May 092021
 
 May 9, 2021  Posted by at 9:06 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , ,  54 Responses »


Daniel Garber Buds and Blossoms 1916

 

World’s Most Vaccinated Country Sees Unprecedented Spike In Covid Cases (WaPo)
The Virus Is An Airborne Threat, The CDC Acknowledges (NYT)
Covid-19 Fear Porn Has Cast A Chill Over Love, Sex, And Birthrates (Bridge)
Chelsea Clinton Calls For Global Crackdown On Anti-Vax Social Media Posts (LS)
New York Baseball Stadiums To Separate Vaccinated And Unvaccinated Fans (ET)
Beijing’s Elusive Bid For Pricing Power On Rare Earths (Ma)
Ex-CNN White House Reporter: Journalists Don’t Expect Govt Spying & Lying (RT)
Cyber Attack Shuts Down Top US Fuel Pipeline Network (R.)
NATO Allies Take Over Black Sea for Military Exercise (Antiwar)
US Finally Stops Pretending It Would Risk War With Russia Over Ukraine (RT)

 

 


Up in the Air – “How much does your life weigh?

 

 

 

 

Seychelles.

World’s Most Vaccinated Country Sees Unprecedented Spike In Covid Cases (WaPo)

As the Seychelles began to offer free coronavirus vaccinations early this year, President Wavel Ramkalawan told reporters that the country was planning to reach herd immunity within weeks. It was an ambitious target for a small, geographically isolated island nation in the Indian Ocean. But with its economy heavily reliant on tourism, the country called in favors to attain a vaccine supply from regional allies, including India and the United Arab Emirates. The effort initially seemed to be a success. The Seychelles stands as the most vaccinated nation on Earth, with more than 60% of its population fully vaccinated, more than other vaccine giants such as Israel and Britain, and almost twice the United States’ rate of vaccination.

But that success has been undermined this week as the Seychelles has found itself with its largest number of new coronavirus cases per capita, and has been forced to reinstate a number of restrictions. Though the number of new cases is relatively low – peaking at an average of just over 100 new cases a day – they are a big deal in a country with a population of less than 100,000. On a per capita basis, the Seychelles outbreak is worse than India’s raging surge. In a small country, even a small number of cases can be overwhelming. “A spike in cases places an enormous burden on an already strained public health system,” said Malshini Senaratne, director of Eco-Sol, an environmental consultancy firm in Seychelles.

With the country’s main treatment center for covid-19 patients nearing capacity and doctors and nurses among the sick, the Seychelles announced the return of coronavirus restrictions, school closures and limited opening hours for shops and restaurants. [..] So far, the number of deaths in the Seychelles attributed to the virus is relatively low – 28 out of more than 6,000 cases. But the surge in new cases may also confirm that the vaccines being used in the country have comparatively low effectiveness. Roughly 60% of the doses administered in Seychelles are vaccines made by the Chinese company Sinopharm that were donated to the Seychelles by the United Arab Emirates. The remaining doses are of the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and produced by the Serum Institute of India.

In many ways, Seychelles government negotiations for vaccine supplies were savvy and speedy. But the country has ended up using two vaccines that appear to be less effective against symptomatic covid-19. The World Health Organization had recently estimated the efficiency of the Sinopharm vaccine at just over 78% for adults under 60, with little data on its success with older patients. The UAE has asked some who received the Sinopharm vaccine to return for third doses, citing low immune responses, though officials said only a “very small number” need to do so. Meanwhile, U.S. trials of AstraZeneca have found that the vaccine is 79% effective overall. Both vaccines are considerably lower in effectiveness than the vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna, which use mRNA technology and have reported effectiveness rates of around 95%.

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Shouldn’t this be: “The Virus Is An Airborne Threat, The New York Times Acknowledges”?

The Virus Is An Airborne Threat, The CDC Acknowledges (NYT)

Federal health officials on Friday updated public guidance about how the coronavirus spreads, emphasizing that transmission occurs by inhaling very fine respiratory droplets and aerosolized particles, as well as through contact with sprayed droplets or touching contaminated hands to one’s mouth, nose or eyes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now states explicitly — in large, bold lettering — that airborne virus can be inhaled even when one is more than six feet away from an infected individual. The new language, posted online, is a change from the agency’s previous position that most infections were acquired through “close contact, not airborne transmission.”

As the pandemic unfolded last year, infectious disease experts warned for months that both the C.D.C. and the World Health Organization were overlooking research that strongly suggested the coronavirus traveled aloft in small, airborne particles. Several scientists on Friday welcomed the agency’s scrapping of the term “close contact,” which they criticized as vague and said did not necessarily capture the nuances of aerosol transmission. “C.D.C. has now caught up to the latest scientific evidence, and they’ve gotten rid of some old problematic terms and thinking about how transmission occurs,” said Linsey Marr, an aerosol expert at Virginia Tech. The new focus underscores the need for the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration to issue standards for employers to address potential hazards in the workplace, some experts said.

“They hadn’t talked much about aerosols and were more focused on droplets,” said David Michaels, an epidemiologist at George Washington School of Public Health and head of OSHA in the Obama administration. He and other researchers expressed concern that the C.D.C. has not yet strengthened its recommendations on preventing exposure to aerosolized virus. The new information has significant implications for indoor environments, and workplaces in particular, Dr. Michaels said. Virus-laden particles “maintain their airborne properties for hours, and they accumulate in a room that doesn’t have good ventilation.” “There’s more exposure closer up,” Dr. Michaels said. “But when you’re further away, there’s still a risk, and also these particles stay in the air.”

Donald Milton, an aerosol scientist at the University of Maryland, agreed that federal officials should provide better guidelines for keeping workplaces safe. “We need better focus on good respirators for people who have to be close to other people for long periods of time,” Dr. Milton said. “A surgical mask, even if it’s tucked in on the edges, is still not really going to give you enough protection if you’re in a meatpacking plant elbow to elbow all day long with other people.”

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‘Love in the Time of Cholera’

Covid-19 Fear Porn Has Cast A Chill Over Love, Sex, And Birthrates (Bridge)

Throughout history, mankind has been forced to contend with a number of serial diseases, many of which had a far better track record for killing than the current coronavirus strain, which comes with a better than 99 percent survival rate. And our ancestors confronted those invisible enemies with heroism, without feeling the need to sacrifice what made them quintessentially human. In the novel ‘Love in the Time of Cholera’, by the late Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the prospect of death and dying during the cholera outbreak of the late 19th century took a deserved back seat to the animated celebration of life and love that leaps from every page. “There were cockfights in the patios, accordion music on the street corners, riders on thoroughbred horses, rockets and bells,” Marquez wrote of his South American town at a time when bubble-wrapping the populace was an unthinkable preventive measure against the pandemic.

“At midnight the visitors left, the public fiesta scattered into smoldering embers…” Despite this lusty, unbridled passion for life, Marquez was careful to point out that the native population was not reckless with its health and safety, but rather took all of the normal – with emphasis on the word ‘normal’ – precautions against the deadly cholera outbreak. In one scene reminiscent of our current imbroglio, a riverboat captain is confronted by an armed patrol assigned to stop any vessel that may be transporting infected passengers. He tells the patrol that he had “only three passengers on board and all of them had cholera… but none of the twenty-seven men of the crew had any contact with them.”

Nevertheless, the commander of the patrol “was not satisfied, and he ordered them to leave the bay and wait in Las Mercedes Marsh… while the forms were prepared for placing the ship in quarantine.” In other words, the people did what they could to prevent unnecessary death, but the great play of life never stopped or hid in the shadows. What will future writers convey about our current battle against Covid-19, which many believe has led humanity to the brink of absolute madness? That far from allowing the human spirit to triumph in the face of adversity, we cowered and hid ourselves in our homes, prevented children from learning and playing together, while letting our small businesses go up in proverbial flames? That is not the way humans over the millennia have responded to crises.

Even during the darkest moments of World War II, when the threat of a Nazi attack hung heavy in the air, the daily business of living did not stop. In similar fashion, people should not let the fear and risk of Covid destroy the essence of what it means to be human. If we stop living as a way to achieve victory over an enemy – be it a foreign adversary or an invisible contagion – then we have already admitted our defeat.

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A voice of authority.

Chelsea Clinton Calls For Global Crackdown On Anti-Vax Social Media Posts (LS)

Chelsea Clinton has spoken out against freedom of vaccine-critical speech at a Vatican conference dedicated to dialogue. Speaking during a pre-recorded online meeting, Clinton, 41, responded to a question about so-called “vaccine hesitancy” regarding COVID-19 vaccines by saying that there must be a global effort to crack down on vaccine-critical social media posts. “I personally very strongly believe there has to be more intensive and intentional and coordinated global regulation of the content on social media platforms,” she said. “We know that the most popular video across all of Latin America for the last few weeks that now has tens of millions of views is just an anti-vax, anti-science screed that YouTube has just refused to take down.”

Clinton added that anti-vaccine content created in the United States “flourishes” across the world by way of social media platforms. Her attempts to convince the managers of these sites to remove the material has not worked, she said. “We know that — because I have tried — that appealing to the leadership of these companies to do the right thing has just not worked, and so we need regulation.” Clinton is the Vice President of the Clinton Foundation and the daughter of former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Like her parents, she is an outspoken advocate for abortion. She appeared alongside Dr. Paul Farmer of Harvard Medical School and Dr. Walter Ricciardi, the Italian president of the World Federation of Public Health Associations, at a pre-recorded online meeting forming part of the Fifth International Vatican “Unite to Prevent & Unite to Cure” conference. Their meeting was first aired today.

Clinton said that the Clinton Foundation has been doing what it can to convince the “vaccine hesitant” and the “vaccine refusers” to take doses of the COVID-19 vaccines. She believes it is important to differentiate between people who are “hesitant” and those in the “refusal group.” The “hesitant” have questions that she can answer, for instance regarding the speed at which the vaccines were developed, their ingredients, and “conspiracies about microchips.” The people in the “refusal group,” “often young people, don’t think they need the experimental vaccine or would prefer to wait a few years before taking it, Clinton added. They also include people in communities who “have been maltreated” by the American “health system for generations.”=

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“Cuomo insisted the new plan is legal. ”

New York Baseball Stadiums To Separate Vaccinated And Unvaccinated Fans (ET)

People who have not received a COVID-19 vaccine will be seated separately from those who have in two major baseball stadiums in New York, officials announced this week. The segregation will be enforced at Fans at Citi Field and Yankee Stadium, home to Major League Baseball’s New York Mets and New York Yankees. “There are going to be separate sections for those who are vaccinated,” Randy Levine, president of the Yankees, told a May 5 briefing he joined with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. “As we sell tickets on an individual basis, they will go into one of those two areas, either unvaccinated or vaccinated because we will have some inventory in both types of location,” added Sandy Alderson, the president of the Mets.

The details of how the new policy will be enforced are still being developed. Sections with people who are vaccinated against the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which causes COVID-19, can be full, with no capacity restrictions. But in sections with unvaccinated people, fans will need to be spaced apart six feet. All fans, regardless of their status, must wear a mask, even though the games are played outdoors. “For baseball reopening, May 19th. Two different categories. Not Yankees/Mets. Vaccinated/Unvaccinated,” Cuomo, a Democrat who has refused calls to resign over sexual assault allegations and his administration hiding the number of elderly New Yorkers who died from COVID-19, told the briefing.

“I want to thank the Mets and the Yankees from the bottom of my heart. It’s a pain in the neck for them to operate this vaccinated and unvaccinated. The gentlemen who run the stadiums are here. It’s not easy to do this. Nobody’s done this before. Nobody’s done any of this before, let’s be honest,” he added. Cuomo insisted the new plan is legal.

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“Selling gold for the price of radishes”

Beijing’s Elusive Bid For Pricing Power On Rare Earths (Ma)

From ventilator and chip shortages to what kind of ships traverses through which canals, the linkages and nodes of the global economy have rarely been in the spotlight as much as they have over the last 12 months. Many of these disruptions are short-term ones, but they have also brought attention to longstanding challenges of supply chain resilience and dependence. One of those challenges is that of China’s grip on rare earth elements (REEs), a key input in permanent magnets that are in everything from smart phones and wind turbines to electric vehicles and missile guidance systems. This is not the first time these 17 elements that sit at the bottom of the periodic table have raised alarm from Tokyo to Washington. Back in 2010, Beijing was roundly accused of embargoing REE exports to Japan as Sino-Japan relations soured.

