explains her steadfast opposition to marriage equality for same-sex couples on the ground that “marriage is a sacred bond between a man and a woman” and “exists between a man and a woman going back into the mists of history” for the primary purpose of raising children — just a few short years before Democrats changed views on this, after which it instantly became the hallmark of an unreconstructed hateful bigot to say this). Few people took Hillary’s 2016 loss to Donald Trump as hard as Tanden, or handled it as poorly. Indeed, she refused to believe it really happened, and encouraged others to similarly refuse to accept its reality.

In the weeks after Trump’s victory, Tanden joined numerous Democrats in encouraging electors of the Electoral College to ignore their states’ votes and refuse to elect Trump as President (many rationale were invoked for this: Tanden’s was a CAP article promoting #Resistance fanatic Richard Painter’s argument that Trump’s violations of the Emolument Clause precluded an Electoral College win). She insisted that Hillary lost because of Russia, claiming the “Russians did enough damage to affect more than 70k votes in 3 states.” And she was not only one of the first to push the Steele Dossier’s claim that Russia held blackmail power over Trump but also one of the last to do so — insisting in 2018 that “the dossier been mostly proven to be true” and claiming as late as 2019 that nothing in this discredited junk report had been disproven.

But what really distinguished Tanden when it came to unhinged and toxic behavior was her repeated (and obviously baseless) claims that Hillary only lost because Russian hackers invaded the U.S. voting system and clandestinely changed Hillary’s votes to Trump’s, costing the real winner — Hillary — her rightful place on the throne, behind the Resolute Desk.

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The left doesn’t like Tanden either.

Biden Picks Budget Director Who Pushed Social Security Cuts (DP)

President-elect Joe Biden will reportedly nominate a White House budget director who has been one of the country’s most prominent critics of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and who has previously backed Social Security cuts. Biden — who has repeatedly pushed for Social Security cuts throughout his career — announced his selection of Center for American Progress president Neera Tanden as his choice to run the powerful White House Office of Management and Budget. A longtime aide to Hillary Clinton, Tanden touted her think tank’s 2010 proposal to reduce Social Security benefits in 2012, as Biden was pushing for such cuts in the Obama administration. Tanden’s Social Security push followed the 2010 midterms, during the deficit reduction negotiations between the Obama administration and the new GOP Congress.

Republicans drew a hard line but Obama sought a middle ground. Central to the administration’s efforts, which were led by Biden, was a plan called the “chained CPI” that would have slowed the rate at which Social Security benefits increase over time. Sanders led the fight in the Senate against chained CPI, while outside groups were divided over whether to line up behind the president. Some, like the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, vocally opposed the cuts. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal think tank, found that the chained CPI “would cut Social Security retirement benefits by about 2 percent, on average.” The organization, nevertheless, said it would support the concept under certain conditions.

Tanden’s CAP, at the time considered to be the largest liberal think tank in Washington, also supported the idea and was a significant voice in favor of the administration’s plan. Tanden explained her views in a February 2012 C-SPAN interview. Asked by a caller about entitlement reform, she named Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid as targets for possible cuts, noting that “the president has $300 million in his budget in cuts in Medicare.” “That comes on top of cuts in Medicare for the Affordable Care Act. So he has put specific cuts in the budget in Medicare,” she said. “And they had savings in Medicaid in the past. I think the question really is: If we’re going to have a deal to address long-term deficit reduction, we need to put both entitlements on the table as well as taxes.”

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Russiagate in the flesh.

“..she ordered a federal department to refuse to assist the president…”

The Case Against Sally Yates (Turley)

As Joe Biden fills out his Cabinet, more attention is drawn to the position of attorney general and one of the most cited names on the short list, which is Sally Yates. Her consideration is surprising for a president-elect who has pledged to unify the country and move beyond the destructive politics of the last four years. I always admired the obvious talent and intellect of Yates. But my overall assessment of her changed dramatically almost four years ago, when she staged an epic battle with a newly inaugurated President Trump and thereby forged her own legend. Yates had only a few days left in government when she became acting attorney general in January 2017, following the departure of Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

One week later, Trump signed an executive order that restricted travel to the United States from seven Muslim majority countries. Yates then took the unprecedented step of ordering the Justice Department to refuse to assist the president in implementing the ban. I was an early critic of the travel ban, which had glaring errors like the absence of exceptions for legal residents or green-card holders. (Those errors were corrected in an amended order.) The ban was an issue upon which Trump campaigned and won the presidency and he wanted to move in that first week to carry out some of his core promises. But the order was poorly drafted, poorly executed and, ultimately, poorly defended. Yates could have worked with the White House to seek changes, as would later occur; instead, she ordered a federal department to refuse to assist the president.

[..] This was not her only controversy. Yates signed off on the application for secret surveillance of Carter Page, which was found by the inspector general to be riddled with errors and based on faulty information. Page was never charged with any crime. There is no indication that Yates made any substantive inquiries on the basis for the application, which she now says she would not have signed if she knew what she knows today. She just signed it and assumed it was legal, despite the targeting of a campaign aide in the opposing party. Yates also showed little concern over the basis for investigating Michael Flynn, another key aide to the incoming president of the opposing party.

While she recently expressed a lack of clear memory on the issue, prior reports linked her to raising the possible use against Flynn of the Logan Act, a notoriously unconstitutional law that has never been used to secure a single conviction since its creation in 1799. The basis was Flynn’s conversations with Russian diplomats shortly before becoming Trump’s national security adviser. There was nothing unlawful or even uncommon in such a communication. Indeed, then FBI Director James Comey reportedly told President Obama and Vice President Biden that the meetings appeared legitimate. Yet Yates reportedly went to the White House to raise the alarm and, in a 2017 interview, she had no memory problems in declaring that “there is certainly a criminal statute that was implicated” by the conduct of Flynn.

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“Do you suppose that Gen. Flynn does not know about the agency’s cyber-warfare capabilities?”

Behind the Scenes in Swamptopia (Kunstler)

There is the matter of the Kraken. Perhaps Sidney Powell was not speaking just figuratively about the lurking monster of the deep. The Kraken, apparently, is an actual computer system developed by the Department of Defense (DOD) to ferret out malevolent computer programs as might be deployed in cyber-warfare… or janky elections. Miz Powell has had legal consort all year with General Mike Flynn, the former chief of the Defense Intelligence Agency railroaded on a fake charge by the FBI, now pardoned, free to speak and act. Do you suppose that Gen. Flynn does not know about the agency’s cyber-warfare capabilities? Or that he does not know skilled military technicians who can spell out, say, in a court of law, exactly how the Kraken might be put to use? Or how the Kraken intersects with the two CIA proprietary election hacking programs, Hammer and Scorecard?

Next, there is the matter of where these agencies stand with each other these days. It was not for nothing that the president sacked cheeky Sec’y of Defense Mark Esper and replaced him with Christopher Miller, a Special Forces warrior, lately, as Deputy Assistant Sec-Def, in charge of counterterrorism, Military Information Support Operations (MISO), Information Operations, unconventional warfare, irregular warfare, direct action, special reconnaissance, foreign internal defense, counter proliferation, sensitive special operations. Kind of sounds a little bit like exactly the skill-set you’d need to battle the rogue “resistance” operations across several US government agencies in their four-year quest to overthrow the chief executive climaxing in this election caper — for one example, the CIA.

