May 172022
 
 May 17, 2022  Posted by at 8:50 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  33 Responses »


Man Ray Le Violon d’Ingres 1924

 

At Least 300 Azov Fighters Surrender To Russians At Azovstal Plant (ZH)
Hundreds Of Ukrainian Troops Evacuated From Azobvstal After 82-Day Assault (G.)
Russia Has The Historical Right To Invade Ukraine (Finkelstein)
Death By A Thousand Cuts: Where Is The West’s Ukraine Strategy? (Escobar)
EU Plans Loans And Grants To Help Rebuild Ukraine (G.)
Turkey Says It Will Not Approve Sweden And Finland Joining NATO (G.)
States Must Pre-emptively Nullify Any WHO Pandemic Regulations (Blaze)
The New Rift Between WHO and China (Tucker)
Scandinavian Black Metal (Every)
The Twitter Bot Inquiry Intensifies (CTH)
Your Government Quietly Confirmed The Fully Vaccinated Are Developing AIDS (DE)
Feeding the Narrative (Kunstler)

 

 

The AZOV regiment in the Azovstal compound has surrendered to Russia. The MSM will tell you they were “evacuated”, “to save lives”. And of course it’s out of fashion to call them neo-nazis.

Russia has won, and on its own terms. But they won’t tell you that either. Zelensky’s message: “We hope to save the lives of our boys”. “I want to underline: Ukraine needs its Ukrainian heroes alive. This is our principle.”

Yes, the neo-nazis have become (inter-) national heroes. Oh, the irony.

The effect on the morale of Ukraine will be huge, with one part of the “regular” army -and civilians- so far looking to Azov as a symbol of strength, and another part too scared to surrender themselves for fear of Azov reprisals. Don’t be surprised if this means much more of Ukraine will soon surrender too, including Zelensky.

But, but, what about the $40 billion the US will send? Don’t worry, the remaining oligarchs -in the US AND Ukraine-know just what to do with that. Most will need to take it abroad though, they can’t wait until Russia might come after them.

 

 

Baby formula. 42.6% corn syrup. 10.1% sugar. Get them addicted young.

 

 

Clarence Thomas

 

 

 

 

“..after previously vowing multiple to times to ‘fight till the end’..”

At Least 300 Azov Fighters Surrender To Russians At Azovstal Plant (ZH)

The more than month-long standoff at Mariupol’s Azovstal steelworks plant is finally over, after for many weeks the siege of the large complex by Russian forces remained the focus of international headlines, and following a series of high-risk civilian evacuations, some of them under the auspices of UN and Red Cross emergency teams. The remnant hundreds of armed Ukrainian Azov battalion militants which had refused to come out have now surrendered in the Monday night hours. “Reuters saw about a dozen buses apparently carrying Ukrainian fighters leaving the plant on Monday. It was not possible to determine how many people were aboard.” Widespread reports say that some 300 Ukrainian fighters have laid down their weapons and emerged from the cavernous facility.

“More than 260 Ukrainian soldiers were evacuated from the besieged Azovstal steel plant in the port city of Mariupol,” Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister Ganna Malyar said. Another “53 heavily wounded (soldiers) were evacuated from Azovstal to the medical mortgage near Novoazovsk for medical aid,” according to Malyar’s statement. Azov issued a statement on Telegram saying they are “implementing the approved decision of the Supreme Military Command” in order to “save lives”. And the Russian side has since confirmed that “An agreement has been reached on the removal of the wounded,” according to a Russian defense ministry statement. “A humanitarian corridor has been opened through which wounded Ukrainian servicemen are being taken to a medical facility in Novoazovsk.”

Russian media is also widely reporting the surrender at Azovstal, with RT airing some of the first footage of the evacuation of the last fighters to leave… The Moscow Times is quoting confirmation from Ukraine’s president – who is applauding the safe surrender: “Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said “we hope to save the lives of our boys.” “I want to underline: Ukraine needs its Ukrainian heroes alive. This is our principle,” he said in a video statement. Crucially, Novoazovsk – where the wounded Ukrainian fighters are being taken – is in Russian-controlled territory about 40km east of Mariupol. The surrendered troops are reportedly now in the custody of the pro-Moscow Donetsk People’s Republic. Likely Kiev will seek to negotiate their return for captured Russians currently in Ukrainian military custody.

Azov battalion, which has long been widely acknowledged even in prior mainstream media reporting as a neo-Nazi group, is asking the Ukrainian public for continued “support” – given this surrender (after previously vowing multiple to times to ‘fight till the end’) will likely be viewed by some as premature capitulation. During the long siege, all that were stuck in the facility had been running out of food, supplies, and ammunition as Russian forces had them completely surrounded. Last month President Putin is said to have ordered the military to simply wait them out, as opposed to what would have likely been a high death toll operation to enter the underground complex beneath the huge plant.

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“..the soldiers defending the steel plant had “performed their combat task” and now the main goal was to save the lives of personnel.”

Hundreds Of Ukrainian Troops Evacuated From Azobvstal After 82-Day Assault (G.)

More than 260 Ukrainian soldiers, many of them wounded, have been evacuated from the besieged Azovstal steel plant in the port city of Mariupol, appearing to cede control of the city to Russia after 82 days of bombardment. Ukraine’s deputy defence minister Hanna Maliar said late on Monday that 53 heavily wounded soldiers were evacuated to a hospital in the Russian-controlled town of Novoazovsk. More than 200 others were transported through a corridor to Olenivka, Maliar said. The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces said that the soldiers defending the steel plant had “performed their combat task” and now the main goal was to save the lives of personnel. By holding the steelworks, they stopped Russian forces from rapidly capturing the southern city of Zaporizhzhia, its statement on Facebook said.


It was unclear how many soldiers remained in the steel plant, but Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said: “We hope to save the lives of our boys”. “I want to underline: Ukraine needs its Ukrainian heroes alive. This is our principle,” he said in a video statement. The evacuation is likely to mark the end of the longest and bloodiest battle of the Ukraine war and a significant defeat for Ukraine. Mariupol is now in ruins after a Russian siege that Ukraine says killed tens of thousands of people in the city. For Ukrainians, the Azovstal plant has become a symbol of resistance, with hundreds of troops continuing to fight on there even after the rest of the city had fallen to Russian forces. Some 600 troops were believed to have been inside the steel plant.

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“But I will say —and I’m not afraid to say it because it would dishonor the memory of my parents if i didn’t say it—, I will say that they had the right to do it.”

Russia Has The Historical Right To Invade Ukraine (Finkelstein)

[..] if you agree that for 20 years—more than 20 years, more than two decades—, Russia has tried to engage in diplomacy; if you agree that the Russian demand to neutralize Ukraine —not occupy it, not determine its government, its form of economy, just neutralize it like Austria after World War II—, if you agree that was a legitimate demand; if you agree that the West was expanding and expanding NATO; if you agree that Ukraine de facto had become a member of NATO, weapons pouring in, engaging in military exercises in NATO; and if you agree… You know, Russia lost 30 million people during World War II because of the Nazi invasion, so there’s a legitimate concern by Russia with all of these —if you excuse my language— Nazis floating around in the Ukraine, then the simple question is: What was Russia to do?

I’m not saying I agree with the invasion, I’m not saying it went right, but I think one thing: the invasion showed… you know what the one thing the invasion showed, Briahna, was that Russia is kind of weak militarily, which is why all the more they may have been fearful of a NATO-backed Ukraine filled with Nazis, and probably at some point positioning nuclear missiles on its border. And I think 30 million, 30 million people… Listen to this: I think 30 million people is 30 million arguments in favor of Russia. Now I’m not going to say, because I’m not a general and I’m not a diplomat, so I’m not going… I’m not a military strategist so I’m not going to say it was the wisest thing to do.

I’m not going to say it was the most prudent thing to do. But I will say —and I’m not afraid to say it because it would dishonor the memory of my parents if i didn’t say it—, I will say that they had the right to do it. And I’m not taking that back. They had the right to do it. They had if I can call it the historic right to do it. 30 million people (killed during WW2), and now you’re starting again, you’re starting again. No, no, you know I can’t go for it, I can’t go for those who acknowledge the legitimacy of the arguments made by Putin but then call the invasion criminal. I don’t see that.

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“The caliber of ‘strategic’ advice from the NATO realm was self-evident in the Serpent Island fiasco – a direct order issued by British ‘consultants’ to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky.”

Death By A Thousand Cuts: Where Is The West’s Ukraine Strategy? (Escobar)

Ukraine was never about a military win. What is being accomplished is the slow, painful destruction of the European Union (EU) economy, coupled with extraordinary weapons profits for the western military-industrial complex and creeping security rule by those nations’ political elites. The latter, in turn, have been totally baffled by Russia’s C4ISR (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) capabilities, coupled with the stunning inefficiency of their own constellation of Javelins, NLAWs, Stingers and Turkish Bayraktar drones. This ignorance reaches way beyond tactics and the operational and strategic realm. As Martyanov delightfully points out, they “wouldn’t know what hit them on the modern battlefield with near-peer, forget about peer.”

The caliber of ‘strategic’ advice from the NATO realm was self-evident in the Serpent Island fiasco – a direct order issued by British ‘consultants’ to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky. The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Valery Zaluzhny, thought the whole thing was suicidal. He was proven right. All the Russians had to do was launch a few choice anti-ship and surface Onyx missiles from bastions stationed in Crimea on airports south of Odessa. In no time, Serpent Island was back under Russian control – even as high-ranking British and American marine officers ‘disappeared’ during the Ukrainian landing on the island. They were the ‘strategic’ NATO actors on the spot, doling out the lousy advice.

Extra evidence that the Ukraine debacle is predominantly about money laundering – not competent military strategy – is Capitol Hill approving a hefty extra $40 billion in ‘aid’ to Kiev. It’s just another western military-industrial complex bonanza, duly noted by Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of Russia Dmitry Medvedev. Russian forces, meanwhile, have brought diplomacy to the battlefield, handing over 10 tons of humanitarian assistance to the people of liberated Kherson – with the deputy head of the military-civil administration of the region, Kirill Stremousov, announcing that Kherson wants to become part of the Russian Federation. In parallel, Georgy Muradov, deputy prime minister of the government of Crimea, has “no doubts that the liberated territories of the south of the former Ukraine will become another region of Russia. This, as we assess from our communication with the inhabitants of the region, is the will of the people themselves, most of whom lived for eight years under conditions of repression and bullying by the Ukronazis.”

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Loans And Grants And Stolen Assets.

EU Plans Loans And Grants To Help Rebuild Ukraine (G.)

Ukraine could receive loans, grants and possibly the proceeds of seized Russian oligarch property to help pay the multibillion-euro cost of rebuilding the country after the ruinous war launched by the Kremlin, according to a leaked EU reconstruction plan. In the plan drafted in Brussels, the European Commission states that the Ukrainian government will have to take out loans to pay for rebuilding its war-ravaged country. Non-repayable grants from EU member states would provide another tranche of the funds needed to rebuild destroyed homes, schools, roads, railways, airports and bridges. The EU also proposes assessing the feasibility of using assets seized from sanctioned Russians and Belarusians after a proposal from the head of the European Council, Charles Michel, earlier this month.

“I am absolutely convinced that this is extremely important not only to freeze assets, but also to make possible to confiscate it, to make it available for the rebuilding of the country,” he told Ukraine’s Interfax news agency. Lawmakers in the UK and the US have also proposed seizing Russian property to aid Ukraine’s reconstruction and ease the plight of the country’s refugees. Brussels officials have also called for the EU to borrow as a bloc on international capital markets to finance loans for Kyiv, according to the leaked report. If agreed, it would be only the second time in its history that the EU has borrowed as a whole rather than as individual member states, after funding the landmark €750bn (£635bn) Covid recovery plan in 2020.

The idea is floated in a Ukraine relief and reconstruction plan seen by the Guardian that the commission is expected to publish on Wednesday. Figures have been left blank in the document, pending further discussions in Brussels. The paper notes, however, that the financial needs “are expected to be substantial” and that reconstruction would take more than a decade. It also estimates that damage to physical infrastructure alone may run to more than €100bn.

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“They say they will come to Turkey on Monday. Will they come to persuade us? Excuse us, but they shouldn’t bother.”

Turkey Says It Will Not Approve Sweden And Finland Joining NATO (G.)

Turkey has said it will not approve Sweden and Finland joining it as Nato members, hours after Stockholm followed Helsinki in a historic Nordic security policy shift by formally confirming that it intended to apply for membership of the alliance. Recep Tayyip Erdogan said diplomatic delegations from the two countries, which have reversed decades of military non-alignment in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, should not even bother coming to Ankara to discuss the move. “We will not say yes to those [countries] that apply sanctions to Turkey to join the security organisation Nato,” Erdogan said. “They say they will come to Turkey on Monday. Will they come to persuade us? Excuse us, but they shouldn’t bother.”


The Turkish president’s comments came as Sweden’s prime minister, Magdalena Andersson, said “a broad majority” in parliament backed Nato membership as “the best thing for the security of Sweden” – drawing a warning from Moscow. Sweden was “leaving one era behind us and entering a new one”, she said. The Finnish government confirmed its intention to join Nato on Sunday, shortly before Andersson’s ruling Social Democrats abandoned 73 years of opposition to the idea. Andersson said Sweden’s Nato ambassador would formally hand over Stockholm’s application to the alliance headquarters in Brussels “within the next few days” and that the membership request would be submitted simultaneously with Finland’s.

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Orwell lives.

States Must Pre-emptively Nullify Any WHO Pandemic Regulations (Blaze)

On May 22, the World Health Assembly, the governing body of the World Health Organization, will meet in Geneva, Switzerland, to discuss the next step in its nefarious pandemic treaty and the quest to use “public health” to expand the WHO’s power over sovereign states. Representatives from 193 nations, including the U.S, will be attending. Interestingly, the only country not invited is Taiwan, of course, at the behest of its Chinese puppet masters. What is the nature of this pandemic treaty agenda? On Jan. 24, 2022, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO, explained the treaty was a “priority” to “urgently strengthen WHO as the leading and directing authority on global health, at the center of the global health architecture.”

In chilling words he laid out the guiding principle of this wicked plot. “We all want a world in which science triumphs over misinformation; solidarity triumphs over division; and equity is a reality, not an aspiration,” he added. He concluded, “We are one world, we have one health, we are one WHO.” Until now, the Biden administration appeared awfully quiet about this treaty, unlike some of the other recent international climate treaties about which officials have been quite vocal. However, it has come to light that several months ago, the Biden administration quietly sent the WHO several amendments to a 2005 international health regulation to be considered at the May 22 meeting about the treaty. At the time, the White House never issued an official statement or held a press conference.

The draft was not made public until mid-April. What is the nature of these amendments? They would essentially allow the director-general of the WHO to declare a public health emergency in a country and unilaterally coerce its citizens to take certain actions. The proposed amendment deletes a critical sentence from Article 9 of the 2005 International Health Regulations: “WHO shall consult with and attempt to obtain verification from the State Party in whose territory the event is allegedly occurring…” What could be the benign reason for the Biden administration erasing an existing requirement that the WHO first consult with the government of that particular country before making a determination? If there was any doubt about the motivations of these amendments and the direction in which they want to take our sovereignty, look at the next proposed change:

The Biden administration wants all the emergency declarations to be mandatory and cut out all views of the concerned state. The amendments are also designed to truncate the period of time for approving this travesty. The current WHO regulations provide for an 18-month grace period during which a nation may withdraw its “yes” vote for the amendments. The Biden administration draft proposal would truncate that period to just six months.

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Perhaps Xi doesn’t like the WHO getting dictatorial powers?

The New Rift Between WHO and China (Tucker)

From the beginning of the pandemic, the World Health Organization and China’s CCP have worked and spoken hand-in-glove, culminating in the Potemkin Village junket of mid-February 2020. The WHO-sponsored travel report – how wonderfully China had performed! – was written and signed by American public health officials who recommended Wuhan-style lockdowns, a disastrous policy that further inspired most governments in the world to do the same. Twenty-six months later, it turns out that China in fact had not “eliminated the virus fully within its borders,” contrary to the over-the-top claims of TV pundit Devi Sridhar in her new book Preventable. They only pushed cases into the future, as the CCP discovered when positive tests appeared all over Shanghai, leading to 7 weeks of brutal lockdowns.

This move on China’s part has been a disaster for the country and the world economy, and presently endangers the financial and technological future of the entire country. For Xi Jinping, lockdowns and zero-covid were his greatest achievement, one which was celebrated the world over, causing his political pride to swell beyond all bounds. Now, he cannot back off lest he face possible losses in upcoming party elections. Just this past weekend, he made it clear to the entire government that there would be no backing off the zero-covid policy: the CCP will “unswervingly adhere to the general policy of ‘dynamic zero-Covid,’ and resolutely fight against any words and deeds that distort, doubt or deny our country’s epidemic prevention policies.” The problem is acute: vast numbers in China likely need to acquire natural immunity via exposure.

The lockdown policy likely puts a damper on the achievement of endemicity. That means long-term damage to China’s future. Sensing this problem, the head of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, offered a mild criticism: “Considering the behavior of the virus, I think a shift will be very important,” adding that he had discussed this point with Chinese scientists. What happened next is truly fascinating: Tedros’s comments were censored all over China and searches for the name Tedros were immediately blocked within the country. Implausibly, merely by stating the incredibly obvious point, Tedros has made himself an enemy of the state. Meanwhile, another WHO/China partisan, Bill Gates, has been sheepishly saying something very similar in interviews, namely that the virus cannot be eradicated.

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“.. the G7 warns of 43 million people going hungry if Russia won’t stop its blockade of the Black Sea, which it won’t..”

Scandinavian Black Metal (Every)

Think of Scandinavian Black Metal as Finland and Sweden officially announce bids for NATO membership, overturning decades and centuries of neutrality, respectively; as Ukraine wins the Eurovision Song Contest, showing the tune the EU public is singing, and President Zelenskiy floats hosting it in demolished and occupied Mariupol; and as France and Germany come last, an EU-wide rejection of their continuous bids to harmonize with Russia. Think similarly as the G7 warns of 43 million people going hungry if Russia won’t stop its blockade of the Black Sea, which it won’t. That seems an undercount given recent surveys in even Western countries talking about 2 in 7 people facing some form of hunger, and a surge in the use of food banks. Worse, India just halted exports of wheat, or will only sell to those in real need, which injects another layer of (geo)politics into commodities trading.

Likewise, oil remains over $100 despite much of China in lockdown, which Shanghai may lift slightly from 16 May. Imagine how high oil would be with China open. Diesel is in short supply, and Bloomberg’s Javier Blass says at prices the equivalent of $200-250. There are warnings of diesel shortages in the north-east US, which will bring trucking to a halt. Recent conversations with taxi drivers in London and Singapore, which there are evident shortages of, complaining that current fuel prices mean they struggle to make ends meet. Nigerian domestic airlines have threatened to stop flying completely.

We can all name the tune that follows. Pro-China Sri Lanka is in chaos over rising food and energy prices. Pro-China Iran is seeing street protests, despite being a major energy producer – and is still no closer to a nuclear deal despite the EU thinking ‘Wandel Durch Handel’ will work in the Middle East in the same way it has not worked in eastern Europe or the Far East. China itself, besides sealing people into their homes, is restricting outbound international travel, clipping passports of those arriving, and according to one source, blocking overseas calls.

China also saw terrible data: industrial production -2.9% y-o-y vs. consensus of 0.5% and 5.0% in March; in year-to-date (y-t-d) terms, it was up 4.0%, down from 6.5% from last month; retail sales y-o-y were -11.1% vs. -6.6% consensus, and down from -3.5%, and in y-t-d terms were -1.2%, down from 3.3%; fixed investment y-o-y y-t-d was 6.8% vs. 7.0% consensus and down from 9.3%, the last leg standing; and property investment was -2.7% y-o-y y-t-d vs. -1.5% consensus and 0.7% in March, underlining that the investment seen was into infrastructure not housing. Indeed, residential property sales were -32.2% y-o-y y-t-d, and unemployment ticked up from 6.0% to 6.1%. China’s response was to cut mortgage rates 20bp for first-home buyers, but there was no rate cut in the MLF interest rate from 2.85% despite 50-50 market expectations of such a move.

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Will anything be left of Twitter?

The Twitter Bot Inquiry Intensifies (CTH)

If you accept that Twitter is manipulating the public conversation intentionally (they are), then Twitter bots would serve an ideological function. However, the issue of ‘bots’ operating on the Twitter platform is interesting when you consider the cost of platform operation. On one hand, extensive auto-generated ‘bots’ would be an issue of cost and data-processing, a net negative. On the other hand, the use of bots would be a manipulative practice for the creation of false impressions to generate advertising revenue. If the scale of data-processing was subsidized, an outcome of a network of data processing centers -the AWS cloud- linked to government resources, the bots would not be a cost issue for the operation. Despite the false impressions generated, bots would, however, under this weird situation, be useful for the manipulation of the conversation.

At the root of Elon Musk’s line of inquiry is the need to discover if this suspicion is true. If the scale of bots has been underestimated (likely by a willfully blind operation) the advertising fees charged by Twitter were potentially fraudulent. This is another operational reason (mitigating lawsuits from advertisers) for Musk to make the determination prior to the final purchase of the platform. Taking Twitter private as a company, eliminating bots (which is essentially removing fraudulent users) then carries the potential benefits of both lowering costs and positioning the company to increase genuine ad revenue from authenticated users as real people. Many people suspect the size of the political left on the Twitter platform is manipulated by programatic bots. Meaning there seems to be more people on the left side of the spectrum because bots are deployed to give the impression of like-minded users.

I am one of the people who believe this suspicion is accurate, because it would be a typical way the ideological left operates. The bots would be in addition to the deployment of algorithms that are designed to suppress speech the platform operators do not like. I have long suspected the Twitter algorithm process is essentially assigning certain users into specifically designed data-processing containers where their voice is suppressed. Some people call this ‘shadow-banning,’ I simply call it suppression. Elon Musk represents a threat to the way the platform was/is designed to operate. If Musk removes the discussion constraints, opens the containers and removes the restrictions, while simultaneously eliminating bots and fake accounts, the entire perspective of the platform could change very quickly. This is what I think the current board and operators are trying to avoid.

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“..Public Health Scotland, the New Zealand Ministry of Health, the Government of Canada, the UK Health Security Agency, the Office for National Statistics, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control..”

Your Government Quietly Confirmed The Fully Vaccinated Are Developing AIDS (DE)

Something is very wrong, and it is because of the Covid-19 injections. All around the world, Governments are publishing official data that all show the same thing. Those same Governments however are not willing to explain why. Instead, they are quietly publishing data in the hope that it will get swept under the carpet whilst they have you distracted by war in Ukraine and worrying about the cost of living; a crisis created by Government policy. But with the publication of confidential Pfizer documents, Governments around the world are running out of places to hide, and if these worrying trends continue, they will be forced to admit the Covid-19 injections are either causing Antibody-Dependent Enhancement or something much worse. Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome.


Whilst rare, it is perfectly possible for a medication or drug to cause Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, and data published by Public Health Scotland, the New Zealand Ministry of Health, the Government of Canada, the UK Health Security Agency, the Office for National Statistics, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control strongly suggests the Covid-19 injections should be added to the list. How else can Governments around the world explain the fact the fully vaccinated are more likely to be infected with Covid-19, more likely to be hospitalised with Covid-19, and more likely to die of Covid-19 than the unvaccinated? How else can Governments around the world explain the huge rise in all-cause mortality rates among the fully vaccinated compared to the unvaccinated? How else can Governments around the world explain the 1,145% to 33,715% increase in AIDS-related diseases, cancers and infections reported to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System in 2021?

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“..it will promote the evolution of new-and-different iterations of novel Coronaviruses, and it will surely kill and maim a lot more people, including little children.”

Feeding the Narrative (Kunstler)

This is not 2020. The public may be better inoculated now against government gaslighting and mind-fuckery than they are against Covid-19 viruses. As Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) noted last week in his colloquy with Secretary Mayorkas, “Do you know who the greatest propagator of disinformation in the history of the world is? The U.S. government.” Senator Paul is onto something. In the course of that hearing, he asked Mr. Mayorkas whether talk about Covid 19 on social media might be subject to official “disinformation” action by his agency. “I’ve said a million times that cloth masks don’t work; YouTube takes me down,” Senator Paul said. “They’re a private company. I can have that beef with them. What about you? You’re going to look at that? I often say that natural immunity from having had the infection is equal to the vaccine or better. You’re going to take that down?”

Rand Paul is a licensed physician, by the way, and Alejandro Mayorkas is not. Mr. Mayorkas answered that someone might claim that vaccination centers “are actually peddling fentanyl. Now, should I sit back and take that, or should I actually disseminate accurate information?” he asked. In reality, of course, this hypothetical fentanyl nonsense is not what is at issue regarding Covid-19 “vaccines.” What is actually at issue is the now-established fact that the mRNA products called “vaccines” do not prevent infection or transmission of Covid-19, and do provoke a broad array of harms to people that cause disability and death in, at least, tens of thousands of cases, which is a lot in terms of all prior medical standards.

The government has been lying about this consistently. And the news media have been obediently conveying those lies, in league with the pharmaceutical giants who produce the “vaccines.” The governor of my state, Kathy Hochul, still idiotically wants to mandate mRNA “vaccines” for children. Pfizer ran a commercial on CBS’s 60-Minutes Sunday night promising that further “vaccination” with their sketchy product will “open up the world” for people. In fact, it will do nothing to protect people, rather it will promote the evolution of new-and-different iterations of novel Coronaviruses, and it will surely kill and maim a lot more people, including little children.

Malone: myocarditis may be occurring in a majority of the vaccinated.

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Apr 232022
 
 April 23, 2022  Posted by at 8:02 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  43 Responses »


Jackson Pollock Number 31 1949

 

Does Paul Craig Roberts like Genocide? (Orlov)
Zelensky Gets John F. Kennedy Award For Defending Democracy (AP)
Daddies in Mommie-land (Kunstler)
Migratory Birds Of Mass Destruction (IPL)
Xi Echoes Putin in Proposal for New ‘Global Security Initiative’ (ET)
Biden Proposes $500 Million In Aid For Ukrainian Government (Hill)
Turkey Says Some NATO Members Want Longer Ukraine War to Hurt Russia (Antiwar)
Russia Warns Greece of Complete Breakdown in Relations (GR)
FDA and Pfizer Knew COVID Shot Caused Immunosuppression (Mercola)
Patients Report A Rebound Of Covid-19 Symptoms After Taking Paxlovid (BGlobe)
The IMF and the Law of Unintended Consequences (CTH)
Staring Into the Abyss (CHS)
Woke Elitists Are Too Stupid To See Elon Musk Is Saving Twitter (Smith)
The Coming Removal of the Mandate of Heaven, Part 2: Water (GCW)

 

 

Gonzalo Lira

 

 

A different view.

 

 

Attacking PCR without even linking to what you’re citing is not great.

But Orlov’s view of the future is interesting.

Does Paul Craig Roberts like Genocide? (Orlov)

3. Russia has a great and prosperous future as a wealthy, well-educated, civilized, vast and resource-rich country, but this future has nothing to do with Europe or the rest of the West, which are going to collapse. The fact that Russia has been rather tightly integrated with the West ever since Peter the Great moved the capital to St. Petersburg has complicated its transition away from the West and its turn eastward. Western sanctions, rampant Russophobia and the application of cancel culture to Russian culture has made this transition inevitable in the eyes of most Russians, but the process takes time. It would not be helpful if tensions with the West decreased prematurely or if anti-Russian sanctions were removed before they are made completely irrelevant. Also, the West’s unwillingness to buy Russian energy, metals, fertilizer and other essentials speeds up its collapse timeline and that, for Russia, is also a positive.

4. Immediately after Russia commenced its Special Operation in the Ukraine, much of Russia’s remaining fifth-columnists departed for other lands. They already had no impact on Russian politics, but they still exerted some amount of influence in culture and education, and their departure has been most welcome. Given the absolutely overwhelming public support for the Special Operation in Russia, those liberals who have spoken out against it have thereby excused themselves from Russian public life, making room for new talent and new blood. This is also a process that needs to run its course and should not be rushed.