At the time, China was responsible for some 90%-plus of REE supplies globally, even though its estimated reserves are around just 25%-33% of the global total. Given the wide belief in Japan and the United States—which also happen to be the largest importers of REEs—that China could weaponize this resource, its supply monopoly raised hackles and intensified calls for diversification. A decade since, has much changed? I had trekked to Inner Mongolia’s Baotou Rare Earth Hi-Tech Zone back in 2010 to gain more insight into China’s designs on the REE industry and how that affected the global market. It’s worth revisiting this industry now to understand how its dynamics shaped Beijing’s thinking and intent on managing this resource.

China has long viewed REEs as a strategic resource, with the industry’s development spurred by a quip supposedly attributed to Deng Xiaoping: “The Middle East has oil, but China has rare earths.” Yet as China became the dominant supplier of REEs over subsequent decades, it saw the price of REEs plummet, hardly the price-setting influence that an OPEC exerted on oil prices. That frustrated the economic nationalists in Beijing, grumbling that China was essentially “selling gold at the price of radishes.” Much of that frustration stemmed from the government’s inability to regulate a wild industry that was rife with smuggling. At one point in 2011, it was estimated that there was a gap of 120% between REE volumes that China officially exported and what other countries imported.

Meanwhile, REE mining was also exacting a hefty environmental toll. The Chinese government decided it needed to consolidate the REE industry. Beijing thought it could clean up the illegal business, while also receiving some of that price-setting power that has long eluded it. What’s more, the move also dovetailed with rolling out the original “strategic emerging industries” initiative, the start of China’s effort to indigenize supply chains and move up the value chain. In other words, why export this resource for pennies when China should keep more of it for its own tech industries of the future?


Global Share of REE Production (in tons)

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“I’m afraid I have some bad news.”

Ex-CNN White House Reporter: Journalists Don’t Expect Govt Spying & Lying (RT)

American whistleblower Edward Snowden and many others mocked a former CNN White House correspondent for insinuating that US government lies and spying were unique to the Trump administration and reporters don’t expect it. Michelle Kosinski, who worked as CNN’s White House correspondent between 2014 and 2019, claimed on Saturday that “as an American journalist, you never expect” your “own govt to lie to you,” “hide information the public has a right to know,” and “spy on your communications.” “Trump’s unAmerican regime did all of these. No one should accept this,” she concluded. Kosinski was quickly ridiculed, both for suggesting that American journalists were so naive and for making government surveillance and disinformation appear exclusive to former President Donald Trump’s brief administration.


Whistleblower and former CIA employee Edward Snowden – who leaked information about the National Security Agency’s mass surveillance program on civilians and had to flee the US – told Kosinski, “I’m afraid I have some bad news.” “You are hideously unqualified to be a journalist if you think this, good lord,” tweeted another person, while journalist Alan MacLeod called Kosinski’s thought process “the level of naive state worship required to get a top job in the media.” Despite the heavy criticism, Kosinski stood by her post, claiming Trump’s “tens of thousands of outright lies, treasonous allegiances, and attacks on democracy” weren’t “equivalent” to the mass surveillance and disinformation campaigns from previous administrations.

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A curious detail: ..a group dubbed “DarkSide,” known for deploying ransomware and extorting victims while avoiding targets in post-Soviet states ..

Cyber Attack Shuts Down Top US Fuel Pipeline Network (R.)

Top U.S. fuel pipeline operator Colonial Pipeline has shut its entire network, the source of nearly half of the U.S. East Coast’s fuel supply, after a cyber attack that the company said was caused by ransomware. The incident is one of the most disruptive digital ransom operations ever reported and has drawn attention to how critical U.S. energy infrastructure is vulnerable to hackers. The shutdown has raised fears of a price spike at gasoline pumps ahead of peak summer driving season if it persists. Colonial transports 2.5 million barrels per day of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and other refined products through 5,500 miles (8,850 km) of pipelines linking refiners on the Gulf Coast to the eastern and southern United States. Colonial said it shut down systems to contain the threat after learning of the attack on Friday.


That action also temporarily halted operations and affected some of its IT systems, the company said. While the U.S. government investigation is in early stages, one former official and two industry sources said the hackers are likely a professional cybercriminal group. The former official said investigators are looking at a group dubbed “DarkSide,” known for deploying ransomware and extorting victim swhile avoiding targets in post-Soviet states. Colonial said the incident involved the use of ransomware, a type of malware designed to lock down systems by encrypting data and demanding payment to regain access. Colonial has engaged a cybersecurity firm to launch an investigation and contacted law enforcement and federal agencies, it said.

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Just dumb stuff.

NATO Allies Take Over Black Sea for Military Exercise (Antiwar)

The Pentagon’s Special Operations Command Europe kicked off the Trojan Footprint 21 exercise on May 3; what is identified as its premier special operations forces drills. The war games will be held until May 14 in five Black Sea and Balkans nations: Bulgaria, Georgia, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Romania. Special forces from the U.S. – all branches of the armed forces including Green Berets – the five host nations, Britain, Germany, Spain and Ukraine are involved. With the exception of Turkey, all Black Sea littoral states but Russia are participating.


The exercise is designed for “enhancing interoperability between NATO allies” to prepare for “counter[ing] myriad threats.” Though there aren’t a thousand, only one, threat. Russia. Just as it is all-service so it is “all-domain” with air, land and sea forces engaged in combating an unnamed adversary in the Black Sea. One which has a fleet based in Sevastopol in Crimea. Trojan Footprint 21 is occurring simultaneously with the massive DEFENDER-Europe 21 war games in the same area and ahead of the Steadfast Defender exercise, also to be held in the Black Sea region.

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“..revising a section in an official transcript to play down the prospect of Ukraine joining the NATO military bloc..”

US Finally Stops Pretending It Would Risk War With Russia Over Ukraine (RT)

Would the US go to war with Russia over Ukraine? As tensions escalate between Moscow and Kiev, some have warned that the latter’s ‘alliance’ with Washington could spiral into a conflict between the two main nuclear superpowers. Except, of course, there is no alliance between the US and Ukraine. This week, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken effectively ended the notion that Ukraine has Western backers ready to step in at a moment’s notice if it finds itself under attack. Pressed on whether American forces could be sent into battle against Russian troops to support Kiev in the event of war in an interview with MSNBC, he answered only that Washington is committed to “helping Ukraine defend itself.”

In other words, no. Indeed, with these words, Blinken backed up suspicions in Moscow that Washington stands ready to fight Moscow down to the very last Ukrainian, but would never risk its own troops. It is difficult to overstate the importance of the secretary of state’s response, which has effectively ended a calculated policy of strategic ambiguity over Ukraine. For years, the State Department has been reluctant to be drawn on just how far it would go for the Eastern European nation, and whether it would send its own soldiers into battle for its supposed ally.

The fact that mask has slipped now fundamentally changes the nature of the situation. It comes as the White House has also seemingly pivoted its foreign policy in the region by revising a section in an official transcript to play down the prospect of Ukraine joining the NATO military bloc. After turning to the West following the 2014 Maidan, Kiev has played up its credentials with the EU and US, emphasizing the importance of its ‘alliances’ and its role as a vanguard against supposed Russian aggression towards Central Europe. That argument is now based on less and less evidence.

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May 072021
 


Edgar Degas At the Milliner’s 1905-10

 

CDC Predicts Sharp Decline In Covid-19 Activity By July (Cidrap)
Why Masks Are Still Mandatory (AT)
CDC Uses Different PCR Test Rules For Vaccinated, Non-Vaccinated (AVV)
Experts Say It’s Vital That Parents Get Their Kids Vaccinated For Covid (F.)
Gates-Backed Institute Claims Covid Deaths Over Double Official Number (RT)
Merkel Opposes Biden’s Call To Waive Covid-19 Vaccine Patent Protections (RT)
Russia Authorizes Single-dose ‘Sputnik Light’ (RT)
Australia Borders Could Be Shut Until Late 2022 (Y!)
Gundlach Warns America’s “Unfunded Liabilities” Are $163 Trillion (ZH)
Big Tech Has Turned The Internet Into A Prison (Malic)
White House Says “We Support” Ukraine’s Ambitions To Join NATO (ZH)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tucker VAERS

 

 

This will be claimed as a vaccine victory, though it was predicted long before. Seasonal.

CDC Predicts Sharp Decline In Covid-19 Activity By July (Cidrap)

New modeling from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicts the United States will see a sharp drop off of COVID-19 infections and deaths by July, if high vaccination coverage is achieved and most of the country maintains a moderate adherence to non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs), including physical distancing. The data from six models were published yesterday in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Researchers predicted different outcomes based on four scenarios with different vaccination coverage rates and effectiveness estimates and strength and implementation of NPIs for a 6-month period (April–September 2021) using data available through Mar 27, 2021, the authors said.

The four scenarios included: high vaccination with moderate NPI use, high vaccination with low NPI use, low vaccination with moderate NPI use, and low vaccination with low NPI use. “All scenarios included the spread of the B.1.1.7 variant, with the assumption that it was 50% more transmissible than were previously circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants,” the authors said. “In all four scenarios, COVID-19 cases were projected to increase through May 2021 at the national level because of increased prevalence of the B.1.1.7 variant and decreased NPI mandates and compliance,” the authors found. “A sharp decline in cases was projected by July 2021, with a faster decline in the high-vaccination scenarios.”

The United States reported 44,51[0] new COVID-19 cases yesterday, and 776 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 tracker. In total, 32,580,188 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in the United States, including 579,653 deaths. The country is currently averaging 46,656 new COVID-19 cases and 686 deaths per day, according to a CNN analysis of Johns Hopkins data. The United States has not seen the 7-day average of deaths this low since July. The CDC COVID Data Tracker shows 321,549,335 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been delivered in the United States, and 249,556,820 have been administered, with 107,346,533 Americans fully vaccinated.

[..] As early as next week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is poised to issue an emergency use authorization for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 12 to 15. But according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, only 3 in 10 parents polled of children in that age group said they would get their child vaccinated as soon they are able. One quarter say they will wait and see how the vaccine is working, 18% say they will wait to see if school requires it, and one quarter say they will not get their child vaccinated.

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“People would actually begin to associate non-masking people with safety, while mask-wearing people would signal danger.”

Why Masks Are Still Mandatory (AT)

Joe Biden is in a pickle. He wants to continue to convince Americans they should get the experimental biological agent (AKA “the vaccine”), but, as Tucker Carlson pointed out last week, the administration and the CDC have offered no explanation as to why you need to continue to wear a mask after you have taken “the vaccine.” Why would they want us to doubt the efficacy of the vaccine? Why would any sane person who is not in a high-risk group contemplate becoming a lab experiment subject if you are not allowed (yes, our rights are now derived from government and will be doled out based on compliance) to burn your mask and return to a pre-pandemic way of life?

That’s just bad salesmanship…until you think about the alternative. Think about what would happen if they allowed (there’s that word again) people not to wear masks after being vaccinated. Here’s a typical scenario. The vaccinated test subject enters the supermarket. The vigilante mob of leftists can’t wait to accost and demand compliance to their edict, using physical violence if necessary. The test subject then proclaims that he has put his mask in his pocket. A short time later, the test subject hears the man claim the same immunity.

In this fictional example, you can begin to see what the ramifications of this policy would be. Within weeks, the majority of Americans would stop wearing masks. (Along with social distancing, and lockdowns, and getting the vaccine). People would actually begin to associate non-masking people with safety, while mask-wearing people would signal danger. The danger of the unvaccinated. The government has just lost all control. Do you really think these people will give up their newfound power so easily? I’m afraid not. I imagine that their Big Tech partners are working furiously building a mandatory vaccine passport system as you read this. Until that is up and running, you can expect the regime to continue requiring all people to wear masks, especially those who have been “vaccinated.”

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Google translated from a Belgian doctors’ site. Odd.