Somehow, when I think of the CIA, I think of the sinister John Brennan, architect of RussiaGate and probably also somehow behind the activation of his protégé, “whistleblower” (and CIA agent) Eric Ciaramella, the impeachment mole who was allowed to retreat back into the CIA fortress with no consequences after his seditious deed was done. Notice, Mr. Brennan has been tweeting like mad in recent days denouncing election skeptics. Is he worried about something? All of which raises the questions: what role did the agency play in the election, with its mystifying vote-tallying irregularities? Does Mr. Brennan still wield influence in the CIA? And is the agency an enemy of the people?

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Not pardoning Snowden and Assange would be nuts.

Trump Pardons Flynn…It’s a Good Start! (Ron Paul)

Last week President Trump granted a “full pardon” to Gen. Michael Flynn, his first National Security Advisor. In a White House statement announcing the pardon, the Administration pointed out that the relentless pursuit of Flynn was a partisan effort to overturn the results of the 2016 election. The pursuit of Flynn was spearheaded by people who refused to accept the results of the 2016 election and worked to undermine the peaceful transfer of power, said the White House. These same people are the ones accusing Trump of undermining the election by challenging what appears to be serious voting irregularities in the 2020 presidential election. That is called “projection.”

The White House statement also cites partisans in politics, the media, and the Deep State which sought to prevent Trump from being elected, to prevent him from taking office once elected, and to remove him on false pretenses once in office. In order to push the false narrative that Trump was somehow elected due to the intervention of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the coup-masters had to make it appear that a high-ranking official was involved in monkey business with the Russians. Flynn was the unlucky victim of their smear machine, accused of “Russia collusion” over an innocent telephone call with the then-Russian Ambassador in Washington during the transition to a Trump Administration.

Yet when Joe Biden’s transition people bragged recently that Biden was connecting with foreign officials before inaugurated, the media praised it as a welcome return of the “experts” to foreign policy. While it is very good news that President Trump is in the mood to pardon those victims of the warmongering Deep State, I very much hope that he is only warming up. It would be a great tragedy if other Deep State victims are left to suffer for their non-crimes. Tweeting about her legislation that calls for charges against Edward Snowden and Julian Assange to be dropped and the Espionage Act reformed, US Rep. Tulsi Gabbard told President Trump, “since you’re giving pardons to people, please consider pardoning those who, at great personal sacrifice, exposed the deception and criminality of those in the deep state.”

My good friend Rep. Thomas Massie, a Ron Paul Institute Board Member, is a co-sponsor of Rep. Gabbard’s legislation, making it a real bipartisan effort to restore the rule of law in the United States and to rein in the Beltway warmongers. Edward Snowden and Julian Assange are not criminals. They are heroes for telling us the truth about what criminals in government were doing in our name and with our money. The fact is we were lied into war over and over again. While those wars were profitable for the military-industrial-Congressional-media complex, they snuffed out the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent people overseas and robbed our own children and grandchildren of trillions of dollars wasted on neocon lies.

Read more …

“We already know that Biden’s first national security briefing included two board members of the massive defense contractor Raytheon.”

We Can’t Vote ‘Em Out (Lee Camp)

It doesn’t matter when you read this, the assholes will still be in power. I know that because here in America we can’t vote out the assholes. We can trouble them, scare them, annoy them, and sometimes even pressure them into doing some small thing that’s mildly progressive. But we can’t vote out the assholes. Of course, right now, if you’re a Joe Biden supporter, you’re yelling out loud to your laptop or phone, “That’s not true! We just DID! We just did vote out the assholes!” And I’m not arguing that Donald Trump and his motley squad of parasitic shit stains aren’t awful. (They are “parashits,” if you will. Copyright pending.) I’m not arguing Trump’s goons aren’t awful. I’m just saying that if you even take a momentary peak at the people Biden is already putting in power for his transition and his future cabinet, they’re still more assholes.

He’s putting war hawks in charge of creating peace, fossil-fuel puppets in charge of fixing the environment, propaganda enthusiasts in charge of the media and cops in charge of fixing a brutal white supremacist police system. I’m pretty sure he’s getting ready to put Rudy Giuliani in charge of election integrity, and a dead skunk who formerly worked for Dow Chemical as the head of the EPA. We can’t vote out the assholes. We already know that Biden’s first national security briefing included two board members of the massive defense contractor Raytheon. Raytheon CEO Gregory Hayes said in a CNBC interview a couple months ago that it would be “ridiculous” to think military spending will be cut under Biden. But it doesn’t stop there.

We now know Biden’s pick for defense secretary is Michele Flournoy and his selection for secretary of state is Tony Blinken. As The Grayzone has reported, these two have played central roles in all the wars waged by Democratic presidents all the way back to Bill Clinton. But to give Biden the benefit of the doubt, it makes sense that one would want a defense secretary with a standard American war criminal past because otherwise they wouldn’t know their way around the Pentagon. You don’t want to get a new guy (or gal) in there as head of our murder machine, and he’s bumbling around muttering, “What lever do I pull to blow up a village in Somalia? I’m sorry. I wasn’t paying attention during the introductory tour. I thought I launched a drone bomb in Libya this morning, and it turned out to be just the button for the coffee machine. But the cappuccino was great. I will say that.”

Read more …

Smells of what happened to Assange.

Establishment Journalists Are Piling On To Smear Robert Fisk (Cook)

Something remarkable even by the usually dismal standards of the stenographic media blue-tick brigade has been happening in the past few days. Leading journalists in the corporate media have suddenly felt the urgent need not only to criticise the late, much-respected foreign correspondent Robert Fisk, but to pile in against him, using the most outrageous smears imaginable. He is suddenly a fraud, a fabulist, a fantasist, a liar. What is most ironic is that the journalists doing this are some of the biggest frauds themselves, journalists who have made a career out of deceiving their readers. In fact, many of the crowd attacking Fisk when he can no longer defend himself are precisely the journalists who have the worst record of journalistic malpractice and on some of the biggest issues of our times.

At least I have the courage to criticise them while they are alive. They know dead men can’t sue. It is complete and utter cowardice to attack Fisk when they could have made their comments earlier, to his face. In fact, if they truly believed any of the things they are so keen to tell us now, they had an absolute duty to say them when Fisk was alive rather than allowing the public to be deceived by someone they regarded as a liar and fantasist. They didn’t make public these serious allegations – they didn’t air their concerns about the supposedly fabricated facts in Fisk’s stories – when he was alive because they know he would have made mincemeat of them.

Most preposterous of all is the fact that the actual trigger for this sudden, very belated outpouring of concern about Fisk is a hit-piece written by Oz Katerji. I’m not sure whether I can find the generosity to call Katerji a journalist. Like Elliot Higgins of the US government-funded Bellingcat, he’s more like an attack dog beloved by establishment blue-ticks: he is there to enforce accepted western imperial narratives, disguising his lock-step support for the establishment line as edgy, power-to-the-people radicalism.