5. The Special Operation has allowed Russia to demonstrate the overwhelming superiority of its armed forces vis-à-vis NATO. All of the weapons that the West has managed to infiltrate into the Ukraine are either being destroyed by rocket attacks or are accumulating in stockpiles after being abandoned by retreating or surrendering Ukrainian troops. None of the obsolete Stingers, Javelins or other military junk has made much of a difference at all. There is very little of any significance that the West can do to hurt Russia’s careful and measured progress in the Ukraine. Once more, time is on Russia’s side: it will take another few months for it to register in the West that all those billions spent on aid to the Ukraine have gone into a black hole with nothing to show for it.

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We all know what award he’ll be heavily nominated for. That’s how crazy this has all become.

Zelensky Gets John F. Kennedy Award For Defending Democracy (AP)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is among five people named Thursday as recipients of the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award for acting to protect democracy. Zelensky was chosen because of the way he has “marshaled the spirit, patriotism and untiring sacrifice of the Ukrainian people in a life-or-death fight for their country,” as Russia pours in troops and assaults cities and towns, the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation said. The foundation said four U.S. officials were chosen for standing up for free and fair elections, as the system is challenged in ways it has never been before. They are: Republican U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers and Fulton County, Georgia, elections worker Wandrea “Shaye” Moss.


Caroline Kennedy and her son, Jack Schlossberg, will present the awards May 22 at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston. The award was created by the family of the late president to honor public figures who risk their careers by embracing unpopular positions for the greater good, and is named after Kennedy’s 1957 Pulitzer Prize-winning book, “Profiles in Courage.” “There is no more important issue facing our country, and the world, today than the fight for democracy,” Kennedy said in a statement. “The war in Ukraine has shown the world that we can’t take freedom for granted, and the courage of our elected officials in the U.S. reminds us that as citizens we each have a responsibility to protect our democracy and exercise our fundamental right to vote.”

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“..a shell of a man who, in his prime, lived just to work his official positions for millions in grift.”

Daddies in Mommie-land (Kunstler)

If the USA and its NATO allies actually cared about Ukraine, we would have just left the place alone to slowly settle into the de-industrialized agricultural backwater it was becoming. And if we wanted to prevent widespread devastation once Operation Z got underway, we would have promoted peace talks, with an emphasis on our previous declaration that Ukraine would not be a candidate to join NATO. Instead, we set up Ukraine as a launching pad for annoying Russia (while also using Ukraine as a money laundromat for public officials and arms-makers). America is a drama queen, like the Queen Bee in one of those Real Housewives shows on cable TV, whose entire purpose in life is creating colorful conflicts within her circle of sisters. Daddy is not needed around that house, except offstage maybe as the wide-receiver for a multi-million-dollar paycheck courtesy of the NFL (a rival entertainment).

When one of America’s drama queen stunts goes wrong, the Queen Bee melts into a puddle of tears — boo hoo — tripping the empathy toggle.The sisters cluster around her, beating their wings. Somebody, please, help her feel better… fetch her a glass of pino grigio or a Xanax! Drama Queen Bee America does not like how the Ukraine drama is playing out. The mean old Daddy Putin is rocking the joint, cleaning out the place like Gary Cooper in some Long Branch Saloon of the Eurasian steppe — heaving all those Azov Nazis through the swinging doors out into the dusty street. The other sisters in the NATO circle were induced to acting as cheerleaders for the Azov boys, and now Mr. Putin has gone and turned off Europe’s gas. Western Civ is about to be sent to bed without dinner — the ultimate daddy trick. Now the sisters are all going boo hoo. Nothing is working for the sisterhood.

America’s president, “Joe Biden,” suits the current national script perfectly. He’s a mere prop for the drama queens. No one mistakes him for “Daddy.” He’s the old, impotent, intemperate, often confused “Grampy,” a figure of bathos and derision, a shell of a man who, in his prime, lived just to work his official positions for millions in grift. How, otherwise, do you account for his fortune? The Ukraine money laundromat was one of his favorite stops, managed carefully by cheerleaders Victoria Nuland, Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, and NSC official Fiona Hill, America’s foreign policy establishment there back in the day. But who, exactly, is managing Grampy now backstage in the White House? My guess would be Susan Rice because you never hear anything about Susan Rice or her role there: Director of the Domestic Policy Council of the United States. Wow! Sounds weighty. When was the last time you saw her name in The New York Times or cable TV news? You’d think they’d be interested in her doings.

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“But the cover-up was only partially successful. Indeed, Russia is in possession of highly incriminating evidence.”

Migratory Birds Of Mass Destruction (IPL)

The UN Security Council held an extraordinary event on April 6 under the rubric Arria Formula Meeting on Biological Security regarding the biological activities in countries including Ukraine. Predictably, the US and UK representatives didn’t show up at the event and the western media also blacked out the proceedings. But that does not detract from the profound significance of what transpired. The highlight of the Security Council proceedings lasting over two hours was the disclosure by General Igor Kirillov, chief of the Radiation, Chemical and Biological Defense Forces of the Russian Armed Forces, that Washington is creating biological laboratories in different countries and connecting them to a unified system.

He said the US has spent more than $5 billion on military biological programs since 2005 and detailed that in territories bordering Russia and China alone, about 60 facilities have been modernised during this period. The Ukrainian network of laboratories is designed to conduct research and monitor the biological situation consisting of 30 facilities in 14 populated locations. Highly sensitive materials from the Ukrainian biological laboratories were exported to the US in early February just before the Russian special operation began, and the rest were ordered to be destroyed lest they fell into Russian hands. But the cover-up was only partially successful. Indeed, Russia is in possession of highly incriminating evidence.

Previously also, Russia had released a number of documents related to the biological military activities of the Pentagon, which pointed toward a worldwide project to set up biological laboratories in rival countries with the goal of developing targeted viral weapons against those countries. The proceedings of the Security Council conference on April 6 are in the public domain and are accessible. Russia has made specific allegations, pointing finger at:
• Pentagon funding for the bio-labs in Ukraine;
• Location of these bio-labs (not only in Ukraine but in 36 countries around the world);
• Diseases and epidemics on which research work is going on, focusing on the means for their release, the countries where they are being tested (even without the knowledge of the governments of these countries); and, of course,
• Experiments relating to coronavirus (and bats used to transmit this virus).

However, the US has so far point-blank refused to accept any supervision and verification of such incriminatory evidences and has stonewalled the demand for a verification mechanism. It is unlikely that the US will permit an international verification process that holds the potential to expose it as indulging in crimes against humanity — although there are appropriate frameworks in place including the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) and the UN, to hear the clarifications from the relevant country in a fair and impartial manner.

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Xi doesn’t echo anyone.

Xi Echoes Putin in Proposal for New ‘Global Security Initiative’ (ET)

Chinese leader Xi Jinping on April 21 took several veiled swipes at Washington and allies’ sanctions on Russia, while proposing what he called a new China-led “global security initiative.” Xi said the new initiative takes “legitimate security concerns of all” and upholds “the principle of indivisibility of security,” key concepts that Russia has used to justify its annexation of Crimea in 2014 and its current assault on Ukraine. The “indivisibility of security” broadly refers to the idea that the security of one state is inseparable from that of other countries in the region, and thus no state should enhance its security at the expense of another’s. Russian President Vladimir Putin, in justifying his invasion of Ukraine, had argued that NATO’s strategy breached this principle.

The Chinese leader’s remarks, made during a video speech to the annual Boao Asia Forum, came as Beijing continues to strengthen its ties with Moscow even after Putin’s invasion. Earlier this week, a top Chinese diplomat pledged to deepen links with the aggressor state during a meeting with Russia’s envoy to China in Beijing. Since the war, the Chinese regime has repeatedly criticized Western sanctions and refused to condemn Moscow. It has also echoed Moscow’s propaganda claim that the United States and NATO instigated the conflict. During his speech, the Chinese leader said the security initiative would uphold “non-interference in internal affairs” and respect “sovereignty and territorial integrity,” slogans consistently used by Beijing to justify and deflect criticism of its aggression towards Taiwan. Beijing views the self-ruled island as its own territory to be taken by force if necessary.

The Chinese leader also reiterated Beijing’s opposition to “long-arm jurisdiction” and “unilateral sanctions,” without directly naming any country. Last month, Western officials warned that Beijing had signaled a willingness to provide Moscow with economic and military aid for its war effort. This prompted President Joe Biden to warn Chinese leader Xi Jinping during a March 18 video call of unspecified “consequences” should the regime materially support Moscow.

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It will all land in the pockets of the oligarchs.

Zelensky wants $7 billion per year.

Biden Proposes $500 Million In Aid For Ukrainian Government (Hill)

The Biden administration is seeking to send Ukraine $500 million to help keep its government services running as the war with Russia stretches into its third month, the Treasury Department announced Thursday. The administration will ask Congress to approve $500 million to cover the cost of Ukraine’s basic government services, including pensions, salaries and aid programs, the Treasury Department said. The aid package would be in addition to another $800 million in military support proposed by Biden on Thursday, which would also require approval from Congress. Biden said Thursday the U.S. has almost exhausted the $13.6 billion in Ukraine aid approved in a March government funding bill. Any new federal spending must be approved by the House and Senate before the president can sign the bill and send out the money.


“This is money the government can help use to stabilize their economy, to support communities that have been devastated by the Russian onslaught and pay the brave workers that continue to provide essential services to the people of Ukraine,” Biden said in remarks from the White House Thursday morning. Both Biden and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen met separately Thursday with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal in Wasington, D.C. Yellen and Shmyhal were joined by Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo and Ukrainian Finance Minister Sergii Marchenko. The U.S. and its allies have provided tens of billions of dollars in military and economic support to Ukraine as it attempts to fend off the Russian invasion. Mass emigration, compulsory military service for working-age men, the destruction of Ukrainian cities and the upended wheat planting season have derailed the Ukrainian economy, exacerbating the deep humanitarian costs of war.

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“The [Washington Post] report said: “For some in NATO, it’s better for the Ukrainians to keep fighting, and dying, than to achieve a peace that comes too early or at too high a cost to Kyiv and the rest of Europe.”

Turkey Says Some NATO Members Want Longer Ukraine War to Hurt Russia (Antiwar)

In an interview on Wednesday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said some NATO member states want the war in Ukraine to last longer as a way to hurt Russia. “There are countries within NATO who want the war to continue,” Cavusoglu told CNN Turk. “They want Russia to become weaker.” According to Iran’s Mehr News Agency, Cavusoglu did not think the war would last long after Russia and Ukraine held peace talks in Istanbul last month. But following a NATO foreign ministers meeting, he was given the impression that some alliance members don’t want the war to end.


Since Russia invaded on February 24, the US and many of its NATO allies have abandoned diplomacy with Russia. Instead of seeking a diplomatic solution, the Western powers are pouring weapons into Ukraine and waging an economic sanctions campaign against Russia. The view among some NATO members on the war was summarized by a recent report from The Washington Post. The report said: “For some in NATO, it’s better for the Ukrainians to keep fighting, and dying, than to achieve a peace that comes too early or at too high a cost to Kyiv and the rest of Europe.”

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“this happened despite the fact that we share the same faith with the Greeks, the same traditions, and were always there to help our Greek friends.”

Russia Warns Greece of Complete Breakdown in Relations (GR)

Russia’s Foreign Ministry warned Greece on Friday that the relations between the two nations that “share the same faith” have been “reduced to almost nothing.” Maria Zakharova, director of the Information and Press Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, warned in a statement released on social media that the “historical parallels” between Greece and Russia were in danger of becoming “a solid double line between us.” The Russian official focused on Greece’s decision to declare 12 Russian officials “personae non-gratae,” on April 6 joining other European states that had taken similar steps in response to accusations of atrocities committed by Russian forces against civilians in Ukraine. The Foreign Ministry said the decision was made in line with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 and the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 1963.

Russia’s embassy in Athens condemned Greece’s decision and warned of consequences. “We have strongly protested against this unjustified and hostile step which aims to further destroy our bilateral relations,” the Russian embassy announced in a statement. “We made clear that this action will not remain without consequences,” it further said. In her social media post, Zakharova lamented the breakdown of relations between Russia and Greece and delved in the historic ties between the two countries. “There was a time when Russia helped Greece achieve independence and restore its statehood, and its first head was previously Russia’s foreign minister, but now this country’s diplomatic relations with Russia have been reduced to almost nothing,” Zakharova warned.

She added that “this happened despite the fact that we share the same faith with the Greeks, the same traditions, and were always there to help our Greek friends. “This is not so much an issue of Euro-Atlantic solidarity erasing the past, since it is a sovereign choice for every nation to decide whom to honor. Even worse, this deprives people and nations of their future, independence and the right to make sovereign choices,” Zakharova concluded.

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“Pfizer’s own consent form clearly states: “Although not seen to date, it cannot yet be ruled out that the studied vaccine can make a later COVID-19 illness more severe.“

FDA and Pfizer Knew COVID Shot Caused Immunosuppression (Mercola)

With another batch of 11,000 Pfizer documents, released April 1, 2022, old suspicions have gained fresh support. As reported by “Rising” cohost Kim Iversen (video), the first bombshell revelation is that natural immunity works, and Pfizer has known it all along. The clinical trial data showed there was no difference in outcomes between those with previous COVID infection and those who got the shot. Neither group experienced severe infection. Natural immunity was also statistically identical to the shot in terms of the risk of infection. The second revelation is that side effects from the shots were more severe in younger people, aged 18 to 55, than those aged 55 and older. (The risk of side effects also increased with additional doses, so the risk was higher after the second dose than the first.)

As many of us have said all along, the risk of severe COVID is dramatically lower in younger people than those over 60, which makes an elevated risk of side effects unacceptable. As noted by The Naked Emperor on Substack,[1] “with a vaccine that is producing more frequent and more severe reactions and adverse events in younger individuals, the vaccine should have been restricted to those who were actually at risk of severe COVID-19.” Interestingly, Pfizer’s documentation also includes medical information that mainstream media and fact checkers have labeled as misinformation or disinformation. A pediatric consent form lists several possible side effects, including a myocarditis rate of 10 in 100,000 — far greater than the 1 in 50,000 (i.e., 2 in 100,000) rate previously reported.

We also know that myocarditis is far more frequent in young males, so for them, the risk is significantly higher than 10 in 100,000, as they make up the bulk of these injuries. Many who have warned about the possibility of mRNA shots causing antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE) — a situation in which you end up being more susceptible to serious infection than you would have been otherwise — have been smeared and demonized by media and labeled as disinformation spreaders. Yet Pfizer’s own consent form clearly states: “Although not seen to date, it cannot yet be ruled out that the studied vaccine can make a later COVID-19 illness more severe.” As noted by Iversen, if ADE truly was of no concern at all, the consent form would not include it. Yet there it is.

Vaccine-associated enhanced disease (VAED) is also listed as an “Important Potential Risk” in Table 5 on page 11 of a document called “5.3.6 Cumulative Analysis of Post-Authorization Adverse Event Reports.”As of February 28, 2021, Pfizer had 138 cases of suspected VAED, 75 of which were severe, resulting in hospitalization, disability, life-threatening consequences or death; a total of 38 cases turned out to be lethal and 65 remained unresolved. Moreover, as noted by the Daily Expose, “Phase 3 clinical trials are designed to uncover frequent or severe side effects before a vaccine is approved for use, including ADE. But herein lies the problem, [because] none of the COVID-19 vaccines have completed Phase 3 trials.”

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Anyone surprised?

Patients Report A Rebound Of Covid-19 Symptoms After Taking Paxlovid (BGlobe)

When it first hit the market in December, the COVID-19 antiviral treatment, Paxlovid, was hailed as a game-changer, an effective medicine that kept at-risk people out of the hospital. But now some patients are reporting on social media an unusual and unnerving phenomenon: their COVID symptoms appear to rebound after taking the medication. And it’s not just their symptoms that reappear. Many report that after finishing their five-day course of treatment, feeling better, and testing negative on an at-home rapid test, they then test positive again a few days later. The issue has captured the attention of at least two teams of Boston-area scientists, who are trying to understand what might be fueling the problem. Resistance to the drug? Patients being quickly reinfected?

Or maybe some people just need to take the medicine longer to mount a more effective immune response. Twitter and Reddit have been filled with patients and doctors sharing their experiences and hypotheses over the past few days, including John Donoghue, a 71-year-old emeritus physics professor in Amherst. “We had three cases in the house with the same pattern,” Donoghue said, in an interview. He, his wife, and her 95-year-old mother all were infected with COVID in the last month. All three received Paxlovid, felt better, and tested negative on rapid tests for four or five days. Then their symptoms returned and each one tested positive again.

“The symptoms the second time were milder,” Donoghue said. “In some ways, we feel that Paxlovid did its job. It took away the extreme symptoms of the first round and reduced them very quickly in all three cases.” Paxlovid, granted an emergency use authorization by federal regulators in late December, is an at-home treatment prescribed at the first sign of infection to patients at high risk of serious COVID complications. The treatment consists of a series of three pills taken twice a day for five days. In its clinical trial, Pfizer, the pharmaceutical giant that manufactures Paxlovid, reported an 89 percent reduction in COVID-related hospitalization or death from any cause in patients who received Paxlovid within three days of symptoms, compared with patients who received a placebo.

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“Now, the world is facing massive inflation, economic contraction, looming hunger, widespread famine and a pending global financial collapse.”

The IMF and the Law of Unintended Consequences (CTH)

It’s not exactly a confidence builder when the Director of the International Monetary Fund answers the question about forward priorities by saying, “Perhaps we need to pay attention to the law of unintended consequences.” You had one job Kristalina, one job. During an International Monetary Fund (IMF) spring debate and discussion segment, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, outlined her perspective against the backdrop of massive inflation caused by the global financial institutions telling government to spend money and they will print it, during COVID. [The video is prompted to 01:04:50].


The discussion included EU Central Bank President Lagarde, US Fed Chair Powell, Indonesian Finance Minister Mulvani – when IMF Director Kristalina Georgieva admitted they channeled their COVID fear and emotions by unsustainably printing money without pausing to think through the consequences. Now, the world is facing massive inflation, economic contraction, looming hunger, widespread famine and a pending global financial collapse. Their response? “Whoops.” Not to worry, they’ll have a little wine and chocolate and figure things out. Swear.

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“..the Fed has exacerbated socially fatal neofeudal inequality..”

Staring Into the Abyss (CHS)

The global economy is perched on the edge of an abyss, and averting our gaze doesn’t actually lessen the risk, it increases it because problems which aren’t faced directly and addressed directly fester and rot the system from within. This is why we’re collectively staring into the abyss: all the big problems have been dismissed, ignored or papered over with PR-happy-talk “solutions” that only make the problem worse. There are three basic techniques that our “leadership” (public and private) have used to avoid dealing directly with our pressing problems: 1. Appear to address the problems by doing more of what’s failed spectacularly. 2. Propose magical-thinking happy-happy technological “solutions” that are appealing but impractical. 3. Keep the status quo glued together to maximize quick-buck gains for the elite while guaranteeing long-term catastrophe for the entire society / economy.

Doing more of what’s failed spectacularly is one of the phrases you’ve seen here over the years. This generates an illusion of control because the tried-and-true Band-Aid makes it look like the problem is being addressed. Since doing more of what’s failed spectacularly doesn’t break the system immediately, everyone incorrectly assumes it’s benign or actually helping. The Federal Reserve’s blowing of serial speculative credit-asset bubbles is a good example. With the bogus goal of generating a “wealth effect” that only rewards the already-rich, the Fed has exacerbated socially fatal neofeudal inequality and created guaranteed-to-pop bubbles that each collapsed with devastating consequences for the credulous who believed the Fed’s poisonous assurances that a) this isn’t a bubble and b) bubbles never pop.

The Fed’s “solution”–blowing an even bigger bubble to paper over the catastrophic losses when the previous bubble popped–has finally reached the endgame: three bubbles and you’re out (2000, 2008-09 and 2021-22). Sorry to disappoint the beneficiaries of the three Fed bubbles, but there won’t be a fourth bubble. Bubbles don’t inflate at the bottom of the abyss.

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Does woke Twitter have a future?

Woke Elitists Are Too Stupid To See Elon Musk Is Saving Twitter (Smith)

In the past year Big Tech and Big Media are learning a valuable lesson – That “Get Woke, Go Broke” is not just a mantra, it’s a rule. We’ve just seen companies like Netflix take a massive market beating because of their hubris and their presumption that they can simply dictate the path of our culture from on high through leftist propaganda. CNN just shut down their premium “+” service after a single month because no one trusts them enough to pay them pocket change for content. And Disney is about to lose their municipal charter in Florida because they thought they were in charge of the state and its laws, when in fact they are not. Woke corporations are slowly but surely dying and leftists don’t seem to grasp the situation.

They’ll never admit openly that the reason these companies are seeing declines is because of their cult-like political stance that justifies the forced indoctrination of everyone, including children. They’ll say it was covid, they’ll say it was inflation, they’ll say it was bigotry, but in reality it was always them. No one likes them, and people are finally realizing they don’t have to spend money buying products from insane leftists they don’t like. In this regard Twitter is a bit of an enigma. The social media company has gone from a relatively innocuous space for people to market online businesses and for politicians and celebrities to engage with their followers or detractors, to a vicious battleground overrun with leftist zealots hellbent on using the platform as a weapon to silence dissent and destroy the lives of people that disagree with them. The platform went from average social media outlet to becoming a birthplace for evil behavior.

If I was to describe what Twitter really stands for today, I would say it is an attempt to build a global hive mind; a place where everyone is coerced into conformity with establishment ideals through peer pressure and mob aggression. That is to say, Twitter is the antithesis to a free speech society; a beta test for the future of authoritarianism where you THINK you are allowed to speak your mind but only the “correct” opinions are allowed to pass. How this happened is hard to say. Some theorize that leftist cultists scrambled like rats from the sinking ship of Tumblr and found their way over to Twitter to take up residency. I would argue that maybe Twitter was always intended to become what it now is. Just take a look at the monster’s gallery of its largest shareholders.

If Elon Musks Takes Over, He’ll Expose Twitter

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The water wars will not be pretty. Promise.

The Coming Removal of the Mandate of Heaven, Part 2: Water (GCW)

In order to understand the grave danger China is facing, we need to understand water usage and thresholds below which the population begins to face some level of danger. For that, we’re going to turn to Reuters for an overview. At a minimum, a civilization requires 1,700 cubic meters of water per person per year to be considered water secure. This amounts to 373,947 gallons of water per person, with a minimum of 4,156 gallons of water per year to ensure good health. Freshwater is used for everything from industry to agriculture to power generation, and our infrastructure is rated for a minimum level of water moving through the pipes. If that water falls below that level, pressure drops and the water can become unsafe.

This starts to become a problem at 1,000 cubic meters per person per year, and reaches a threat level at 500 cubic meters per person per year. Beijing is currently sitting at 100 cubic meters of fresh water per person per year. Barely seven times the necessary minimum for a person to remain healthy, with the rest stretched thin and endlessly recycled as it eventually becomes useless for any purpose which brings it into contact with humans in any way. When examining the water situation in a given country, the first place to look is always the groundwater situation. Which, in China’s case, isn’t very positive. Over 80% of the groundwater in China is unsafe, according to publicly available data attained from a Chinese government survey. Information which is normally a closely held secret.

Same with the fact that 47% of the groundwater in China is so badly polluted it can’t even be used for industrial purposes. Note, Beijing gets almost a third of their water from groundwater sources, which must be thoroughly treated at massive cost in man-hours, materials, and energy before it can be used by the general public. This has resulted in Beijing sinking at a rate of 11 cm per year as the depleted aquifer results in subsidence. Assuming its even at a level which can be affordably treated. Which 47% of the groundwater can’t be. This situation is even worse in the cities, where 90% of the groundwater is unusable for purposes which would bring it into contact with people. And, ironically, although the groundwater pollution is worse in the cities, rural areas are more heavily affected due to the fact most rural communities lack the resources to treat either the water they take in for normal usage or the waste water they release back into the wild.

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May 202021
 
 May 20, 2021  Posted by at 8:34 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  37 Responses »


Amedeo Modigliani Nu allongé 1917

 

Government Scrubs Stats on Vaccine-Related Deaths (Mercola)
Ivermectin Crushes Delhi Cases (DR)
Amid Concerns Over Effectiveness, Govt Ramping Up Remdesivir Production (BS)
Rock Music? No. Road Hockey? Yes (LFP)
Biden Permits Nord Stream 2 (Greenwald)
Colonial Pipeline Confirms It Paid $4.4m Ransom To Hackers (AP)
Pentagon Reportedly Running Secret Army Of 60,000 Around The World (NYP)
Accused Russiagate ‘Spy’ Kilimnik Speaks (Maté)
Blinken, Lavrov Seek Cooperation Despite ‘Serious Differences’ (R.)
Germany’s Greens Are Neoliberals With Bicycles (Jac.)
European Parliament to Suspend Turkey’s EU Accession Talks

 

 

 

 

Plasma: vaccines wipe out antibodies

 

 

Shocking claims from French Nobel prize winner Luc Montagnier…

 

 

“Any other vaccine would have been pulled from the market by now.”

Government Scrubs Stats on Vaccine-Related Deaths (Mercola)

According to Dr. Peter McCullough, vice chief of internal medicine at Baylor University Medical Center and known for being one of the top five most-published medical researchers in the United States, COVID-19 vaccines are killing “huge numbers” of people and the government is simply ignoring it. In a video interview with investigative journalist and founder of Liberty Sentinel, Alex Newman, McCullough says the U.S. government, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and health agencies around the world have all committed to vaccinating the global population while sitting on data showing the COVID-19 “vaccines” are turning out to be the most lethal vaccines ever created. [..] During a recent Texas state Senate Health and Human Services Committee hearing, McCullough noted that, according to available data, early treatment could have prevented up to 85% of COVID-19 deaths. Early at-home treatment also minimizes the spread, as the amount of time you’re infectious can be reduced from two weeks to about four days.

Yet, despite being inexpensive and readily available, early treatments have all been censored and suppressed, apparently in order to secure this global mass vaccination campaign. In fact, as McCullough notes, there’s been no clarified guidance on COVID treatment at all, not even hospital protocols. The entire focus of our health agencies has been on masking, lockdowns and waiting for a gene therapy “vaccine.” The results have been devastating. Five months into the mass vaccination campaign, more than 10,000 in the U.S. and European Union have already died after getting the shots. Any other vaccine would have been pulled from the market by now. For example, in 1976, the U.S. government vaccinated 45 million people against pandemic swine flu. The entire program was canceled after reports of just 53 deaths, according to Fox News. Note: The number of deaths reported after the 1976 inoculation program varies from three to 53, depending on the source.

Now, health authorities are shrugging off more than 3,800 deaths after COVID-19 vaccination as either coincidental or inconsequential. Think about that. Five months into the COVID-19 vaccination campaign, we’re looking at a death toll that is 7,000% greater than during the swine flu vaccination campaign, which was canceled after the vaccine was deemed too risky. The COVID-19 “vaccine” is also on a level of magnitude more dangerous than the seasonal flu vaccine. As reported by McCullough, on average, there are 20 to 30 deaths reported following the seasonal flu vaccine, which is given to about 195 million Americans each year. Compare that to these novel COVID-19 gene therapies. So far, an estimated 124 million Americans are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and the death count is already at 3,837, as of April 30, 2021.

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“Where is a developing country getting the 60 million dollars a day to purchase the Remdesivir?”

Ivermectin Crushes Delhi Cases (DR)

Just three weeks after adding Ivermectin, Delhi now leads India out of the deadly second surge of the COVID pandemic. Cases that had peaked at 28,395 on April 20 plummeted nearly 80% to just 6,430 on May 15. Deaths peaked May 4, and now they are also down 25%. On May 10, the Indian State of Goa adopted an even more ambitious policy of preemptive Ivermectin for all adults in the state. The Chief Minister of Goa is Dr. Pramod Sawant, a progressive 49-year-old physician persuaded by science. In particular, he read Dr. Pierre Kory’s Dr. Tess Lawrie’s and Dr. Andrew Hill’s robust meta-analyses. As a direct result, Goa has seen a drop in cases from 3,124 the day after the announcement to 1,314 five days later.