CDC Uses Different PCR Test Rules For Vaccinated, Non-Vaccinated (AVV)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has changed the rules for the PCR test so that vaccinees are less likely to be tested as infected than those who are not vaccinated. They have lowered the CT value from 40 to 28. The PCR test, on which the entire corona policy was based, is extremely unreliable and yields up to 90% false positives. So say Nature, WHO, The Lancet and many others. Without all those false positives, we wouldn’t have had this whole “crisis”. The current PCR test analyzes genetic material from the virus using 37 or 40 cycles, but health experts say that is too high because it detects even small amounts of the virus that do not pose a risk of contamination.

“Tests with such high thresholds can detect not only live virus, but also genetic fragments, remnants of infections that pose no particular risk – similar to finding hair in a room long after a person has left,” said Dr. Michael Mina, an epidemiologist at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, New York Times. “If you adjust that down to a more reasonable CT threshold of 30, anywhere from 40% -90% of lab results * are no longer positive. * The rest is well beyond the point of infectivity,” Mandavilli wrote on Twitter. The problem is that high CT threshold.

PCR tests are a very smart method to specifically amplify the smallest DNA fragments so often that they can be easily detected, TKP reports. As each cycle is doubled, very high gain percentages are achieved. How high this percentage must be in order to be able to detect an infection as such with any probability has been the subject of discussion for some time. The US agency CDC is now lowering the cycle threshold for detecting infections after vaccination from 37 to 40 to 28. A number of studies have shown that more than 24 to 27 cycles can certainly no longer detect infectious viruses. If you need more than 28 cycles, you have proof that there is no longer a reproducible virus.

But it goes beyond that, because in fact PCR cannot basically detect whether or not there is reproducible virus in the smear, because it only first converts small particles of it into DNA and then amplifies them. This is how the Swedish health authority Folkhälsomyndigheten describes it: “The PCR technology used in tests to detect viruses cannot differentiate between viruses capable of infecting cells and viruses that have been rendered harmless by the immune system, and therefore these tests cannot be used to detect viruses. whether or not someone is contagious.

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Vaccine porn.

Experts Say It’s Vital That Parents Get Their Kids Vaccinated For Covid (F.)

Children and teenagers might soon be the next focus of the U.S. Covid-19 pandemic. By the last week of April, cases among children and teens accounted for more than 22% of new cases in the U.S, and there was a 4% increase in the total number of cases in kids. Almost 4 million kids have been diagnosed with Covid-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. Luckily, vaccines for kids are arriving soon. On May 4th, Pfizer said the vaccine it co-developed with BioNTech will likely get an FDA authorization for use in kids aged 12-15. The companies hope to get the vaccines authorized for kids aged 2-11 by September. Moderna is just behind, having started its phase 2 / 3 clinical trial in children less than 12 years old in March.

While polls show that adults are increasingly willing to get vaccinated, if they haven’t already, some parents have expressed doubts about vaccinating their kids. These concerns range from a lack of data to the quick pace of production. That said, a recent poll showed that 30% of parents are enthusiastic about vaccinations. As vaccines become available for those under 18, pediatricians and researchers argue that it is essential to immunize kids against Covid-19, both for their own protection as well as the protection of everyone else. Usually, Covid-19 symptoms aren’t as severe for kids when compared to adults, but that doesn’t mean that kids feel no effect from the virus. The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that between 0.1% and 2% of Covid-19 cases affecting those under age 18 require hospitalization..

Additionally, more than 250 children in the U.S. have died from the disease in the past year. Children who have been infected with Covid-19 can see other complications. A multisystem inflammatory syndrome, called MIS-C, can cause fever, rash, and damage to the heart and other organs in children who had even asymptomatic cases of Covid-19. And just like adults, children can also get symptoms of “long-haul” Covid-19, which can include severe fatigue, headaches, and abdominal pain. Paul Offit, a pediatrician at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, says that he’s seen a number of cases of both severe Covid-19 and MIS-C in children. “I’m sure all of those parents would have preferred the vaccine to the disease,” he says.

[..] “Reaching a level of immunity in the community is even more important as these more transmissible variants are circulating,” says Ted Chaconas, the chief medical officer of UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital. And vaccinating kids won’t just help prevent them from getting the disease; it will also make the whole community safer. The more opportunity that the Covid-19 virus has to replicate in human bodies, the higher the likelihood that new mutations will emerge. Children make up almost 25% of the U.S. population, a huge group “that possibly has no preexisting immunity to this virus, that could become infected and produce new variants,” says Jennifer Nayak, a pediatric infectious disease doctor at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

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Covid porn.

Gates-Backed Institute Claims Covid Deaths Over Double Official Number (RT)

An outfit whose statistical models were used to justify early Covid-19 lockdowns is now arguing that the true death toll of the pandemic is far higher than the official numbers – and closer to their own apocalyptic predictions.
Covid-19 has killed more than 900,000 Americans and over 6.9 million people worldwide, the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) claimed on Thursday, citing their own statistical models based on excess mortality. By contrast, official figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University list 3.24 million deaths globally, of which 580,000 are in the US, as of May 6. IHME chief Dr. Christopher Murray explained in a series of videos that they used a “variety of statistical methods” to determine excess mortality, which was then weighed against six other factors to calculate whether it would have been due to the coronavirus or other causes.

They compared “anticipated deaths from all causes based on pre-pandemic trends with the actual number of all-cause deaths during the pandemic,” then removed the deaths both “indirectly attributable” to the pandemic and “averted” by the lockdowns. “When you put all that together, we conclude that the best way, the closest estimate, for the true Covid death is still excess mortality, because some of those things are on the positive side, other factors are on the negative side,” Murray said. The institute apparently suggests that official Covid data is not to be trusted – and their extrapolated “statistics” imply that some nations are even more untrustworthy than the others. For instance, they claim that Russia had almost six times more coronavirus deaths than its official numbers – almost as many as Brazil, whose official numbers are supposedly off by a third, again by IHME metrics.

By contrast, the UK “undercounted” its deaths by only 60,000 or so. The bombshell claim, while promptly parroted by major media outlets, was met with some skepticism by other scientists. William Hanage of Harvard University told NPR in an email that IHME’s claim that Covid-19 deaths have been “substantially undercounted” in some places more than others “is likely sound, but the absolute numbers are less so for a lot of reasons.” “Their estimate of excess deaths is enormous and inconsistent with our research and others,” said Dr. Steven Woolf of Virginia Commonwealth University. “There are a lot of assumptions and educated guesses built into their model.”

Read more …

Intellectual property covers a lot of things, not just vaccines.

Merkel Opposes Biden’s Call To Waive Covid-19 Vaccine Patent Protections (RT)

The Biden administration’s endorsement of a proposal to waive intellectual property rights on Covid-19 vaccines is facing new opposition from German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “The limiting factor for the production of vaccines are manufacturing capacities and high quality standards, not the patents,” a spokesperson for Merkel said Thursday, according to Bloomberg. “The protection of intellectual property is a source of innovation and this has to remain so in the future.” US Trade Representative Katherine Tai announced this week that the Biden administration was supporting a proposal in the World Trade Organization to open up patents on Covid-19 vaccines.

Tai said the “extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic call for extraordinary measures.” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called the announcement a “monumental moment in the fight against Covid-19. Supporters of the measure have said removing intellectual property protections will help low-income countries produce and distribute vaccines faster. Critics, however, like vaccine advocate Bill Gates, have argued that such a move presents difficulties and could hinder the safety of future vaccines. After Biden’s endorsement of the proposal, stock for companies like Pfizer and Moderna fell. Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said on Thursday he is “not at all” in favor of the US’ stance.

“The problem is that there are no facilities in the world outside the ones that we can build ourselves,” he told AFP. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said earlier on Thursday that the EU is ready to have discussions on the proposal to remove patent protections from vaccines. Russian President Vladimir Putin has also expressed its support for waiving patents.

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Russia’s doing better but not great.

Russia Authorizes Single-dose ‘Sputnik Light’ (RT)

The Russian Health Ministry has authorized the use of Sputnik Light, a one-shot coronavirus vaccine said to be even more efficient than some two-dose jabs currently on the market. Sputnik Light is the first component of the widely used Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, its researchers explained. However, the single dose has shown 79.4% efficacy, which “is higher than that of many two-dose vaccines,” the developers said in a statement. Researchers have analyzed the efficacy rate based on data received from Russia’s mass vaccination program between December 2020 and April 2021. Having studied data taken 28 days after a single injection was administered, they said the infection rate among one-time vaccinated people was just 0.277%. The unvaccinated adult population showed 1.349% infection rate over the same period.


The scientists behind the vaccine say it’s effective against new Covid-19 strains. Antibodies neutralizing the deadly virus were activated in over 91% of recipients on the 28th day post shot. It is also said to provide absolute protection against severe cases of the disease. Following the trials, no serious side effects have been registered, Sputnik Light researchers report. Developers hope the single dose will help provide faster immunization among larger numbers of people. “The single-dose regimen solves the challenge of immunizing large groups in a shorter time, which is especially important during the acute phase of the spread of coronavirus, achieving herd immunity faster,” said Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which funds the vaccine. He also pointed out that Sputnik Light “has an affordable price of less than $10,” and can be easily transported and stored.

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How is that not a prison?

Australia Borders Could Be Shut Until Late 2022 (Y!)

Australia is likely to remain shut to visitors until late 2022, the country’s trade and tourism minister said Friday, as another global coronavirus surge smashed hopes of a quick reopening. Minister Dan Tehan said a wave of cases on the Indian sub-continent showed Australia’s near blanket ban on arrivals was still essential to keep the country Covid-free. Since March 20, 2020, Australians have been barred from travelling overseas and a hard-to-get individual exemption is needed for foreign visitors to enter the country. It is “very hard to determine” when borders could reopen, Tehan told Sky News, “the best guess would be in the middle to the second half of next year”.


Before the pandemic, around one million short-term visitors entered the country each month. That figure is now around 7,000. Anyone who does enter must undergo 14 days strict hotel quarantine. A recently established travel bubble with New Zealand has had mixed success, being paused for cities where the virus jumped from quarantine facilities before being contained. Australia has recorded 29,886 cases since the pandemic began. A large proportion were detected in hotel quarantine. Vaccination rollout has been slow, with just 2.5 million vaccines administered in a country of 25 million people, each needing two doses.

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“..amount of unfunded liabilities is 775% of our current total economic output..”

Gundlach Warns America’s “Unfunded Liabilities” Are $163 Trillion (ZH)

DoubleLine’s Jeffrey Gundlach called the Fed’s bluff late last month, telling investors during an interview that he suspected the central bank was merely “guessing” about the impact of inflation being “transitory”. Since then, we have only received more signs that inflationary pressures are growing in the US economy, while a growing number of investors have been persuaded to agree with Gundlach. The other day, DoubleLine released a recording of another talk given by Gundlach where he elaborated on the inflation theme, while also discussing other issues like the outlook for the US dollar in the face of President Biden’s tax-and-spend agenda.

During the course of an hour-plus conversation, much of it accompanied by a slide deck with some of Gundlach’s favorite charts, Gundlach tackled a few key topics that he feels could threaten the Fed’s ability to backstop financial markets. He started by slamming Biden’s plan to hike capital gains taxes on taxpayers with more than $1 million in earnings, arguing that fears of higher capital gains taxes is already weighing in the market. Gundlach argued that high-beta stocks and other speculative investments like bitcoin have the most to lose due to a hike in capital gains. After all, who is going to want to take a risk on a long shot if they need to give half of their winnings to the government?

“Today is an important day because the president has made good if you want to call it that on his promise to begin raising taxes and the capital gains tax if you make more than a million dollars a year in California the capital gains tax if the proposal goes through that was launched today will be 57 capital gains tax that’s the federal tax plus the California tax so it’s getting pretty ugly and i think it’s going to have some very significant effects which we started to see the minute that this tax proposal was was launched today we’ve seen bitcoin a very speculative darling investment these days go down about 20 from its high in the last couple of weeks and obviously a lot of people would think twice about speculating on something like bitcoin if they felt that if they won meaning the price went up from their cost that 57 percent of a highly speculative gamble if it hits if it hits would go to the federal government but the stock market also fell pretty sharply upon that no wonder it’s surprising that people haven’t been contemplating this already.”