Read more …

 

 

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Oct 232020
 


Pablo Picasso Nude, Green Leaves and Bust 1932

 

Senate Demands Hunter Biden Turn Over A Mountain Of Evidence (ZH)
Biden Campaign Implies Hunter’s Ex-Biz Partners Are Russian Assets (ZH)
Bobulinski’s Statement In Full (DM)
Report on Biden Activities with China (Balding)
Fourth Turning Election Year Crisis (Jim Quinn)
Iran Diplomatic Protest Over ‘Absurd’ Accusation Of US Election Meddling (RT)
Asia Suffering ‘Worst Recession In Living Memory’ (BBC)
The Women Who Brought Down Greece’s Golden Dawn (G.)
What Evil Lurks (John Michael Greer)
Mask-Wearing Study Rejected By Journals Not ‘Brave’ Enough To Publish (RT)
Climate Scientists Fly “Significantly” More Than Other Researchers (BNE)
Edward Snowden Granted Permanent Residency In Russia (RT)

 

 

Inevitably, everyone thinks their side won the debate. Here’s a few Twitter polls, but it would be no problem finding some that point in the opposite direction. Because journalism has died in America.

 

 

 

The real winner:

 

 

 

12 days. Where is Hunter?

Senate Demands Hunter Biden Turn Over A Mountain Of Evidence (ZH)

Senate investigators have demanded that Hunter Biden turn over a mountain of evidence following bombshell emails and text messages which appear to show he and his business partners engaging in an international influence-peddling scheme while his father was Vice President of the United States, according to CBS News’ Catherine Herridge – who brought receipts as usual. “According to recent reports that published emails allegedly from your client’s laptop, the Committees have identified your client as an individual involved in one or more of these business arrangements or financial transactions,” reads a Wednesday letter from Sens. Ron Johnson and Chuck Grassley.

“As part of the ongoing efforts to validate and verify the information in those emails, the Committees request that your client provide all records related to any of your client’s business dealings—including, but not limited, to bank records, wire transfers, account balances, gifts, business transactions, travel records—with Joe Biden, James Biden, Ye Jianming, Chi Ping Patrick Ho, Zang Jian Jun, Gongwen Dong, Mervyn Yan, Gabriel Popoviciu, or any other associates regarding CEFC China Energy Co. Ltd or any other transactions related to business in Romania, China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Czech Republic, or any other countries.” Biden’s lawyers have until Friday to comply.

Over the last week, alleged emails, text messages and compromising photographs from Hunter Biden’s laptop and his former business partners reveal that Joe Biden was directly involved in Hunter’s business dealings, and appears to have directly profited from them. The deals span several countries, from Ukraine – where Joe was ‘introduced’ to a representative from energy giant Burisma before strong-arming the Ukrainian government into firing their chief prosecutor who was investigating the company, to China, where a top Chinese official offered the Biden family a $5 million “interest-free” loan, to Russia, where Hunter took $3.5 million from the former mayor of Moscow’s ex-wife.

Tucker Hunter

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“..if the Biden campaign says that the Hunter scandal is “Russian misinformation,” then his ex-business partners must be Russian operatives..”

Biden Campaign Implies Hunter’s Ex-Biz Partners Are Russian Assets (ZH)

Ahead of tonight’s presidential debate, the Biden campaign has drawn a red line in the sand on the Hunter Biden pay-for-play scandal, insisting that “If we see tonight from Donald Trump these attacks on Vice President Biden’s family, I think we need to be very, very clear that what he’s doing here is amplifying Russian misinformation.” To review – the undisputed contents of a laptop alleged to be Hunter Biden’s were published by the New York Post last week – after a Delaware computer repair shop owner saw troubling content on at least one laptop dropped off by Biden (who signed a work order). In addition to photos of Hunter with a crack pipe in his mouth and what Rudy Giuliani said are numerous pictures of young girls in compromising situations and one which is “out-and-out pornography,” Hunter’s alleged laptop, which the Biden camp hasn’t disputed the authenticity of, contains evidence that Joe Biden was deeply involved in Hunter’s international business dealings, contrary to past claims of non-involvement.


And while pundits and ‘former intelligence officials’ say this smells like a Russian disinformation operation – there is exactly zero evidence that it is. Meanwhile, the Director of National Intelligence, John Ratcliffe, explicitly stated that the laptop “is not part of some Russian disinformation campaign,” while the FBI – which sat on the laptop evidence for a year (which would have exonerated Trump and immediately ended the impeachment proceedings) also said it’s not a Russian op. But wait, there’s much more… Forget the laptop for a second. Two ex-business partners of Hunter Biden’s have released text and email evidence, along with formal statements, attesting to Joe Biden’s involvement in Hunter’s business dealings. Ergo, if the Biden campaign says that the Hunter scandal is “Russian misinformation,” then his ex-business partners must be Russian operatives, no?

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Tony Bobulinski will hand over a ton of evidence to the Senate Committee(s) today.

Bobulinski’s Statement In Full (DM)

My name is Tony Bobulinski. The facts set forth below are true and accurate; they are not any form of domestic or foreign disinformation. Any suggestion to the contrary is false and offensive. I am the recipient of the email published seven days ago by the New York Post which showed a copy to Hunter Biden and Rob Walker. That email is genuine. This afternoon I received a request from the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs and the Senate Committee on Finance requesting all documents relating to my business affairs with the Biden family as well as various foreign entities and individuals. I have extensive relevant records and communications and I intend to produce those items to both Committees in the immediate future.


I am the grandson of a 37 year Army Intelligence officer, the son of a 20+ year career Naval Officer and the brother of a 28 year career Naval Flight Officer. I myself served our country for 4 years and left the Navy as LT Bobulinski. I held a high level security clearance and was an instructor and then CTO for Naval Nuclear Power Training Command. I take great pride in the time my family and I served this country. I am also not a political person. What few campaign contributions I have made in my life were to Democrats. If the media and big tech companies had done their jobs over the past several weeks I would be irrelevant in this story. Given my long standing service and devotion to this great country, I could no longer allow my family’s name to be associated or tied to Russian disinformation or implied lies and false narratives dominating the media right now.

After leaving the military I became an institutional investor investing extensively around the world and on every continent. I have traveled to over 50 countries. I believe, hands down, we live in the greatest country in the world. What I am outlining is fact. I know it is fact because I lived it. I am the CEO of Sinohawk Holdings which was a partnership between the Chinese operating through CEFC/Chairman Ye and the Biden family. I was brought into the company to be the CEO by James Gilliar and Hunter Biden. The reference to ‘the Big Guy’ in the much publicized May 13, 2017 email is in fact a reference to Joe Biden. The other ‘JB’ referenced in that email is Jim Biden, Joe’s brother.

Hunter Biden called his dad ‘the Big Guy’ or ‘my Chairman,’ and frequently referenced asking him for his sign-off or advice on various potential deals that we were discussing. I’ve seen Vice President Biden saying he never talked to Hunter about his business. I’ve seen firsthand that that’s not true, because it wasn’t just Hunter’s business, they said they were putting the Biden family name and its legacy on the line. I realized the Chinese were not really focused on a healthy financial ROI. They were looking at this as a political or influence investment. Once I realized that Hunter wanted to use the company as his personal piggy bank by just taking money out of it as soon as it came from the Chinese, I took steps to prevent that from happening.

The Johnson Report connected some dots in a way that shocked me — it made me realize the Bidens had gone behind my back and gotten paid millions of dollars by the Chinese, even though they told me they hadn’t and wouldn’t do that to their partners. I would ask the Biden family to address the American people and outline the facts so I can go back to being irrelevant — and so I am not put in a position to have to answer those questions for them. I don’t have a political ax to grind; I just saw behind the Biden curtain and I grew concerned with what I saw. The Biden family aggressively leveraged the Biden family name to make millions of dollars from foreign entities even though some were from communist controlled China. God Bless America!!!!