Meanwhile, three other Indian states have followed Goa’s lead in adding Ivermectin: Uttarkhand, Karnataka, and Uttar Pradesh. And, as expected, they have seen a drop in new daily cases as well, with Uttar Pradesh down nearly 75% from a peak of 37,944 just four days after they began following the April 20 AIIMS guidance to just 10,505 on May 16. The tragic story in all this is that the Indian state of Tamil Nadu installed a new leader on May 7, 2021. He suddenly reversed their state’s decision to adopt Ivermectin. Readers of my book all know about Peruvian President Sagasti’s fateful decision to outlaw Ivermectin. Before taking power, the COVID deaths had dropped 14 fold to almost nothing with Ivermectin use. However after Sagasti was elected, Ivermectin was stopped, and deaths roared back at 13 fold.

Peru paid the price in skyrocketing cases and 78,000 preventable deaths. Tamil Nadu’s Chief Minister, MK Stalin, also chose to forgo Ivermectin. Instead, he ordered tens of thousands of doses of Remdesivir, a drug that sells for 3,000 dollars per dose. So now Tamil Nadu’s cases are rocketing as well. In contrast to Goa’s young physician Chief Minister who had read the latest science on Ivermectin’s dramatic effect on reducing COVID death, MK Stalin is a 68-year-old non-physician socialist and atheist who is towing the party line by forbidding Ivermectin.

Stalin now requests allocations for some 20,000 daily doses of Remdesivir for the Tamil Nadu citizens despite the science that shows no reduction in COVID death with this drug. [..] Twenty thousand doses of Remdesivir cost 60 million dollars, while 20,000 doses of Ivermectin go for a few hundred. Where is a developing country getting the 60 million dollars a day to purchase the Remdesivir? Why is their leader throwing away a cheap drug, Ivermectin, that has saved lives in other countries? ”

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Remdesivir is the worst choice.

Amid Concerns Over Effectiveness, Govt Ramping Up Remdesivir Production (BS)

The Indian government, on Wednesday, claimed it has ramped up the production of Remdesivir, an anti-viral drug prescribed for treating moderate-to-critical Covid patients, by 10 times. From 1 million vials per month in April, the Centre claims it will produce 10 million vials this month, as it has increased the number of plants manufacturing Remdesivir from 20 to 60. Meanwhile, reports suggest that Remdesivir may soon be dropped from the Indian Council of Medical Research’s Covid treatment protocol, as experts have questioned its effectiveness in Covid treatment. The news comes just days after plasma therapy was dropped from ICMR’s Covid treatment protocol.

The last few weeks saw a severe shortage of Remdesivir injections across the country, along with an acute shortage of hospital beds and oxygen cylinders, leading to a record rise in Covid fatalities. The Centre said it is monitoring the supply of drugs such as Remdesivir, Ivermectin and Favipiravir, essential for treating moderate to critical Covid patients. The Centre said it had ramped up production of these drugs and imported them in large quantities to ensure uninterrupted supply. A couple of days ago, the Indian government said it had received 530,000 Remdesivir vials as foreign aid from various countries such as the US and France, to help combat the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The availability of these drugs is being monitored by implementing a three-pronged strategy of supply chain management, demand side management and affordability,” the Centre said in a statement. The drugs whose supply is being monitored include those in ICMR’s Covid treatment protocol, such as Remdesivir, Enoxaparin, Dexamethasone and Ivermectin, and non-protocol drugs such as Favipiravir, Amphotericin and Apixaban. The Centre added that it will increase the production of Ivermectin, a Covid protocol drug, by five times, from 15 million 12 Mg tabs last month to 77 million this month.

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London, Ontario. AI scans.

Rock Music? No. Road Hockey? Yes (LFP)

There won’t be any music festivals in London this summer, but there will be road hockey. Jones Entertainment Group says it is again postponing Start.ca Rocks the Park until 2022 but will go ahead with HockeyFest — Game On, a three-on-three street hockey tournament, June 25-27. London will be the first of nine cities to play host to the tournament, which will be held across Canada and in parts of the U.S. The London tournament will be at Westmount Shopping Centre and Saunders secondary school. New technology, similar to metal detectors common at airports, will be used to scan all participants for COVID-19 symptoms. Anyone showing symptoms will be tested for the coronavirus to determine whether they can play, coach, referee or watch the games.

“It’s cutting-edge, world-class technology, one more thing to lead the charge into somewhat normal activities,” said Brad Jones, president of Jones Entertainment Group and HockeyFest. “What a better place to start than our own hometown of London? This will be a game-changer in getting back to some sort of normalcy in the sports and entertainment industry.” The new artificial intelligence (AI) technology, called Safe Entry Stations, was developed by Toronto-based Predictmedix and built by another Toronto firm, Juiceworks. It can identify symptoms of infectious diseases and can also be used to detect alcohol or marijuana use.] Predictmedix co-founder and chief operating officer Rahul Kushwah said the new technology was used successfully at this year’s Super Bowl and may become as common as metal detectors at airports, including at work places.

They can be permanently installed or a mobile unit can be leased for events such as concerts. “It’s about creating safe environments, whether it’s a concert or a workplace,” Kushwah said, noting the new technology has a 95% success rate identifying symptoms. “It’s going to help open up our cities. Walking through one of these is analogous to a triage when you walk into a hospital.” Those hockey players who test negative are given a wristband. Those who test positive for symptoms will be given a Covid-19 test and, if positive, will not be allowed to play and will be instructed to leave along with anyone who travelled with them to the tournament.

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Putin for the win.

Biden Permits Nord Stream 2 (Greenwald)

It is true that Trump, like Obama before him, spoke of the potential to partner with Russia rather than viewing it as an enemy, just as it is true that both presidents imposed sanctions on Moscow. And it is also true, and understandable, that Moscow likely favored a Trump victory rather than having supreme war hawk Hillary Clinton in the White House (the same reason Ukraine worked in 2016 to help Hillary win). But over and over, Trump undermined, not advanced, core Russian objectives. As Obama himself said in 2016, it is hard to imagine doing anything more provocative and harmful to Russian vital interests than sending lethal arms to Ukraine — exactly what Obama refused to do, despite bipartisan pressure. Yet the Trump administration quickly did exactly that: bizarre behavior for a Kremlin asset, to put that mildly.

Trump found one thing even more threatening to the Kremlin’s vital interests than arming Ukrainians: namely, doing everything possible to destroy Russia’s ability to complete construction of its new underwater natural gas pipeline, Nord Stream 2. That new pipeline is designed to double Russian sales capacity to an EU addicted to cheap Russian natural gas, producing massive revenue for the Russian economy and giving Moscow greater leverage when dealing with its European neighbors. But it provides an even more important benefit: it allows Russia to bypass Ukraine and other Eastern European countries, thus avoiding costly transit fees and the risks of political instability or anti-Russian manipulation by outside forces, including the U.S. government.

For all those reasons, few priorities were more important to Putin and the Russian economy than this new pipeline. Yet for at least the last two years of his presidency, Trump — even as he was shrilly depicted as an agent of the Kremlin — was obsessed with stopping the Russian pipeline and thus sabotaging Putin’s key geopolitical project. The Trump administration caused a halt to the project in 2019 when it imposed sanctions on companies working on it. Trump did everything he could to pressure, cajole and even threaten the Germans to pull out of the deal, warning that it would leave a winter-plagued Europe captive to Russian pressure and insisting that Berlin had the obligation to buy gas from the U.S., not Russia, given NATO expenditures to protect Germans. Trump even tried to pull close to 10,000 U.S. troops out of Germany to pressure the Merkel government, but the pro-war alliance of hawkish Democrats and Liz-Cheney-led neocon Republicans voted to defund that effort.

Any minimally rational or honest media would have taken note of these events and instantly realized that their years-long conspiracy theory about Trump being controlled by Putin was sophomoric nonsense, the opposite of the truth. That a Putin-controlled Russian asset would send lethal arms to Ukraine and do everything possible to sabotage Nord Stream 2 is so blatantly absurd that it could be ratified only by a media aggressively committed to spreading disinformation and lies. All of this became even clearer on Tuesday when President Biden reversed Trump’s blockage of the Russian natural gas pipeline. Axios’ Jonathan Swan reported that “the Biden administration will waive sanctions on the corporate entity and CEO overseeing the construction of Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline into Germany,” which “indicates the Biden administration is not willing to compromise its relationship with Germany over this pipeline.” Swan wrote what is clearly true: “the completion of Nord Stream 2 would be a huge geopolitical win for Putin and give him substantial new leverage in Europe.”

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Bitcoin?

Colonial Pipeline Confirms It Paid $4.4m Ransom To Hackers (AP)

The operator of the nation’s largest fuel pipeline confirmed it paid $4.4m to a gang of hackers who broke into its computer systems. Colonial Pipeline said Wednesday that after it learned of the 7 May ransomware attack, the company took its pipeline system offline and needed to do everything in its power to restart it quickly and safely, and made the decision then to pay the ransom. “This decision was not made lightly,” but it was one that had to be made, a company spokesman said. “Tens of millions of Americans rely on Colonial: hospitals, emergency medical services, law enforcement agencies, fire departments, airports, truck drivers and the traveling public.”


Joseph Blount, Colonial Pipeline’s CEO, told the Wall Street Journal he authorized the payment because the company didn’t know the extent of the damage and wasn’t sure how long it would take to bring the pipeline’s systems back. The FBI discourages making ransom payments to ransomware attackers, because paying encourages criminal networks around the globe who have hit thousands of businesses and health care systems in the US in the past year alone. But many victims of ransomware attacks, where hackers demand large sums of money to decrypt stolen data or to prevent it from being leaked online, opt to pay. “I know that’s a highly controversial decision,” Blount said. “I didn’t make it lightly. I will admit that I wasn’t comfortable seeing money go out the door to people like this.” “But it was the right thing to do for the country,” he said.

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Cyber-warriors.

Pentagon Reportedly Running Secret Army Of 60,000 Around The World (NYP)

The Pentagon is running a 60,000-strong secret army made up of soldiers, civilians and contractors, who travel the world under false identities embedded in consultancies and name-brand companies — without the knowledge of the American people or most of Congress — according to a report. The top-secret army was created by the Pentagon over the past 10 years as part of a program called “signature reduction,” and operates both domestically and internationally using a low-profile force of clandestine warriors who sometimes wear civilian clothes as they carry out their assignments, Newsweek reported. The force is 10 times the size of the covert elements of the CIA, comes with a cost of more than $900 million, and engages about 130 private companies in operations in locales like the Middle East and Africa, the report said.


Despite the undercover army’s size and budget, Congress has never held a hearing on it. About half of the “signature reduction” force is made up of special forces, the highly trained commandos who pursue terrorists around the world, including in Iran and North Korea. Military intelligence specialists comprise the second-largest element inside the force. But the newest and fastest-growing group in the unit is made up of cyber-warriors who use false personas and “nonattribution” or “misattribution” techniques online to disguise themselves so they can track high-value targets, collect “publicly accessible information” and engage in influence campaigns to manipulate social media.

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So much for Russiagate.

Accused Russiagate ‘Spy’ Kilimnik Speaks (Maté)

The man cast as a linchpin of debunked Trump-Russia collusion theories is breaking his silence to vigorously dispute the U.S. government’s effort to brand him a Russian spy and put him behind bars. In an exclusive interview with RealClearInvestigations, Konstantin Kilimnik stated, “I have no relationship whatsoever to any intelligence services, be they Russian or Ukrainian or American, or anyone else.” Kilimnik, a longtime employee of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, spoke out in response to an explosive Treasury Department statement declaring that he had “provided the Russian Intelligence Services with sensitive information on polling and campaign strategy” during the 2016 election. That press release, which announced an array of sanctions on Russian nationals last month, also alleged that Kilimnik is a “known Russian Intelligence Services agent implementing influence operations on their behalf.”

Treasury’s claim came shortly after two other accusatory U.S. government statements about the dual Ukrainian-Russian national. In March, a U.S. Intelligence Community Assessment accused Kilimnik of being a “Russian influence agent” who meddled in the 2020 campaign to assist Trump’s reelection. A month earlier, an FBI alert offered $250,000 for information leading to his arrest over a 2018 witness tampering charge in Manafort’s shuttered Ukraine lobbying case, which was unrelated to Russia, collusion, or any elections. Treasury provided no evidence for its claims, which go beyond the findings of the two most extensive Russiagate investigations: the 448-page report issued in 2019 by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the 966-page report issued in August 2020 by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

Treasury has declined all media requests for elaboration on how it reached conclusions that those probes did not. Two unidentified officials told NBC News that U.S. intelligence “has developed new information” about Kilimnik “that leads them to believe” that he passed on the polling data to Russia. But these sources “did not identify the source or type of intelligence that had been developed,” nor “when or how” it was received. “Nobody has seen any evidence to support these claims about Kilimnik,” a congressional source familiar with the House and Senate’s multiple Russia-related investigations told RCI. Despite the absence of evidence, the Treasury press release’s one-sentence claim about Kilimnik has been widely greeted as the Trump-Russia smoking gun. Rep. Adam Schiff, the California Democrat who heads the House Intelligence Committee, told MSNBC that Treasury’s assertion about Kilimnik proved that Russian intelligence was “involved in trying to help Trump win in that [2016] election. That’s what most people would call collusion.”

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Biden to meet killer Putin?!

Blinken, Lavrov Seek Cooperation Despite ‘Serious Differences’ (R.)

Top diplomats from the Biden administration and Russia in their first in-person meeting on Wednesday stressed that the former Cold War foes have serious differences in how they view world affairs but struck an optimistic tone for the talks, saying the two sides can still find ways to work together. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in his first meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, a veteran diplomat, said it was “no secret that we have our differences” and that Washington would respond to aggressive acts by Russia, but that the world would be safer if the two countries’ leaders worked together. Lavrov, speaking through a translator at the opening of the meeting in Reykjavik on the sidelines of an Arctic Council meeting, said Russia and the United States have “serious differences” but have to cooperate “in spheres where our interests collide.”

Senior U.S. State Department officials said there were no breakthroughs in the meeting, but described it as a “good start” to work on relations between the two countries in “weeks, months and years to come.” Blinken said Biden wanted “a predictable, stable relationship with Russia” and said the two countries could work together on tackling the coronavirus pandemic, combating climate change, dealing with Iran and North Korea’s nuclear programs, and the conflict in Afghanistan. “We think that’s good for our people, good for the Russian people and indeed good for the world,” Blinken said. The pair also discussed cyber security and Russia’s troop movements on its border with Ukraine, issues that have tested the already fraught ties this year, senior State Department officials told reporters. They repeatedly insisted that the meeting was “table setting” for future talks.

Wednesday’s meeting, the first high-level, in-person discussion between the Biden administration and a Russian counterpart, lasted one hour and 45 minutes, longer than the expected one hour. Lavrov told Russian state media the talks were “constructive” and that Russia was ready to discuss all issues between the two countries “on the basis of mutual respect.” The two diplomats would prepare proposals for a possible meeting between U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Lavrov said. State Department officials referred questions about a presidential meeting to the White House, but said there was acknowledgment that “strategic stability” would be discussed.

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Nice headline. The Greens are set to become a force in German politics.

Germany’s Greens Are Neoliberals With Bicycles (Jac.)

The Greens’ recent victories notwithstanding, their attempt at balancing highly contradictory interests in the name of ecological pragmatism has already become a strain on the party. Only through the meteoric rise of the Fridays for Future movement have the Greens been able to establish themselves as the strongest party among under-thirty-year-olds. Yet, Habeck and Baerbock have spared no efforts to improve their standing with German industry and shake their old antibusiness image. In 2019, Baerbock gained recognition with the Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie (BDI), Germany’s leading federation of industrialists and corporations, for putting forward an economic agenda that is especially aggressive against China. She insisted that Germany must be part of a European economic and digital infrastructure that is independent of Chinese corporations such as Huawei.

She added that new climate regulations could actually prove advantageous for German businesses, especially if Chinese competitors who supposedly undercut these regulations were subject to extra taxation. Baerbock’s foray into a sort of Green anti-Chinese economic policy has since been praised by German business representatives. It is not hard for them to accept this — especially given that questions of union rights and worker representation are noticeably absent from this vision. Accordingly, Baerbock has commended initiatives such as Elon Musk’s new Tesla factory in Brandenburg, regardless of the fact that Musk has repeatedly made clear that he will accept neither union representation nor collective bargaining agreements in his new factory.

The Greens have also proven to be very generous partners to German industry — or rather, industrialists — in the state of Baden-Württemberg, where Winfried Kretschmann has governed for ten years as the party’s first and so far only state-level prime minister. Baden-Württemberg used to be a stronghold of the CDU but has been won over by Kretschmann with an agenda which adds a green face to conservative, pro-business parties. Kretschmann has since established his party as the strongest in the state — but also continuously irritated its activist base with his stance protecting the interests of automobile manufacturers like Daimler-Benz and Porsche, and his cautious position on the transition to electric cars.

While Kretschmann’s administration has presided over a decline in public infrastructure and a rise in poverty — especially among children and pensioners — it has actively fended off social initiatives such as a popular petition for free childcare and remains committed to conservative fiscal policies. The Greens have also alienated parts of the climate justice movement, for instance when the CDU/Green government in the state of Hesse pledged its support for the controversial extension of the A49 highway and, connected to this, the clearing of the Dannenröder Forest. Protesters who tried to prevent the clearing in November 2020 were met with numerous incidents of police violence — provoking much negative publicity for Hesse’s government and its transport minister Tarek Al-Wazir, a member of the Greens.

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Hmm. Keep your enemies closer, we were told.

European Parliament to Suspend Turkey’s EU Accession Talks

Turkey’s accession talks for entry into the European Union were suspended on Wednesday as relations between Turkey and the bloc have become increasingly strained over the last several years. The European Parliament also called for Turkey to implement an immediate change of course regarding the rule of law and human rights as a prerequisite for the country’s accession to the EU. European lawmakers passed the proposal to suspend Turkey’s accession by 480 votes in favor, 64 against and 150 abstentions in a European parliamentary session. Today’s move came after Members of the European Parliament cited many violations of human rights and the rule of law in Turkey. Turkey is one of the countries having been through the longest negotiation process to enter the EU.


It became an official candidate for membership in 1999 at the Helsinki summit of the European Council. Official accession talks started in 2005 but have been stalled since 2016. According to Nacho Sánchez Amor, who drafted the report on the country, Turkey must change course and “put expressions of good will into concrete actions. “The report is probably the toughest ever in its criticism. It reflects all that has unfortunately happened in the country in the last two years, in particular in the fields of human rights and rule of law, which remain the main area of concern for the European Parliament,” he said. The latest report adopted by the Committee of Foreign Affairs states that the Turkish government has deliberately distanced itself from European values and has led its relations with the EU to a “historic low point.”

Read more …

 

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Dec 072020
 


René Magritte Promenades d’Euclid 1955

 

WHO Looks At Giving COVID19 To Healthy People To Speed Up Vaccine Trials (G.)
Fears That UK Will Not Cope With Brexit And Covid Vaccine Rollout (G.)
Azar Responds To Biden’s Vaccine Distribution Remark (JTN)
Ratcliffe: Interim Durham Report To Deter Biden From Shutting Down Inquiry (WE)
Water Futures to Start Trading Amid Growing Fears of Scarcity (BBG)
No Escape From Our Techno-Feudal World (Escobar)
Election Day Information Blackout: US Media Is No Friend of the People (SCF)
The Elite Strategy To Divide and Conquer (Curtin)
Toyota Will Not Invest In Electric Cars In UK Until At Least 2034 (G.)
Finding the Truth behind the American Hologram (CoIC)
China Boycott To Hit Australian Wine Hard As Fruit, Vegetable Prices Rise (G.)
Greece Wants EU Arms Embargo On Turkey (K.)

 

 

 

 

California has had a nearly identical case trajectory as Texas.

In TX, schools are open. Businesses are open. People can go for a walk.

 

 

To test vaccines that hardly work and could be very dangerous. It’s taking on Matrix-like proportions.

WHO Looks At Giving COVID19 To Healthy People To Speed Up Vaccine Trials (G.)

The World Health Organization is holding discussions on Monday about the feasibility of trials in which healthy young volunteers are deliberately infected with coronavirus to hasten vaccine development – amid questions over whether they should go ahead given the promising data from the frontrunner vaccine candidates. Some scientists have reservations about exposing volunteers to a virus for which there is no cure, although there are treatments that can help patients. However, proponents argue that the risks of Covid-19 to the young and healthy are minimal, and the benefits to society are high. The WHO advisory group meeting, which will focus on reviewing existing plans for “human challenge trials” and discuss associated technical concerns, will not include groups representing research participants or members of the public.

1Day Sooner, a non-profit organisation advocating for human challenge study volunteers, said it asked to attend the meeting but was turned away. In a statement to the Guardian, the WHO said the meeting was a focused technical consultation with scientific experts, and that such meetings were not usually open to the public but that future meetings could include civil participation. More than a dozen scientific experts are expected to convene as part of the advisory group on Monday, and observers could include representatives of the Wellcome Trust, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the US-based National Institutes of Health and the FDA.

Joshua Morrison, executive director of 1Day Sooner, said: “If the argument is, we’re just giving advice into what the studies should look like – we think research participants should be a part of that. And if the argument is that this [meeting] is completely separate from the ethical side of things, I do think that’s hard to disentangle from the technical concerns.” [..] The UK government has invested about £30m to back a human challenge trial, although ethical approval is pending, and similar studies are being planned in the Netherlands. Enthusiasm for such trials in the United States has reportedly waned since the positive vaccine results poured in last month.

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“..it is possible that imported equipment necessary for dealing with the pandemic gets caught up in that..”

Fears That UK Will Not Cope With Brexit And Covid Vaccine Rollout (G.)

Well before scientists were sure that a vaccine would be ready for use in the UK by the end of this year, the government regulator – the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) – put out an urgent call for help. Its appeal, issued in September, was evidence that even if a vaccine were to be developed and approved soon, things would be far from plain sailing. The call to tender stated: “The MHRA urgently seeks an artificial intelligence (AI) software tool to process the expected high volume of Covid-19 vaccine-adverse drug reactions (ADRs) and ensure that no details from the ADRs’ reaction text are missed. For reasons of extreme urgency under Regulation 32(2)(c) related to the release of a Covid-19 vaccine, MHRA have accelerated the sourcing and implementation of a vaccine specific AI tool…”

The Cabinet Office, which coordinates policy across government departments and their responses to crises, was alerted. A company called Genpact won the £1.5m tender soon after. The MHRA said then that based on previous vaccination campaigns, there would be between 50,000 and 100,000 reports of suspected side effects for every 100 million doses over a six to 12-month period. This weekend there is real hope inside government that an end is in sight to the pandemic. News that the UK had become the first country in the world to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine, which the MHRA says offers up to 95% protection against Covid-19, has been hailed as a potentially decisive moment.

There are, however, no celebrations in Whitehall. Rather there is much caution, just as there was back in September. It is not only the administrative challenge of vaccinating much of the population safely that is worrying officials, but the prospect of doing so just as the deep mid-winter approaches – a time when NHS staff would, even in a normal year, be run off their feet. This year it is worse, however. The pandemic is still claiming hundreds of lives a day and a Covid-19 third wave may be round the corner, after festive relaxations, to add to intense pressures already on the NHS. And on top of it all, there are the hugely disruptive, and to some extent unknown, effects of Brexit on the UK’s trade and ability to import and export that are about to reveal themselves.

Those concerns also preoccupy an overloaded government machine and Cabinet Office. As Sam Lowe, a former member of the Department for International Trade’s Strategic Trade Advisory Group, now a senior research fellow at the Centre for European Reform, says, there is a possibility that the two issues will intersect and collide, making matters worse. “There are going to be delays at the borders and it is going to take the EU and UK a while to get used to trading under the new system and it is possible that imported equipment necessary for dealing with the pandemic gets caught up in that,” says Lowe.

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“We do hundreds of millions of vaccinations a year. We’re leveraging the systems that are known and that work here in the United States.”

Azar Responds To Biden’s Vaccine Distribution Remark (JTN)

Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar during an interview on Fox News Sunday pushed back against a statement Joe Biden recently made regarding the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. “There is no detailed plan, that we’ve seen anyway, as to how you get the vaccine out of a container into an injection syringe, into somebody’s arm,” Biden said. “With all respect that’s just nonsense,” Azar said in response after the clip of Biden’s statement played during the interview. He went on to push back against Biden’s statement. “We have comprehensive plans from the CDC working with 64 public health jurisdictions across the country as our governors have laid out very detailed plans that we’ve worked with them on,” Azar said.


“We’re leveraging our retail pharmacies, our hospitals, our public health departments, our community health centers. We have the…kits that have the syringes, the diluent, the needles, the PPE to administer.” Azar continued: “This is being micromanaged and controlled by the United States military as well as our incredible private sector. We do hundreds of millions of vaccinations a year. We’re leveraging the systems that are known and that work here in the United States.”

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“This idea that there was not FISA abuse and it was a bunch of nonsense — look, someone is going to prison over that. It’s just a question now of how wide and how deep it was..”

Ratcliffe: Interim Durham Report To Deter Biden From Shutting Down Inquiry (WE)

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said an interim report from special counsel John Durham should be released as a deterrent against President-elect Joe Biden trying to shut down the federal prosecutor’s inquiry into the Russia investigation. President Trump’s spy chief also told Maria Bartiromo on Fox News’s Sunday Morning Futures that now that the election is over, publicizing Durham’s findings is not a political issue anymore. “I think the American people should know what’s happening in a two-year investigation into this, and I hope that that report will be forthcoming,” Ratcliffe said, adding, “The American people deserve a full accounting, but the special counsel regulations not only require a final report, they allow for interim reports, so I’d like to see an interim report that talks about this from the angle of someone that has not only the intelligence community documents that I have but the law enforcement documents.”

It remains unclear what a Biden administration will do with Durham’s work, but Attorney General William Barr elevating him to special counsel in October provides some protection against a swift dismissal. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff and other Democrats have suggested that Biden could end Durham’s inquiry, to which Ratcliffe pointed to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act abuses detailed in Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s lengthy report from late last year. “Chairman Schiff has indicated he thinks that the Durham investigation should end — which is exactly why an interim report is appropriate. It would show whether or not there’s a good-faith basis to continue. It would protect the work that’s been done,” Ratcliffe said.

“So, I would encourage my colleagues over at the Department of Justice and at the FBI and, in particular, now special counsel Durham to consider doing that, so that the American people can get the full accounting that they deserve.” “Look, it’s not a question anymore whether or not there was illegal spying,” he added. “This idea that there was not FISA abuse and it was a bunch of nonsense — look, someone is going to prison over that. It’s just a question now of how wide and how deep it was, and I know John Durham has been investigating that, and I’m confident, and I’ve said that based on what I’ve seen I think there should be additional indictments, I’m not backing off of that, but he’s the prosecutor I’d like to hear from him in an interim report, and I think the American people would agree with me.”

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I try to never link to paywalled articles. But this is just too crazy. The inevitable outcome will be that those who need their water the most won’t be able to afford it.

Water Futures to Start Trading Amid Growing Fears of Scarcity (BBG)

Water is joining gold, oil and other commodities traded on Wall Street, highlighting worries that the life-sustaining natural resource may become scarce across more of the world. Farmers, hedge funds and municipalities alike will be able to hedge against — or bet on — potential water scarcity starting this week, when CME Group Inc. launches contracts linked to the $1.1 billion California spot water market. According to Chicago-based CME, the futures will help water users manage risk and better align supply and demand. The contracts, a first of their kind in the U.S., were announced in September as heat and wildfires ravaged the U.S. West Coast. They are meant to serve both as a hedge for California’s biggest water consumers against skyrocketing prices and a scarcity gauge for investors worldwide.