[..] Gundlach also pointed out that the surge in the debt doesn’t fully capture how much money the federal government owes. There are also unfunded liabilities which, when combined with all local, state and federal debt, leave US citizens on the hook for $163 trillion. That’s more than 5x the $28 trillion national debt. “The government giveaway programs and the programs that we put in place to battle the economic impact especially to people who were suddenly unemployed and there were about 20 20 uh 20 million people that were suddenly unemployed those stimulus packages were originally thought to be temporary but now they’ve become a fixture and we can see that the blue line in recent months has needed uh as has grown again as a requirement in funding these non-stop stimulus programs so the US government is now has over 28 trillion dollars in debt and the US government has $163 trillion in unfunded liabilities when you roll it all together federal state and local level that amount of unfunded liabilities is 775% of our current total economic output,” Gundlach said.

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No kidding.

Big Tech Has Turned The Internet Into A Prison (Malic)

I once thought the internet would have the same effect on corporate media gatekeepers as the AK-47 had on colonial empires in Africa. That was before Big Tech turned that promise of freedom into the second coming of feudalism. Wednesday’s decision by Facebook’s “oversight board” – a transparent attempt to outsource responsibility for censorship to an international committee – to extend the ban on 45th US President Donald Trump is just the latest example, but by no means the most egregious. Earlier this week, the banhammer descended on RT’s digital project Redfish over posts criticizing… Italian fascist leader Benito Mussolini and the Holocaust, of all things.

How did it come to this? Years ago, in an argument over media censorship, I had brought up the internet as the modern version of the AK-47. While the European colonial armies were able to conquer Africa in the 19th century, using machine guns and repeating rifles, they became unable to hold it once the Kalashnikov automatic rifle put the peasants in places like Congo, Angola and Vietnam on equal footing with Western armies seeking to keep them down. Or, if you want a more peaceful metaphor, it was the promise of open pasture extended to people who had previously been treated like cattle, penned up in factory barns and fed slop from a trough.

That was in March 2011. Facebook, YouTube and Twitter were already around, but they were challenging the gatekeepers and offering their platforms to the common people like myself. In 2016, everything changed. That was the year Trump was able to bypass the corporate gatekeepers, using those platforms to speak to the American people directly. Having consolidated the internet between them, and under pressure from politicians they already supported, the corporations running these platforms began censoring content and users – first gradually, then suddenly. The pretext for this was “Russiagate,” the conspiracy theory pushed by Democrats and their corporate media allies to explain Hillary Clinton’s 2016 fiasco, delegitimize Trump’s presidency, and – as it turns out – justify censorship.

As demonstrated by the recent example of Twitter’s clash with Russia over illegal content, or Facebook’s standoff with Australia over paying for news, these mega-corporations aren’t opposed to censorship or committed to property on principle. Rather, their only “principle” is the Who-Whom reductionism, a world in which they and those they agree with can do no wrong, while anyone else can do no right. The long march from banning Alex Jones in 2018 to banning the sitting president of the United States in 2021 was completed with surprising alacrity. The collusion within Silicon Valley to ban Trump on the blatantly false pretext of “inciting insurrection” on January 6 may have been the political Rubicon, but Big Tech had begun putting their finger, fist and even elbow on the political scales long before.

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Let them try.

White House Says “We Support” Ukraine’s Ambitions To Join NATO (ZH)

While traveling aboard Air Force One for President Joe Biden’s visit to Louisiana on Thursday, White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre bluntly stated that “we support” Ukraine’s ambition to join NATO. When she was asked by a press pool reporter if the White House “supports Ukraine joining NATO” – the deputy press secretary responded with “We supported it… yeah” – but then quickly sought to clarify that certain “commitments” have to be met. She explained, “The Biden administration remains committed to ensuring that NATO’s door remains open to aspirants when they are ready and able to meet the commitments.” “Secretary [of State Antony] Blinken is in Kiev right now to affirm our support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and independence. His trip also emphasizes the importance of Ukraine passing key legislation to advance rule of law, anticorruption and economic reforms that will strengthen Ukraine’s democracy and economy, and further Euro-Atlantic integration,” Jean-Pierre said.

“The Biden administration is committed to ensuring that NATO’s door remains open to aspirants when they are ready and able to meet the commitments and obligations of membership and contribute to security in the Euro-Atlantic area,” she later clarified. Rarely has the White House answered the controversial question so directly, especially given NATO’s clear requirements for entry stipulating that a country engaged in territorial disputes with neighbors, including internal civil conflict, is not eligible for membership. This is because of the obvious reality that the inevitable quick invocation of NATO’s Article 5 would immediately result in war. Last month’s renewed crisis and Russian troop build-up which thrust the Russia-Ukraine-Crimea dispute back in international headlines saw Kiev officials renew their vocal push for entry into NATO. Kiev had after the Maidan coup in 2014 cooled its NATO pursuit rhetoric given the obvious hurdles for entry and the conflict with Russian-backed separatists in the country’s east.

Crucially in the Thursday comments, which are sure to raise the alarm in Moscow, the White House spokeswoman additionally emphasized that the US “supports” Ukraine’s reforms (the very reforms which are meant to secure its future NATO membership) as well as “its border fight against Russia aggression.” The NATO question will likely be raised by Vladimir Putin assuming the much anticipated Biden-Putin summit actually materializes in June. Russia has long considered Ukraine and Georgia’s NATO pursuits to be a “red line” which the Kremlin says would make war all but certain.

Read more …

 

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Apr 292021
 
 April 29, 2021  Posted by at 8:06 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,  84 Responses »


James McNeill Whistler Miss Ethel Philip Reading 1894

 

Science Catches Up – And Burns You All (Denninger)
Legal Worries On EU’s ‘Green Certificates’ For Covid Travel (EUO)
NHS App To Be Used As Coronavirus Passport For International Travel (Sky)
UK Councils Are Recruiting Armies Of New Covid Marshals (DM)
Separating Rumor From Fact On Covid-19’S Origin (Sharyl Attkisson)
US Rejected Russian Offer for Complete Reset In Relations (RT)
EU Seeks SWIFT Shut-Off For Russia “If Ukraine Aggression Continues” (ZH)
The MH17 Trial: The Dangers of Presuming (MPN)
The CIA Has Been Taking Over for Decades (MPN)
The Scarcity of Money Myth (Cullen Roche)
In Praise of Bitcoin (Ben Hunt)
Deutsche Bank Warns Soaring Food Prices Will Lead To Social Unrest (ZH)
Scientists Find Way To Remove Polluting Microplastics With Bacteria (G.)
Revealed: UK Campaign to Force Assange From Ecuadorian Embassy (CN)

 

 

Richard Werner @scientificecon:
BREAKING: There is, after all, now a reason for social distancing: Organic humans may wish to stay away from the vaccinated GMOs because of the risk of “shedding” adverse vaccination effects from the vaccinated (genetically modified people) to the unvaccinated (organic people).

 

 

 

“Short-term prevention of “infection” among the 81% of those with existing T-cell recognition to the nucleocapsid proteins is not only stupid it is likely to kill people over the intermediate and longer term..”

Science Catches Up – And Burns You All (Denninger)

From the Nature study: “Taken together, SARS-CoV-2 T cell epitopes enabled detection of post-infectious T cell immunity in 100% of individuals convalescing from COVID-19 and revealed pre-existing T cell responses in 81% of unexposed individuals.” Now we know what Diamond Princess happened the way it did. It was never possible for more than 20% of the people on that ship to get seriously-symptomatic Covid-19 despite being cooped up in close quarters for weeks with an aerosol-spread disease and cruise passengers generally being wildly-overrepresented for various morbidity factors. It also completely explains why one of two people quarantined in the same cabin got sick and the other did not.

We also know why my friend’s grandfather was killed by it but his equally-morbid grandmother was not touched symptomatically even though she tested positive despite literally sleeping in the same bed with him until he wound up in the hospital and ultimately expired. We also know why there is no place on the planet that has seen >20% of people with significant, symptomatic disease from Covid-19. Not a single place has had that happen, even where sanitation is crap and people spread it like crazy (e.g. Iran where they lick monuments sequentially — literally.) This study explains every single example seen everywhere in the world, including high-concentration examples, of infection with Covid-19 back to the start of the pandemic.

We now know why no more than 20% of any exposed population has ever exhibited materially-serious disease — it simply was not possible as no more than 20% of the population was potentially susceptible to serious disease. Ever. Period. [..] “Short-term prevention of “infection” among the 81% of those with existing T-cell recognition to the nucleocapsid proteins is not only stupid it is likely to kill people over the intermediate and longer term since those who are not vaccinated and get infected with partial resistance build additional and durable immunity via said low-symptom and asymptomatic infections which do not materially harm them and blocking that process is harmful, not helpful. This group includes nearly all young adults and children for which people are trying to force vaccination.”

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Ciarán McCollum: “..the DGC certificates are useless as proof of whether you are infected, or can or cannot spread the virus.”

Legal Worries On EU’s ‘Green Certificates’ For Covid Travel (EUO)

An instrument of unusual significance is quietly on its way to becoming law in Europe: the proposal for a ‘Digital Green Certificate’ (DGC). Up for a vote in the European Parliament’s plenary on Wednesday, it erects a “universal framework” for the control of disease within the Schengen area. The EU Commission has presented it as a return to freedom of movement, essentially suspended by member states since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a pandemic. However the DGC, which creates certificates for Europeans showing the bearer has been vaccinated, tested or achieved immunity, is already beginning to lose its sheen. Last week, the WHO asked that any plans for making proof of vaccination a condition of entry be abandoned, after the US ruled out enforcing vaccination cards on its territory.

So is it wise for Europe to continue with its own? Freedom of movement is perhaps the European Union’s most cherished achievement, certainly among northerners seeking a visa-free sun holiday. In my home of Northern Ireland, with our ever-fragile cross-border peace agreement, we have a special appreciation for the importance of keeping borders open. The recent EU threat to impose a ‘vaccine border’ between Northern Ireland and the Republic imperilled that peace. The EU can’t afford another blunder on borders, so it’s in its own interest that the DGC does what it says on the tin. However a cursory glance at the contents suggests a case of mislabeling or at least a lack of legal certainty. The commission assures us that the DGC will not restore (or entrench) border controls.

But “universal framework” can only be read as a euphemism for checks within the Schengen zone. It is article 3 of the DGC that creates certificates of vaccination, testing and immunity. Border guards will have to inspect these. As it’s put in Article 3(1), there will be “cross-border verification”, performed by the member state “authorities” mentioned in Article 9(2). In the absence of such checks, the certificates would be useless and the “universal framework” would not exist. With vaccinated Europeans travellers separated from non-vaccinated, infected from non-infected, and immune from non-immune—the DGC, if applied, would be a guarantee of discrimination within the EU.

This is simply not permissable under the Schengen Code. Chapter II of the Schengen Borders Code allows for the temporary reintroduction of internal borders in some circumstances, but that does not include a public health emergency. The whole endeavour is even more absurd if one acknowledges the scientific certainty that being vaccinated does not mean that one cannot be a carrier of the virus, nor infect others. We already know from the European Medicines Agency and WHO, confirmed by a decision this month of the Conseil d’État (France’s Supreme Court), that no proof exists of vaccination halting the spread of Covid-19. Meanwhile, in the last months many courts including the Lisbon Court of Appeal and Administrative Court of Vienna have held that PCR testing is unreliable and cannot be relied on for determining infection; a physician must perform a proper medical diagnosis. Thus the DGC certificates are useless as proof of whether you are infected, or can or cannot spread the virus.

Read more …

 

They even have several different passport apps.

NHS App To Be Used As Coronavirus Passport For International Travel (Sky)

Britons will find out which countries they will be able to enjoy quarantine-free travel to this summer “in the next couple of weeks” – as the transport secretary confirmed an NHS app will be used as a COVID passport for travel abroad. Under Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s roadmap for lifting lockdown restrictions, international travel without one of the current exemptions – which exclude holidays – will not be allowed any earlier than 17 May. Ministers have set out plans for a “traffic light” system to be used this summer to categorise different destinations. And, speaking to Sky News on Wednesday, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps revealed “in the next couple of weeks” he will be able to give details on which countries have made it on to the “green list”.