Bobulinski

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Can’t do this justice in the Debt Rattle format. Christopher Balding -certainly not a Trump supporter- has received a report from his Chinese connections (not the gov’t). Zero Hedge has a good write-up.

Report on Biden Activities with China (Balding)

Lost among the salacious revelations about laptop provenance is the more mundane reality of influence and money of major United States political figures. Ill informed accusations of Russian hacking and disinformation face the documented reality of a major Chinese state financial partnership with the children of major political figures. A report by an Asian research firm raises worrying questions about the financial links between China and Hunter Biden. Beginning just before Joe Bidens ascendancy to the Vice Presidency, Hunter Biden was travelling to Beijing meeting with Chinese financial institutions and political figures would ultimately become his investors. Finalized in 2013, the investment partnership included money from the Chinese government, social security, and major state-owned banks a veritable who’s who of Chinese state finance.


It is not simply the state money that should cause concern but the structures and deals that took place. Most investment in specific projects came from state owned entities and flowed into state backed projects or enterprises. Even the deals speak to the worst of cronyism. The Hunter Biden investment firm share of a copper mine in the Congo was guaranteed with assets put at risk by the larger copper company to ensure deal flow to Hunter’s firm. In another instance, Bank of China working on an IPO in Hong Kong gave its share allocation to the BHR investment partnership. They were able to do this because even though the Hunter Biden firm completed no notable work on the IPO, it is counted as a subsidiary of the Bank of China. The Hunter Biden Chinese investment partnership is literally invested in by the Chinese state and a subsidiary of the Bank of China owned by the Chinese Ministry of Finance.

The entire arrangement speaks to Chinese state interests. Meetings were held at locations that in China speak to the welcoming of foreign dignitaries or state to state relations. The Chinese organizations surrounding Hunter Biden are known intelligence and influence operatives to the United States government. The innocuous names like Chinese People’s Institute for Foreign Affairs exist to “…carry out government-directed policies and cooperative initiatives with influential foreigners without being perceived as a formal part of the Chinese government.” Interestingly the CPIFA is under the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. When the investment partnership was struck in 2013, the Minister of Foreign Affairs was Yang Jiechi. Yang would have been very familiar with Hunter Biden from his days in Washington as the Chinese Ambassador to the United States from 2001 to 2005 during which he met regularly with Joe Biden chairing the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.


Today the same individual who oversaw institutions helping shepherd Hunter’s investment partnership as the Minister of Foreign Affairs is Xi Jinping’s right hand man on foreign affairs and member of the powerful Politburo. Most worrying is the financial leverage this gives the Chinese state over a direct member of the Biden family. Despite the widely reported $1-1.5 billion of investment the reality is likely much higher. A co-founder of the investment firm reports the total assets under management as $6.5 billion. While this number cannot be completely replicated, given that two deal alone were worth in excess of $1.6 billion this number is not unrealistic at all. A 2% annual fee on assets under management would generate $130 million annually. Add in the 20% fee on capital gains the firm would recognize and it is not difficult to see Hunter’s stake being worth in excess of $50 million.

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“..a completely captured corporate media has turned a blind eye to the truth as they have acted as accomplices of the coup culprits..”

Fourth Turning Election Year Crisis (Jim Quinn)

“The next Fourth Turning is due to begin shortly after the new millennium, midway through the Oh-Oh decade. Around the year 2005, a sudden spark will catalyze a Crisis mood. Remnants of the old social order will disintegrate. Political and economic trust will implode. Real hardship will beset the land, with severe distress that could involve questions of class, race, nation and empire. The very survival of the nation will feel at stake. Sometime before the year 2025, America will pass through a great gate in history, commensurate with the American Revolution, Civil War, and twin emergencies of the Great Depression and World War II.” – Strauss & Howe – The Fourth Turning

[..] The dystopian use of disinformation, false narratives, blatant lies and propaganda by the totalitarians constituting the Deep State, as their never-ending coup attempt against a duly elected president attests, will be the catalyst for the next vicious phase of this Fourth Turning. For the last four years the Russiagate coup has dogged Trump, as Obama, Clinton, Brennan, Clapper, Comey, Mueller and a myriad of lesser co-conspirators have propagated the Big Lie to cover-up their traitorous actions of trying to overthrow Trump.

An honest truth-seeking press with unbiased journalists would have uncovered this conspiracy and revealed the truthful facts to a concerned public. Instead, a completely captured corporate media has turned a blind eye to the truth as they have acted as accomplices of the coup culprits. Just as evil is the suppression of truth through censorship and keeping silent regarding the truth. Huxley understood how totalitarian propagandists operated decades before the current batch of Silicon Valley authoritarians initiated their national truth repression scheme.

“Great is truth, but still greater, from a practical point of view, is silence about truth. By simply not mentioning certain subjects… totalitarian propagandists have influenced opinion much more effectively than they could have by the most eloquent denunciations.” – Aldous Huxley

A perfect example of this is my local ABC news affiliate doing an hour long broadcast last night with absolutely no mention of the Hunter Biden – Joe Biden pay for play scandal. The truth dies in silence. The left-wing media dominated by six mega-corporations and social media billionaire titans (Bezos, Zuckerberg, Dorsey) have colluded with other left wing billionaires (Soros, Bloomberg) and the traitorous Deep Staters (Comey, Brennan, Clapper, Clinton) to bring down a sitting president and now to memory hole proof of Joe Biden corruption and his son’s illegal dealings with foreign enemies.

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“Unlike the US, Iran does not interfere in other country’s elections. The world has been witnessing US’ own desperate public attempts to question the outcome of its own elections at the highest level..”

Iran Diplomatic Protest Over ‘Absurd’ Accusation Of US Election Meddling (RT)

Tehran has denied that it is trying to interfere in the US presidential contest, arguing that unlike Washington, it doesn’t involve itself in foreign elections. Curiously, the US says Iran is both trying to damage and help Trump. Iran summoned the Swiss ambassador in Tehran, who serves as a diplomatic go-between for the two rivals, to file a formal complaint against Washington’s “baseless” claim that the Islamic Republic has been meddling in the upcoming election. Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe announced on Wednesday that Iran and Russia have allegedly obtained US voter data as part of a purported plot to “communicate false information to registered voters” in hopes of “causing confusion” ahead of the American electoral contest. He went on to claim that Iran was behind a series of threatening emails that were sent to Democratic voters, apparently in an attempt to “intimidate voters, incite social unrest and damage President Trump.”

A spokesman for Iran’s mission to the United Nations dismissed the allegations as completely unfounded and quipped that Tehran would never mirror Washington’s own tactics. “Unlike the US, Iran does not interfere in other country’s elections. The world has been witnessing US’ own desperate public attempts to question the outcome of its own elections at the highest level,” Alireza Miryousefi said. He described the claims as “absurd” and said Tehran has no interest in trying to influence the outcome of the contest between President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden. “The US must end its malign and dangerous accusations against Iran,” the spokesman added.

The 2020 election has been fraught with allegations of foreign meddling, following debunked claims of Russian “collusion” with the Trump campaign in 2016. US intelligence agencies have accused Tehran, Moscow and Beijing of trying to tip the scales for their purportedly preferred candidates. Ratcliffe said on Wednesday that Russia has not taken any concrete actions to interfere in the election, but instead has only secured access to some voter information “just as they had in 2016.”