“Climate change, droughts, population growth, and pollution are likely to make water scarcity issues and pricing a hot topic for years to come,” said RBC Capital Markets managing director and analyst Deane Dray. “We are definitely going to watch how this new water futures contract develops.” Two billion people now live in nations plagued by water problems, and almost two-thirds of the world could face water shortages in just four years, Tim McCourt, global head of equity index and alternative investment products at CME, said in an interview. “The idea of managing risks associated to water is certainly increased in importance.” The futures will be financially settled, as opposed to requiring the actual physical delivery of water, and are based on the Nasdaq Veles California Water Index started two years ago.

The index sets a weekly benchmark spot price of water rights in California, underpinned by the volume-weighted average of the transaction prices in the state’s five largest and most actively traded water markets. Contracts will include quarterly ones through 2022, with each representing 10 acre-feet of water, equal to roughly 3.26 million gallons. Currently, if a farmer wants to know what water will cost in California six months from now, it’s kind of a “best guess,” Patrick Wolf, senior manager and head of product development at Nasdaq, said in an interview. The futures will allow market participants to see “what is everybody’s best guess,” he said.

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“Californian ideology”

No Escape From Our Techno-Feudal World (Escobar)

The political economy of the Digital Age remains virtually terra incognita. In Techno-Feudalism , published three months ago in France (no English translation yet), Cedric Durand, an economist at the Sorbonne, provides a crucial, global public service as he sifts through the new Matrix that controls all our lives. Durand places the Digital Age in the larger context of the historical evolution of capitalism to show how the Washington consensus ended up metastasized into the Silicon Valley consensus. In a delightful twist, he brands the new grove as the “Californian ideology”. We’re far away from Jefferson Airplane and the Beach Boys; it’s more like Schumpeter’s “creative destruction” on steroids, complete with IMF-style “structural reforms” emphasizing “flexibilization” of work and outright marketization/financialization of everyday life.

The Digital Age was crucially associated with right-wing ideology from the very start. The incubation was provided by the Progress and Freedom Foundation (PFF), active from 1993 to 2010 and conveniently funded, among others, by Microsoft, At&T, Disney, Sony, Oracle, Google, and Yahoo. In 1994, PFF held a ground-breaking conference in Atlanta that eventually led to a seminal Magna Carta: literally, Cyberspace and the American Dream: a Magna Carta for the Knowledge Era, published in 1996, during the first Clinton term. Not by accident the magazine Wired was founded, just like PFF, in 1993, instantly becoming the house organ of the “Californian ideology”. Among the authors of the Magna Carta we find futurist Alvin “Future Shock” Toffler and Reagan’s former scientific counselor George Keyworth.

Before anyone else, they were already conceptualizing how “cyberspace is a bioelectronic environment which is literally universal”. Their Magna Carta was the privileged road map to explore the new frontier. Also not by accident the intellectual guru of the new frontier was Ayn Rand and her quite primitive dichotomy between “pioneers” and the mob. Rand declared that egotism is good, altruism is evil, and empathy is irrational. When it comes to the new property rights of the new Eldorado, all power should be exercised by the Silicon Valley “pioneers”, a Narcissus bunch in love with their mirror image as superior Randian heroes. In the name of innovation they should be allowed to destroy any established rules, in a Schumpeterian “creative destruction” rampage. That has led to our current environment, where Google, Facebook, Uber, and co. can overstep any legal framework, imposing their innovations like a fait accompli.

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Problem is, it appears to work.

Election Day Information Blackout: US Media Is No Friend of the People (SCF)

While half of the United States is mesmerized by witness testimony describing the ‘irregularities’ that purportedly occurred in the 2020 presidential contest between the incumbent Donald Trump and Joe Biden, the other half has been left deliberately in the dark by an activist media. It has become almost a cliché to say that the United States is now fiercely divided into parallel universes, alternative realities, otherwise known as the Republican and Democratic camps. One of the primary reasons for this great divide, aside from the obvious ideological differences, is that just one side, that is, the left, predominantly controls the flow of news and social media content. Indeed, the ‘legacy media’ even feels itself bold enough to cast judgment on presidential messages via Twitter in real time.

If ever there was a recipe for disaster, as the most consequential election in recent memory remains up for grabs, this is it. On November 30, Bobby Piton, a mathematician and expert, testified at the Arizona voter fraud hearing where he provided compelling evidence that up to 300,000 “fake people” cast a vote in the contested election of Nov. 3. The data, if correct, was alarming in its implications since it meant the difference between Trump or Biden winning the fiercely contested swing state. Certainly the major media networks, in the interest of safeguarding the voting process and consequentially democracy itself, would be interested in providing its viewers with such news, right? Think again.

Not only was Piton’s riveting testimony sent to the memory hole by all of the ‘legacy’ media networks, but Twitter actually decided to block his account the very next day. Piton was treated as yet another ‘conspiracy theorist’ nutcase who will probably need to enter some sort of re-indoctrination internment camp before he can join polite society again. He certainly won’t be in need of company if the thought police get their way. Just days earlier, the social media platform also suspended the account of Pennsylvania state senator Doug Mastriano, who testified at that state’s election hearing. Twitter later said that Mastriano’s suspension was a “glitch,” which begs the question as to why these technological breakdowns almost always, without fail, target Republicans.

Read more …

“..Come on, this is Hollywood where creative showmen can dazzle our minds with plots so twisted that when you leave the theater you keep wondering what it was all about..”

The Elite Strategy To Divide and Conquer (Curtin)

The Institute for Policy Studies has just released a new analysis showing that since the start of the Covid-19 “pandemic” in mid-March and the subsequent transfer upwards of $5 trillion to the wealthy and largest corporations through the Cares Act, approved 96-0 in the US Senate, 650 US billionaires have gained over a trillion dollars in eight months as the American people have suffered an economic catastrophe. This shift upward of massive wealth under Trump is similar to Obama’s massive 2009 bailout of the banks on the backs of American workers. Both were justified through feats of legerdemain by both political parties, accomplices in the fleecing of regular people, many of whom continue to support the politicians that screw them while telling them they care.

If the Democrats and the Republicans are at war as is often claimed, it is only over who gets the larger part of the spoils. Trump and Biden work for the same bosses, those I call the Umbrella People (those who own and run the country through their intelligence/military/media operatives), who produce and direct the movie that keeps so many Americans on the edge of their seats in the hope that their chosen good guy wins in the end. I am well aware that most people disagree with my analysis. It does seem as if I am wrong and that because the Democrats and their accomplices have spent years attempting to oust Trump through Russia-gate, impeachment, etc. that what seems true is true and Trump is simply a crazy aberration who somehow slipped through the net of establishment control to rule for four years.

To those 146+ million people who voted for Biden and Trump this seems self-evident. But if that is so, why, despite their superficial differences – and Obama’s, Hillary Clinton’s and George W. Bush’s for that matter – have the super-rich gotten richer and richer over the decades and the war on terror continued as the military budget has increased each year and the armament industries and the Wall Street crooks continued to rake in the money at the expense of everyone else? These are a few facts that can’t be disputed. There are many more. So what’s changed under Trump? We are talking about nuances, small changes. A clown with a big mouth versus traditional, “dignified” con men.

If you were writing this script as part of long-term planning and average people were getting disgusted from decades of being screwed and were sick of politicians and their lying ways, wouldn’t you stop the reruns and create a new show? Come on, this is Hollywood where creative showmen can dazzle our minds with plots so twisted that when you leave the theater you keep wondering what it was all about and arguing with your friends about the ending. So create a throwback film where the good guy versus the bad guy was seemingly very clear, and while the system ground on, people would be at each other’s throats over the obvious differences, even while they were fabricated.

Read more …

More Brexit fallout.

Toyota Will Not Invest In Electric Cars In UK Until At Least 2034 (G.)

Toyota will not invest in building battery electric cars in Britain until at least the mid-2030s, dealing a blow to hopes that UK car factories will take a leading role in the move away from fossil fuels. Johan van Zyl, the chief executive of Toyota Motor Europe, said that hybrid cars containing both internal combustion engines and battery-powered motors would be the only option for the next round of investment at the company’s plant in Burnaston, Derbyshire. Production of the Corolla at Burnaston is due to end in 2027, and Toyota has yet to decide to invest in production after that point. That means the first zero-emissions Toyota cars would not be built in the UK until 2034 at the earliest, based on the manufacturer’s usual seven-year product cycles.

At the same time, Toyota is also preparing to launch multiple zero-emission battery electric vehicles to cater for countries with the strictest rules. This includes the UK, where all hybrids will be banned by 2035. Continued production of hybrids with internal combustion engines at Burnaston would be a boon for employment at Toyota’s other UK factory, an engine plant at Deeside. However, in the longer term the future of both plants, and others in the UK such as BMW’s Hams Hall engine plant, could be called into question if they are not favoured for investment in zero-emissions technology. The factory at Burnaston started production of the Corolla hatchback in January 2019, after a £240m investment that was decided in 2017.

At the time, the investment was hailed as a vote of confidence, but future spending will be dependent on Toyota’s assessment of post-Brexit trading conditions. “By 2027, when this Corolla’s life cycle comes to an end, I think it will be not possible to produce a zero-emissions vehicle there,” Van Zyl said. “Therefore it will have to be a hybrid technology vehicle.” Van Zyl also warned that a no-deal Brexit would be harmful for the UK and the EU, with only weeks to go until cross-Channel trade moves to new regulations, which are still under negotiation. Brexit could add to the challenges facing the plant if no deal is agreed and 10% tariffs are imposed on 1 January. Some 90% of Burnaston’s products are exported, meaning they would be hit hard by such tariffs.

Read more …

“..civilization is effectively a heat engine whose power is expressed in the form of economic growth..”

Finding the Truth behind the American Hologram (CoIC)

“Tim Garrett, physicist/professor of atmospheric sciences who hypothesised that civilization is effectively a heat engine whose power is expressed in the form of economic growth, admits that we will never decarbonize.”

It’s rather jarring to see an expert like Tim Garrett, whose work I have followed for many years, come out and say so bluntly that we will not do the steps needed to save ourselves. And the reason is very simple… People will raise hell if their right to pollute and consume is severely curtailed. We see this today with people’s refusal to simply wear a damn mask and do what’s for the greater good in a global pandemic. Now can you imagine the outrage when they are told they have to drastically reduce their living standards to prevent catastrophic climate change, a threat we cannot see but which will nevertheless destroy us in the long run? The reality that humans are causing the climate to warm, with catastrophic consequences, demands radical government intervention in the market as well as collective action on an unprecedented scale.

This has been known for decades and those catastrophic consequences are now coming to fruition, yet we remain a carbon-based, growth-oriented civilization. The later the “peak” the harder the reductions, bearing in mind that it is the area under the lines (cumulative emissions) which ensures a 2°C outcome. The 2020 peak (above) indicates the “unprecedented” 10% reductions trajectory giving only a 50/50 chance of staying under 2°C. Not only do we need to halt future CO2 emissions, but we need to magically extract CO2 already in the atmosphere with technology that does not exist.

Quoting Prof Anderson from last month: “…in 2020 such technologies remain highly speculative, with a few very small laboratory/pilot schemes now operating, with other proposed technologies still in the imagination of academics and tech-entrepreneurs. This faith in utopian technology reflects a deep and systemic bias that has hugely undermined the real scale of the mitigation challenge and misinformed policy makers for many years. Our fate is sealed.

Read more …

“..Prices of summer vegetables, stone fruit, apples, pears, and table grapes are forecast to rise by between 15% and 25%.”

China Boycott To Hit Australian Wine Hard As Fruit, Vegetable Prices Rise (G.)

Australia may be able to divert a “limited amount” of wine to its allies in the UK and the US, but China’s tariffs will probably reduce the value of exports. That is the conclusion of the Department of Agriculture’s Abares commodities report, released on Monday, which lists trade tensions as a dark spot in an otherwise recovering industry. The report also warns that fruit and vegetable prices are expected to rise in Australia due to Covid-19 travel restrictions limiting labour available for harvesting. Prices of summer vegetables, stone fruit, apples, pears, and table grapes are forecast to rise by between 15% and 25%. By some estimates commodity markets exposed to China trade tensions are worth $19bn, with services worth a further $28bn of exports.

The Abares report argues that the causes of trade tensions with China “appear to lie mostly outside commodity markets” although not all rigorous applications of trade law, biosecurity protocols and technical trade rules can be interpreted as an escalation. It notes that growth in exports to China follows its accession to the World Trade Organization and Australia’s free trade deal, but defends Australia’s increasing reliance on China, by arguing the phenomenon is “not unique to Australia” and China is expanding trade with “many other countries”. The report finds that concentration of Australia’s export markets varies, and China’s share ranges from 10% of wheat exports to 79% of wool exports.

Australia’s markets for fibre are “more concentrated in China than other exports” but sectors with recently applied tariffs, including wine and barley, are “much less concentrated”. Wine is predicted to be the biggest loser, with a 28% price fall estimated for wine grapes. The report blames “measures implemented to combat Covid-19” for reduced demand for red wine imports in China, as well as anti-dumping security deposits imposed in late November.

Read more …

The arms industry protests.

Greece Wants EU Arms Embargo On Turkey (K.)

Greece will insist in this week’s European Council on a European Union embargo on selling arms to Turkey. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is also expected to tell his counterparts that the arms they sell to Turkey could be used against EU member-states. Athens’ main concern is Germany’s T-214 submarines. Germany is expected to deliver components of six submarines to Turkey, which will finish building them locally. Mitsotakis and Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias have repeatedly discussed the issue with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. Some countries, notably Germany and Spain, appear unwilling to implement an embargo because of the economic losses they would sustain.

Greece considers these misgivings unfounded, saying such cancellations have happened in the past. A notable precedent is the cancellation of the sale of two Mistral-class amphibious assault ships (helicopter carriers) to Russia after the latter invaded and annexed Crimea in 2014. Russia had ordered the ships in 2010 and France cancelled the order in 2015, selling the two ships instead to Egypt for 1.2 billion euros. The above precedent shows that Germany is capable of selling the T-214 submarines under construction to a third country and avoid financial loss. Germany had also cancelled the sale of a weapons system to Russia – in its case, combat simulators – after the Crimea invasion.

Spain has also provided components for a vessel, a helicopter carrier, currently being built in Istanbul. Spain is one of the countries that uses its economic exposure in Turkey to argue against an arms embargo. The Netherlands, however, with a far longer presence in Turkey and with far greater investments (over $30 billion) – through the presence of multinational firms such as ING Bank, Philips, Shell and Unilever – is one of the major proponents of the EU putting greater pressure upon Turkey to force it to stop its provocations in the Eastern Mediterranean. Not to mention the US Congress’ decision to push for the imposition of sanctions against Turkey over its purchase of Russia’s S-400 missile air defense system.

Read more …

 

 

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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.

Read more …

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.

Read more …

“..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.

Read more …

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.

Read more …

“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.

Read more …

“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.

Read more …

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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Failure-proof is achievable; failure-free is not.
– Nassim Taleb

 

 

Assange superpower

 

 

Carl Sagan Are you a socialist?

 

 

 

 

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Sep 022020
 
 September 2, 2020  Posted by at 9:37 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , ,  13 Responses »


Leonardo da Vinci Head of a Woman 1475-80

 

Trump Administration Issues Sweeping Eviction Ban (Hill)
Trump Knocks Fauci: ‘I Inherited Him’ (Hill)
Fauci: COVID Vaccine Trials Could End Early If Results Are Overwhelming (KHN)
Dem Group Warns Of Apparent Trump Election Day Landslide (Axios)
CIA Conduct During Russia Assessment May Be Next Boomerang (Solomon)
FBI Investigated Trump As Comey Said He Wasn’t Under Investigation (JTN)
Judge Sullivan Files Order Dragging Out Flynn Case Past Election (CT)
How an “Act of God” Pandemic Is Destroying the West (Michael Hudson)
Fed Now Owns Nearly One Third of All US Mortgages (Mish)
California Democrats Kill Gas and Oil Regulations (Horn)
Erdogan Asked His Generals To Sink Greek Ship Or Shoot Down Fighter Jet (KTG)
Journalists Paved Assange’s Path To A US Gulag (Cook)

 

 

We need rapid tests and HCQ, zinc, lots of them all. The numbers are not decreasing nearly fast enough.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taleb Fragility + Pandemic

 

 

Election time.

Trump Administration Issues Sweeping Eviction Ban (Hill)

The Trump administration issued an order Tuesday banning landlords from evicting tenants from properties they can no longer afford to rent due to income lost to the coronavirus pandemic. The order, issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), would make it illegal to evict any individual who expects to make less than $99,000 or a joint-filing couple that expects to make less than $198,000 in 2020. The tenants would still be required to pay rent owed per the terms of the lease, but will be allowed to stay in their unit through the end of the year. “President Trump is committed to helping hardworking Americans stay in their homes and combating the spread of the coronavirus. Today’s announcement from his administration means that people are struggling to pay rent and risk further spreading of exposure to the disease, due to economic hardship,” said White House spokesman Brian Morgenstern.


The national eviction ban was issued under a federal law that gives the CDC director authority to impose measures to prevent the spread of communicable disease “as he [or] she deems necessary.” The provision specifically refers to filling the gaps left by “inadequate” state-imposed public health measures and does not directly mention financial aid or overriding contracts between citizens, raising questions about its legality. In order to qualify for the eviction protection, a tenant must declare that their 2020 income will fall below the threshold set out in the order; they’ve sought all potential sources of federal housing aid; and that they cannot afford to pay the rent due to a pandemic-related job loss or expense despite their best efforts to do so.

Read more …

Trump gets the blame for the pandemic, but Fauci is the go-to guy.

Trump Knocks Fauci: ‘I Inherited Him’ (Hill)

President Trump on Monday questioned the value of Anthony Fauci to the White House coronavirus task force, saying in an interview with Fox News that he “inherited” the government’s top infectious disease expert. “I disagree with a lot of what he said,” Trump told Laura Ingraham when asked if he would put Fauci “front and center” in the pandemic response if he could do it again. “I get along with him, but every once in a while, he’ll come up with one that I say, ‘Where did that come from?'” Trump continued. “I inherited him. He was here. He was part of this huge piece of machine.” The president reiterated his claim that Fauci opposed his decision to restrict travel from China in January. Fauci indicated at the time he did not think it was a good idea, though he later said it had bought the U.S. time to fight the virus.


Trump has repeatedly undermined and criticized Fauci. Last month, he retweeted a message that said Fauci “has misled the American public on many issues, but in particular, on dismissing #hydroxychloroquine and calling Remdesivir the new gold standard.” He also has said Fauci is a nice man but has “made a lot of mistakes.” Other White House officials, such as trade adviser Peter Navarro, have openly attacked Fauci in public. Fauci has been among the most visible members of the White House coronavirus task force, giving frequent media interviews. However, he has largely been cut out of recent public White House events around the pandemic, as has Deborah Birx, the coordinator of the administration’s coronavirus response.

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Empty blah.

Fauci: COVID Vaccine Trials Could End Early If Results Are Overwhelming (KHN)

A COVID-19 vaccine could be available earlier than expected if ongoing clinical trials produce overwhelmingly positive results, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease official, in an interview Tuesday with KHN. Although two ongoing clinical trials of 30,000 volunteers are expected to conclude by the end of the year, Fauci said an independent board has the authority to end the trials weeks early if interim results are overwhelmingly positive or negative. The Data and Safety Monitoring Board could say, “‘The data is so good right now that you can say it’s safe and effective,’” Fauci said. In that case, researchers would have “a moral obligation” to end the trial early and make the active vaccine available to everyone in the study, including those who had been given placebos — and accelerate the process to give the vaccine to millions.


Fauci’s comments come at a time of growing concern about whether political pressure from the Trump administration could influence federal regulators and scientists overseeing the nation’s response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, and erode shaky public confidence in vaccines. Prominent vaccine experts have said they fear Trump is pushing for an early vaccine approval to help win reelection. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he trusts the independent members of the DSMB — who are not government employees — to hold vaccines to high standards without being politically influenced. Members of the board are typically experts in vaccine science and biostatistics who teach at major medical schools. “If you are making a decision about the vaccine, you’d better be sure you have very good evidence that it is both safe and effective,” Fauci said. “I’m not concerned about political pressure.”

Read more …

It’ll be mayhem. Good for the lawyers, bad for everyone else. The US will be lucky not to have a civil war.

Dem Group Warns Of Apparent Trump Election Day Landslide (Axios)

A top Democratic data and analytics firm told “Axios on HBO” it’s highly likely that President Trump will appear to have won — potentially in a landslide — on election night, even if he ultimately loses when all the votes are counted. Way more Democrats will vote by mail than Republicans, due to fears of the coronavirus, and it will take days if not weeks to tally these. This means Trump, thanks to Republicans doing almost all of their voting in person, could hold big electoral college and popular vote leads on election night. Imagine America, with its polarization and misinformation, if the vote tally swings wildly toward Joe Biden and Trump loses days later as the mail ballots are counted.

That is what this group, Hawkfish, which is funded by Michael Bloomberg and also does work for the Democratic National Committee and pro-Biden Super PACs, is warning is a very real, if not foreordained, outcome.Hawkfish CEO Josh Mendelsohn calls the scenario a “red mirage.” “We are sounding an alarm and saying that this is a very real possibility, that the data is going to show on election night an incredible victory for Donald Trump,” he said. “When every legitimate vote is tallied and we get to that final day, which will be some day after Election Day, it will in fact show that what happened on election night was exactly that, a mirage,” Mendelsohn said. “It looked like Donald Trump was in the lead and he fundamentally was not when every ballot gets counted.”

Under one of the group’s modeling scenarios, Trump could hold a projected lead of 408-130 electoral votes on election night, if only 15% of the vote by mail (VBM) ballots had been counted. Once 75% of mail ballots were counted, perhaps four days later, the lead could flip to Biden’s favor. This particular modeling scenario portrays Biden as ultimately winning a massive victory, 334-204.

Read more …

These things need much more scrutiny.

CIA Conduct During Russia Assessment May Be Next Boomerang (Solomon)

By his own admission, ex-CIA Director John Brennan chafed at being questioned earlier this month by federal prosecutor John Durham about the Obama administration’s intelligence assessment that Russia’s meddling in 2016 election was designed to help Donald Trump. Brennan “questioned why the analytic tradecraft and the findings of the ICA are being scrutinized by the Department of Justice, especially since they have been validated by the Mueller Report and the bipartisan Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Review,” a statement issued by his spokesman Nick Shapiro said. The answer, according to multiple officials familiar with the evidence, is that the House intelligence committee in 2018 sent a secret report to the CIA inspector general that called into question the tradecraft used in the Brennan-led assessment.

Specifically, the officials said, it highlighted dissent and doubts by some intelligence community analysts about Vladimir Putin’s intentions in intervening in the 2016 election. Some believed it was to help Trump; others believed it was simply to sow chaos without picking a winner, and still others saw evidence Putin might have preferred Hillary Clinton, the officials said. In other words, an assessment that was portrayed as unanimous when it was made public in early January 2017 was anything but at the analyst level, according to Fred Fleitz, a longtime intelligence officer who was briefed on the House intelligence committee’s concerns when he served as chief of staff in the National Security Council.

“When I was briefed on the House Intelligence Committee report on the January 2017 ICA, I was told that John Brennan politicized this assessment by excluding credible intelligence that the Russians wanted Hillary Clinton to win the 2016 election and ordered weak intelligence included that Russia wanted Trump to win, Fleitz told Just the News. “I also was told that Brennan took both actions over the objections of CIA analysts. I am concerned about what happened to these analysts and worry that they may have been subjected to retaliation by CIA management,” he added.

“These analysts are true whistleblowers, and they should come to the congressional intelligence committees to tell their stories and set the record straight on the ICA.” Officials said the Director of National Intelligence, John Ratcliffe, who was a member of the House Intelligence Committee before joining the Trump administration, is considering declassifying parts or all of the House Intelligence Committee report to the inspector general. Ratcliffe hinted Sunday new releases of information are imminent. “I’m optimistic that I’ll be declassifying additional documents soon,” Ratcliffe told Fox News host Maria Bartiromo on Sunday.

Read more …

And Trump knew.

FBI Investigated Trump Tweets As Comey Said He Wasn’t Under Investigation (JTN)

The conservative watchdog Judicial Watch says it has received more than 300 pages of emails between former FBI official Peter Strzok and former FBI attorney Lisa Page that includes records of the FBI discussing an investigation into tweets sent by President Trump in early 2017 about the agency spying on him at the behest of former President Obama. In a March 2017 exchange, Strzok emails several of his colleagues, including Page, about several tweets the President Trump had sent earlier in the month commenting on suspected wire tapping at Trump Tower during the 2016 election. “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!” wrote POTUS on March 4.

“Is it legal for a sitting President to be “wire tapping” a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!” Trump continued. “I’d bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election!” He concluded the March 4 tweet storm with: “How low has President Obama gone to tap my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate Bad (or sick) guy!” On March 29, 2017, then-FBI Director James Comey’s chief of staff emailed Strzok, Page and several of their colleagues saying that the director would like a briefing on a “sensitive matter.”

A followup email says that Comey requested the briefing so that he would be able to brief then-acting U.S. Attorney General Dana Boente. One week after the email exchange and director’s briefing, the second renewal and order of the FISA warrant on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page was filed. The new emails also detail exchanges between FBI officials and reporters at CNN and the New York Times pertaining to the Russia investigation. [..] “These astonishing emails, which have been hidden for years, show the Comey FBI was investigating President Trump over his critical tweets of the agency and Obama’s spying abuse and misconduct,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “These emails also show that Comey was intimately involved with illegal and dishonest FISA spy op against President Trump.”

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No coincidence.

Judge Sullivan Files Order Dragging Out Flynn Case Past Election (CT)

The minute order filed by Judge Emmet Sullivan outlines a protracted time-frame for the next sequence of events in the case against Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn. As noted in the order, Sullivan is now telling the DOJ and Flynn defense to file a joint status report outlining their “recommendation for further proceedings” by September 21, 2020. From there a briefing schedule which will require both parties to respond to Sullivan’s personal amicus (Gleeson), and additionally respond jointly to any other amicus not ordered by the court. Lastly, Sullivan is requesting three dates for oral arguments. In essence, despite his ability to quickly convene the parties to settle all matters before the court; which includes the unopposed motion by the DOJ and defense to drop the case; Sullivan intends to drag this case out as long as possible and use the amicus as a tool forcing responses from both parties (DOJ and Flynn). So much for the “quick dispatch” outlined within the DC Circuit opinion, this case is going on for several more months.

Read more …

Jubilee time.

How an “Act of God” Pandemic Is Destroying the West (Michael Hudson)

Before juxtaposing the U.S. and alternative responses to the coronavirus’s economic effects, I would like to step back in time to show how the pandemic has revealed a deep underlying problem. We are seeing the consequences of Western societies painting themselves into a debt corner by their creditor-oriented philosophy of law. Neoliberal anti-government (or more accurately, anti-democratic) ideology has centralized social planning and state power in “the market,” meaning specifically the financial market on Wall Street and in other financial centers. At issue is who will lose when employment and business activity are disrupted. Will it be creditors and landlords at the top of the economic scale, or debtors and renters at the bottom?

This age-old confrontation over how to deal with the unpaid rents, mortgages and other debt service is at the heart of today’s virus pandemic as large and small businesses, farms, restaurants and neighborhood stores have fallen into arrears, leaving businesses and households – along with their employees who have no wage income to pay these carrying charges that accrue each month. This is an age-old problem. It was solved in the ancient Near East simply by annulling these debt and rent charges. But the West, shaped as it still is by the legacy of the Roman Empire, has left itself prone to the massive unemployment, business closedowns and resulting arrears for these basic costs of living and doing business.