These will be destinations where Britons will be able to travel without having to quarantine on their return, although they will still need to undergo a COVID test before their departure, as well as on their return to the UK. Mr Shapps also confirmed an NHS app will be used to allow Britons to demonstrate whether they have had a COVID jab, or tested negative for the virus, before travelling abroad. “It will be the NHS app that is used for people when they book appointments with the NHS and so on, to be able to show you’ve had a vaccine or that you’ve had testing,” he added. “I’m working internationally with partners across the world to make sure that system can be internationally recognised.” Government sources clarified the app would not be the NHS COVID app – currently used to “check in” to venues such as pubs and restaurants for contact-tracing purposes – but would instead be the NHS app used to book general appointments.

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70% of the population allegedly has antibodies.

UK Councils Are Recruiting Armies Of New Covid Marshals (DM)

Armies of new Covid marshals are being hired across the country for jobs that could last for another two years despite lockdown restrictions being set to end in eight weeks’ time. Councils in England are in the process of recruiting a new legion of marshals who are expected to take to the streets from July this year despite Government plans to lift remaining coronavirus restrictions on June 21. It comes as data revealed nearly 40 million Britons now live in practically ‘Covid-free’ areas following the UK’s hugely successful vaccine rollout and continued lockdown measures. Hertfordshire County Council is among those advertising for Covid marshals, with the local authority offering a contract worth an estimated £3 million to a provider that can supply 60 marshals from July 1 until January 31 next year.

The contract also comes with a possible one-year extension to 2023. In its description of the marshals’ duties, the contract notice reads: ‘Provide practical support to aid and encourage compliance, such as dedicated staff in public areas, business support, or support for individuals.’ It continues: ‘Introduce measures to aid public and business awareness and understanding of regulations and guidance.’ Hertfordshire County Council defended its decision to recruit marshals, saying it is ‘not indicative of any increases in restrictions from July 2021 onwards’. Jim McManus, director of Public Health for Hertfordshire County Council, said: ‘In line with the Government’s projections for the roadmap out of lockdown, we are working towards restrictions being eased by 21 June 2021, but we know that the virus is still circulating and will be for some time.

‘We know from last year that numbers of infections can change rapidly, and Government are very clear that we should plan in case a third wave arises. ‘It would be a dereliction of duty not to prepare for a third wave, at the same time as doing all we can to prevent it happening by keeping infections as low as possible so we can enjoy summer with no restrictions.

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“It Was Uncle Tony All Along..”

Separating Rumor From Fact On Covid-19’S Origin (Sharyl Attkisson)

When the former head of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Dr. Robert Redfield, recently said Covid-19 likely leaked from a Chinese research lab, news headlines called it “shocking.” Dr. Robert Redfield on CNN: “I still think the most likely etiology of this pathogen in Wuhan was from a laboratory— you know, escaped.” That was followed by a flurry of media reports ridiculing the notion; insisting that Covid-19 probably jumped from bats to people through an unexplained, natural route. But there’s new information that hasn’t been widely reported. A sizable segment of the research community has formed the same opinion as Dr. Redfield: that Covid-19 leaked from experiments at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China. Jamie Metzl, World Health Organization International Advisory Committee on Human Genome Editing:

“There are scientists all around the world who have told me that they believe the most likely origin of COVID-19, of the pandemic, is an accidental lab leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.” Jamie Metzl is a member of the World Health Organization International Advisory Committee on Human Genome Editing. Sharyl (to Metzl): “What have you been told, and what have you found about scientists who feel like they can’t step forward?” Metzl: “Many of these people are afraid to step forward. They’ve called it career suicide, because there are so many contentious issues, because the stakes are so high. Because the Chinese government, in collaboration, or conjunction, or maybe not even association, but with some very high-level and prominent scientists have put forward this story that I think is wrong.”

Two scientists with knowledge of the matter told me the U.S. government conducted genome sequencing almost immediately in the pandemic. Among other things, they say Covid-19 shows clear hallmarks of man’s intervention. French virologist Luc Montagnier, a Nobel Prize recipient, arrived at the same conclusion a year ago. He says Covid-19’s genetics reveal “manipulation.” “Someone added sequences,” he said. “It’s the work of professionals, of molecular biologists…a very meticulous work.” Genetic analysis alone isn’t 100% conclusive, because results must be compared to viruses from the Wuhan lab. And sources confirm: “We never got the sample from China.” But scientists who spoke with me say genome sequencing, coupled with what’s known about research conducted by a U.S.-Chinese partnership, leaves them with little doubt that Covid-19 is a product of experiments.

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After Biden Inauguration.

US Rejected Russian Offer for Complete Reset In Relations (RT)

The Kremlin proposed a complete reset in the strained relationship between Moscow and Washington after the inauguration of US President Joe Biden, but it was turned down by the White House, Russia’s chief diplomat said on Tuesday. Speaking to journalist Dmitry Kiselyov, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov explained that Russia wants to get back on a sound footing in its relationship with the US. “If it only depended on us, we would return to normal relations,” Lavrov explained, noting that the first step would be to cancel the expulsions of Russian diplomats from Washington, and US diplomats from Moscow. “We offered this to President Biden’s Administration as soon as he took all the necessary oaths and assumed power,” he continued. “I mentioned this to Secretary of State [Antony] Blinken.”


According to Lavrov, the crisis began when former President Barack Obama took measures against Russia prior to his leaving office. After the election of Donald Trump, Moscow remained patient and waited for the new administration to reverse the “excesses” of the outgoing president, but it never happened. “I very much hope that Washington, as we do, recognizes their responsibility for stability in the world,” Lavrov continued. “There are not only problems between Russia and the US that complicate the lives of our citizens… but also disagreements that put international security at serious risk, in the broadest sense of the word.” In recent weeks, relations between Moscow and Washington have become even more strained.

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“Russian officials have recently called Ukraine’s lobbying to get Russia banned from SWIFT “a declaration of war”…”

EU Seeks SWIFT Shut-Off For Russia “If Ukraine Aggression Continues” (ZH)

Days after President Putin warned the West of a “harsh” and “asymmetrical” response if it crosses Russia’s ‘red line’ concerning NATO troop positioning and the recently renewed Ukraine standoff, the European Parliament in Brussels has proposed a new resolution to disconnect Russia from the SWIFT payment system. Dated Wednesday, April 28, it’s entitled, “European Parliament resolution on Russia, the case of Alexei Navalny, the military build-up on Ukraine’s border and Russian attacks in the Czech Republic.” The over 50 European Parliament lawmakers cited “aggression and continued destabilization of Ukraine, hostile behavior towards and outright attacks on EU member states and societies.” It further appears a ‘preventative’ and threatening measure in the instance of any future scenario of major Russian troop build-up in Crimea and along Ukraine’s border such as occurred over the last month.

Despite the Kremlin last week ordering a troop draw down after the conclusion of Black Sea military drills, the EU is clearly seeking to drastically beef up the “cost” automatically imposed on Russia for “threats” against Ukrainian sovereignty. Here’s what the key section of the new punitive resolution says on SWIFT: “…Underscores that if such a military build-up were in the future to be transformed into an invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation, the EU must make clear that the price for such a violation of international law and norms would be severe; insists, therefore, that in such circumstances imports of oil and gas from Russia to the EU be immediately stopped, while Russia should be excluded from the SWIFT payment system, and all assets in the EU of oligarchs close to the Russian authorities and their families in the EU need to be frozen and their visas cancelled;”

It’s certainly not the first time that Western allies have threatened such. The threat to cut off Russia from the global system for financial messaging and cross-border payments which acts as the protector of the dollar reserve system has lingered for the past half-decade, since the initial Crimea crisis and the start of war in eastern Ukraine. Russian officials have recently called Ukraine’s lobbying to get Russia banned from SWIFT “a declaration of war”…

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“..the proceedings and the trial, arguing that from the start Russia’s guilt has been presumed while never proven..”

The MH17 Trial: The Dangers of Presuming (MPN)

Only one of the four men charged – Oleg Pulatov – will be represented in court, although he himself will remain in Russia. At the time of writing, it is not certain that his attorneys will have had an opportunity to visit him. Russian law does not allow the extradition of its citizens for hearings outside of Russia. Russia’s offer to hold the trial in Russia was rejected, predictably. But there are far more significant flaws to the proceedings as currently constituted. One member of the JIT — Malaysia, headquarters of the owner of MH17, the flag carrier Malaysia Airlines — was not admitted to the JIT until 2015, months after it had been constituted, and has rejected the findings of the JIT.

The prime minister of Malaysia, Mahathir Mohamad, professed considerable skepticism about the proceedings and the trial, arguing that from the start Russia’s guilt has been presumed while never proven. Western mainstream media coverage of the incident — fed with a narrative prepared within six hours of the crash by the Ukrainian intelligence service (SBU), whose business is the protection of Ukrainian national interests — presumed Russian guilt from day one, best exemplified by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation and the headline of its most popular British newspaper, The Sun: “Putin’s Missile,” on the morning after the crash.

[..] The presumption of Russian guilt in the shooting down of MH17 on July 17, 2014 is extremely convenient to the government of Ukraine. Which is why it is so very problematic that Ukraine, which suffered no loss of life in MH17, has been one of the five nations represented on the Dutch-led JIT while Russia is not a member, and that most of the evidence collected by the JIT has come from Ukrainian intelligence (SBU), a body that exists solely to serve the interests of Ukraine and that has been implicated by MH17 blogger and analyst Hector Reban in theft, torture and murder. Much of the information most sensitive to the case — notably concerning the “Buk route” (the route it is alleged a Buk unit followed to travel from Russia to Donbass and back), intercepted communications, text and visual postings on social media, and the supply of witnesses — comes from the SBU and much of it, by its very nature, is highly susceptible to malpractice or other forms of contamination. The JIT has warmly thanked the SBU for its collaboration and for many months the JIT worked in close proximity to the SBU in Kiev.

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“This particular report from the Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines was written in consultation with the CIA, the FBI, the DIA, the DHS, and a partridge in a pear tree…”

The CIA Has Been Taking Over for Decades (MPN)

December 22, 1963 — exactly one month after President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated, former President Harry S. Truman published an op-ed in the Washington Post that most people, especially our perfumed ruling elite, wanted to ignore. Truman, who signed the CIA into existence just after World War II, wrote: “I think it has become necessary to take another look at the purpose and operations of our Central Intelligence Agency—the CIA. […] For some time I have been disturbed by the way the CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the Government. This has led to trouble and may have compounded our difficulties in several explosive areas. …There is something about the way the CIA has been functioning that is casting a shadow over our historic position and I feel that we need to correct it.”

Not only did that adorn the pages of the Washington Post one month after JFK’s death, Truman hand wrote the first draft just one week after JFK met up with a bunch of bullets in Dallas. Sure, one may wish Harry had sent his thoughts to John a month before the President’s televised execution. Maybe he could’ve sent a singing telegram or something. But let’s at least give Truman partial credit for the belated message. Before his death, President Kennedy also held no love for the Central Intelligence Agency. Following the calamitous Bay of Pigs invasion, Kennedy said he wanted to “splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it into the winds.” Point being, clearly Truman, who created the CIA, and Kennedy, who met a mysterious untimely end by professional killers, knew the agency had run amok.

Yet the CIA is still here, bigger and filled with more Bond villains than ever, and now they have a whole cavalcade of other intelligence agencies working with them. The Intelligence Community just recently put out a report that showed that their component agencies are indeed working to surveil, harass, and attack an assortment of U.S. citizens. This particular report from the Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines was written in consultation with the CIA, the FBI, the DIA, the DHS, and a partridge in a pear tree. (An evil, kinda dastardly partridge. Not a good partridge at all. Like the kind of partridge that would eat the last pickle and then put the jar back in the fridge, so that later when you’re excited to grab a delicious crispy pickle, there’s nothin’ there but a jar full of pickle urine. So yeah, the worst partridge.)

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“..this is basically all the modern economy is. It’s a bunch of people making promises to make things (mostly homes, to be honest) in exchange for some amount of deposits that they conjured up from nothing in the form of a contract.”