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Anywhere but China.

Asia Suffering ‘Worst Recession In Living Memory’ (BBC)

Asia Pacific is set to recover from its worst recession in living memory, the IMF says. Growth forecasts for the region have been downgraded again, this time from -1.6% to -2.2% for this year. However, the glimmer of hope is for a bounceback of almost 7% next year, according to the IMF. China will play a big part in the region’s growth next year, with its latest data showing continued recovery from the downturn caused by the virus. But there are still many black clouds on the horizon as countries, including India, the Philippines and Malaysia, continue to battle with Covid-19 infections. “The scars will be deep,” said the IMF, pointing to lower investment which will have a knock-on effect by the middle of the decade.


Not only are economies in the region dealing with the fallout from the pandemic, but they are also affected by the US-China trade war, and the growing hostilities between the two economic superpowers. Speaking to BBC’s Asia Business Report on Thursday, Jonathan Ostry, the IMF’s acting director for Asia and Pacific, said: “This is something, for a very export-orientated region, that is going to be a big risk going forward. “We worry about decoupling of major technology hubs – not just in China and the US but more broadly, which would have the affect of diminishing hi-tech trade leading to inefficient production.” Earlier this week, China released its data for the July to September quarter which showed economic growth of 4.9% compared to the same quarter last year. China is seen as “a rare positive figure in a sea of negatives” by the IMF.

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Real girl power. Love it.

The Women Who Brought Down Greece’s Golden Dawn (G.)

Behind the bench, before her mostly male audience, as the marathon trial of Golden Dawn entered its last act, supreme court justice Maria Lepenioti did what she has done every week: she kept the peace. It has not been easy. Emotions have often run high. Even as the curtain was about to come down on proceedings with a ruling on whether those convicted should be jailed pending appeal, the Greek judge, both laconic and low-key, has had to pull off an extraordinary balancing act presiding over a case that has put more Nazi leaders and sympathisers in the dock than at any time since Nuremberg. In her court every word has counted. There has been no tolerance for the extreme rhetoric that fuelled the neo-fascist group’s spectacular rise. Nor for jibes from the other side.

“Day after day, session after session, she has managed to keep the harmony,” says Giota Tessi, a reporter with the centre left Syntaktwn paper who has observed the proceedings almost since they began in April 2015. “Her knowledge of the case file is incredible. She has been a model of restraint but she has also been very aware of the weight of the moment.” Historians will look back at the women who played a seminal role in Golden Dawn’s downfall. Under Lepenioti’s seemingly expressionless gaze, the three-member tribunal has gone where many in Greece had formerly feared to tread. After its landmark verdict that the far-right, ultra-nationalist party was a criminal organisation bent on extinguishing enemies real or perceived, sentences have been delivered that will almost certainly ensure its leadership remain behind bars for years to come.

The party’s founder, Nikolaos Michaloliakos, and the tattooed macho militants who comprised his inner circle, all received 13-year prison terms. With the last chapter in the story of Europe’s most violent political force finally written, it will not be lost on the protagonists that punishment, in the end, was meted out by a woman. “It’s undeniable that in this case justice was female,” said Maria Stratigaki, professor of gender studies at Panteion University, noting the number of female prosecutors and investigators who also participated in drawing up the dossier against Golden Dawn. “For a party whose ideology is based on male supremacy, whose worldview is so militaristic, it’s humiliating and will hurt.” [..] “Justice stepped in where others should have stepped before,” Stratigaki told the Guardian. “And our justice system is full of female judges because it is they who do better at exams and rise to the top.”

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Haven’t posted any Archdruid in quite a while.

What Evil Lurks (John Michael Greer)

First we need to encounter Shadow #3, the one that Swiss psychologist Carl Jung anatomized in so troubling a fashion. Jung, as I hope most of my readers are aware, started out as a disciple of Sigmund Freud but broke with him in 1913 over basic disagreements over the nature and meaning of the unconscious mind. To sum those up very briefly, Freud insisted that the unconscious was simply the instinctual, animal mind—the id, in Freudian terms—which was mostly interested in sex, and had to be disciplined and controlled by the ego in obedience to the conscience, the voice of the superego.

Jung found in his own work with himself and his patients that the unconscious mind could not be summed up so simply, and at first saw the unconscious as containing two layers. One of them consisted of those things the ego didn’t want to recognize in itself, and so was entirely personal in nature: the personal unconscious, as Jung called it. The second layer consisted of contents that were not personal, had never been conscious in the first place, and formed the deep structure of the human psyche. This layer he termed the collective unconscious.

Until the start of the 1930s—that decade again—that was Jung’s basic theory. What happened then was that he traced the roots of the conscious self and the personal unconscious right down into the collective unconscious. The basic structures of the collective unconscious, he came to see, were the archetypes: a set of roles or functions that were hardwired into the human mind at a deep level, and served as expressions in consciousness of the basic biological instincts we inherit from our animal ancestors. Once you reach a certain stage of sexual maturity, for example, your mind is hardwired to look for a lover: that’s one of the most obvious archetypes, the one Jung called the anima or animus (depending on your gender and sexual orientation).

For all practical purposes, once it’s triggered by some complex set of psychological stimuli, the anima or animus functions as a prolonged case of beer goggles, projecting itself onto the other person and making them look just like the woman or man of your dreams, no matter how faint the resemblance might be in the eyes of your friends. That’s how all archetypes work: they scoop up the relevant contents of your mind, constellate them (that is, fit them into the archetypal pattern), and project that onto the nearest available target. What Jung came to realize as he pursued his investigations into archetypes is that what he’d been calling the conscious self and the personal unconscious were also archetypes. Who you think you are is a construct made up of all the things you think you ought to be, constellated around the archetype Jung called the ego.

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Mask mandates will come forward everywhere as a big issue.

Mask-Wearing Study Rejected By Journals Not ‘Brave’ Enough To Publish (RT)

A large-scale study in Denmark that sought to determine if masks help stop the spread of Covid-19 has been rejected by several prestigious journals. The authors hinted that their findings were inconvenient to the status quo. The Lancet, the New England Journal of Medicine, and the American Medical Association Journal all turned down the paper, Danish media reported on Thursday. The study, which began in late April, involved 6,000 Danes, half of whom were asked to wear masks at all times in public places. The other half were selected as a control group and were instructed not to cover their faces. After a month, participants were tested for Covid-19 as well as for antibodies against the virus. The study’s researchers have remained tight-lipped about their findings, but they’ve dropped plenty of clues that suggest it was the paper’s conclusion, not its methodology, that led to the journals’ rejections.

“We can’t start discussing what they are dissatisfied with. For if so, we must also explain what the study showed. And we do not want to discuss this until it has been published,” Christian Torp-Pedersen, professor and chief physician at the research department at North Zealand Hospital, told Denmark’s Berlingske daily. [..] Denmark currently requires masks to be worn on public transport, as well as in bars and restaurants when patrons leave their table. There is a raging debate worldwide over mask mandates that purport to halt the transmission of coronavirus. Japanese researchers recently published a study that found that masks can offer some degree of protection from airborne Covid-19 particles, but noted that even professional-grade face coverings can’t completely eliminate the risk of contagion.