Western civilization distinguishes itself from its Near Eastern predecessors in the way it has responded to “acts of God” that disrupt the means of support and leave debts in their wake. The United States has taken the lead in rejecting the path by which China, and even social democratic European nations have prevented the coronavirus from causing widespread insolvency and polarizing their economies. The U.S. coronavirus lockdown is turning rent and debt arrears into an opportunity to impoverish the indebted economy and transfer mortgaged property and its income to creditors. There is no inherent material need for this fate to occur. But it seems so natural and even inevitable that, as Margaret Thatcher would say, There Is No Alternative. But of course there is, and always has been. However, resilience in the face of economic disruption always has required a central authority to override “market forces” to restore economic balance from “above.”

Read more …

How not to do a Jubilee.

Fed Now Owns Nearly One Third of All US Mortgages (Mish)

Nearly $7 Trillion in Securities, $2 Trillion Mortgages. As of August 26, 2020 the Fed’s Balance Sheet is nearly $7 trillion total of which $3.7 trillion are notes or bonds, and nearly $2 trillion in mortgages (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, or Ginnie Mae).

Bloomberg reports No End in Sight to Fed’s Mortgage Buying Spree. • The Fed has snapped up $1 trillion of mortgage bonds since March. It bought around $300 billion of the bonds in each of March and April, and since then has been buying about $100 billion a month. • The Fed now owns almost a third of bonds backed by home loans in the U.S. • Buying the securities has pushed mortgage rates lower, with the average 30-year rate falling to 2.91% as of last week from 3.3% in early February. • Morgan Stanley analysts pointed out in late March that the buying was running at eight times the pace seen in prior episodes of Fed purchasing under programs known as quantitative easing. • Just before this latest round, principal payments from its mortgage bond holdings had whittled that down to 21%, but it has now increased back to 30%. • If the Fed maintains its current buying pace, it will again own 34% of the mortgage universe by year’s end.

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It was always just lip service.

California Democrats Kill Gas and Oil Regulations (Horn)

Big money from Big Oil and industry-tied unions has helped to kill a legislative effort to create environmental protections for communities living near oil and gas operations in California. On August 5, a 5-4 Senate committee vote struck down consideration of legislation calling for a 2,500-foot setback between future oil wells and homes, schools, and playgrounds. Only one of those votes came from a Republican. It was the second time in as many years that the bill, Assembly Bill 345, failed to pass, and it failed to do so even after several rounds of significant amendments had watered down the legislation. With that, a years-long activist-led legislative movement went up in smoke for 2020.

And then came the historically large wildfires. Within a matter of days, the state’s northern half caught fire at an epic scale, wildfires made worse from climate change and fueled by unfettered fossil fuel drilling. California oil is some of the dirtiest, from a climate change perspective, in the United States. Drilling for oil in the state also has major public health repercussions, an impetus driving AB 345. Recent studies have linked oil drilling in California to health impacts, including low birth weight and small gestational age, as well as preterm births. Research has also linked higher levels of industrial pollution to higher contraction rates of COVID-19. Despite these impacts, the bill attracted a core group of Democratic legislators who ultimately oversaw the bill’s demise.

Three of those who spoke out the most strongly against AB 345 at the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water hearing on August 5 before voting against it — senator Ben Hueso, senator Andreas Borgeas, and Senate majority leader Bob Hertzberg — have received high dollar contributions and other support from oil interests that lobbied against AB 345. The lobbying and influence campaign efforts waged by the oil industry and labor against AB 345 illustrates the difficulty in crafting climate policy and environmental protections — even in a state with a supermajority Democratic Party legislature that bills itself as a global leader on fighting climate change.

Read more …

Merkel needs to wake up.

Erdogan Asked His Generals To Sink Greek Ship Or Shoot Down Fighter Jet (KTG)

German conservative newspaper Die Welt reported that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wanted to provoke a military incident with Greece in the Eastern Mediterranean in order to survive politically.In a report entitled “Erdogan’s calculated war,” the news paper said that “if it depended on the Turkish President, his navy would have sunk a Greek ship in the Mediterranean a long time ago.” Citing Turkish military sources, Die Welt wrote that Erdogan had asked Turkey generals a few days ago to sink a Greek ship and that they should do so securing that no one is killed in the process.


When the generals refused, someone else suggested shooting down a Greek fighter, and the pilot could use the launch pad to save himself. But Turkish generals again refused. Turkish and Greek Navy ships have been at standoff in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea since Ankara sent seismic vessel Oruc Reis for hydrocarbon research in the Greek continental shelf beginning of August. Fighter jests of the two countries are often engaged in “dog fights” over the Aegean Sea because Turkey sends its F-16s to violate Greek air space.

Read more …

“He is the modern equivalent of a severed head on a pike displayed at the city gates.”

Journalists Paved Assange’s Path To A US Gulag (Cook)

Court hearings in Britain over the US administration’s extradition case against Julian Assange begin in earnest next week. The decade-long saga that brought us to this point should appall anyone who cares about our increasingly fragile freedoms. A journalist and publisher has been deprived of his liberty for 10 years. According to UN experts, he has been arbitrarily detained and tortured for much of that time through intense physical confinement and endless psychological pressure. He has been bugged and spied on by the CIA during his time in political asylum, in Ecuador’s London embassy, in ways that violated his most fundamental legal rights. The judge overseeing his hearings has a serious conflict of interest – with her family embedded in the UK security services – that she did not declare and which should have required her to recuse herself from the case.

All indicators are that Assange will be extradited to the US to face a rigged grand jury trial meant to ensure he sees out his days in a maximum-security prison, serving a sentence of up to 175 years. None of this happened in some Third-World, tinpot dictatorship. It happened right under our noses, in a major western capital, and in a state that claims to protect the rights of a free press. It happened not in the blink of an eye but in slow motion – day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. And once we strip out a sophisticated campaign of character assassination against Assange by western governments and a compliant media, the sole justification for this relentless attack on press freedom is that a 49-year-old man published documents exposing US war crimes.

That is the reason – and the only reason – that the US is seeking his extradition and why he has been languishing in what amounts to solitary confinement in Belmarsh high-security prison during the Covid-19 pandemic. His lawyers’ appeals for bail have been refused. While the press corps abandoned Assange a decade ago, echoing official talking points that pilloried him over toilet hygiene and his treatment of his cat, Assange is today exactly where he originally predicted he would be if western governments got their way. What awaits him is rendition to the US so he can be locked out of sight for the rest of his life.

There were two goals the US and UK set out to achieve through the visible persecution, confinement and torture of Assange. First, he and Wikileaks, the transparency organisation he co-founded, needed to be disabled. Engaging with Wikileaks had to be made too risky to contemplate for potential whistleblowers. That is why Chelsea Manning – the US soldier who passed on documents relating to US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan for which Assange now faces extradition – was similarly subjected to harsh imprisonment. She later faced punitive daily fines while in jail to pressure her into testifying against Assange.

The aim has been to discredit Wikileaks and similar organisations and stop them from being able to publish more revelatory documents – of the kind that show western governments are not the “good guys” managing world affairs for the benefit of mankind, but are in fact highly militarised, global bullies advancing the same ruthless colonial policies of war, destruction and pillage they always pursued. And second, Assange had to be made to suffer horribly and in public – to be made an example of – to deter other journalists from ever considering following in his footsteps. He is the modern equivalent of a severed head on a pike displayed at the city gates.

Read more …

 

 

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Taleb Being Lebanese

 

 

 

 

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Aug 112020
 


Joan Miró Caballo, pipa y flor roja (Horse Pipe and Red Flower) 1920

 

FBI Director Wray Subpoenad For All Records Related to Crossfire Hurricane (GP)
Sen. Johnson Subpoenas FBI Director Wray, Puts Bidens On Notice (ZH)
House Will Be Out Of Session For Additional Week In September (Hill)
Schumer Says Democrats Ready For Coronavirus Aid Talks, If Republicans Move (R.)
MSNBC Public Editor Pekary: A Strained Symbiosis With Obama (CJR)
US Demands Hong Kong Exports To US Be Relabelled ‘Made in China’ (SCMP)
No, Americans Aren’t Suddenly Flying Again, Despite What the Media Says (WS)
Let The Dogs Out (Jim Kunstler)
Seattle City Council Approves Millions In Police Budget Cuts (JTN)
Lebanon PM, President Were Warned About 2,750 Tonnes Of Ammonium Nitrate (R.)
US Special Forces Active in 22 African Countries (MPN)
Libya Begins Negotiations With Greece To Demarcate Maritime Borders (LibyaR.)
Greece Armed Forces Placed On High Alert (K.)

 

 

You keep going with these numbers like this, and you might just turn me into an optimist!

The discovery of “SARS-CoV-2 S-reactive antibodies in uninfected individuals, particularly prevalent in children and adolescents”, could well do the rest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mostly for the doctors amongst us (let’s hear you!), but a bit of good news for everyone:

“SARS-CoV-2 S-reactive antibodies were readily detectable [..] in SARS-CoV-2-uninfected individuals and were particularly prevalent in children and adolescents.”

Pre-Existing And De Novo Humoral Immunity To SARS-CoV-2 In Humans (Biorxiv)

Several related human coronaviruses (HCoVs) are endemic in the human population, causing mild respiratory infections1. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the etiologic agent of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is a recent zoonotic infection that has quickly reached pandemic proportions2,3. Zoonotic introduction of novel coronaviruses is thought to occur in the absence of pre-existing immunity in the target human population. Using diverse assays for detection of antibodies reactive with the SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) glycoprotein, we demonstrate the presence of pre-existing humoral immunity in uninfected and unexposed humans to the new coronavirus.

SARS-CoV-2 S-reactive antibodies were readily detectable by a sensitive flow cytometry-based method in SARS-CoV-2-uninfected individuals and were particularly prevalent in children and adolescents. These were predominantly of the IgG class and targeted the S2 subunit. In contrast, SARS-CoV-2 infection induced higher titres of SARS-CoV-2 S-reactive IgG antibodies, targeting both the S1 and S2 subunits, as well as concomitant IgM and IgA antibodies, lasting throughout the observation period of 6 weeks since symptoms onset.

SARS-CoV-2-uninfected donor sera also variably reacted with SARS-CoV-2 S and nucleoprotein (N), but not with the S1 subunit or the receptor binding domain (RBD) of S on standard enzyme immunoassays. Notably, SARS-CoV-2-uninfected donor sera exhibited specific neutralising activity against SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV-2 S pseudotypes, according to levels of SARS-CoV-2 S-binding IgG and with efficiencies comparable to those of COVID-19 patient sera. Distinguishing pre-existing and de novo antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 will be critical for our understanding of susceptibility to and the natural course of SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Read more …

“..Crossfire Hurricane was a scam, based on absurd gossip and innuendo. This document is Exhibit A to Obamagate, the worst corruption scandal in American history.”

FBI Director Wray Subpoenad For All Records Related to Crossfire Hurricane (GP)

Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) FINALLY subpoenaed FBI Director Christopher Wray for all records related to the bureau’s CI investigation into the 2016 Trump campaign dubbed “Crossfire Hurricane.” The subpoena, which was issued on August 6, demands Wray appear before the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee by August 20 with all documents related to the Crossfire Hurricane investigation. In July of 2016, Peter Strzok opened a counterintel investigation into Trump’s camp dubbed “Crossfire Hurricane” on suspicions (based on no evidence) that the Russians had infiltrated Trump’s circle. The “electronic communication” that launched Crossfire Hurricane was written by Peter Strzok and obtained by Judicial Watch in May of this year as the result of a FOIA lawsuit.

The EC reveals Peter Strzok opened Crossfire Hurricane based on third-hand information that the Russian government “had been seeking prominent members of the Donald Trump campaign in which to engage to prepare for potential post-election relations should Trump be elected U.S. President.” Peter Strzok also alleged Trump campaign foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos claimed to an unnamed individual that “they (the Russians) could assist the Trump campaign with the anonymous release of information during the campaign that would be damaging to Hillary Clinton.” Republican lawmakers have asked why documents related to Crossfire Hurricane have been kept secret for so many years.

Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton said its because the Obama Admin had no basis for opening the investigation. “No wonder the DOJ and FBI resisted the public release of this infamous ‘electronic communication’ that ‘opened’ Crossfire Hurricane – it shows there was no serious basis for the Obama administration to launch an unprecedented spy operation on the Trump campaign,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton previously stated. “We now have more proof that Crossfire Hurricane was a scam, based on absurd gossip and innuendo. This document is Exhibit A to Obamagate, the worst corruption scandal in American history.”

Read more …

Maybe that basement is soundproof, and he can’t hear you.

Sen. Johnson Subpoenas FBI Director Wray, Puts Bidens On Notice (ZH)

FBI Director Christopher Wray has been subpoenaed by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs to produce “all documents related to the Crossfire Hurricane Investigation,” which includes “all records provided or made available to the Inspector General” regarding the FISA probe, as well as documents regarding the 2016-2017 presidential transition, according to Politico. The subpoena was issued by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) as part of his investigation into the origins of Russiagate. It gives Wray until 5 p.m. on Aug. 20 to produce the documents. Johnson also released a lengthy letter on Monday in which he defended his Committee’s investigation and accused Democrats of initiating “a coordinated disinformation campaign and effort to personally attack” himself and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) in order to distract from evidence his committee has gathered on Joe and Hunter Biden’s Ukraine dealings.

“We didn’t target Joe and Hunter Biden for investigation; their previous actions had put them in the middle of it,” reads the Monday letter, which outlines the timeline and connections between Joe Biden’s policy actions in Ukraine and his son Hunter’s relationship with Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian natural gas company, according to Just The News. “Many in the media, in an ongoing attempt to provide cover for former Vice President Biden, continue to repeat the mantra that there is ‘no evidence of wrongdoing or illegal activity’ related to Hunter Biden’s position on Burisma’s board,” wrote Johnson. “I could not disagree more.”

Johnson noted evidence gathered by his committee showed Joe Biden met with his son’s business partner, Devon Archer, in April 2014 and within a month the vice president then visited Ukraine and both his son Hunter and the business partner were put on the Burisma board as the firm faced multiple corruption investigations. “Isn’t it obvious what message Hunter’s position on Burisma’s board sent to Ukrainian officials?” Johnson asked. “The answer: If you want U.S. support, don’t touch Burisma. It also raised a host of questions, including: 1) How could former Vice President Biden look any Ukrainian official (or any other world leader) in the face and demand action to fight corruption? 2) Did this glaring conflict of interest affect the work and efforts of other U.S. officials who worked on anti-corruption measures?” -Just The News

Johnson also denied that he had been on contact with, or received documents from, Russian-tied Ukrainians. “The only problem with their overblown handwringing is that they all knew full well that we have been briefed repeatedly, and we had already told them that we had NOT received the alleged Russian disinformation,” wrote Johnson. “The very transparent goal of their own disinformation campaign and feigned concern is to attack our character in order to marginalize the eventual findings of our investigation.”

Read more …

What? They’re going campaigning in COVID time? And what’s even better, they are, but Biden is not?

There are 19 weeks left in the year. House members will only be in Washington for 6 of them.

House Will Be Out Of Session For Additional Week In September (Hill)

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) announced Monday that the chamber won’t be called back into session until the week of Sept. 14, giving members an additional week in their districts next month. Lawmakers have been advised that they could be called back before then if there’s a deal on coronavirus-relief legislation. He said they would given 24 hours notice in the event of a vote. The House was previously scheduled to be back in session Sept. 8. Monday’s announcement gives incumbents more time to campaign in their districts ahead of November’s election. If lawmakers don’t return until mid-September, they’ll face a tight deadline to pass government funding legislation by Sept. 30 to avert a shutdown. Under the new schedule, House lawmakers will only be in Washington for six weeks through the end of the calendar year.

Read more …

Everyone’s ready as long as the other side moves first so they themselves don’t lose face. It’s a game, and not a very uplifting one.

Schumer Says Democrats Ready For Coronavirus Aid Talks, If Republicans Move (R.)

U.S. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said on Monday that Democrats are ready to return to the negotiating table over coronavirus relief, if Republicans would agree to a larger bill than they have been willing to accept up to now. “Democrats remain ready to return to the table. We need our Republicans to join us there and meet us half way and work together to deliver immediate relief to the American people,” Schumer said on the Senate floor. Last week, Schumer used similar language to urge White House negotiators to agree to a legislative package at least $1 trillion larger than the $1 trillion bill that Senate Republicans have already proposed. The White House rejected the offer, ending nearly two weeks of almost daily negotiations.

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“A less corrupt, less wealth-enslaved, less warmongering Democratic Party—a party that had paid more than lip service to the needs of working people over the previous eight years—would have walked away with the 2016 election.”

MSNBC Public Editor Pekary: A Strained Symbiosis With Obama (CJR)

Barack Obama and MSNBC have a lot in common. They are rich, sleek, and corporate-friendly. They staff their organizations with urbane meritocrats. Both institutions rely on a kind of soft-focus patriotism that stops shy of nationalism—an American-exceptionalist-lite rhetoric that takes refuge in hope and in appeals to “who we are,” among other superficial aspirational slogans. Consequently, it’s no surprise that Obama meets with little criticism on MSNBC. The alignment isn’t merely political; it’s aesthetic, generational, and class-based. Reverence for Obama is by now the network’s stock-in-trade. It has never critically assessed his presidency.

[..] The Obama brand is appealing, especially in comparison with the current president. Obama is everything that Trump is not: handsome, well read, reasonable-seeming, beautifully turned out; even today, the sight of Obama on television is enough to persuade people that things are still halfway okay. Sadly, however, things are really not all that okay. I’d like to believe the highly artificialized vision of the world that television conjures up in order to seduce, titillate, and comfort the maximum number of people. But how well does the glossy, TV-friendly facade serve the needs of the network’s viewers? Not very, according to former MSNBC producer Ariana Pekary, who quit her job some days ago in an apparent crisis of conscience.

Pekary wrote a much-circulated blog post about her decision to quit the network in early August, calling the cable news obsession with ratings “a cancer” that stokes political division by amplifying the most outrageous voices. The ratings obsession risks lives, she said, by focusing on Trump’s failures in the pandemic, in preference to vital scientific and epidemiological news; it risks democracy itself, by allowing Trump’s excesses to dominate coverage, in preference to intelligent and serious discussion of the threats our society and our world are facing. All of this is true, and worth thinking about, but MSNBC’s coverage demonstrates something subtler and farther-reaching still. Though Pekary was held up by right-wing media as a critic of MSNBC particularly, her concerns were economic, not ideological. “The flawed structure of the industry,” she said, “affects everyone.”

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Even if opinions are divided on this, at least the direction is clear. Endless talks have provided too little result.

US Demands Hong Kong Exports To US Be Relabelled ‘Made in China’ (SCMP)

Goods made in Hong Kong for export to the United States will have to be labelled “Made in China” after September 25, according to a draft US government notice. The move, in accordance with the suspension of the Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992 and the invoking of US President Donald Trump’s executive order on “Hong Kong Normalisation”, will see Hong Kong companies subjected to the same trade war tariffs levied on mainland Chinese exporters, should they make products subject to these duties. A notice will be published on the US Federal Register on August 11, stipulating that “45 days after the date of publication”, goods “must be marked to indicate that their origin is ‘China’”. The move is “due to the determination that Hong Kong is no longer sufficiently autonomous to justify differential treatment in relation to China”.


The confirmation of a move implied by Trump’s previous legislation is another blow to Hong Kong’s struggling economy and to the high-value, if low-volume base of exporters in the city. Goods that fail to comply will face a punitive 10 per cent duty at US ports. Hong Kong has a higher trade deficit with the US than with any other economy, though this dropped by 16 per cent last year to US$26 billion. From January to May this year, Hong Kong’s exports to the US fell by 22.3 per cent in volume from a year earlier. Hong Kong is much more significant as a re-export hub than a direct trading hub in its own right. Its economy is a much different beast than in the 1970s and ’80s, when it was a manufacturing stronghold. Now, only 1 per cent of goods shipped from Hong Kong are made in the city, which instead serves as a logistical gateway to mainland China for both goods made there and going there.

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Between all the work from home scheduled, and the holidays by car, you have to wonder where airlines will be a year from now.

No, Americans Aren’t Suddenly Flying Again, Despite What the Media Says (WS)

The best day – meaning the least catastrophically worst day – in terms of air passengers entering to security zones at airports to board flights during the Pandemic wasn’t yesterday, as the financial media wanted to have us think, but July 2, when the count of TSA airport security screenings was down by only -63.4% from the same weekday in the same week last year, and on July 3, when the count was down by only -67.1% from a year earlier. That was over the extended Independence Day travel weekend. Now it’s peak summer travel season. Yesterday’s TSA screenings – Sunday being a peak travel day – reached 831,789, the highest during the Pandemic. But it’s peak travel season and Sunday is one of the peak travel days, so last year on that Sunday, the TSA performed 2.65 million screenings, and this Sunday’s was down by -68.6% from Sunday a year ago. And the year-over-year decline has remained roughly in the same range since the beginning of July:

People are traveling to go on vacation. But they’re driving. All kinds of lodgings near or in national parks are booked. People want to get out and do stuff, and they have the stimulus money and the extra $600 a week in federal unemployment insurance. Early indications are that they’re driving more for vacation purposes than they did last year. That’s the big thing. But flying is still an iffy proposition for most people. The seven-day moving average of the daily TSA screenings, which irons out the day-to-day ups and downs, has remained about the same since its best days since the beginning of July – “best” meaning least catastrophically down days. This indicates that the recovery of passenger volume has stalled since the beginning of July and is still terrible, terrible, terrible for the airlines:

Nevertheless, this situation caused the financial media to hyperventilate in an effort to pump up the shares. For example, CNBC reported breathlessly:

No capital-intensive business, such as an airline, can survive for long with roughly three-quarters of its business wiped out overnight, unless it undertakes a large-scale trimming-down, and unless it gets lots of financial help from all corners, including central banks and taxpayers. And that’s happening with airlines. That’s the part in CNBC’s headline that nailed it: Another $25 billion bailout has been tucked into the next stimulus package. It comes on top of the prior $25 billion in bailouts, mostly grants, that were designed to preserve airline jobs until September 30. Airlines have since told over 70,000 employees that they could lose their jobs after the deadline, and have incentivized them to leave voluntarily before the deadline, using a range of incentives, from buyout packages to early retirements.


Today, the WOLF STREET airline index of the seven largest US airlines – Alaska, American, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit, and United – jumped 7.0%. Since word of the second $25 billion bailout package started circulating last Monday, the index has surged 15.7%. But it’s still down 44% from the end of the Good Times in mid-January 2020, and down a whole bunch more since January 2018. That 15.7% gain since last Monday is the little thing sticking up on the right of the chart (market cap data via YCharts):

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“..America unleashes its dogs of war upon itself…”

Let The Dogs Out (Jim Kunstler)

Attorney General Barr sat through a leisurely chat with Mark Levin on TV last night, a curious hour of understatement and elision, especially concerning the momentous matter of US Attorney John Durham’s way-overdue actions in the Russia Collusion hoax. Mr. Levin dropped the ball so many times in his questioning that it seemed deliberate — for instance failing to ask whether Mr. Barr had detected any prosecutorial misconduct in the pursuit of General Michael Flynn. There’s plenty of reason to suppose that Robert Mueller’s lawyers royally misbehaved in that case, colluding with FBI director Christopher Wray to withhold a ton of exculpatory evidence even to this day.

There are plenty more reasons to suppose that the entire Mueller investigation was a knowing, seditious sham, and that several of his “team” members — e.g. Andrew Weissmann, Jeannie Rhee, Brandon Van Grack, Zainab Ahmad, Aaron Zebley, plus US Attorney Tanisha Guahar, and possibly Mr. Mueller himself — deserve to be indicted for their efforts to overthrow a president. (And, of course, there’s a long list of other now well-known characters in the DOJ, FBI, CIA, and other festering places who played roles in Coup-O-Rama).

Speaking of General Flynn, his mandamus petition comes before an en banc session of the DC Court of Appeals on Tuesday. It’s hard to see how they can get around their earlier three-judge panel’s order under a mandamus petition for DC District Judge Emmet Sullivan to vacate the case, as now demanded by the federal prosecutors who brought it in the first place. We won’t rehearse the tedious legal arguments, except to say that where there is no prosecution, there is no case, and Judge Sullivan has no standing to act as prosecutor himself under the separation of powers in the constitution. But in these dark days of a weaponized judiciary, with its Lawfare henchmen grubbing away in the shadows, there’s no telling what bad faith gears may be turning in that mill.

So, buckle up for what, all of a sudden, looks like an action-packed week. Lay in some tonic water and gin for both Covid-19 relief and some self-prescribed anesthesia as America unleashes its dogs of war upon itself.

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I don’t know enough about how police are funded across the US. It appears to be a cesspool with many different faces.

Seattle City Council Approves Millions In Police Budget Cuts (JTN)

In the state of Washington the Seattle City Council on Monday approved millions of dollars in police budget cuts. “Total initial cuts to SPD’s budget during the summer session are a down-payment for future potential reductions to the SPD budget. These reductions equate to nearly $4 million in cuts, which actualized over a year will equate to an estimated $11 million,” according to a release. “Cut 32 officers from patrol,” is one of the multiple funding decreases listed. Self-described socialist council member Kshama Sawant, who blasted the city’s budgetary maneuvering, which included other moves in addition to the police funding decreases, said that the police budget cuts were not nearly large enough.


“This budget fails to address the systemic racism of policing, trimming only $3 million from the bloated department’s remaining 2020 budget of $170 million just weeks after 6 of the 8 other Councilmembers publicly declared they would support defunding SPD by 50 percent, as our Peoples Budget and the Justice for George Floyd movement have demanded” Sawant said in the statement.

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No wonder they resign en masse.

Lebanon PM, President Were Warned About 2,750 Tonnes Of Ammonium Nitrate (R.)

Lebanese security officials warned the prime minister and president last month that 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored in Beirut’s port posed a security risk and could destroy the capital if it exploded, according to documents seen by Reuters and senior security sources. Just over two weeks later, the industrial chemicals exploded in a massive blast that obliterated most of the port, killed at least 163 people, injured 6,000 more and destroyed some 6,000 buildings, according to municipal authorities. A report by the General Directorate of State Security about events leading up to the explosion included a reference to a private letter sent to President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister Hassan Diab on July 20.


While the content of the letter was not in the report seen by Reuters, a senior security official said it summed up the findings of a judicial investigation launched in January, which concluded the chemicals needed to be secured immediately. The state security report, which confirmed the correspondence to the president and the prime minister, has not previously been reported. “There was a danger that this material if stolen, could be used in a terrorist attack,” the official told Reuters. “At the end of the investigation, Prosecutor General (Ghassan) Oweidat prepared a final report which was sent to the authorities,” he said, referring to the letter sent to the prime minister and president by the General Directorate of State Security, which oversees port security. “I warned them that this could destroy Beirut if it exploded,” said the official, who was involved in writing the letter and declined to be named.

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So does China. And France is going back in.

US Special Forces Active in 22 African Countries (MPN)

A new report published in South African newspaper The Mail and Guardian has shed light on the opaque world of the American military presence in Africa. Last year, elite U.S. Special Operations forces were active in 22 African countries. This accounts for 14 percent of all American commandos deployed overseas, the largest number for any region besides the Middle East. American troops had also seen combat in 13 African nations. The U.S. is not formally at war with an African nation, and the continent is barely discussed in reference to American exploits around the globe. Therefore, when U.S. operatives die in Africa, as happened in Niger, Mali, and Somalia in 2018, the response from the public, and even from the media is often “why are American soldiers there in the first place?”

The presence of the U.S. military, especially commandos, is rarely publicly acknowledged, either by Washington or by African governments. What they are doing remains even more opaque. U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) generally claims that special forces go no further than so-called “AAA” (advise, assist and accompany) missions. Yet in combat, the role between observer and participant can become distinctly blurry. The United States has roughly 6,000 military personnel scattered throughout the continent, with military attachés outnumbering diplomats in many embassies across Africa. Earlier this year, The Intercept reported that the military operates 29 bases on the continent. One of these is a huge drone hub in Niger, something The Hill called “the largest U.S. Air Force-led construction project of all time.”