The Scarcity of Money Myth (Cullen Roche)

“money” is really just a bunch of contractual agreements. It’s “I’ll give you 25 apples at this time next year and this monetary note will settle that debt”. Loans create deposits. Deposits are money. Anyone who’s read this website for 10 minutes probably knows that. But all those loans, all that money, is just an agreement between two parties. It’s just a contractual agreement created from thin air. The government didn’t need to be involved (though that could certainly help in lots of ways). We didn’t need gold bars or physical coins or anything “natural” here. We just needed two people to make an agreement denominated in some specific terms. In its simplest sense, that’s really all money is – an agreement between two people that other people ultimately exchange in the meantime for all sorts of other stuff of relative value.

The key point here is that that money has value because someone has strong demand for it, presumably because there’s the promise of valuable goods and services attached to it. I want those 25 apples in the future and so do lots of other people so the demand for that money is strong because it’s a claim on real resources (assuming of course the 25 apples actually come into existence). And this is basically all the modern economy is. It’s a bunch of people making promises to make things (mostly homes, to be honest) in exchange for some amount of deposits that they conjured up from nothing in the form of a contract.

The more important key point is that money is elastic. This means that we can create more of these agreements as needed to meet the demands of the economy. A lot of us have been trained to believe that more money is necessarily bad/inflationary. But this need not be true so long as we produce the corresponding real resources to support the demand for that money. In fact, this is a good thing because it provides us with a monetary system that can flexibly react to the needs of its users. And this is what all credit based monetary systems are – flexible systems that can expand and contract financial assets as needed. Within the piping of the existing system banks are the primary issuers of the loans that supply that needed liquidity.

The alternative is some sort of fixed money supply that relies on relative price changes and the kindness of rich people to lend some of that money. While this could work in theory, it doesn’t work in reality because the system just isn’t dynamic enough. And this is the primary reason why we end up with what people refer to as “fractional reserve” style systems. In other words, someone (or something) tries to fix the money supply using gold or reserves or some other fixed supply asset. And credit markets naturally build off of these systems because the fixed supply system isn’t elastic enough. This is good as it allows us to grow more apples and build more houses on demand, as needed to meet our needs.

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Long diatribe from Ben. Bitcoin as an art form.

In Praise of Bitcoin (Ben Hunt)

Because the artistic Bitcoin identity I admire and value has been subverted by the neutering machine of Wall Street and the regulatory panopticon of the US Treasury Dept. Because what made Bitcoin special in the first place is nearly lost, and what remains is a false and constructed narrative that exists in service to Wall Street and Washington rather than in resistance. Yes, the Nudging State and the Nudging Oligarchy strike back. They always do when it comes to money. Not with imperial stormtroopers or legislative sanction, but with golden handcuffs and administrative surveillance. It’s not that the State and the status quo institutionalization of capital – call it Wall Street, for short – have any desire to ban Bitcoin. Why would they do that?

No, far better to accommodate and swallow Bitcoin, like they have every other financial “innovation” for the past 1,000 years. Far better to neuter the censorship-resistant and anonymity-preserving aspects of Bitcoin, and turn it into another gaming table in the Wall Street casino. In my dystopian vision, Bitcoin isn’t banned or criminalized. Pfft. That’s a rookie, weak State move. No, I see a future where everyone buys Bitcoin. Where you are encouraged to buy Bitcoin. Where Bitcoin is sold to you morning, noon and night. Where normie economists get on conference calls late at night because they’re Bitcoin price-curious. Except it’s not really Bitcoin.

Instead, it’s Bitcoin!™ — a cartoon version of the OG Bitcoin, either a Wall Street-abstracted representation of the price of Bitcoin or a government-painted version of Bitcoin in Dayglo orange. Either way — abstracted or painted — your Bitcoin!™ is trackable and traceable, fully KYC and AML and FBAR and SWIFT and every other US Treasury acronym-compliant. Either way, your Bitcoin!™ has all the revolutionary potential of a bumper sticker and all the identity signaling power of a small tattoo on your upper arm. Bitcoin!™ doesn’t stick it to the Man … Bitcoin!™ IS the Man. Welcome to the MMXXI Hunger Games.

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Where all the stimulus ends up.

Deutsche Bank Warns Soaring Food Prices Will Lead To Social Unrest (ZH)

Yesterday we explained why with prices already soaring, global inflation was about to go into overdrive as the leading food price indicator that is the Bloomberg Agri spot index hit the highest level in six years. In a nutshell, this is a problem since food is a large component of CPI baskets in Asia, and “this large inflationary impulse in the region that houses more than half the world’s population should result in higher wage costs in the factory base of the world. As CPI and PPI rise in Asia, it will feed through globally in the months ahead.” Today, DB’s Jim Reid picked that chart as his “Chart of the day”, repeating what readers already know, namely that Bloomberg’s agriculture spot index has risen by c.76% year-on-year, noting that “that’s the biggest annual rise in nearly a decade, and there are only a couple of other comparable episodes since the index begins back in 1991.”

Like us, Reid then patiently tries to explain to all the idiots – like those employed in the Marriner Eccles building – that the importance of this record surge “extends far beyond your weekly shop, as there’s an extensive literature connecting higher food prices to periods of social unrest.” Indeed, you’ll notice from the chart that the last big surge from the middle of 2010 to early 2011 coincided with the start of the Arab Spring, for which food inflation is regarded as a contributing factor. While this is hardly new [..] Reid also reminds us that emerging markets are more vulnerable to this trend, since their consumers spend a far greater share of their income on food than those in the developed world.


The DB strategist then goes all-in and says what everyone is thinking, namely that “this trend of higher food prices leading to social unrest extends far back into history and surrounds many key turning points. The French Revolution of 1789, which overthrew the Ancien Régime, came after a succession of poor harvests that led to major rises in food prices. It was a similar story at the time of Europe’s 1848 revolutions too, which followed the failure of potato crops in the 1840s and the associated severe famine in much of Europe. And the 1917 overthrow of the Tsarist regime in Russia took place in the context of food shortages as well.” So while it remains to be seen what the consequences of today’s surge in food prices could be, Reid cautions that “given the hardship that’s already occurred thanks to the pandemic, a fresh wave of unrest would be no surprise on a historical basis.”

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Bit too positive? Stop using the word “sustainable” for these things, it makes me cringe.

Scientists Find Way To Remove Polluting Microplastics With Bacteria (G.)

Microbiologists have devised a sustainable way to remove polluting microplastics from the environment – and they want to use bacteria to do the job. Bacteria naturally tend to group together and stick to surfaces, and this creates an adhesive substance called “biofilm” – we see it every morning when brushing our teeth and getting rid of dental plaque, for example. Researchers at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) want to use this sticky bacteria property and create tape-like microbe nets that can capture microplastics in polluted water to form an easily disposable and recyclable blob.

Although these findings, presented on Wednesday at the Microbiology Society’s annual conference, are still preliminary, this invention could pave the way for sustainably lowering plastic pollution levels in the long run by simply using something found in nature. “It is imperative to develop effective solutions that trap, collect, and even recycle these microplastics to stop the ‘plastification’ of our natural environments,” said Sylvia Lang Liu, microbiology researcher at PolyU and lead researcher on this project. Microplastics are the plastic fragments, usually smaller than 5mm, which are accidentally released into the environment during production and breakdown of, for example, grocery bags or water bottles – or during everyday activities such as washing synthetic clothes such as nylon or using personal care products with scrubbing microbeads in them.

Although they are tiny, the risk they post to the environment is huge. Microplastics are not easily biodegradable, so they stick around for long periods of time and they also absorb and accumulate toxic chemicals. They disperse into wastewater and into the oceans, endangering marine animals who end up eating them and eventually trickling into the food chain and harming human health too. Microplastics had been found in more than 114 aquatic species in 2018, according to the International Maritime Organization, and they have been found in salt, lettuce, apples, and more. Yet, there are not any sustainable, one-size-fit-all ways to eliminate microplastics.

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People should go to jail for these things. They never do.

Revealed: UK Campaign to Force Assange From Ecuadorian Embassy (CN)

The UK government paid £8,330 in November 2018 to bring Ecuador’s defence minister Oswaldo Jarrín to Britain, two months before the planned seizure of Julian Assange from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, it can be revealed. It is unusual for foreign ministers to have their trips to the UK paid by the British government, and the week-long visit came after Prime Minister Theresa May had been told to “butter up” Ecuador’s president, Lenín Moreno, in order to get Assange expelled from the embassy. The new information comes from UK Foreign Office documents released to Declassified, as well as the recently published diaries of former foreign office minister, Sir Alan Duncan, who was a key player in the Assange negotiations.

The documents note that “the main objective” of the November 2018 visit was Jarrín’s “participation” at an annual national counter-terrorism exercise that rehearses the government’s response to a major terrorist attack. The exercise is organised by the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism, a part of the Home Office which “oversees the Security Service [MI5] and police counter-terrorism operations in the UK”. It is unclear why Ecuador’s defence minister was chosen to attend a counter-terrorism exercise as the South American nation is not a target of terrorist groups. The documents note that “one of the main meetings” was with then armed forces minister Mark Lancaster, after which the Ministry of Defence reported the two countries were “strengthening our ties”. Jarrín also visited the Foreign Office’s “crisis centre” and met with the head of UK Export Finance, Louis Taylor.

Two months before Jarrín’s visit, in September 2018, the UK government had spent another £12,806 facilitating a three-day visit by Ecuadorian officials concerned with fighting corruption and money laundering in the country. The evaluation of the trip noted that it helped the UK government to “build strong relationships” and that “the UK was subsequently commended as a partner of choice to President of the Republic [Lenín Moreno]”. A Foreign Office spokesperson told Declassified: “The Foreign Office regularly arranges meetings with ministers and officials from other countries to encourage closer engagement with our international partners and help achieve our foreign policy objectives.” She added: “As part of this work, some of the costs of these visits are occasionally covered by the Department or by Posts. These are carefully considered on a case by case basis, and only when resources are available.”

British security officials also visited Ecuador in the build-up to Assange’s exit from the embassy, government records show. In July 2018, Philip Barton, then director general of security at the Foreign Office, flew to Ecuador for “short notice bilateral meetings” with its foreign ministry. A week after his return he travelled to Cheltenham for “meetings at GCHQ”, the UK’s largest intelligence agency, government travel logs show. Then, two weeks before Assange was expelled from the embassy, on March 27, 2019, Britain’s then deputy national security adviser for intelligence, Richard Moore, spent £4,469 on a business-class flight to Ecuador, the logs show. Moore was appointed chief of MI6, Britain’s external intelligence agency, just over a year later. Barton now runs the Foreign Office.

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“I’ve got the world in my window.”

Michael Collins (died yesterday at 90) snapped this photo of the lunar module returning to the command module after landing on the Moon. With the Earth in the background, all of humanity is in this photograph, save Collins himself.

 

 

 

 

 

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Apr 252021
 
 April 25, 2021  Posted by at 8:40 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  35 Responses »


Sophia Loren seated by the Parthenon on the Athenian Acropolis during filming for ‘Boy on a Dolphin’, 1957

 

To Friends in the US: Facilitate Global Vaccine Manufacturing (CarnegieIndia)
US Defends Restrictions On Export Of Covid-19 Vaccine Raw Materials (Hindu)
The 2006 Origins of the Lockdown Idea (AIER)
Covid-19 Indoors Infection Risk As Great At 60 Feet As At 6 Feet – MIT (CNBC)
Biden Recognizes Armenian Genocide (Pol.)
Putin Rewrites The Law Of The Geopolitical Jungle (Escobar)
Collective West Is Living In Grim Fantasy Land – Zakharova (RT)
Russian Embassy Trolls Baltic States Over Expulsion Of Diplomats (RT)
Ukraine Says Russian Troop Draw Down Is “Not Enough” (ZH)
Is America Led Today By Anti-Americans? (Buchanan)
Fmr Police Officer Blasts Dems For “Riding The Wave Of Dead Black People” (ZH)
Nassim Taleb Says Bitcoin Is An Open Ponzi Scheme And A Failed Currency (BI)

 

 

Biden’s proposal for top marginal income rate is 39.6%. Here’s what it was in the past:
Now: 37%
2017: 39.6%
1993-2000: 39.6%
1982-1986: 50%
1981: 69.3%
1971-1980: 70%
1954-1963: 91%

 

 

This is doing so much damage to the US. It will reverberate long and deep, and not just in India.