Curiously, at the start of the pandemic, many health officials and organizations urged against widespread mask use in the general public, describing such policies as ineffective. For example, in a March interview, Dr. Anthony Fauci, a member of the White House Covid-19 task force, insisted there was no reason for seemingly healthy people to be “walking around in a mask.” At the time, his views reflected a wide consensus among medical institutions and professionals, including the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the US surgeon general. Fauci, the WHO, and the CDC later reversed their recommendations and supported mask mandates. However, many have argued that there is still inadequate data to support mandatory mask-wearing. Deborah Cohen, the medically qualified UK correspondent of BBC2’s Newsnight, reported in July that the WHO committee reviewing the organization’s mask recommendation was motivated by political lobbying, not new scientific evidence.

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Got to love it.

Climate Scientists Fly “Significantly” More Than Other Researchers (BNE)

The large, international survey of more than 1,400 university researchers was carried out by the UK Centre for Climate and Social Transformation (CAST), which is coordinated by Cardiff University. A follow-up experiment with more than 350 researchers found that providing information about the impacts of aviation and support for workplace policies increases intentions to fly less. The large-scale study—the first of its kind to survey climate academics about their travel for conferences, fieldwork and meetings—is published in the journal Global Environmental Change. Director of CAST Professor Lorraine Whitmarsh, who led the study, said the findings were “unexpected” but said it also suggested “knowledge alone is not enough” to tackle global warming.

“Our findings highlight that climate scientists, like many other professionals, can struggle to square their environmental commitments with competing professional and personal demands, and academia itself is not doing enough to change this culture,” she said. “Crucially, our research demonstrates the need for policies and ways of working to encourage and enable low-carbon travel and use of virtual alternatives—something which is already happening in light of COVID-19. “Travel restrictions have required businesses, including universities, to replace a lot of physical travel with virtual interaction, such as online conferencing. These virtual options can be just as effective as face-to-face meetings, but at a fraction of the cost, as well as being more accessible for those with caring commitments.”

Flying is one of the most carbon-emitting actions and there have been growing calls from both within and outside the research community for scientists, and in particular climate researchers, to do more to curb their flying so their crucial message on the need to reduce aviation emissions is not undermined. This study found “significantly” higher levels of flying among climate change researchers for work than researchers from other disciplines. The data indicated climate experts take about five flights per year, while non-climate researchers took four. Climate and sustainability experts conduct more fieldwork, but even accounting for this, their international travel was still higher. It also found that levels of flying rose with job seniority.

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More good news from Moscow.

Edward Snowden Granted Permanent Residency In Russia (RT)

Seven years after he landed in Moscow and received sanctuary from Washington’s attempts to silence him, US National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden has been granted a Russian permanent residency permit. Snowden has been living in exile in Russia since 2013 when he blew the lid off unprecedented mass surveillance operations conducted by US Intelligence. The Americans have demanded his extradition to face charges for violating the Espionage Act ever since. “Snowden was granted an open-ended residence permit earlier today,” his lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena said Thursday.


The 37 year-old former CIA and NSA contractor faces the prospect of up to 30 years in prison if convicted but his extradition is unlikely any time soon, especially given his newly-minted residency status. Lately, the whistleblower has been engaged in a battle over royalties from his memoir ‘Permanent Record,’ published last September. Earlier this month, a federal judge ruled that the US government may seize the $5.2 million in book royalties Snowden garnered from sales of the book.

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Oct 052020
 


Leonardo da Vinci A Copse of Trees 1508

 

President Trump Could Be Discharged From Walter Reed On Monday (JTN)
Largest COVID19 Contact Tracing Study: Children Key To Spread (Princeton)
Why Are Dems Praying for Speedy Recovery of a “Fascist Dictator”? (Greenwald)
Supreme Court To Commence New Term On Monday (JTN)
Amazon Reveals Over 20,000 Employees Likely Contracted COVID (MPN)
The DNC Hired CrowdStrike To Frame Russia For The Hack (Farnan)
Joe Biden Defense Of His Son’s Business Deals Conflicts With Evidence (JTN)
Pompeo’s Visit To Greece, Cyprus Prompted By Turkey’s S-400s (K.)
GOP Reps Join Tulsi Gabbard In Push To Drop US Assange, Snowden Charges (WT)

 

 

I see thirty days of more hysterical clickbaiting in your future. Trump’s trip outside Walter Reed may not have been risk-free, but you need to steamroller over his entire medical team at the hospital, and claim they are irresponsible frauds or something like that, to turn it into the murderous rampage that the MSM make it.

Here’s a bit of humor about it from Twitter. Please lighten up a little.

 

 

Motorcade
https://twitter.com/alexplitsas/status/1312892097616400387

 

 

US national security

 

 

Seek Help

 

 

 

 

Oh, no, much too early! Those doctors are crazy!

President Trump Could Be Discharged From Walter Reed On Monday (JTN)

President Trump could be discharged from Walter Reed Medical Center to finish his COVID-19 treatment from the White House, a doctor announced during a press conference on Sunday. “In response to transient low oxygen levels as Dr. Conley has discussed, we did initiate dexamethasone therapy and he received his first dose of that yesterday. And our plan is to continue that for the time being,” that doctor said. President Trump’s physician Dr. Sean Conley expressed that he wished to “reiterate how pleased we all are with the president’s recovery.” Conley explained that on Friday morning when the president’s “oxygen saturation was transiently dipping below 94 percent,” he suggested that the president take oxygen.


“He was fairly adamant that he didn’t need it. He was not short of breath. He was tired, had the fever, and that was about it,” Conley explained, noting that following approximately a minute of oxygen the president’s levels had risen and that the president remained on the oxygen for around one hour. Conley also said that the president’s oxygen level on Saturday dipped but eventually rose. He noted that the president is not experiencing shortness of breath.

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Again, a new viewpoint.

Largest COVID19 Contact Tracing Study: Children Key To Spread (Princeton)

A study of more than a half-million people in India who were exposed to the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 suggests that the virus’ continued spread is driven by only a small percentage of those who become infected. Furthermore, children and young adults were found to be potentially much more important to transmitting the virus — especially within households — than previous studies have identified, according to a paper by researchers from the United States and India published Sept. 30 in the journal Science.

Researchers from the Princeton Environmental Institute (PEI), Johns Hopkins University and the University of California, Berkeley, worked with public health officials in the southeast Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh to track the infection pathways and mortality rate of 575,071 individuals who were exposed to 84,965 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2. It is the largest contact tracing study — which is the process of identifying people who came into contact with an infected person — conducted in the world for any disease.

Lead researcher Ramanan Laxminarayan, a senior research scholar in PEI, said that the paper is the first large study to capture the extraordinary extent to which SARS-CoV-2 hinges on “superspreading,” in which a small percentage of the infected population passes the virus on to more people. The researchers found that 71% of infected individuals did not infect any of their contacts, while a mere 8% of infected individuals accounted for 60% of new infections. “Our study presents the largest empirical demonstration of superspreading that we are aware of in any infectious disease,” Laxminarayan said. “Superspreading events are the rule rather than the exception when one is looking at the spread of COVID-19, both in India and likely in all affected places.”