[..][ Washington claims that the military’s primary role in the region is to combat the rise of extremist forces. In recent years, a number of Jihadist groups have arisen, including Al-Shabaab, Boko Haram, and other al-Qaeda affiliated groups. However, much of the reason for their rise can be traced back to previous American actions, including the destabilization of Yemen, Somalia, and the overthrow of Colonel Gaddafi in Libya. It is also clear that the United States plays a key role in training many nations’ soldiers and security forces. For example, the U.S. pays Bancroft International, a private military contractor, to train elite Somali units who are at the forefront of the fighting in the country’s internal conflicts. According to The Mail and Guardian, these Somali fighters are likely also funded by the U.S. taxpayer.

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This is all about Turkey. Greece already has a new deal with Egypt on maritime borders. Turkey is seeking to claim a lot of area in the region.

Libya Begins Negotiations With Greece To Demarcate Maritime Borders (LibyaR.)

Libya’s Interim Government’s Foreign Minister, Abdul-Hadi Al-Hawaij, revealed that his ministry has held talks with its Greek counterpart. Both Libya and Greece agreed to begin negotiations to demarcate their maritime borders, as well as discuss a number of issues between the two countries. Al-Hawaij noted that Libya welcomes a solution through Article 74 of the Law of the Sea, relating to solutions based on agreements and good-neighbourliness. The Libyan FM welcomed the agreement demarcating the maritime borders between Egypt and Greece. He stressed that Libya welcomes any agreement that is in line with the UN’s Law of the Sea and which preserves the rights of Libyans.


He pointed out that the visits of the Libyan Speaker of Parliament, Ageela Saleh, to a number of countries was meant to clarify the Libyan-Egyptian political initiative. The Speaker claimed that the Libyan people were exhausted from the presence of the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli. “One of the most significant conditions for consensus among Libyans is to push the Turkish intervention in the country away, and leave the matter for Libyans to address the crisis”, he added. Al-Hawaij called on Libyans to end the use of force, and to diminish the power of militias. He stressed that the international community was managing the crisis, and not trying to solve it. He pointed out that Libyans were able to establish a leadership in 1922, in similar circumstances in the city of Sirte, and could be able to do so again.

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This is serious. The Turkish lira is under severe stress; the central bank tried to support it by buying lira with its dollar reserves two weeks ago, but that failed, and now it has no dollars left. This could be very bad for Erdogan, who will go for support among patriots, muslims (re: Hagia Sophia). Prediction: Greece will not give in.

Greece Armed Forces Placed On High Alert (K.)

Greece was placed on high alert Monday after Turkey sent its Oruc Reis survey ship into an area within the Greek continental shelf, a move which Athens described as a threat to peace and stability in the region. According to a navigational telex it issued, Ankara reserved an area south of the Greek island of Kastellorizo to conduct research over the next two weeks. In response, Greece’s armed forces were placed in a state of absolute readiness, with units of the Hellenic Navy and Air Force deployed in the wider sea area where the Turkish research was expected. When the Oruc Reis accompanied by ships of the Turkish Navy entered the Greek continental shelf, Greek warships sent messages at a frequency of about 15 minutes requesting the vessel’s removal from the area.

The messages went unanswered by the vessel which, however, moving at a low speed – similar to that appropriate for a search process – had prepared cables to lower to the seabed in order to proceed with research activities in the area. However, according to sources, exploratory activities were rendered impossible due to the noise caused by the many naval units sailing in the area. This is because exploration of this sort entails the transmission of data from the seabed and the noise of the ships made this transmission impossible. In Athens, an emergency meeting of the country’s top decision-making body on foreign affairs and defense matters, KYSEA, was convened. Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias issued a stern statement calling on Turkey to “immediately end its illegal actions that undermine peace and security in the region.”

He added that the Turkish navtex “is a new serious escalation and exposes in the most obvious way the destabilizing and threatening role of Turkey.” “Greece will not accept any blackmail. It will defend its sovereignty and sovereign rights,” he said.

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Full Moon Aug 3, Astypalea Island, Greece. Photo George Tsitouras.

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in virustime.

 

May 072020
 


Banksy – Sounthampton General Hospital – 2020

 

 

Coronavirus May Have Jumped To Humans As Early As October (SCMP)
Italian Scientists Claim To Have Developed World’s First Coronavirus Vaccine (Ind.)
Trump Calls Americans ‘Warriors’ In Fight To Open The Economy (LAT)
Are Americans Ready For A -Costly- Breakup With China? (CSM)
Coronavirus Survivors ‘Permanently Disqualified’ From Joining US Military (NW)
California Expected To Experience ‘Jaw-Dropping’ Unemployment – Newsom (JTN)
UK GPs In The Dark Over COVID19 Tests (G.)
All 400,000 Gowns Flown From Turkey For NHS Fail UK Standards (G.)
COVID19 Deaths: How Does Britain Compare With Other Countries? (Spiegelhalter)
New Zealand ‘Halfway Down Everest’, Plans Big Easing Of COVID Lockdown (G.)
Baltic States To Create ‘Travel Bubble’ As Pandemic Curbs Eased
China’s Services Sector Contracts For Third Month As Job Losses Hit Record (R.)
Republicans Want Review Of Aid To WHO (R.)
OPCW Chief Made False Claims To Denigrate Douma Whistleblower (Maté)
Cuomo Taps Bill Gates To Help Him ‘Reimagine’ New York’s Public Schools (JTN)

 

 

The US had +2,528 new coronavirus deaths yesterday, the highest number since April 21, bringing the national total to 74,799.

 

 

 

 

Cases 3,836,826 (+ 92,061 from yesterday’s 3,744,765)

Deaths 265,366 (+ 6,482 from yesterday’s 258,884)

 

 

 

From Worldometer yesterday evening -before their day’s close-

 

 

From Worldometer Deaths among Closed cases is down to 17%. That still needs to come down much more.

 

 

From SCMP:

 

 

From COVID19Info.live:

 

 

 

 

The FT has a section, Coronavirus: free to read, with a few good graphs.

They look at excess deaths as the best way to gauge COVID19.

And some more graphs:

https://twitter.com/RemiGMI/status/1258021339362885634

 

 

Makes sense.

Coronavirus May Have Jumped To Humans As Early As October (SCMP)

The Covid-19 pandemic might have started as early as October, according to the latest research into the genetic make-up of the coronavirus. The pathogen, formally known as SARS-CoV-2, is thought to have made the jump from initial host to humans some time between October 6 and December 11 last year, according to an article released on Tuesday and set to be published in an upcoming edition of the scientific journal Infection, Genetics and Evolution. The findings are based on analysis of more than 7,000 genome sequence assemblies collected from around the world since January. By examining the evolution of the mutations, researchers from University College London and the University of Reunion Island were able to rewind their molecular clocks to a common starting point.

They were also able to identify the major mutations to the coronavirus, which has continued to evolve since making the jump to humans. While retrospective studies have suggested various dates for the first Covid-19 patient, government data seen by the South China Morning Post put the first confirmed infection at November 17. Based on information from the first whole genome sequence of the coronavirus – published by a laboratory in Shanghai in January – and other genome analyses, scientists had earlier concluded that SARS-CoV-2 most likely came from a bat and made the jump to humans via an intermediate animal some time in November.

But by the time the latest study was conducted, late last month, the researchers had access to much more information via data-sharing platforms. They selected 7,710 assemblies, curated a data set of 7,666 and then analysed the emergence of genomic diversity over time. While there were variations in the mutations and evolutionary stages of the viruses they studied, the team was able to determine their most recent common ancestor (MRCA), which in turn gave them their new estimate for the start of the global health crisis. “These dates for the start of the epidemic are in broad agreement with previous estimates performed on smaller subsets of the Covid-19 genomic data using various computational methods, though they should still be taken with some caution,” the study said.

In most countries, including Britain, the United States and Ireland, the genetic diversity of the samples essentially reflects the global diversity, suggesting the local epidemics came from independent introductions of the virus. However, China, where the outbreak was first reported, is a main exception to this pattern, where only a fraction of the global diversity can be found. “The genomic diversity of the global SARS-CoV-2 population being recapitulated in multiple countries points to extensive worldwide transmission of Covid-19, likely from extremely early on in the pandemic,” the study said.

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2022 and onwards. Crushing the curve is much easier. And faster.

Italian Scientists Claim To Have Developed World’s First Coronavirus Vaccine (Ind.)

Italian researchers claim to have developed a vaccine that can neutralise the coronavirus in human cells. Tests carried out at Rome’s Lazzaro Spallanzani Hospital, which specialises in infectious diseases, generated antibodies in mice that work in human cells. “This is the most advanced stage of testing of a candidate vaccine created in Italy,” said Luigi Aurisicchio, chief executive of Takis, the company working on the treatment. “According to Spallanzani Hospital, as far as we know we are the first in the world so far to have demonstrated a neutralisation of the coronavirus by a vaccine,” he told the Italian news agency Ansa. “We expect this to happen in humans too.”

“Human tests are expected after this summer,” Mr Aurisicchio said. He added: “We are working hard for a vaccine coming from Italian research, with an all-Italian and innovative technology, tested in Italy and made available to everyone. “In order to reach this goal, we need the support of national and international institutions and partners who may help us speed up the process.” After a single vaccination, the mice developed antibodies capable of blocking the virus from infecting human cells, Mr Aurisicchio claimed. He said researchers observed that five candidate vaccines generated a large number of antibodies and they then selected the two with the best results.

Last week, experts at the University of Oxford said the first results of their coronavirus vaccine trials could be ready by as early as mid-June. The institution also announced a new partnership with British-Swedish pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca. Human trials of the vaccine developed at the university’s Jenner Institute began last month, with hundreds volunteering to be part of the study.

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Some non-thinkers here: “Good generals do not send their soldiers into battle without knowing that there will be a net gain..”. Right, US generals only go into battle if and when they already know they will win. Must be a lesson learned in Vietnam.

Trump Calls Americans ‘Warriors’ In Fight To Open The Economy (LAT)

Donald Trump has described himself as a “wartime president” during the coronavirus crisis, and now he seems to have found his army as he pushes the country to reopen despite the risks. In recent days, he’s begun describing citizens as “warriors” in the battle against the pandemic and suggested some of those fighters might have to die if that will help boost the economy.“Will some people be affected? Yes,” he said on a trip to Arizona this week, his first outside of the Washington area in nearly two months. “Will some people be affected badly? Yes. But we have to get our country open, and we have to get it open soon.” Trump previously described healthcare workers as “warriors” for risking their safety to treat coronavirus patients, wording he used again on Wednesday when signing a proclamation honoring nurses.

But his decision to expand the characterization to everyday Americans is a noticeable shift from his previous declarations that “one is too many” deaths. The toll from the illness surpassed 70,000 this week and seems on track to top 100,000 by the end of the month, numbers far larger than Trump recently predicted. Asked Wednesday if the nation needs to accept greater loss of life, Trump said “hopefully it won’t be the case, but it may very well be the case.” “We have to be warriors,” he said from his seat behind the Resolute desk in the Oval Office. “We can’t keep our country closed down for years.” The new language shows Trump appears to view people as “collateral damage to salvage the economy,” said Jeffrey Levi, a public health expert at George Washington University.

“Good generals do not send their soldiers into battle without knowing that there will be a net gain,” Levi said. “And here we know reopening too soon will be a net loss, both in lives and the long-term stability of the economy.” White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany denied that Trump was suggesting that citizens must put themselves in harm’s way to fight the coronavirus — “not in the slightest,” she said. Although the president has repeatedly said that Americans must be “warriors” to reopen the economy, McEnany offered an alternative explanation for the description. “They’re warriors because they’ve stayed home,” she said at a White House briefing Wednesday. “They’re warriors because they’ve social distanced. They’re warriors because this mitigation effort is something that could only be done by the American people coming together and making really hard sacrifices.”

[..] Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, said there’s no valor in sacrificing people’s lives to fight the pandemic. “People who are dying of this virus are not dying to protect the American way of life,” he said. “They’re dying because their government has had a completely ineffective response to this infectious disease.” If Americans are being considered warriors, Jha said, Trump is sending them onto the battlefield without the testing and contact tracing required for protection. “He has left Americans disarmed,” he said. “He’s not given the American people the tools they need to fight this virus.”

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See yesterday. Lots of people quoting the SCMP article today, but it’s just hot air.

Are Americans Ready For A -Costly- Breakup With China? (CSM)

[..] some longtime advocates of a “decoupling” from China say the pandemic offers the best opportunity since the 1970s for a robust national debate on the merits of a significant and policy-driven separation. Such a debate would span issues from technology transfer and U.S. economic sectors’ dependence on China trade to sharpening criticism of China’s violations of human rights. “Three months ago I would have said there was no chance of a serious decoupling from China, but the political environment has changed,” says Derek Scissors, an expert in U.S.-China economic relations at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington. “We’re still not near the serious – and what would be costly – steps necessary to separate [from them] and reduce our participation in the success of China’s economic model,” he adds.

“But all the outrage over the tremendous suffering and economic impact of [the pandemic] has opened a door to a reassessment of our relationship.” More likely than a new China strategy that sets out to reduce ties, say others, is an acceleration and intensification of actions that were already being pursued or promoted by some in Congress and some China analysts. “What this [rise in tensions] is really doing is exacerbating the geopolitical trends we’ve already been seeing in recent years,” says Michael Auslin, a distinguished research fellow in contemporary Asia at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution in Stanford, California. “The tensions were already growing.” Thus there is likely to be rising pressure for action on topics that have raged for years, from stemming the theft of intellectual property and repatriating supply chains critical to U.S. national security, to confronting China’s expansionist activities in the South China Sea.

A change that the U.S. and other Western countries should capitalize on in the post-pandemic period, some experts say, is that China is now going to be marked by many countries as an untrustworthy partner. That is not just because of how China handled the initial outbreak of the coronavirus, they say, but because its heavy-handed actions in its pandemic-related foreign assistance has left a bad taste from Europe to Africa. “The world has put an asterisk next to China,” says Mr. Auslin, who notes for example that the White House now puts an asterisk next to coronavirus statistics out of China. And the theme running through much of the European press last week, he says, was “The Week China Lost Europe.”

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No, not just survivors, but anyone who’s ever tested positive.

If that herd immunity idea ever goes anywhere, that would mean 60%+ can’t join anymore. Who said Americans have no sense of humor?

Coronavirus Survivors ‘Permanently Disqualified’ From Joining US Military (NW)

The military will stop recruiting applicants who have tested positive for COVID-19, according to a proposal in a memo from the U.S. Military Entrance Processing Command (MEPCOM). The contents of the memo, which has been circulating on the internet, were confirmed to Newsweek by the Pentagon, which described them as “interim guidance.” The story was first reported by the Military Times. “During the medical history interview or examination, a history of COVID-19, confirmed by either a laboratory test or a clinician diagnosis, is permanently disqualifying,” the memo reads. Additionally, the memo lays out guidelines for handling possible and confirmed coronavirus cases in applicants.


It says any applicants at any of the 65 nationwide Military Entrance Processing Stations (MEPS) should be evaluated for possible coronavirus infection, most likely through a temperature check and questions about their symptoms and possible contact with infected individuals. If an applicant seems likely positive for the coronavirus, they can return to the MEPS if they’re symptom-free after 14 days. Anyone who tests positive through a lab test or clinical diagnosis can return to MEPS 28 days after their diagnosis. However, their application will be marked as “permanently disqualifying,” and while applicants can request a waiver the memo offers no further guidance for possible COVID-19 exceptions, meaning that “a review authority would have no justification to grant a waiver,” says the Military Times.

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A lot of support for opening up also involves halting financial support plans. Worst idea ever, because:

California Expected To Experience ‘Jaw-Dropping’ Unemployment – Newsom (JTN)

California Governor Gavin Newsom forewarned of “jaw-dropping” unemployment at his daily press conference on Wednesday. After stating the state is experiencing an unprecedented spike in unemployment claims, he said, “You’ll see these numbers translating into unemployment rates that will be rather jaw-dropping.” Newsom called the rise in unemployment claims “Without precedent in our state’s history,” noting that 4.2 million people have now applied for Public Unemployment Assistance and $10.6 billion in aid has already been distributed.


He also announced his signing an executive order extending worker’s compensation to essential workers who test positive for COVID-19, adding that benefits could only be rebutted by an employer “under strict criteria.” Newsom is facing mounting criticism over a plan he announced on April 16 that would create a $125 million fund for undocumented immigrants affected by the coronavirus. Non-profits will distribute the money, but it’s still unclear when people will see a check.

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Link on the page to another Giurdian article: Q&A – Coronavirus tests in the UK – who qualifies for one?

That would have been a reasonable question in January, perhaps into February. It’s idiotic in May.

UK GPs In The Dark Over COVID19 Tests (G.)

The results of hundreds of thousands of coronavirus tests carried out at privately run drive-through centres in England have not yet been shared with GPs or local authorities, who complain they have “no idea” where local disease clusters are. GPs told the Guardian they had been “totally left out of the conversation” after the government said it was still “working on a technical solution” to get Covid-19 test results into individual GP records in England, having promised to do so weeks ago. Meanwhile, the chief medical officer for England, Prof Chris Whitty, apologised to local health leaders who have not yet received any detailed data from “pillar two” tests conducted by the private firm Deloitte over the past month.


These now form the majority of tests being carried out each day, either at drive-through testing centres or via the post. During a conference call on Wednesday with directors of public health at local authorities across England, the government’s national coordinator of the UK coronavirus testing programme, Prof John Newton, also apologised for not yet sharing the detailed data. He said there had been “data quality issues”. Newton admitted that the Deloitte tests did not yet ask people for their ethnicity or whether they worked in health or social care – an oversight described by one director of public health on the call as “really disappointing”. People of colour and healthcare workers and those working in care homes are known to have much higher incidences of the disease.

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• UK unemployment to double and economy to shrink by 25%, warns Bank of England

• British economic output is set to crash 14% this year owing to the coronavirus, the Bank of England said as it left its interest rate at 0.1%.

• UK gross domestic product would rebound by 15% in 2021 however, the BoE said

• Buy some more gowns, unseen preferably

All 400,000 Gowns Flown From Turkey For NHS Fail UK Standards (G.)

Last month, amid dire warnings of shortages of personal protective equipment for health workers, ministers publicised the imminent arrival from Turkey of a fleet of RAF cargo planes bringing in a “very significant” shipment of PPE for the NHS. More than a fortnight later, it has emerged that every one of the 400,000 protective gowns that eventually arrived has been impounded after being found not to conform to UK standards. The Department for Health and Social Care confirmed on Wednesday evening that the items were being held in a facility near Heathrow airport. It is understood that they are due to be sent back and that the DHSC intends to seek a refund, as it has done in similar situations in the past.

The announcement of the shipment by the communities secretary, Robert Jenrick, on 18 April came as unions and professional bodies warned that NHS staff may refuse to work without PPE. Jenrick told the daily Downing Street press briefing that healthcare workers should be “assured that we are doing everything we can to correct this issue”, saying they would have the equipment they “need and deserve”. Sources later told the Guardian that the DHSC had advised No 10 not to allow Jenrick to publicise the shipment in case it backfired, but was overruled. The necessary clearances, it turned out, had not been sought. When the consignment did not arrive on time as promised, the delay prompted hospital leaders to directly attack the government for the first time during the pandemic.

Ministers responded by saying they thought it may only a one-day delay. Two days later, with the shipment only then beginning to clear Turkish customs checks, they were only able to give an estimate of arrival “in the next few days”. The first planeload of gowns eventually arrived on 22 April, but the next day it was reported that “less than a 10th” of the order had arrived. Now all are expected to be returned. The saga, first reported by the Telegraph, is one of a series of highly publicised government coronavirus initiatives that have failed to deliver the promised results. Its much-trumpeted “ventilator challenge” asked companies such as Rolls-Royce and Dyson to begin producing the machines, but none have reached the final stages of testing and the majority have proved surplus to requirements.

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David Spiegelhalter was quoted by the PM yesterday to prove Britain can’t be compared to opther countries, and didn’t like that. He tweeted: “Polite request to PM and others: please stop using my Guardian article to claim we cannot make any international comparisons yet. I refer only to detailed league tables-of course we should now use other countries to try and learn why our numbers are high..”

BTW, Spiegelhalter translate as “someone who holds (up) a mirror”. Fitting.

COVID19 Deaths: How Does Britain Compare With Other Countries? (Spiegelhalter)

You would think it would be easy for a bean-counting statistician to count deaths – the one certain thing (apart from taxes). But it is remarkably difficult. I have stopped taking much notice of the number given out at the daily press conferences, as it is only based on reports from hospitals, oscillates wildly around weekends, and recently included deaths that occurred a month ago. And this week the number of UK deaths jumped up by nearly 5,000 to 26,097 in one day – rather close to Starmer’s count – by retrospectively including non-hospital deaths that had tested positive for the virus. But even this is too low, as it does not include the many deaths of people who were not tested.

The Office for National Statistics data on death registrations is the last word, although inevitably delayed by around 10 days, and these figures would be expected to take the current total to significantly more than 30,000. But we should be very cautious in comparing even this uncertain total with those of other countries. Every country has different ways of recording Covid-19 deaths: the large number of deaths in care homes have not featured in Spain’s statistics – which, like the UK’s require a positive test result. The numbers may be useful for looking at trends, but they are not reliable indicators for comparing the absolute levels. If we were naive enough to take the counts at face value, the new figures propelled the UK past France and Spain into second place in Europe behind Italy, which is not encouraging because we are behind Italy in terms of what stage of the epidemic we are at.

A more equitable metric might be Covid-19 deaths per million. Ignoring tiny countries, our current score of 388 puts us fourth, behind Belgium (632), Spain (509) and Italy (452). But these are still deeply unreliable numbers, as it is not clear if we should just be looking at Covid-19-labelled deaths anyway. The effects of seasonal flu are not based on tests or death certificates, but at looking at the total number of deaths over the winter, seeing how many extra there are than a baseline, allowing for climate, and assuming these excess deaths were linked to flu. On average, over the last 10 years this has come to about 8,000 flu-related deaths, rising to 26,400 in 2017-2018 and 28,300 in 2014-15.

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Being an island helps. And so does a real lockdown.

New Zealand ‘Halfway Down Everest’, Plans Big Easing Of COVID Lockdown (G.)

Hairdressers, bars and competitive sport could be back on the agenda for New Zealanders from next week as the prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, said the country was “halfway down Everest” in its fight against Covid-19. New Zealand has been under strict lockdown restrictions for more than five weeks, but the low number of cases this week – zero for two consecutive days – means restrictions will soon be lifted. Ardern and her cabinet will make a decision on downgrading the country’s alert level from three to two on Monday, and by Wednesday, life could begin to look much more normal – and fun – for millions of cooped-up Kiwis. The relaxation of restrictions, which would allow gatherings of up to 100 people, both indoors and outdoors, was greeted with jubilation across the country.

Public spaces such as playgrounds and libraries would be reopened, bars and restaurants would be able to accept patrons, and domestic travel and competitive sport allowed to resume, including the professional leagues, but there will be no stadium crowds for now. Most workers would be allowed to head back to the office, though Ardern urged any who could stay home – or found it more productive – to do so. Widespread social-distancing rules would continue to apply, including patrons being seated two metres apart in public spaces, strangers keeping their distance from one another, and hairdressers, barbers and beauticians being required to wear PPE.

New Zealanders have been living in tight “bubbles” for more than a month, only allowed to socialise with those in their own home. Under the plans outlined by Ardern on Thursday, they would be permitted to see friends, family and even online dates – so long as they keep a log of their movements, and did not participate in indoor or outdoor gatherings of any more than 100. Weddings, funerals and anniversary celebrations would also be permitted. [..] the measures appear to have been effective, with just 21 deaths – all older people with pre-existing health conditions – and global praise has been heaped on the small island nation of 5 million by the World Health Organization, among others.

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Eastern Europe is a success story.

Baltic States To Create ‘Travel Bubble’ As Pandemic Curbs Eased

Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia will open their borders to each others’ citizens from May 15, creating a Baltic “travel bubble” within the European Union amid an easing of pandemic restrictions, their prime ministers said on Wednesday. “It’s a big step towards life as normal”, Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas wrote on Twitter. The Baltic travel area would be first of its kind in the bloc, where most countries restricted entry to non-nationals and imposed quarantine on incoming travellers as the coronavirus spread across the continent. Citizens of the three countries will be free to travel within the region, but anyone entering from outside will need to self-isolate for 14 days, Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis said.


“We showed a good example by stating, very clearly, that only countries which successfully dealt with the situation can open themselves up,” he added. “I think we will keep to this principle when dealing with countries where the situation is very bad, which did not take measures to control the virus spread.” Poland and Finland could be the next countries to join the free travel bloc, said Skvernelis. The European Commission has recommended that internal border controls between all member states should be lifted in a coordinated manner, once their virus situation converges sufficiently, the commission’s office in Lithuania said.

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No buyers left.

China’s Services Sector Contracts For Third Month As Job Losses Hit Record (R.)

China’s services firms wallowed in contraction in April as layoffs hit a record and export orders plunged after signs of improvement in March, a private survey showed, dashing hopes of a quick recovery from the coronavirus blow. The Caixin/Markit services Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) did manage to pull up to 44.4 in April from 43 in March, but remained in a deep slump and far below historic averages. The 50-mark separates growth from contraction on a monthly basis. The third straight month of contraction for China’s services sector, an important generator of jobs and which accounts for about 60% of the economy, suggests a still turbulent period ahead after the collapse in economic activity in the first quarter, when GDP shrank 6.8%.


It also raised worries about the outlook even though the pandemic has been largely brought under control domestically, as a sharp global downturn dampens demand for Chinese goods and services. “The second shockwave for China’s economy brought about by shrinking overseas demand should not be underestimated in the second quarter,” said Zhengsheng Zhong, director of macroeconomic analysis at CEBM Group. Major economies, including the United States and Europe, remain in the grip of the pandemic amid rapidly rising infections and deaths. The sweeping impact of the coronavirus, with the global death toll at well over 250,000, has many worried that a worldwide recession could be far more damaging than first thought. In April, new export orders shrank further after their pace of contraction slowed in March, declining at the second-fastest rate on record, just marginally better than February’s collapse.

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You mean, you don’t do such reviews normally? High time then. Still, “..a task force to assess how well multilateral institutions carry out their missions and serve American interests.” sounds nuts. They’re supposed to serve global interests. If not, they would start serving US interests at the cost of other countries. Oh wait…

Republicans Want Review Of Aid To WHO (R.)

Five U.S. Senate Republicans introduced a bill on Wednesday seeking a review of U.S. participation in the World Health Organization and other international institutions, after President Donald Trump’s administration suspended U.S. contributions to the U.N. health agency and accused it of mishandling the coronavirus pandemic. Introduced by Chairman Jim Risch and four other Republican members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the “Multilateral Aid Review Act of 2020” would establish a task force to assess how well multilateral institutions carry out their missions and serve American interests.

The bill requires a report on 38 institutions. Besides the WHO, they include the World Bank; Asian, African, Inter-American and North American Development Banks, and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, as well as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, several U.N. organizations and the International Committee of the Red Cross. Trump suspended U.S. contributions to the WHO on April 14, accusing it of promoting China’s “disinformation” about the coronavirus outbreak and saying his administration would launch a review of the organization. WHO officials have denied the claims and China insists it has been transparent and open. The United States is the WHO’s biggest donor.

“As we have seen most recently with questionable actions taken by the World Health Organization in response to the spread of COVID-19, it is critically important to have accountability and oversight of our assistance,” Risch said in a statement announcing the bill. [..] Critics of the aid review bill said they were concerned the task force would be too partisan because Pompeo would be its chairman and members would be appointed by Trump.

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Why are we still discussing the OPCW? Why does it still exist? They’re a bunch of liars who were found out.

OPCW Chief Made False Claims To Denigrate Douma Whistleblower (Maté)

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has made false and misleading statements about two veteran inspectors who challenged a cover-up of their investigation in Syria, leaked documents show. The inspectors probed an alleged chemical weapons attack in the Syrian city of Douma in April 2018, and later objected when their evidence was suppressed. Documents obtained by The Grayzone reveal that OPCW leaders have engaged in a pattern of deception that minimized the inspectors’ senior roles in the Douma mission and diminished the prestige they enjoyed within the world’s top chemical weapons watchdog.