To Friends in the US: Facilitate Global Vaccine Manufacturing (CarnegieIndia)

The current public health crisis in India is devastating. On April 22, 2021, India recorded over 330,000 COVID-19 cases and 2,000 fatalities. It is unlikely that the second wave of the pandemic will level out anytime soon. The desperate need for oxygen, medical supplies, and hospital beds has overwhelmed public and private health facilities. Clearly, the state machinery will need to be mobilized in this war against the fast-spreading disease that appears to mutate in different ways and forms at a shattering speed. To arrest this crisis, there is an equally urgent need to accelerate India’s vaccine drive. India, as is well known, is one of the world’s largest producers of COVID-19 vaccines. “Made-in-India” vaccines have been delivered—by way of aid and under commercial contract—to ninety-five countries across the globe.

From Argentina to Bangladesh and El Salvador to Sierra Leone, India has distributed 66.2 million vaccines to date. However, India is currently facing an acute vaccine shortage at home. On April 19, the Indian government announced that Indians above the age of eighteen will be eligible to get their shots. Making sure that the tens of millions of Indians are able to access vaccines is the only way in which a country as geographically challenging as India will be able to turn the tables on this fast-moving disease. Yet, without the support of Joe Biden’s administration in Washington, this ambition—of delivering vaccines across India—is at risk of remaining just that, an ambition. In April 2020, then U.S. president Donald Trump invoked the Defense Production Act (DPA), a law that grants the U.S. president significant emergency authority to direct domestic industries.

As Trump made clear, the order was meant to “save lives by removing obstacles in the supply chain that threaten the rapid production of ventilators.” In February 2021, Biden announced a set of plans to hasten inoculations. In March 2021, Biden vowed that vaccines will be available for “every adult in America by the end of May.” On the first two working days of the Biden administration, on January 20 and 21, 2021, the president signed Executive Orders 13987 and 14001. The aim of these measures was to ensure “a sustainable public health supply chain.” In effect, this meant that manufacturers in the United States, and those registered in the United States but based in Europe and other parts of the world, needed to prioritize supplies for the domestic market within the United States.

Given the globally connected nature of supply chains, Biden’s vow has had other anticipated effects. It means that products like bags and filters, cell culture medias, single-use tubing assemblies, and other raw materials crucial for the production of vaccines in other parts of the world, and especially in India, may face imminent supply constraints. In practice, this has meant that the largest vaccine manufacturer in the world—the Serum Institute of India—is today hamstrung in its efforts to produce vaccines for both the Indian and global markets. It is crucial to keep in mind that without these ingredients, it is increasingly unlikely that the Serum Institute will be able to prioritize vaccine production under contract—through global vaccine alliances such as Gavi—for countries across the world.


IMHE – Estimated peak 14.1 million infections per day.

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And then the Biden admin is tonedeaf and colorblind enough to try and justify it.

US Defends Restrictions On Export Of Covid-19 Vaccine Raw Materials (Hindu)

Defending U.S.’ restrictions on the export of key raw materials for the manufacture of COVID-19 vaccine that threatens to slow India’s vaccination drive, a senior State Department official has said the Biden administration’s first obligation is to take care of the requirements of the American people. When asked when the Biden administration would decide on India’s request to lift a ban on the export of vaccine raw materials, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said: “…the United States first and foremost is engaged in an ambitious and effective and, so far, successful effort to vaccinate the American people.” “That campaign is well underway, and we’re doing that for a couple of reasons. Number one, we have a special responsibility to the American people.

Number two, the American people, this country has been hit harder than any other country around the world – more than 550,000 deaths, tens of millions of infections in this country alone,” he said on Thursday. It is not only in the U.S. interest to see Americans vaccinated; but it is in the interests of the rest of the world to see Americans vaccinated, he said. “The point the Secretary (of State Antony Blinken) has made repeatedly is that as long as the virus is spreading anywhere, it is a threat to people everywhere. So as long as the virus is spreading uncontrolled in this country, it can mutate and it can travel beyond our borders. That, in turn, poses a threat well beyond the United States,” Mr. Price said in responses to questions.

As for the rest of the world, “We will, of course, always do as much as we can, consistent with our first obligation,” he said. India is currently facing a horrible surge in coronavirus infections. The country on Friday added a record over 3.32 lakh new coronavirus cases in a single day taking the country’s tally to 1,62,63,695, while active cases crossed the 24-lakh mark. The Biden administration recently conveyed to New Delhi that it understands India’s pharmaceutical requirements and promised to give the matter due consideration. It observed that the current difficulty in the export of critical raw materials needed to manufacture COVID-19 vaccines is mainly due to an Act that forces American companies to prioritise domestic consumption.

President Joe Biden and his predecessor Donald Trump had invoked the war-time Defence Production Act (DPA) that leaves U.S. companies with no option but to give priority to the production of COVID-19 vaccines and Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) for domestic production to combat the deadly pandemic in America, the worst-hit nation. The U.S. has ramped up the production of COVID-19 vaccines mostly by Pfizer and Moderna to meet the goal of vaccinating its entire population by July 4. The suppliers of its raw materials, which is in high demand globally and sought after by major Indian manufacturers, are being forced to provide it only for domestic manufacturers in the U.S. The Serum Institute of India is the world’s largest producer of the COVID-19 vaccine.

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From May 2020. We have a 14 year old girl’s high school “science” project to thank for the lockdowns.

The 2006 Origins of the Lockdown Idea (AIER)

How that idea — born out of a request by President George W. Bush to ensure the nation was better prepared for the next contagious disease outbreak — became the heart of the national playbook for responding to a pandemic is one of the untold stories of the coronavirus crisis. It required the key proponents — Dr. Mecher, a Department of Veterans Affairs physician, and Dr. Hatchett, an oncologist turned White House adviser — to overcome intense initial opposition. It brought their work together with that of a Defense Department team assigned to a similar task. And it had some unexpected detours, including a deep dive into the history of the 1918 Spanish flu and an important discovery kicked off by a high school research project pursued by the daughter of a scientist at the Sandia National Laboratories.

The concept of social distancing is now intimately familiar to almost everyone. But as it first made its way through the federal bureaucracy in 2006 and 2007, it was viewed as impractical, unnecessary and politically infeasible. Notice that in the course of this planning, neither legal nor economic experts were brought in to consult and advise. Instead it fell to Mecher (formerly of Chicago and an intensive care doctor with no previous expertise in pandemics) and the oncologist Hatchett. But what is this mention of the high-school daughter of 14? Her name is Laura M. Glass, and she recently declined to be interviewed when the Albuquerque Journal did a deep dive of this history. Laura, with some guidance from her dad, devised a computer simulation that showed how people – family members, co-workers, students in schools, people in social situations – interact.

What she discovered was that school kids come in contact with about 140 people a day, more than any other group. Based on that finding, her program showed that in a hypothetical town of 10,000 people, 5,000 would be infected during a pandemic if no measures were taken, but only 500 would be infected if the schools were closed. Laura’s name appears on the foundational paper arguing for lockdowns and forced human separation. That paper is Targeted Social Distancing Designs for Pandemic Influenza (2006). It set out a model for forced separation and applied it with good results backwards in time to 1957. They conclude with a chilling call for what amounts to a totalitarian lockdown, all stated very matter-of-factly.

[..] In other words, it was a high-school science experiment that eventually became law of the land, and through a circuitous route propelled not by science but politics. The primary author of this paper was Robert J. Glass, a complex-systems analyst with Sandia National Laboratories. He had no medical training, much less an expertise in immunology or epidemiology. That explains why Dr. D.A. Henderson, “who had been the leader of the international effort to eradicate smallpox,” completely rejected the whole scheme. Dr. Henderson was convinced that it made no sense to force schools to close or public gatherings to stop. Teenagers would escape their homes to hang out at the mall. School lunch programs would close, and impoverished children would not have enough to eat. Hospital staffs would have a hard time going to work if their children were at home.

The measures embraced by Drs. Mecher and Hatchett would “result in significant disruption of the social functioning of communities and result in possibly serious economic problems,” Dr. Henderson wrote in his own academic paper responding to their ideas. The answer, he insisted, was to tough it out: Let the pandemic spread, treat people who get sick and work quickly to develop a vaccine to prevent it from coming back.

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Wonder what the response to this will be from the “science” religion.

Covid-19 Indoors Infection Risk As Great At 60 Feet As At 6 Feet – MIT (CNBC)

The risk of being exposed to Covid-19 indoors is as great at 60 feet as it is at 6 feet — even when wearing a mask, according to a new study by Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers who challenge social distancing guidelines adopted across the world. MIT professors Martin Z. Bazant, who teaches chemical engineering and applied mathematics, and John W.M. Bush, who teaches applied mathematics, developed a method of calculating exposure risk to Covid-19 in an indoor setting that factors in a variety of issues that could affect transmission, including the amount of time spent inside, air filtration and circulation, immunization, variant strains, mask use, and even respiratory activity such as breathing, eating, speaking or singing.

Bazant and Bush question long-held Covid-19 guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization in a peer-reviewed study published earlier this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States of America. “We argue there really isn’t much of a benefit to the 6-foot rule, especially when people are wearing masks,” Bazant said in an interview. “It really has no physical basis because the air a person is breathing while wearing a mask tends to rise and comes down elsewhere in the room so you’re more exposed to the average background than you are to a person at a distance.” The important variable the CDC and the WHO have overlooked is the amount of time spent indoors, Bazant said.

The longer someone is inside with an infected person, the greater the chance of transmission, he said. Opening windows or installing new fans to keep the air moving could also be just as effective or more effective than spending large amounts of money on a new filtration system, he said. Bazant also says that guidelines enforcing indoor occupancy caps are flawed. He said 20 people gathered inside for 1 minute is probably fine, but not over the course of several hours, he said.

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Biden was in the Senate since 1972. Please point out where and when he spoke out about the Armenian genocide during that whole time.

Biden Recognizes Armenian Genocide (Pol.)

President Joe Biden on Saturday recognized the Armenian genocide, fulfilling a campaign promise and taking a step that his recent predecessors have avoided while in office. Biden’s designation, which coincided with Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day, signals the president’s desire to prioritize human rights despite potential fallout in the U.S. relationship with Turkey. It comes 106 years after the beginning of the mass deportation of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire, which led to the deaths of up to 1.5 million people. “The American people honor all those Armenians who perished in the genocide,” Biden said in a statement Saturday.

“Over the decades Armenian immigrants have enriched the United States in countless ways, but they have never forgotten the tragic history that brought so many of their ancestors to our shores. We honor their story. We see that pain. We affirm the history. We do this not to cast blame but to ensure that what happened is never repeated.” Over decades, lawmakers in Congress have been willing to recognize the genocide but sitting presidents historically have not. In a statement to mark the day of remembrance last year, Biden said he was “proud” of his role in the Senate to recognize the Armenian genocide and his endorsement of 2019 resolutions in both chambers of Congress that did the same.

The United States is now part of a group of 30 countries that have recognized the Armenian genocide, according to the Armenian National Institute. Although Turkey acknowledges the “tragic experience” of Armenians, it maintains the number of those who died between 1915 and 1923 is inflated and denies the characterization of the events as genocide. Turkey’s foreign ministry quickly denounced Biden’s statement Saturday, saying it doesn’t have “a scholarly or legal basis.” “The US President’s statement will not yield any results other than polarizing the nations and hindering peace and stability in our region,” the country’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

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“Putin remarked how to “attack Russia” has become “a sport, a new sport, who makes the loudest statements.”

Putin Rewrites The Law Of The Geopolitical Jungle (Escobar)

First, the essentials. Russia’s policy “is to ensure peace and security for the well-being of our citizens and for the stable development of our country.” Yet if “someone does not want to…engage in dialogue, but chooses an egoistic and arrogant tone, Russia will always find a way to stand up for its position.” He singled out “the practice of politically motivated, illegal economic sanctions” to connect it to “something much more dangerous”, and actually rendered invisible in the Western narrative: “the recent attempt to organize a coup d’etat in Belarus and the assassination of that country’s president.” Putin made sure to stress, “all boundaries have been crossed”. The plot to kill Lukashenko was unveiled by Russian and Belarusian intel – which detained several actors backed, who else, US intel. The US State Department predictably denied any involvement.