The findings provide extensive insight into the spread and deadliness of COVID-19 in countries such as India — which has experienced more than 96,000 deaths from the disease — that have a high incidence of resource-limited populations, the researchers reported. They found that coronavirus-related deaths in India occurred, on average, six days after hospitalization compared to an average of 13 days in the United States. Also, deaths from coronavirus in India have been concentrated among people aged 50-64, which is slightly younger than the 60-plus at-risk population in the United States.

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“..their behavior upon hearing that someone they claim to regard as a genocidal racist fascist tyrant has contracted a fatal virus is extremely unusual..”

Why Are Dems Praying for Speedy Recovery of a “Fascist Dictator”? (Greenwald)

The typical reaction to the death of a tyrant — whether by revolutionary violence or natural causes — is not one of grief and sadness but joyous celebration. It is not hard to understand why: when a nation and its oppressed citizenry are finally liberated from the suffocating, savage grip of fascist dictatorship, they feel joy for themselves, their families and the future of their nation. Yet in the U.S., a radically different dynamic is playing out. Over the past several years, but particularly in the months heading into the 2020 election, it has become extremely common for prominent Democrats and their media allies to refer to President Trump as a dictator, a fascist, a tyrant hellbent on destroying U.S. democracy, a genocidal racist, and even a Nazi.

And yet, the overwhelming reaction in those mainstream precincts to the news that the fascist dictator has contracted a potentially lethal virus is to hope and pray that he makes a speedy recovery whereby he can resume his democracy-destroying, genocidal, tyrannical, fascist rule. In March of last year, as CNN put it, “two powerful House Democrats invoked Adolf Hitler’s actions in Germany and the treatment of Jews during World War I and in the 1920s to warn against the direction the US is moving in, with both saying Donald Trump’s presidency presents an unprecedented threat to democracy.” One of the Democratic lawmakers who explicitly invoked Nazism and Hitler as the proper prism to understand Trump’s rule was House Whip James Clyburn of South Carolina.

Just two months ago, Clyburn went back on CNN and warned that Trump was preparing to hold despotic power even if he loses, pronouncing: “I feel very strongly that he is Mussolini, Putin is Hitler.” Yet when Clyburn learned this week that our modern-day Hitler who is on the precipice of ending democracy had contracted a fatal virus, he did not celebrate but instead, for some reason, lamented the news, wishing “the First Family a speedy and complete recovery.” Why would you possibly wish a speedy recovery — rather than a quick demise — to someone you believe is a Hitler-like perpetrator of genocide whose recovery would enable fascism to continue? That seems counter-intuitive and counter-productive.

MSNBC star Rachel Maddow [..] has notoriously spent the last four years manically obsessed with the claim that Trump has such a corrupt relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin that it is the Kremlin, thanks to Trump, which secretly runs the U.S. and is using that power to plot harm to large numbers of Americans by, for instance, seizing the power to cut off their heat in the dead of winter. Maddow was explicitly linking Trump to classic fascism as early as 2015. Yet upon learning that the fascist, Kremlin-controlled, Nazi-like dictator had become ill, Maddow launched a one-woman crusade demanding that her fellow liberals pray earnestly for his recovery. She first posted an extremely effusive tweet: “God bless the president and the first lady. If you pray, please pray for their speedy and complete recovery…”

[..] Whatever else is true, their behavior upon hearing that someone they claim to regard as a genocidal racist fascist tyrant has contracted a fatal virus is extremely unusual when compared to how people throughout history react when learning of similar news. It is worth interrogating what accounts for such a baffling dynamic.

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Fireworks.

Supreme Court To Commence New Term On Monday (JTN)

The Supreme Court on Monday will commence a new term with just eight justices following September death of the Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, though the void could soon be filled if Senate Republicans confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the high court. Barrett’s confirmation would mark the third Trump appointee to the nine-member court during the president’s less than four years occupying the Oval Office. The Senate confirmed Neil Gorsuch in 2017 and Brett Kavanaugh in 2018 . Though the first vacancy arose during President Barack Obama’s tenure, Senate Republicans declined to consider the Democratic president’s nominee Merrick Garland. Then-candidate Trump made the presidential power to appoint Supreme Court nominees a central argument to voters during the 2016 election.


Barrett’s addition to the court would likely provide a significant conservative advantage, allowing the conservative justices to decide cases 5-4 even if the George W. Bush-appointed Chief Justice John Roberts were to side with the court’s three liberal justices. The new term will get underway remotely as the court continues to conduct business via phone amid the coronavirus pandemic, as it began doing at the conclusion of the last term, according to the Associated Press. The public will be able to to hear arguments live. The wire service reported that the cases during the coming two weeks were slated for last spring but were delayed due to the high court shutting down for a period because of the coronavirus. [..] The Supreme Court could play a key role after the Nov. 3 general election if it decides to hear voting-related cases. A dramatic expansion on short notice of mail-in balloting in this cycle is expected to precipitate a flood of election litigation.

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“Bezos has seen his net wealth grow by over $73 billion since lockdown began on March 18..”

Amazon Reveals Over 20,000 Employees Likely Contracted COVID (MPN)

It announced the figure in the middle of a public relations statement detailing the measures it was taking to try to keep its employees safe from the virus. The company presented itself as a proactive and responsible business. “As part of this commitment, we’ve decided to publicly share the COVID-19 infection rates among Amazon front-line employees—something few if any companies and no other major retailers have done,” noted its blog post. It also claimed to be carrying out thousands of tests a day on its staff and noted that, despite the large figure of 19,816 cases, that represented a smaller percentage of positive tests than the general population.

However, Amazon did not include any of its third-party delivery contractors in the figures, who number in the many tens of thousands, at least. Nor was there any confirmation on the number of deaths. Amazon also called on other big companies to do as it had done. “We hope sharing this data and our learnings will encourage others to follow, and will prove useful as states make decisions about reopening public facilities and employers consider whether and how to bring people back to work,” they said. “Wide availability of data would allow us to benchmark our progress and share best practices across businesses and industries.”

Yet Amazon’s move may not be as bold and forward-thinking as it might first appear. The company had been widely condemned for its secrecy and refusal to release figures. On Wednesday, NBC News reported that half a million of its employees had begun to crowdsource that same information in order to build up a database to keep themselves safer. Employees also condemned the company for keeping them in the dark about co-worker infections and their lack of response to the pandemic, which included crowding hundreds of people into recreation rooms, thereby exposing them to increased risk.

[..] A lack of funds is certainly not an excuse for the online retail giant, whose business has expanded into supermarkets, cloud computing, and streaming services. The company’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, became the world’s richest individual late last year, surpassing Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. Bezos has seen his net wealth grow by over $73 billion since lockdown began on March 18 and now stands at over $186 billion. That means that, on average, he has added $370 million to his wealth every day of the pandemic.

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“The following is an exclusive excerpt from The Russia Lie that tells the amazing story in detail..”

The DNC Hired CrowdStrike To Frame Russia For The Hack (Farnan)

U.S. Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe recently declassified information indicating the CIA obtained intelligence in 2016 that the Russians believed the Clinton campaign was trying to falsely associate Russia with the so-called hack of DNC computers. CIA Director John Brennan shared the intelligence with President Obama. They knew, in other words, that the DNC was conducting false Russian flag operation against the Trump campaign. The following is an exclusive excerpt from The Russia Lie that tells the amazing story in detail:

On March 19, 2016, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, surrendered his emails to an unknown entity in a “spear phishing” scam. This has been called a “hack,” but it was not. Instead, it was the sort of flim-flam hustle that happens to gullible dupes on the internet. The content of the emails was beyond embarrassing. They showed election fraud and coordination with the media against the candidacy of Bernie Sanders. The DNC and the Clinton campaign needed a cover story. Blaming Russia would be a handy way to deal with the Podesta emails. There was already an existing Russia operation that could easily be retrofitted to this purpose. The problem was that it was nearly impossible to identify the perpetrator in a phishing scheme using computer forensic tools. The only way to associate Putin with the emails was circumstantially.