OPCW Director General Fernando Arias has claimed that the first inspector, South African chemical engineering and ballistics expert Ian Henderson, “was not a member” of the Douma investigative team and only played a “minor supporting role.” However, contemporaneous communications from the OPCW’s Douma Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) directly contradict Arias. They show that Henderson was indeed a Douma team member, and that OPCW leadership directed him to lead its most critical inspections. They also show that Arias, rather than acknowledge that Henderson was an FFM member, offered up a false explanation for why Henderson was in Syria at the time of the probe.

Arias has also disingenuously minimized the role of the second inspector, known only to the public as “Inspector B.” This will be examined in part two of this article. The OPCW’s investigation was triggered when extremist anti-Syrian government militants and Western states accused the Syrian army of dropping gas cylinders on two buildings in Douma, killing dozens of civilians. The U.S., France, and Britain bombed Syrian government targets days later, asserting their right to enforce the chemical weapons “red line.” After a nearly year-long investigation, the OPCW issued a final report in March 2019 that claimed “reasonable grounds” existed to believe that a chlorine attack occurred.

However, a trove of leaked documents has shown that the OPCW leadership suppressed and manipulated evidence that undermined the allegation against the Syrian military. The first of such leaks was an engineering assessment authored by Henderson that concluded that the gas cylinders in Douma were likely “manually placed.” That conclusion suggested the incident was staged on the ground by the armed militants who controlled Douma at the time. Additional leaks later revealed that Inspector B protested the censorship of critical evidence and toxicology reports, as well as the manipulation of chemical samples and witness statements. Henderson and B also complained that OPCW leaders excluded all of the Douma investigators except for one paramedic from a so-called “core” team that wrote the organization’s final report.

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In case you needed any confirmation that Andrew Cuomo is not exactly your hero.

As for Bill Gates, he’s just a fool with too much money, and should be kept far from schools. We don’t need another generation using his crappy software.

I had a text talk with a friend in Greece Tuesday, who tried to convince me that Bill Gates wanted to force-vaccinate everyone and force implant them with nano-chips to prove vaccination. I think maybe because of the language barrier he may not have grasped the nuances whenn I said: “You have nothing to worry about then, because there is no vaccine”.

Someone else sent me a video from the Alex Jones studios that claimed Bill Gates is the mastermind behind a grand secret global conspiracy to depopulate the planet -hence COVID19-. I’m sorry, but I cannot post that here.

Cuomo Taps Bill Gates To Help Him ‘Reimagine’ New York’s Public Schools (JTN)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to “reimagine” schools when they reopen after the coronavirus pandemic. “Bill Gates is a visionary in many ways, and his ideas and thoughts on technology and education he’s spoken about for years,” Cuomo said Tuesday. “But I think we now have a moment in history where we can actually incorporate and advance those ideas. Cuomo said the state is exploring the possibility that K-12 schools will utilize distancing learning in the future and wondered aloud if the “old model” of in-person learning was obsolete.

He said Gates would help evaluate possible changes to the education system, including providing more opportunities to students, using technology to reduce educational inequality, and recreating larger class or lecture hall environments with virtual classrooms. The Gates Foundation has experimented with education before with some mixed results. Business Insider reports that Gates spent $1 billion and seven years working on an initiative to improve test performance for students in low-income schools by closely monitoring teacher effectiveness. The program reportedly didn’t improve test scores or drop-out rates in the long-term, and even “did more harm than good.”

The Gothamist reports at least five organizations have already spoken out against the partnership, citing concerns about the Microsoft founder’s support of standardized testing and Common Core curriculum. Allies for Public Education, Class Size Matters, and the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy — have already written to Cuomo and state education officials to voice their objections. “We were appalled to hear that you will be working with the Gates Foundation on ‘reimagining’ our schools following the Covid crisis,” the coalition wrote. “Bill Gates and the Gates Foundation have promoted one failed educational initiative after another, causing huge disaffection in districts throughout the state.

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We try to run the Automatic Earth on people’s kind donations. Since their revenue has collapsed, ads no longer pay for all you read, and your support is now an integral part of the process.

Thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

For our friends in Thailand:

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in virustime.

 

May 012020
 


René Magritte L’avenir (the future) 1936

 

Wall St. Caps Best Month In 33 Years With Broad Sell-Off (R.)
Dr. Fauci Says Developing A COVID Vaccine By January Is ‘Doable’ (SAC)
Hydroxychloroquine Has About 90% Chance of Helping COVID-19 Patients (AAPS)
Turkey Claims Success Treating COVID-19 With Hydroxychloroquine (CBS)
WHO ‘Not Invited’ To Join China’s COVID-19 Investigations (Sky)
Sweden Forced To Admit Significant Under-Counting Of Coronavirus Deaths (Wsws)
Russian PM Mishustin Tests Positive For Virus (BBC)
American Airlines, Delta, United To Require Facial Coverings On US Flights
Ten Reasons Why A ‘Greater Depression’ For The 2020s Is Inevitable (Roubini)
Deflation Fears Creep Back In Japan (R.)
UK Factory Output At Risk Of More Than Halving (R.)
ECB Prepares For More Stimulus, Hints At Junk Bond Buys (R.)
Trump Says He Could Bring Back Fired Ex-National Security Adviser Flynn (R.)
Sidney Powell: More Evidence Shows FBI Set Up Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn (SAC)

 

 

• According to Johns Hopkins University there are at least 1,069,534 cases of coronavirus in the U.S.; at least 63,001 people have died in the U.S. from coronavirus.

• On Thursday, JHU reported 29,625 new cases and 2,035 deaths.

 

 

 

Cases 3,323,935 (+ 90,943 from yesterday’s 3,232,992)

Deaths 234,471 (+ 5,951 from yesterday’s 228,520)

 

 

 

From Worldometer yesterday evening -before their day’s close-

 

 

From Worldometer – Among Active cases, Serious/Critical fell to 2%

 

 

From SCMP:

 

 

From COVID19Info.live:

 

 

 

 

50 million Americans unemployed and Wall Street has a record month. What is wrong with this picture? Why would we want to re-open this system?

Wall St. Caps Best Month In 33 Years With Broad Sell-Off (R.)

U.S. stocks lost ground on Thursday as grim economic data and mixed earnings prompted investors to take profits at the close of the S&P 500’s best month in 33 years, a remarkable run driven by expectations the economy will soon start recovering from crushing restrictions enacted to curb the coronavirus pandemic. While risk-off selling pulled all three major U.S. stock averages into the red, the S&P 500 and the Dow posted their largest monthly percentage gains since January 1987, with the Nasdaq having its best month since June 2000. The three indexes remain well within 20% of record highs reached in February, having quickly rebounded since shutdown efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic brought the economy to a grinding halt.


The five-week tally of unemployment claims topped 30 million and consumer spending has plummeted, according to the latest round of dismal indicators providing another snapshot of the crushing economic effects of the widespread shutdown. “We’ve had a tremendous run but we’ve had the worst economic data since the Great Depression,” said Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset Management in Chicago. “Business and earnings might not be snapping back as quickly as the v-shaped recovery on Wall Street would imply.” The Federal Reserved announced that it would broaden its “Main Street Lending Program” by lowering the minimum loan size and expanding eligibility. “Wall Street is liking all the programs that the government and the Fed are putting together,” Nolte added. “So Wall Street is doing fine but Main Street is going to be a longer process.”

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Does he have info we don’t? If not, this is a crazy statement.

Dr. Fauci Says Developing A COVID Vaccine By January Is ‘Doable’ (SAC)

The Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force Dr. Anthony Fauci told the Today Show’s Savannah Guthrie Thursday that developing a vaccine to combat the coronavirus outbreak by January is “doable.” “What the plan is right now is, as I mentioned to you a couple of times on this show, we’re in the early phases of a trial, Phase 1. When you go into the next phase, we’re gonna safely and carefully, but as quickly as we possibly can, try and get an answer as to whether it works and is safe,” Fauci said.


He added, “And, if so, we’re gonna start ramping up production with the companies involved. And you do that at risk. In other words, you don’t wait until you get an answer before you start manufacturing. You at risk proactively start making it assuming it’s gonna work, and, if it does, then you could scale up and hopefully get to that timeline. So we want to go quickly, but we want to make sure it’s safe and it’s effective.” The Trump Administration announced “Operation Warp Speed” to accelerate the development of a vaccine, Bloomberg News first reported Wednesday. The report states. “The project’s goal is to have 300 million doses of vaccine available by January, according to one administration official. There is no precedent for such rapid development of a vaccine.”

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Perhaps when the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons speaks, we should pay attention?

Hydroxychloroquine Has About 90% Chance of Helping COVID-19 Patients (AAPS)

In a letter to Gov. Doug Ducey of Arizona, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) presents a frequently updated table of studies that report results of treating COVID-19 with the anti-malaria drugs chloroquine (CQ) and hydroxychloroquine (HCQ, Plaquenil®). To date, the total number of reported patients treated with HCQ, with or without zinc and the widely used antibiotic azithromycin, is 2,333, writes AAPS, in observational data from China, France, South Korea, Algeria, and the U.S. Of these, 2,137 or 91.6 percent improved clinically. There were 63 deaths, all but 11 in a single retrospective report from the Veterans Administration where the patients were severely ill.

The antiviral properties of these drugs have been studied since 2003. Particularly when combined with zinc, they hinder viral entry into cells and inhibit replication. They may also prevent overreaction by the immune system, which causes the cytokine storm responsible for much of the damage in severe cases, explains AAPS. HCQ is often very helpful in treating autoimmune diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. Additional benefits shown in some studies, AAPS states, is to decrease the number of days when a patient is contagious, reduce the need for ventilators, and shorten the time to clinical recovery.

Peer-reviewed studies published from January through April 20, 2020, provide clear and convincing evidence that HCQ may be beneficial in COVID-19, especially when used early, states AAPS. Unfortunately, although it is perfectly legal to prescribe drugs for new indications not on the label, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recommended that CQ and HCQ should be used for COVID-19 only in hospitalized patients in the setting of a clinical study if available. Most states are making it difficult for physicians to prescribe or pharmacists to dispense these medications. As the letter to Gov. Ducey notes, “Many nations, including Turkey and India, are protecting medical workers and contacts of infected persons prophylactically.

According to worldometers.info, deaths per million persons from COVID-19 as of Apr 27 are 167 in the U.S., 33 in Turkey, and 0.6 in India.” After Morocco and Algeria began using HCQ, a trend break and sharp reduction in their COVID-19 case fatality rate occurred. Vaccines and results of randomized double-blind controlled trials of new drugs are at best months away. But patients are dying now, while affordable, long-used drugs would be available except for government restrictions, AAPS states. The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) has represented physicians of all specialties in all states since 1943. The AAPS motto is omnia pro aegroto, meaning everything for the patient.

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The FDA “cites an observed risk of heart complications”. Okay, okay, but let’s see the reports on heart complications among 70 years of malaria-, lupus-, and RA sufferers.

By the by, HCQ was never a controversial drug until Trump mentioned it.

Turkey Claims Success Treating COVID-19 With Hydroxychloroquine (CBS)

Turkey has the biggest coronavirus outbreak in the Middle East, with more than 117,000 confirmed infections. More than 3,000 people have died. But the government claims to have a lower fatality rate than the global average estimated by the World Health Organization at over 3%. The Turkish government imposed weekend-only lockdowns and banned only those under the age of 20 and over 65 from leaving their homes during the week, in an effort to limit the economic impact of the pandemic. Turkey’s Ministry of Health says the relatively low death toll is thanks to treatment protocols in the country, which involve two existing drugs — the controversial anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine touted by President Trump, and Japanese antiviral favipiravir.

“Doctors prescribe hydroxychloroquine to everyone who is tested positive for coronavirus” Dr. Sema Turan, a member of the Turkish government’s coronavirus advisory board, told CBS News. Hospitalized patients may be given favipiravir as well if they encounter breathing problems, she said. Turan said the combination of drugs appeared to “delay or eliminate the need for intensive care for patients.” But it’s important to note that Turkey’s use of the drug is not a clinically controlled trial; there’s no control group of patients not given the medication to compare the results against. Clinical trials have been underway in the U.S. and elsewhere, but the results aren’t yet clear. Preliminary studies on hydroxychloroquine have yielded uninspiring results thus far.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved emergency use of hydroxychloroquine for coronavirus patients, but has warned it should only be used in clinical trials or under the close observation of doctors, citing an observed risk of heart complications.

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They refused entry to the WHO team for many weeks in January-February. Anyone remember how long, and what dates?

WHO ‘Not Invited’ To Join China’s COVID-19 Investigations (Sky)

China has refused repeated requests by the World Health Organisation to take part in investigations into the origins of COVID-19, the WHO representative in China has told Sky News. “We know that some national investigation is happening but at this stage we have not been invited to join,” Dr Gauden Galea said. “WHO is making requests of the health commission and of the authorities,” he said. “The origins of virus are very important, the animal-human interface is extremely important and needs to be studied. “The priority is we need to know as much as possible to prevent the reoccurrence.” Asked by Sky News whether there was a good reason not to include the WHO, Dr Galea replied: “From our point of view, no.”

The Australian government has said that an independent public enquiry should be held into the origins of COVID-19, a measure EU countries are reportedly considering publicly endorsing. China has reacted angrily, saying that the investigation into the virus should be a matter for scientists. Dr Galea also told Sky News that the WHO had not been able to investigate logs from the two laboratories working with viruses in Wuhan, the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the Wuhan CDC. “From all available evidence, WHO colleagues in our three-level system are convinced that the origins are in Wuhan and that it is a naturally occurring, not a manufactured, virus,” he said.

Nevertheless, according to Dr Galea, the laboratory logs “would need to be part of any full report, any full look at the story of the origins”. Dr Galea defended the WHO’s role in the early days of the novel coronavirus outbreak. “We only know what China is reporting to us at that period in time.” From 3 January to 16 January, Wuhan officials reported no new coronavirus cases beyond the 41 already published. “Is it likely that there were only 41 cases for that period of time? I would think not,” Dr Galea told Sky News. [..] The WHO has been criticised for a tweet it posted on 14 January, saying “Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission”. The same day, in Geneva, a WHO official said there had been “limited” human-to-human transmission.

Dr Galea told Sky News that, at the time, the “WHO was increasingly worried and convinced, suspecting strongly there would be human-to-human transmission. But as yet the cases that had been presented to us and the investigations had not yet confirmed that 100%.”

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The difference between underestimated and undercounted.

Sweden Forced To Admit Significant Under-Counting Of Coronavirus Deaths (Wsws)

Sweden’s National Board of Health and Welfare released figures Tuesday revealing that the death toll from the coronavirus has been underestimated in public figures. This came as total infections in the country of 10 million passed 20,000 yesterday, with almost 2,500 deaths. The discrepancy is due to the Public Health Agency’s policy of only counting deaths following a positive COVID-19 test confirmed by a laboratory. However, the National Board of Health and Welfare noted that as of 21 April, only 82 percent of the deaths it linked to coronavirus had a positive lab test. Assuming that this difference has persisted over the last week, there would have been approximately 400 more deaths from the virus than the 2,462 officially recorded yesterday by the Public Health Agency.

This significant under-counting of deaths is not to be explained by an error, but is the direct product of the Swedish government’s “herd immunity” strategy. Unlike its Nordic neighbours and other European countries, Sweden avoided imposing a general lock-down and even delayed for some time the issuing of limited social distancing guidelines. Gatherings of up to 50 people are still permitted, and shops, restaurants, schools, and non-essential businesses of all types remain open. As a result, the population has been subjected to a reckless experiment that some scientists have likened to playing “Russian roulette.” Even taking the lower official death toll as a point of comparison, the death rate in Sweden dramatically exceeds neighbouring countries.


In Norway, for example, which has a population approximately half the size of Sweden’s, 7,660 cases and 206 deaths have been recorded. Sweden therefore has a death rate more than five times higher than its neighbour per head of population. The refusal to impose strict social distancing measures is stretching the health care system to its limits. At Tuesday’s daily briefing, Johanna Sandwall, crisis manager at the National Board of Health and Welfare, stated that across the country, intensive care units have 30 percent spare capacity. However, she acknowledged that in some areas, there was zero spare capacity. Asked where these were, she refused to answer.

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Putin doesn’t meet anyone outside his closed quarters anymore.

Russian PM Mishustin Tests Positive For Virus (BBC)

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has gone to hospital after he was diagnosed with coronavirus. His positive test came on the same day that Russia recorded a record 7,099 cases, taking the total number of infections above 100,000. Mr Mishustin was given the role of prime minister in January and has been actively involved in Russia’s handling of the epidemic. Russian TV showed him telling President Vladimir Putin of his diagnosis. “I have just learned that the test on the coronavirus I took was positive,” the prime minister said during the video call.


Mr Mishustin suggested that First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov should take his place and Mr Putin agreed. Mr Mishustin will now go into self-isolation. “What’s happening to you can happen to anyone, and I’ve always been saying this,” Mr Putin told him. “You are a very active person. I would like to thank you for the work that has been done so far.”Despite the sharp rise in cases, the Moscow-based coronavirus headquarters says 1,073 people in Russia have now died of coronavirus, a relatively low number for Russia’s size. Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov says Russia’s reaction to the pandemic has enabled it to avoid an “Italian scenario”.

Read more …

American Airlines, Delta, United To Require Facial Coverings On US Flights

Three of the largest four U.S. airlines said Thursday they will require passengers to wear facial coverings on U.S. flights, joining JetBlue Airways in taking the step to address the spread of the coronavirus and convince reluctant passengers to resume flying. United Airlines, Delta Air and American Airlines, along with the smaller Frontier Airlines, which is owned by private equity firm Indigo Partners LLC, announced they will require facial coverings next month. Delta and United’s new rules start May 4, while Frontier’s start May 8 and American’s requirements begin May 11. The policies exempt young children from wearing masks or other facial coverings.


Many U.S. airlines are also requiring pilots and flight attendants to use facial coverings while on board aircraft. Airlines in the United States have seen a nearly 95% drop in U.S. passengers and have slashed flight schedules. They are now working to reassure customers about the safety of air travel by instituting new cleaning and social distancing procedures. Some airline unions and U.S. lawmakers have urged the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to require facial coverings for all passengers and crew. United said it will provide complimentary masks to passengers. Southwest Airlines), one of the largest U.S. airlines, has not required facial coverings.

Read more …

Dr. Doom should feel right at home in today’s world.

Ten Reasons Why A ‘Greater Depression’ For The 2020s Is Inevitable (Roubini)

After the 2007-09 financial crisis, the imbalances and risks pervading the global economy were exacerbated by policy mistakes. So, rather than address the structural problems that the financial collapse and ensuing recession revealed, governments mostly kicked the can down the road, creating major downside risks that made another crisis inevitable. And now that it has arrived, the risks are growing even more acute. Unfortunately, even if the Greater Recession leads to a lacklustre U-shaped recovery this year, an L-shaped “Greater Depression” will follow later in this decade, owing to 10 ominous and risky trends.

The first trend concerns deficits and their corollary risks: debts and defaults. The policy response to the Covid-19 crisis entails a massive increase in fiscal deficits – on the order of 10% of GDP or more – at a time when public debt levels in many countries were already high, if not unsustainable. Worse, the loss of income for many households and firms means that private-sector debt levels will become unsustainable, too, potentially leading to mass defaults and bankruptcies. Together with soaring levels of public debt, this all but ensures a more anaemic recovery than the one that followed the Great Recession a decade ago.

A second factor is the demographic timebomb in advanced economies. The Covid-19 crisis shows that much more public spending must be allocated to health systems, and that universal healthcare and other relevant public goods are necessities, not luxuries. Yet, because most developed countries have ageing societies, funding such outlays in the future will make the implicit debts from today’s unfunded healthcare and social security systems even larger. A third issue is the growing risk of deflation. In addition to causing a deep recession, the crisis is also creating a massive slack in goods (unused machines and capacity) and labour markets (mass unemployment), as well as driving a price collapse in commodities such as oil and industrial metals. That makes debt deflation likely, increasing the risk of insolvency.

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Those fears should be global.

Deflation Fears Creep Back In Japan (R.)

Consumer prices in Japan’s capital city fell for the first time in three years in April and national factory activity slumped, data showed on Friday, increasing worries the coronavirus pandemic could tip the country back into deflation. The darkening outlook in the world’s third-largest economy is already heightening calls for bigger spending, even after parliament approved an extra budget to fund a $1.1 trillion stimulus package to cushion the blow from the pandemic. “The government will work with the central bank to ensure Japan absolutely does not slip back into deflation,” Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura told a news conference on Friday.


Core consumer prices in Tokyo, a leading indicator of nationwide inflation trends, slipped 0.1% in April from a year earlier, government data showed, dashing expectations for a 0.1% rise and following a 0.4% increase in March. It was the first year-on-year decline since April 2017. While the drop was largely due to slumping energy costs following the collapse in the crude oil price, it has consolidated expectations that Japan will see consumer prices fall in coming months as the economy feels a sharper hit from the pandemic. A separate business survey on Friday confirmed Japan’s factory activity shrank at its fastest pace in more than a decade in April, as the coronavirus hurt output and new orders.

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As the government keeps bumbling its actions.

UK Factory Output At Risk Of More Than Halving (R.)

British factory output risks falling by more than half during the current quarter after 80% of manufacturers reported a collapse in orders due to the coronavirus, trade body Make UK said on Friday. Make UK said a survey of 297 members, conducted from April 20-27, showed that more than three quarters had already suffered a drop in sales. Britain’s Office for Budget Responsibility said on April 14 that factory output could fall by 55% in the second quarter, as part of a scenario for the broader economy that showed a 35% plunge in total output if lockdown restrictions stay in place. “The extent of the collapse in demand is such it means that the recent OBR forecast could be an underestimate unless there is a quite remarkable turnaround which, to be frank, just isn’t going to happen,” Make UK chief executive Stephen Phipson said.


A separate survey from the Confederation of British Industry showed that private-sector activity fell by the most since July 2009 during the three months to April, and that output expectations were the weakest on record. Britain’s government ordered non-essential businesses to close to the public on March 23 and urged staff to work from home if possible. It is due to review the measures on May 7 but officials have said it is too soon for a major easing. Some 87% of manufacturers are still carrying out some operations, but more than a third had put staff members on leave under a government wage guarantee scheme which was likely to be needed beyond its planned end-June closing date, Make UK said.

Read more …

ECB Prepares For More Stimulus, Hints At Junk Bond Buys (R.)

The European Central Bank tweaked policy around the edges on Thursday but kept the door wide open to further stimulus — including potentially controversial purchases of junk debt — to help an economy ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic. Facing an unprecedented recession, the ECB said it would make loans to banks even cheaper but kept the terms of its hallmark asset purchase scheme unchanged, disappointing investors who had bet on even more money-printing. Lockdowns in place across Europe to curb the spread of the virus have already cost millions their jobs and governments are borrowing record amounts just to keep their economies going until restrictions on businesses and households can be eased.


ECB President Christine Lagarde made clear the central bank for the 19 countries that use the euro currency would do its part but said political leaders must agree on more ambitious and coordinated action, a goal that has so far eluded them. “The euro area is facing an economic contraction of a magnitude and speed that are unprecedented in peacetime,” Lagarde told a news conference held via webcast. Speaking to an empty press room, Lagarde said the euro zone economy could shrink by 5 percent to 12 percent this year and may contract by 15 percent in the second quarter alone, a rate that would far outpace any decline during the global financial crisis a decade ago.

[..] As part of Thursday’s moves, the ECB said it would allow banks to borrow long-term funds for rates as low as minus 1 percent and it would set up a new shorter-term liquidity operation. Even if markets were disappointed with the measures, Lagarde made clear the ECB would do its job, a signal that more action is coming, perhaps as soon as June. She said the ECB could increase the size of its Emergency Pandemic Purchase Scheme (PEPP) and even extend it beyond 2020. When asked if the ECB could buy bonds below investment grade, she hinted at flexibility. “We have been very clear … we will not accept fragmentation of monetary transmission in the euro area or any pro-cyclical tightening of financing conditions,” Lagarde said. “With these two principles in mind, we will adjust as and when needed.”


The hint at future junk bond purchases is significant as Italy, the euro zone’s third-largest economy, is rated in the lowest investment-grade bracket and seen at risk of downgrades that could lose it access to ECB help just as it needs it most. Letting go of Italy would be politically unacceptable, however and the ECB’s recent decisions to temporarily buy Greek debt and accept bonds recently downgraded to junk as collateral from banks were seen as a way of preparing the ground.

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Obviously.

Trump Says He Could Bring Back Fired Ex-National Security Adviser Flynn (R.)

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday he would consider bringing his fired former national security adviser Michael Flynn, a key figure in the probe into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, back into his administration. The president’s comments, the latest in a string of remarks about Flynn, go beyond prior suggestions by Trump that the retired general could be in line for a presidential pardon. “I would certainly consider it, yeah. I think he’s a fine man,” Trump told reporters, without specifying which role he might give to Flynn. Flynn pleaded guilty to making false statements in a charge brought by then-Special Counsel Robert Mueller. He is now insisting he did not lie and wants to back out of the plea.


Internal FBI documents turned over by the Justice Department on Wednesday showed FBI officials debated whether and when to warn Flynn that he could face criminal charges as they prepared for a January 2017 interview with him in the Russia probe. Trump blamed Flynn’s predicament on “dirty cops” and said the documents show Flynn was a victim. “He’s in the process of being exonerated. If you look at those notes from yesterday, that was total exoneration,” Trump said.

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To be continued. People will go to jail.

Sidney Powell: More Evidence Shows FBI Set Up Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn (SAC)

In another dramatic twist of events 15 documents unsealed Thursday show that the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane team and senior FBI officials had worked diligently behind the scenes to target former National Security Advisor for President Trump Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who has withdrawn his guilty plea and is fighting for his case to be dismissed by the courts. Further, the text messages reveal that there was an original 302 interview with Flynn that was never turned over to the defense. In those text messages between former FBI lovebirds Attorney Lisa Page and FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok, they discuss the interview that was conducted with Flynn at the White House and allude to the alteration of the document.

Those explosive documents suggest that the FBI was planning on closing the case on Flynn because there was no proof that he committed any crimes. In fact, the case against Flynn was closed on January 4, 2017 but reopened, according to text messages unsealed and obtained by Powell. The documents, which reveal his FBI code name ‘Crossfire Razor,’ expose that the Department of Justice withheld large amounts of exculpatory evidence from his defense team and, according to his attorney Sidney Powell, reveal egregious government misconduct. “To be clear, we now know by the production of new text messages between Lisa Page and Peter Strzok that there in fact exists an original 302 document created by SSA 1 from his own notes of the January 24, 2017 ambush interview of Gen Flynn,” said Powell.

“Further, we know in fact that SSA 1’s original 302 document went to Stzrok who rewrote it substantially, but tried not to “completely re-write it so as to save [redacted] voice” and then was shared by Stzrok with a “pissed off” Page who revised it substantively yet again, crafting the narrative to charge Gen Flynn with a crime he did not commit.” She noted that as repugnant as this conduct is on its face, “the travel of this vital document establishes continuously – and until this day – the original FBI agents, the prosecutors, and FBI management’s determination to withhold exculpatory evidence required under Brady, among other violations of Gen Flynn’s civil rights. They withheld it not only to try to convict an innocent man, but to hide their own crimes.”

Read more …

 

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Apr 232020
 


Jack Delano Union Station, Chicago, Illinois 1943

 

Not a Black Swan but a Portent of a More Fragile Global System – Taleb (NYer)
Coronavirus Started Spreading In US Much Earlier Than Thought (CoD)
Coronavirus Study Points To Vast Number Of Cases Under Radar In China (SCMP)
How Does Coronavirus Kill? (ScienceMag)
Many Small Businesses Say Loans Won’t Get Them To Rehire (AP)
Congressional Democrats Do Little To Improve ‘Pathetic’ Coronavirus Deal (IC)
Trump Disagrees ‘Strongly’ With Georgia Reopening Shops (JTN)
HHS Secretary Alex Azar Waited For Weeks To Brief Trump (WSJ)
Azar Tapped Former Labradoodle Breeder To Lead US Pandemic Task Force (R.)
Cuomo Taps Bloomberg To Lead COVID-19 Contact “Tracing Army” (Gothamist)
Turkey PPE Supplier Doesn’t Have Enough Stock To Meet UK Order (Sky)
Coronavirus Upends Global Narcotics Trade (R.)
The Analogy Trap in Economic Policy (Eichengreen)
New York Times Revives its Role in Chinagate (Lauria)

 

 

• The US had +2,341 new deaths from coronavirus today, down from its record high yesterday, bringing the total US death toll to 47,659.

• New York had +661 new deaths, while New Jersey had +310, Massachusetts had +221, and three other states (CA, MI, CT) had over 100 new deaths. Only five states did not have a coronavirus death today.

• The US had nearly +30k new confirmed cases today, bringing the total to over 848k, with over 717k active cases.

 

• US total cases currently at 848,735, with death totals at 47,663.
• Globally, total cases have hit 2,637,414, with death totals at 184,204.

 

• US yesterday new 25,985, today now 27,948.
• IL, CT today exceed 2,000

 

• Spain yesterday 3,968, today 4,211. Fluctuating. No daily testing data

 

• 4/22/20 – Top 12 State Cases
New York: 257,216
New Jersey: 95,865
Massachusetts: 42,944
California: 35,396
Illinois: 35,108
Pennsylvania: 35,045
Michigan: 33,966
Florida: 28,309
Louisiana: 25,258
Connecticut: 22,469
Texas: 21,069
Georgia: 20,740

 

 

#Coronavirus: Global #Covid19 Deaths By Week
01/22: 17
01/29: 133
02/05: 564
02/12: 1,118
02/19: 2,122
02/26: 2,770
03/04: 3,254
03/11: 4,615
03/18: 8,733
03/25: 21,181
04/01: 46,809
04/08: 88,338
04/15: 134,177
04/22: 183,027

 

 

Cases 2,656,391 (+ 82,920 from yesterday’s 2,573,471)

Deaths 185,156 (+ 6,598 from yesterday’s 178,558)

 

 

 

From Worldometer yesterday evening -before their day’s close-

 

 

From Worldometer – NOTE: among Active Cases, Serious or Critical fell to 3%. Among Closed Cases, Deaths have fallen to 20%

 

 

From SCMP:

 

 

From COVID19Info.live: Note: Turkey, Russia, UK are the biggest risers

 

 

 

 

“The state,” he told me, “should not smooth out your life, like a Lebanese mother, but should be there for intervention in negative times, like a rich Lebanese uncle.”

Not a Black Swan but a Portent of a More Fragile Global System – Taleb (NYer)

COVID19 has initiated ordinary citizens into the esoteric “mayhem” that Taleb’s writings portend. Who knows what will change for countries when the pandemic ends? What we do know, Taleb says, is what cannot remain the same. He is “too much a cosmopolitan” to want global networks undone, even if they could be. But he does want the institutional equivalent of “circuit breakers, fail-safe protocols, and backup systems,” many of which he summarizes in his fourth, and favorite, book, “Antifragile,” published in 2012. For countries, he envisions political and economic principles that amount to an analogue of his investment strategy: government officials and corporate executives accepting what may seem like too-small gains from their investment dollars, while protecting themselves from catastrophic loss.

For Taleb, an antifragile country would encourage the distribution of power among smaller, more local, experimental, and self-sufficient entities—in short, build a system that could survive random stresses, rather than break under any particular one. (His word for this beneficial distribution is “fractal.”) We should discourage the concentration of power in big corporations, “including a severe restriction of lobbying,” Taleb told me. “When one per cent of the people have fifty per cent of the income, that is a fat tail.” Companies shouldn’t be able to make money from monopoly power, “from rent-seeking”—using that power not to build something but to extract an ever-larger part of the surplus.

There should be an expansion of the powers of state and even county governments, where there is “bottom-up” control and accountability. This could incubate new businesses and foster new education methods that emphasize “action learning and apprenticeship” over purely academic certification. He thinks that “we should have a national Entrepreneurship Day.” But Taleb doesn’t believe that the government should abandon citizens buffeted by events they can’t possibly anticipate or control. (He dedicated his book “Skin in the Game,” published in 2018, to Ron Paul and Ralph Nader.) “The state,” he told me, “should not smooth out your life, like a Lebanese mother, but should be there for intervention in negative times, like a rich Lebanese uncle.”

Right now, for example, the government should, indeed, be sending out checks to unemployed and gig workers. (“You don’t bail out companies, you bail out individuals.”) He would also consider a guaranteed basic income, much as Andrew Yang, whom he admires, has advocated. Crucially, the government should be an insurer of health care, though Taleb prefers not a centrally run Medicare-for-all system but one such as Canada’s, which is controlled by the provinces. And, like responsible supply-chain managers, the federal government should create buffers against public-health disasters: “If it can spend trillions stockpiling nuclear weapons, it ought to spend tens of billions stockpiling ventilators and testing kits.”

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This was a given.

Coronavirus Started Spreading In US Much Earlier Than Thought (CoD)

Experts have released new information about just how long the coronavirus (COVID-19) might have been silently spreading in the United States. Health officials in California said the first U.S. coronavirus deaths actually occurred weeks before they previously believed. This comes as no surprise to doctors. Many doctors had patients earlier on that they now believe were COVID-19 cases. But they didn’t qualify for testing at the time because they either didn’t have a history of travel to China or the didn’t have the initially reported symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath. But now there’s concrete proof that the timeline of cases started much earlier.

The first confirmed case of the coronavirus in the U.S. came Jan. 21 in a man from Washington state who developed symptoms after returning from a trip to Wuhan, China. But the first confirmed death was thought to be more than a month later, on Feb. 29, in Kirkland, Washington. Health officials there later found two deaths on Feb. 26 were due to the virus, pushing the timeline back three days. But coroners across the country are now looking back at other deaths. The medial examiner in Santa Clara County, California, sent tissue samples collected during autopsies performed in February to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for testing.

Samples taken from patients who died at home on Feb. 6 and Feb. 17 both tested positive for the coronavirus. That pushes the fatality timeline back 20 days. Health officials believe the patients were infected in the community. Neither is known to have a travel history. Given that deaths tend to lag infections by about two weeks, the first patient could have been infected in mid-January. It’s likely the coronavirus was already spreading in the U.S. far earlier than initially reported — hidden in a bad flu season and undetected by rigid testing rules.

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So people will say: see, infection rate is much lower! Well, not if the death rate is also much higher. Which certainly in China is possible.

Coronavirus Study Points To Vast Number Of Cases Under Radar In China (SCMP)

China’s official tally of coronavirus cases could have quadrupled in mid-February if one broader system for classifying confirmed patients had been used from the outset of the pandemic, according to researchers at the University of Hong Kong. In a study published in the medical journal The Lancet on Tuesday, the researchers said China might have had 232,000 confirmed cases – rather than the official total of about 55,000 – by February 20 if a revised definition adopted earlier in the month had been applied throughout. “We estimated that there were at least 232,000 infections in the first epidemic wave of Covid-19 in mainland China,” they said, referring to the disease caused by the coronavirus.

“The true number of infections could still be higher than that currently estimated considering the possibility of under-detection of some infections, particularly those that were mild and asymptomatic, even under the broadest case definitions.” The researchers – led by Peng Wu from the University of Hong Kong’s school of public health – looked at the various classification systems used by the government after the epidemic erupted in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late December. China has published seven editions of diagnosis and treatment guidelines, changing the classification system as understanding of the disease developed. The Hong Kong team found that different definitions made a big difference to the number of cases.

“We estimated that when the case definitions were changed from version 1 to 2, version 2 to 4, and version 4 to 5, the proportion of infections being identified as Covid-19 cases was increased by 7.1 times from version 1 to 2, 2.8 times from version 2 to 4, and 4.2 times from version 4 to 5,” the paper, co-authored by Peng’s HKU colleagues epidemiologist Benjamin Cowling and medical faculty dean Gabriel Leung, said.

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Thorough report on how and why. But even then a lack of understanding of what the virus is, remains.

How Does Coronavirus Kill? (ScienceMag)

When an infected person expels virus-laden droplets and someone else inhales them, the novel coronavirus, called SARS-CoV-2, enters the nose and throat. It finds a welcome home in the lining of the nose, according to a preprint from scientists at the Wellcome Sanger Institute and elsewhere. They found that cells there are rich in a cell-surface receptor called angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). Throughout the body, the presence of ACE2, which normally helps regulate blood pressure, marks tissues vulnerable to infection, because the virus requires that receptor to enter a cell. Once inside, the virus hijacks the cell’s machinery, making myriad copies of itself and invading new cells.

As the virus multiplies, an infected person may shed copious amounts of it, especially during the first week or so. Symptoms may be absent at this point. Or the virus’ new victim may develop a fever, dry cough, sore throat, loss of smell and taste, or head and body aches. If the immune system doesn’t beat back SARS-CoV-2 during this initial phase, the virus then marches down the windpipe to attack the lungs, where it can turn deadly. The thinner, distant branches of the lung’s respiratory tree end in tiny air sacs called alveoli, each lined by a single layer of cells that are also rich in ACE2 receptors.

Normally, oxygen crosses the alveoli into the capillaries, tiny blood vessels that lie beside the air sacs; the oxygen is then carried to the rest of the body. But as the immune system wars with the invader, the battle itself disrupts this healthy oxygen transfer. Front-line white blood cells release inflammatory molecules called chemokines, which in turn summon more immune cells that target and kill virus-infected cells, leaving a stew of fluid and dead cells—pus—behind. This is the underlying pathology of pneumonia, with its corresponding symptoms: coughing; fever; and rapid, shallow respiration. Some COVID-19 patients recover, sometimes with no more support than oxygen breathed in through nasal prongs.

But others deteriorate, often quite suddenly, developing a condition called acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Oxygen levels in their blood plummet and they struggle ever harder to breathe. On x-rays and computed tomography scans, their lungs are riddled with white opacities where black space—air—should be. Commonly, these patients end up on ventilators. Many die. Autopsies show their alveoli became stuffed with fluid, white blood cells, mucus, and the detritus of destroyed lung cells.

Read more …

All the big money’s already been handed out.

Many Small Businesses Say Loans Won’t Get Them To Rehire (AP)

Some small businesses that obtained a highly-coveted government loan say they won’t be able to use it to bring all their laid-off workers back, even though that is what the program was designed to do. The Paycheck Protection Program promises a business owner loan forgiveness if they retain or rehire all the workers they had in late February. But owners say the equation isn’t so simple, in part because of current economic conditions and partly due to the terms of the loans. As a result, the lending may not reduce unemployment as much as the Trump administration and Congress hope. The government’s $2 trillion relief package included $349 billion for the small business loan program, which was besieged with applications and ran out of money Thursday.

Congress and the White House reached a deal Tuesday that would provide another $310 billion. To get the loans forgiven, companies need to spend 75% on payroll within eight weeks of receiving the money. The other 25% can be spent on rent, utilities, and mortgage payments. Otherwise, the loan has generous terms: Only a 1% interest rate and six months before any principal is due. Many of the small companies that were able to obtain a loan are having second thoughts about rehiring all their workers and a few plan to return the money. Others will use what they can on rent and utilities, and will use some to rehire a portion of their laid-off staff. But most are unsure they will be able to reopen eight weeks from now.

They see little point in rehiring all their workers, paying them to do little or nothing, and then potentially laying them off again if business remains weak two months from now. “You’re turning the business into a pass through for the federal government,” said Joe Walsh, who owns Clean Green Maine, a cleaning service in Portland, Maine with 35 employees. “You’re doing very little to actually help the business.” [..] Also, the generous unemployment aid that was also included in the government’s relief package has made it more difficult to rehire. Many workers are making more with unemployment checks, which now include a $600 weekly benefit from the federal government.

Walsh, who received a $280,000 loan from the SBA, said that he is reluctant to push his employees to return to work because, under unemployment benefit rules, they could lose their weekly checks if they turn down potential jobs. “That’s just putting me as the employer in a really difficult position,” Walsh said. He pays at least $17 an hour, with benefits, but his former employees are getting the equivalent of roughly $25 an hour from unemployment.

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They all have the same campaign contributors. And they’re not small businesses.

Congressional Democrats Do Little To Improve ‘Pathetic’ Coronavirus Deal (IC)

PROGRESSIVE GROUPS are outraged with the nearly $500 billion interim coronavirus rescue package the Senate passed on Tuesday, urging House Democrats to oppose the “pathetic” deal they say doesn’t come close to providing the relief vulnerable people need while giving away all Democratic leverage for future legislation. The “Phase 3.5” bill, which is expected to sail through the House this week, left out almost everything Democratic leaders were advocating for. There’s no additional funding for state and local governments, no expanded food stamp benefits, no hazard pay for front-line workers, nor money for the U.S. Postal Service, which had all been basic Democratic priorities.

The lack of progressive opposition in Congress has been especially noteworthy, after members of the progressive caucus promised to help make future legislation more comprehensive following the hastily passed Phase 3 bill. While some progressive advocates argue that Democrats didn’t have much leverage on the package to begin with, others note that Democrats control the House and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi could have led the party to pass its own bill. “Just as importantly as the inadequate policy provisions, this bill gives away all Democratic leverage,” Ezra Levin, co-executive director of Indivisible, said in an emailed statement.

“We fought so hard to win back the House in 2018 — to make sure that we had a voice in negotiations like this. So far we’ve heard silence from the House. This bill may be our last chance to get the things we need. [Republican Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell has already said he doesn’t want to push through another bill, and if he does, it won’t be for weeks.” [..] The interim package, which would replenish funds for an emergency small business lending program, also includes an additional $75 billion for hospitals and $25 billion for coronavirus testing — two necessities that have been framed as GOP concessions. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said the legislation is everything they were expecting. “When you look at the package that is going to be passed, it’s almost exactly like the one we asked for two weeks ago, or 12 days ago,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

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It takes 2 weeks for new infections to occur. By then, most of the US will have reopened.

Trump Disagrees ‘Strongly’ With Georgia Reopening Shops (JTN)

President Trump said he disagreed with Georgia’s decision to allow some shops to re-open as early as Friday after shuttering due to the coronavirus pandemic. “I told the governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp, that I disagree strongly with his decision to open certain facilities which are in violation of the Phase 1 guidelines for the incredible people of Georgia,” Trump said Wednesday during a press conference of the White House Coronavirus Task Force. “But at the same time, he must do what he thinks is right. I want him to do what he thinks is right. But I disagree with him on what he’s doing.” Trump said he wanted to give governors discretion, although he would step in if he sees something “totally egregious, totally out of line.”

Trump’s administration last week released a 3-phase set of guidelines to re-open following the worst of the pandemic. Trump said that these Georgia shops shouldn’t be re-opening during the federal phase 1 guidelines and should instead wait for phase 2. “We’re going to have phase 2 very soon,” Trump said. “It’s just too soon. I think it’s too soon. And I love the people. I love those people that use all of those things, the spas, and the beauty parlors, barber shops, tattoo parlors. I love ’em. But they can wait a little bit longer, just a little bit. Not much. Because safety has to predominate. We have to have that. So I told the governor very simply that I disagree with his decision, but he has to do what he thinks is right.”

[..] 46% of registered U.S. voters want decisions about re-opening the country after the coronavirus to be made by state and local officials. Only 15% think it should be a federal decision, according to the Just the News Daily Poll with Scott Rasmussen. Trump praised Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) for his re-opening strategy. “Some of the governors have done a fantastic job working with us,” Trump said.

Read more …

Sidelined a little too late perhaps?

HHS Secretary Alex Azar Waited For Weeks To Brief Trump (WSJ)

On Jan. 29, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told President Trump the coronavirus epidemic was under control. The U.S. government had never mounted a better interagency response to a crisis, Mr. Azar told the president in a meeting held eight days after the U.S. announced its first case, according to administration officials. At the time, the administration’s focus was on containing the virus. When other officials asked about diagnostic testing, Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, began to answer. Mr. Azar cut him off, telling the president it was “the fastest we’ve ever created a test,” the officials recalled, and that more than one million tests would be available within weeks.

That didn’t happen. The CDC began shipping tests the following week, only to discover a flaw that forced it to recall the test from state public-health laboratories. When White House advisers later in February criticized Mr. Azar for the delays caused by the recall, he lashed out at Dr. Redfield, accusing the CDC director of misleading him on the timing of a fix. “Did you lie to me?” one of the officials recalled him yelling. Six weeks after that Jan. 29 meeting, the federal government declared a national emergency and issued guidelines that effectively closed down the country. Mr. Azar, who had been at the center of the decision-making from the outset, was eventually sidelined.

Many factors muddled the administration’s early response to the coronavirus as officials debated the severity of the threat, including comments from Mr. Trump that minimized the risk. But interviews with more than two dozen administration officials and others involved in the government’s coronavirus effort show that Mr. Azar waited for weeks to brief the president on the threat, oversold his agency’s progress in the early days and didn’t coordinate effectively across the health-care divisions under his purview.

[..] White House officials say there is no plan to replace Mr. Azar during a pandemic. Still, the president last week installed a former campaign aide, Michael Caputo, to serve as assistant secretary for public affairs at HHS. The White House also appointed policy adviser Emily Newman as a liaison to HHS who will oversee the agency’s political hires. Mr. Azar has largely been sidelined over the past several weeks from discussions with the president and with the White House task force, administration officials said. He hasn’t attended the daily briefing since April 3.

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The headline is just too good.

Azar Tapped Former Labradoodle Breeder To Lead US Pandemic Task Force (R.)

On January 21, the day the first U.S. case of coronavirus was reported, the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services appeared on Fox News to report the latest on the disease as it ravaged China. Alex Azar, a 52-year-old lawyer and former drug industry executive, assured Americans the U.S. government was prepared. “We developed a diagnostic test at the CDC, so we can confirm if somebody has this,” Azar said. “We will be spreading that diagnostic around the country so that we are able to do rapid testing on site.” While coronavirus in Wuhan, China, was “potentially serious,” Azar assured viewers in America, it “was one for which we have a playbook.”

Azar’s initial comments misfired on two fronts. Like many U.S. officials, from President Donald Trump on down, he underestimated the pandemic’s severity. He also overestimated his agency’s preparedness. As is now widely known, two agencies Azar oversaw as HHS secretary, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration, wouldn’t come up with viable tests for five and half weeks, even as other countries and the World Health Organization had already prepared their own. Shortly after his televised comments, Azar tapped a trusted aide with minimal public health experience to lead the agency’s day-to-day response to COVID-19.

The aide, Brian Harrison, had joined the department after running a dog-breeding business for six years. Five sources say some officials in the White House derisively called him “the dog breeder.” Azar’s optimistic public pronouncement and choice of an inexperienced manager are emblematic of his agency’s oft-troubled response to the crisis. His HHS is a behemoth department, overseeing almost every federal public health agency in the country, with a $1.3 trillion budget that exceeds the GDP of most countries. [..[ Azar and his top deputies oversaw health agencies that were slow to alert the public to the magnitude of the crisis, to produce a test to tell patients if they were sick, and to provide protective masks to hospitals even as physicians pleaded for them.

The first test created by the CDC, meant to be used by other labs, was plagued by a glitch that rendered it useless and wasn’t fixed for weeks. It wasn’t until March that tests by other labs went into production. The lack of tests “limited hospitals’ ability to monitor the health of patients and staff,” the HHS Inspector General said in a report this month. The equipment shortage “put staff and patients at risk.” A promised virus surveillance program failed to take root, despite assurances Azar gave to Congress. Rather than share information, three current and three former government officials told Reuters, Azar and top staff sidelined key agencies that could have played a higher-profile role in addressing the pandemic. “It was a mess,” said a White House official who worked with HHS.

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Little Mike mighty actually pull it off. But he doesn’t care too much about privacy.

Cuomo Taps Bloomberg To Lead COVID-19 Contact “Tracing Army” (Gothamist)

Michael Bloomberg has been charged with amassing and leading a “tracing army” to track the spread of COVID-19 in the Tri-State area, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo. The goal will be to aggressively test and isolate contacts of all those who tested positive for the virus — a major undertaking that experts say is necessary before officials can consider relaxing social distancing measures. After previewing this push in recent weeks, Cuomo revealed during a press conference on Wednesday that Bloomberg will “coordinate the entire effort,” including developing the program and designing the training for thousands of newly-hired tracers.

The multibillionaire former mayor, who does not have a public health background, has also agreed to contribute $10 million to the initiative. By comparison, he spent $1 billion on his failed presidential bid. The announcement came hours after Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled his own plans for a citywide contact tracing apparatus. The mayor was not informed by the Governor’s Office that Bloomberg, his predecessor and political rival, would be heading up the statewide effort until Wednesday morning, as de Blasio was announcing his own initiative, mayoral spokesperson Freddi Goldstein told Gothamist. While the city will still be responsible for hiring some of the field workers, Cuomo stressed that the initiative had to be regionally focused.

“You cannot trace someone within the boundaries of New York City,” he said. The state will also partner with Johns Hopkins University and the non-profit Vital Strategies to roll out the program. Some of the roughly 35,000 CUNY and SUNY students in medical fields will also be tapped for the effort, Cuomo said. The federal government has made available $1.3 billion for New York to begin contact tracing. Cuomo did not immediately have an estimate for how much it would cost. “You don’t have months to get this up and running,” he added. “You have weeks.”

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Turkey is one of the exploding countries. Is it a good ide to export their supplies?

Turkey PPE Supplier Doesn’t Have Enough Stock To Meet UK Order (Sky)

A commercial supplier in Turkey did not have enough stock to fulfil an order for 84 tonnes of protective equipment supposed to be bound for the UK, Turkish officials have said. British sources said the UK government was working with the company and the Turkish authorities to secure the shipment “as soon as possible” – though no time frame was given. It comes as a flight carrying PPE – urgently needed by front line health workers as they treat COVID-19 patients in the UK – arrived from Turkey, following days of delays. The Royal Air Force plane arrived at Brize Norton in Oxfordshire from Istanbul just after 3am.


The total consignment of 84 tonnes includes 400,000 clinical gowns, but it is not clear how much of this is on today’s flight. An initial batch of just 2,500 gowns was sent to the airport in Istanbul for quality control checks on Tuesday. Turkish officials said Britain’s attempt to buy the protective equipment from a Turkish firm ran into trouble because the supplier did not have enough stock. Turkey’s ambassador to the UK, Umit Yalcin, told Sky News: “As far as I understand there have been problems with the private supplier company. “Now Turkey is cooperating with the UK authorities to find a quick solution for the UK’s urgent needs.

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Support your local dealer.

Coronavirus Upends Global Narcotics Trade (R.)

Countries around the world have spent billions of dollars bailing out businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Peru’s coca farmers, who grow the bushy plant used to make cocaine, say they want help, too. Prices for coca leaves sold to drug gangs have slumped 70% since Peru went on lockdown last month, according to Julián Pérez Mallqui, the head of a local growers’ organization. He said his members cater to Peru’s tightly regulated legal coca market, but acknowledged some growers sell on the black market. Peruvian officials say more than 90% of the country’s coca crop goes to traffickers who are now struggling to move product. With the sector in turmoil, Pérez’s group is crafting a plan to ask the government to buy up excess coca inventory.

Peru “has to design clear intervention strategies for coca,” Pérez said. “We’re screwed, just like everyone else in the world.” A spokesman for Peru’s anti-drugs agency said it may funnel more development aid to hard-hit areas. The coronavirus outbreak has upended industries across the globe. The international narcotics trade has not been spared. From the cartel badlands along the U.S.-Mexico border and verdant coca fields of the Andes, to street dealers in London and Paris, traffickers are grappling with many of the same woes as legitimate businesses, Reuters has found. On three continents, Reuters spoke with more than two dozen law enforcement officials, narcotics experts, diplomats and people involved in the illicit trade.

They described a business experiencing busted supply chains, delivery delays, disgruntled workers and millions of customers on lockdown. They also gave a window into the innovation – and opportunism – that are hallmarks of the underworld. [..] coronavirus has managed to do what authorities worldwide have not: slow the global narcotics juggernaut almost overnight and inflict a measure of pain on all who participate. In Mexico, the Sinaloa Cartel has faced many threats over the years, including the jailing of former leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. But never one like the coronavirus pandemic.

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“The task for now is income maintenance — targeting public support at the unemployed so that parents can feed their children.”

The Analogy Trap in Economic Policy (Eichengreen)

Where comparisons with past crises have value is precisely in highlighting how this crisis is different, and therefore how the policy response should vary. First, this crisis did not originate in the financial system, in contrast to 1929 and 2008. Flooding financial markets with liquidity, as central banks have done, may prevent problems on the real side of the economy from destabilising financial institutions and markets. But doing so will not mend the economy or even halt its downward spiral. Achieving this requires first containing the pandemic. Second, in contrast to these earlier episodes, major fiscal stimulus packages are not the right policy focus. Unlike in the past, we have also experienced an unprecedented supply shock.

It makes no sense to try to sustain demand at earlier levels at a time when production can’t keep up, since it is not yet safe — and won’t be safe for some time — for people to return to work. The time for demand stimulus is later. The task for now is income maintenance — targeting public support at the unemployed so that parents can feed their children. Third, this crisis will be most acute in low-income countries. These countries have weak health systems. They are being hit by weak commodity prices, falling remittances, capital flight, a shortage of trade credit and collapsing currencies all at once. They were not the focus in 1929 or 2008 because those crises centred on the global financial system, and because low-income countries had only rudimentary financial systems and were not integrated financially.

This time, low-income countries are at risk of a crisis that will dwarf anything in the advanced-country world. Addressing their plight should be priority number one on humanitarian grounds, but also because what happens there will spill back onto the rest of the world through both economic and epidemiological channels. With the IMF and World Bank meetings coming up next week, one wonders whether advanced countries will look beyond their domestic concerns. One worries that their preoccupation with the questions ‘is this downturn more serious than the Global Financial Crisis?’ and ‘could unemployment rise as high as in the Great Depression?’ will cause them to lose sight of what is about to become the most serious crisis of all.

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Yeah, before you know it you’re trapped with the NYT in your corner.

New York Times Revives its Role in Chinagate (Lauria)

During the saga of Russiagate The New York Times was the main vehicle for unnamed U.S. intelligence officials to filter uncorroborated allegations about Russia, presenting them as proven fact. Just as the Democratic Party attempted to shift the blame from its disastrous 2016 loss to Donald Trump onto Russia, the Trump administration is now trying to shift the blame from Trump’s disastrous handling of the Coronavirus crisis onto China. And The New York Times is once again the vehicle. In a front-page story on Wednesday, the Times reports as flat fact that “Chinese agents helped spread messages to millions of Americans about a fake lockdown last month, sowing virus panic in the U.S., officials said.” One of the messages said Trump would lock down the entire nation. “They will announce this as soon as they have troops in place to help prevent looters and rioters.”

But as in the Times‘ sordid history of numerous Russiagate stories, you have to read deep into the piece, in this case to paragraph seven, before you are told: “The origin of the messages remains murky. American officials declined to reveal details of the intelligence linking Chinese agents to the dissemination of the disinformation, citing the need to protect their sources and methods for monitoring Beijing’s activities.” Any reputable journalism school will teach its students that you hold off publishing until you see the evidence underlying an assertion. This is especially true when quoting anonymous sources. And it is doubly true when these sources are intelligence agents, who have a long history of deception. It is part of their job description.

Reporters should by now be wary and demand proof after they had allowed intelligence officials to misuse them in misleading the public about the reasons to invade Iraq, and indeed about the later proven lies about collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. The Times story on Wednesday rather shamelessly revives and links China’s alleged misdeeds to Russiagate. “American officials said China, borrowing from Russia’s strategies, has been trying to widen political divisions in the United States. As public dissent simmers over lockdown policies in several states, officials worry it will be easy for China and Russia to amplify the partisan disagreements.”

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