The DNC retained a company that called itself “CrowdStrike” to provide assistance. CrowdStrike’s chief technology officer and co-founder, Dmitri Alperovitch, is an anti-Putin, Russian expat and a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. With the Atlantic Council in 2016, all roads led to Ukraine. The Atlantic Council’s list of significant contributors includes Ukrainian billionaire Victor Pinchuk. The Ukrainian energy company that was paying millions to an entity that was funneling large amounts to Hunter Biden months after he was discharged from the US Navy for drug use, Burisma, also appears prominently on the Atlantic Council’s donor list. Arseniy Yatsenyuk, the Western puppet installed in Ukraine, visited the Atlantic Council’s Washington offices to make a speech weeks after the coup.

Pinchuk was also a big donor (between $10 million and $20 million) to the Clinton Foundation. Back in ’15, the Wall Street Journal published an investigative piece, “Clinton Charity Tapped Foreign Friends.” The piece was about how Ukraine was attempting to influence Clinton by making huge donations through Pinchuk. Foreign interference, anyone? On June 12, 2016, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange announced: “We have upcoming leaks in relation to Hillary Clinton . . . We have emails pending publication.” Two days later, CrowdStrike fed the Washington Post a story, headlined, “Russian government hackers penetrated DNC, stole opposition research on Trump.” The improbable tale was that the Russians had hacked the DNC computer servers and got away with some opposition research on Trump. The article quoted Alperovitch of CrowdStrike and the Atlantic Council.

Read more …

Like late night comedy refusing the accept the gift the Biden is to their work, the press leave him alone too. It’s the same thing. Journalism it is not.

Joe Biden Defense Of His Son’s Business Deals Conflicts With Evidence (JTN)

During one of the many sharp exchanges at last week’s presidential debate, Joe Biden flat out denied his son Hunter had any business relationship with the Russian oligarch Yelena Baturina, the billionaire wife of the late Moscow mayor. “Why is it, just out of curiosity, the mayor of Moscow’s wife gave your son three and a half million dollars?” President Trump asked during one flash point. “That is not true,” Biden answered. “Oh really, he didn’t get three and a half million?” Trump persisted a few second later. “It’s totally discredited,” the former vice president snapped back. “Totally discredited.” In fact, Biden’s answer directly conflicts with evidence that the U.S. Senate, the FBI and the U.S. Treasury Department have all gathered.

In their most recent investigative report on Ukraine corruption, the Senate Finance and Homeland Security committees disclosed that Suspicious Activity Reports (SAR) that the Treasury Department turned over to Senate investigators show a direct link between Hunter Biden and Baturina. “Hunter Biden received a $3.5 million wire transfer from Elena Baturina, the wife of the former mayor of Moscow,” the Senate report declared, identifying a firm that the younger Biden and his business partner Devon Archer had created in 2013 as the recipient of the 2014 payment. “On Feb. 14, 2014, Baturina wired $3.5 million to a Rosemont Seneca Thornton LLC (Rosemont Seneca Thornton) bank account for a ‘Consultancy Agreement DD12.02.2014.'” the Senate report said. “Rosemont Seneca Thornton is an investment firm co-founded by Hunter Biden that was incorporated on May 28, 2013 in Wilmington, Del.

According to The Financial Times, Rosemont Seneca Thornton is a consortium that consists of Rosemont Seneca Partners and the Thornton Group, a Massachusetts-based firm.” The consulting payment was not only flagged because of its source. Its timing was also suspicious for its proximity to unfolding events in Eastern Europe. The payment was made four days before the Maidan revolution successfully ousted Viktor Yanukovych, Ukraine’s Russian-friendly president, and less than two weeks before Vladimir Putin sent Russian forces to invade Ukraine’s Crimea region and annex it. The Treasury reports showed 11 more transactions flowing from Baturina to entities tied to Hunter Biden in 2015.

“Between May 6, 2015 and Dec. 8, 2015, Baturina sent 11 wires in the amount of $391,968.21 to a bank account belonging to BAK USA LLC. Nine of the 11 transactions, totaling $241,797.14 were sent from Baturina’s accounts to a Rosemont Seneca Thornton bank account, which then transferred the money to BAK USA,” the Senate report noted.

Read more …

Turkey’s main threat today may well be in Nagorno-Karabach.

Pompeo’s Visit To Greece, Cyprus Prompted By Turkey’s S-400s (K.)

The indications that Turkey activated the radars of its Russian-made S-400 anti-aircraft systems in order to detect US-made Greek F-16 fighter jets on their return from the Eunomia exercise on August 27 off Cyprus apparently sounded the alarm in Washington about the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean and reportedly prompted the visits by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Cyprus on September 12 and Greece on September 27-29. The visits highlight how Ankara’s procurement of the S-400s is irking Washington, which has threatened to impose sanctions if the Russian system is activated. According to reports from a section of the Turkish opposition media, a general test of the S-400 systems is planned by Ankara near Sinop on the Black Sea.


Regardless of the decisions that Ankara will take regarding its air defense, last week’s three-day visit by Pompeo, which took him to Thessaloniki and the Souda base on Crete, was seen as very significant. The permanent mooring of the USS Hershel “Woody” Williams at the Souda facility is a strong indication of the US intent to substantially strengthen its presence on the island. The support of a 106,000-ton displacement ship capable of carrying helicopters, UAVs and other systems requires significant changes to the base. The US has been supporting Greece in an ongoing effort since 2016 to further bolster the capabilities of the navy base on Souda.

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Tulsi has balls.

GOP Reps Join Tulsi Gabbard In Push To Drop US Assange, Snowden Charges (WT)

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Hawaii Democrat, has gained support from Republican colleagues in calling for the U.S. government to abandon its criminal cases against Julian Assange and Edward J. Snowden. Along with Rep. Thomas Massie, Kentucky Republican, she introduced a resolution Friday urging the U.S. to drop all charges and efforts to extradite Mr. Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks. Rep. Matt Gaetz, Florida Republican, joined the Democrat days earlier by co-sponsoring a similar resolution asking the U.S. to drop its case against Mr. Snowden, who is also wanted for leaking. Mr. Assange, who launched the WikiLeaks website in 2006, and Mr. Snowden, a former intelligence contractor, each face criminal charges in separate cases related to leaking classified information.


Both men have been charged in federal court in Alexandria, Va., with violating the U.S. Espionage Act, and they face the possibility of hefty prison sentences if put on trial and convicted. Ms. Gabbard, who unsuccessfully sought the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, argued that Mr. Assange and Mr. Snowden each played a part in exposing government wrongdoing and should be spared. WikiLeaks “published information that exposed lies and abuses of power at the highest levels,” said Ms. Gabbard; Mr. Snowden “bravely expos[ed] massive illegal government surveillance,” she said.

Read more …

 

 

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