Putin: “It is worth pointing to the confessions of the detained participants in the conspiracy that a blockade of Minsk was being prepared, including its city infrastructure and communications, the complete shutdown of the entire power grid of the Belarusian capital. This, incidentally means preparations for a massive cyber-attack.” And that leads to a very uncomfortable truth: “Apparently, it’s not for no reason that our Western colleagues have stubbornly rejected numerous proposals by the Russian side to establish an international dialogue in the field of information and cyber-security.” Putin remarked how to “attack Russia” has become “a sport, a new sport, who makes the loudest statements.” And then he went full Kipling:

“Russia is attacked here and there for no reason. And of course, all sorts of petty Tabaquis [jackals] are running around like Tabaqui ran around Shere Khan [the tiger] – everything is like in Kipling’s book – howling along and ready to serve their sovereign. Kipling was a great writer”. The – layered – metaphor is even more startling as it echoes the late 19th century geopolitical Great Game between the British and Russian empires, of which Kipling was a protagonist. Once again Putin had to stress that “we really don’t want to burn any bridges. But if someone perceives our good intentions as indifference or weakness and intends to burn those bridges completely or even blow them up, he should know that Russia’s response will be asymmetric, swift and harsh”.

So here’s the new law of the geopolitical jungle – backed by Mr. Iskander, Mr. Kalibr, Mr. Avangard, Mr. Peresvet, Mr. Khinzal, Mr. Sarmat, Mr. Zircon and other well-respected gentlemen, hypersonic and otherwise, later complimented on the record. Those who poke the Bear to the point of threatening “the fundamental interests of our security will regret what has been done, as they have regretted nothing for a very long time.”

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“And it turns out that leaders who call themselves leaders of the world aren’t really leaders. They are just chest-puffers.”

Collective West Is Living In Grim Fantasy Land – Zakharova (RT)

Western countries are living in a grim “fantasy land” they’ve created through years of anti-Russian propaganda, the outspoken Maria Zakharova told RT DE, with any initiative by Moscow – even on Covid-19 – becoming politicised. Such behavior on the West’s part is hardly surprising, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman explained to Thomas Fasbender in an exclusive interview, given the efforts that Western counties have put into painting Moscow as an “aggressor” over the years. The consistently cold relations between the West and Russia have been heightened by a series of major scandals recently, she outlined, despite these being based on imaginary grounds.

For instance, military drills in Russia’s southeast have prompted hysteria in multiple NATO countries and a fresh wave of doomsday predictions regarding an impending war between Russia and Ukraine – which, again, did not happen. “It seems to me that our Western partners have let their imaginations run wild. They seem to be seeing things when there’s nothing there, and not seeing the obvious. It’s an amazing thing, really, to be able to live in fantasy land,” she said. If you spend years communicating an idea to your own people and to the world at large, using mass media, issuing reports and making alarmist publications that depict Russia as a warmonger nation that’s about to strike – then, sure, even run-of-the-mill military drills would get people scared out of their senses.

The years-long Western campaign to paint Russia as an “aggressor” state has also affected the global response to the coronavirus pandemic, Zakharova believes. Instead of cooperating with Russia and buying its Covid-19 Sputnik V vaccine, the first in the world to be registered, too much effort has been put into trying to deny its very existence and otherwise tarnish its reputation. “There was a major campaign against our vaccine, against what we had to offer the world. We handled it. Unfortunately, many countries, including EU states, wasted time,” Zakharova said. “Many states received this vaccine, some on a trial basis. Many of them began to buy it right away. Unfortunately, the EU is punishing itself again, just as Prague did with our diplomats.”

The ongoing coronavirus crisis has “highlighted massive problems in the EU and the West as a whole,” as they had all the resources to lead the global fight against the disease, but failed to do so. “And it turns out that leaders who call themselves leaders of the world aren’t really leaders. They are just chest-puffers.” A similar lack of ability to act as an independent entity has been demonstrated during another ongoing scandal – the spy affair launched by Prague. The Czech Republic has accused Russian military intelligence of blowing up its ammunition depot back in 2014. While no solid proof of Russia’s alleged involvement has been presented, Prague launched a diplomatic broadside, opting to expel Russian diplomats.

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“There’s no definition of “smalldipenergy” in the dictionary, but it is most likely derived from “small diplomatic energy.”

Russian Embassy Trolls Baltic States Over Expulsion Of Diplomats (RT)

Russia’s embassy in Belarus has asked Twitter users to choose between two hashtags to describe the three Baltic nations expelling up to two Russian diplomats in “solidarity” with the Czechs. Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania issued a joined statement on Friday, announcing that they will ask several Russian embassy staff to leave their countries in a display of solidarity with the Czech Republic. Riga and Tallinn said they’ll expel one diplomat each, while Vilnius declared two Russians personae non gratae. The move was met with a mocking response by the Russian embassy in Belarus – the country that borders Latvia, Lithuania and Russia. “#smalldipenergy or #smalldickenergy — the choice is yours,” the embassy wrote in a tweet, attaching an earlier Twitter post by Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis.

In a post announcing the joint move by the Baltic nations, Landsbergis claimed that the Russian embassy staff were being expelled for “activities incompatible with their diplomatic status.” The phrase “smalldickenergy” is explained in the Urban Dictionary as “cockiness without skill. It is the sexual equivalent of writing a check of $10k to show off knowing you don’t have it in the bank account.” There’s no definition of “smalldipenergy” in the dictionary, but it is most likely derived from “small diplomatic energy.” The move, with which the Russian embassy in Belarus was left unimpressed, is a follow-up to a diplomatic row between Moscow and Prague. A week ago, the Czech Republic announced the expulsion of 18 Russian diplomats over claims that Kremlin intelligence officers were involved in a local munitions depot blast back in 2014.

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You lost. Shut up.

Ukraine Says Russian Troop Draw Down Is “Not Enough” (ZH)

Not satisfied with Russia’s confirmed troop draw down from its southern region which has stoked tensions over the past few weeks, leaders in Kiev on Friday demanded that more must be done to de-escalate tensions and conflict in Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba “welcomed” the Kremlin’s ordering troops that had been engaged in major Crimean and Black Sea military exercises back to the regular bases, but said the violence in the east has continued. Kiev blames Russia for encouraging and supporting an uptick in hostilities with the pro-Russian separatists, which have sought to carve out independent enclaves going back to 2014 and 2015. “If Russia really pulls back from the border with Ukraine the enormous military force it has deployed there, this will already ease tensions.


“But we need to remember that this step would not put an end neither to the current escalation, nor to the conflict between Ukraine and Russia in general,” Kuleba said. The top Ukrainian diplomat also says Moscow still owes “an explanation” for its largest troop build-up on the border since 2014. “Russia still owes an explanation to Ukraine… and international community of why it really needed to bring such numerous forces equipped with some offensive weapons at the border with Ukraine in such excessive number of troops,” he said. In a Thursday statement posted to Twitter, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky appeared to confirm that the Russian draw down was indeed in progress. “The reduction of troops on our border proportionally reduces tension. Ukraine is always vigilant, yet welcomes any steps to decrease the military presence & deescalate the situation in Donbas,” he wrote.

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“Implication: Floyd died to redeem America of her original sin of racism.”

Is America Led Today By Anti-Americans? (Buchanan)

How can America unite again to do great things if we are led by people who believe America suffers from a great sickness of the soul, an original sin that dates back to her birth as a nation? Consider. After his long night of prayer for “the right verdict” to be pronounced — Derek Chauvin was convicted on all three counts — Joe Biden stepped before the White House cameras to tell us what it all meant. George Floyd’s death, said Biden, “was a murder in the full light of day, and it ripped the blinders off for the whole world to see the systemic racism… that is a stain on our nation’s soul — the knee on the neck of justice for Black Americans.” Astonishing. Biden is saying that when Chauvin knelt on the neck of George Floyd for nine minutes as the life drained out of him, the world, for once, was getting a good, close look at the diseased soul of America.

What Chauvin was doing to Floyd, said the president of the United States, is a reflection of the kind of justice America delivers to Black Americans. This is no aberration, Biden was saying. This is the routine reality. Biden was introduced by Kamala Harris, who said much the same: “America has a long history of systemic racism. Black Americans and Black men in particular have been treated throughout the course of our history as less than human.” At Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield delivered what The Wall Street Journal called, “a recitation of America’s sins (that) could have come from China’s Global Times.” Said Thomas-Greenfield: “I have… seen for myself how the original sin of slavery weaved white supremacy into our founding documents and principles. … Racism is the problem of the racist. And it is the problem of the society that produces the racist.”

What our diplomat to the world is saying is that our Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights are interwoven with white supremacy and that America, to this day, continues to breed racists. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, at a Congressional Black Caucus event after the verdict, turned her eyes heavenward in gratitude: “Thank you, George Floyd, for sacrificing your life for justice….For being there to call out to your mom — how heartbreaking was that … And because of you … your name will always be synonymous with justice.” Implication: Floyd died to redeem America of her original sin of racism.

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“Yes, President Biden is an idiot in my personal opinion, and he’s just talkin’ because he’s a politician.”

Fmr Police Officer Blasts Dems For “Riding The Wave Of Dead Black People” (ZH)

Former Arizona police officer-turned conservative political commentator Brandon Tatum unloaded on President Biden and the press for politicizing the Derek Chauvin trial, and insists that so-called ‘systemic racism’ is simply manufactured by politicians and the media to earn votes and make money. “I think we’re living in the twilight zone,” Tatum said of the Chauvin trial. “This conviction, in my personal opinion, did nothing for our country. People are living a lie. I mean this is one police officer, one person in the community, they found him guilty, this was the swiftest justice I’ve ever seen in my life. The day after the film came out he was arrested. He was tried. 10 hours of deliberation, he was convicted. I’m not really sure why people are acting like this is monumental.

“Also, he did not get a fair trial in my personal opinion. There was a lot of obstruction that happened. They paid the family out $27 million before the jury could be selected. I mean, they’re going to have a case in appeal. I don’t know why people are celebrating and I don’t know why this is such a big focal point other than – people are making money off of the pain of people in our country.” The BBC host then asked Tatum if he was upset over this “landmark” case? “This is not a landmark case, this is a political agenda,” Tatum shot back. They’re pushing laws in our country. Policing in America is not inherently racist. We don’t live in a racist country. This was an interaction between a police officer that I thought did the wrong thing, and a black man who was on drugs high, resisting arrest, and ended up being killed by that police officer. That’s as simple as it can be.

The President of the United States got out and made a fool of himself trying to promote racism in a simple police encounter that the officer got convicted on. “So you reject President Biden’s comment about systemic racism and it being a stain on the whole nation?” the host replied. “Yes, President Biden is an idiot in my personal opinion, and he’s just talkin’ because he’s a politician. Systemic racism – I mean if you look at Joe Biden himself, he spoke at a Klu Klux Klan-member’s funeral and did the eulogy of Robert Byrd … We don’t have a problem with racism in our country, we have a problem with people not following the law. We also have a problem with politicians making up things so they can get re-elected. And that’s exactly what has been happening. That’s why you never see anything change. They’re lying to us.

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Making friends.

Nassim Taleb Says Bitcoin Is An Open Ponzi Scheme And A Failed Currency (BI)

The “Black Swan” author Nassim Taleb doubled down on his view that bitcoin is an open Ponzi scheme and a failed currency in a CNBC interview on Friday. “There’s no connection between inflation and bitcoin,” Taleb told CNBC, adding that everyone knows bitcoin is “a Ponzi.” Some analysts view the cryptocurrency, often referred to as digital gold, as a hedge against inflation, highlighting its similarities with the precious metal. “If you want to hedge against inflation, buy a piece of land,” Taleb said. “The best strategy for investors is to own things that produce yields in the future. In other words, you can fall back on real dollars coming out of the company.” He also said bitcoin had failed in its supposed role as a replacement for government-backed money, mainly because of its volatility.


The author said he’d been “fooled” into thinking it could be a viable alternative to fiat currency but realized that a currency not backed by a government is “just speculation” and a “game.” “I was told it was going to be a currency,” he said, but “you don’t replace the currency with something that’s so volatile that you can’t really commit to a transaction in it.” Bitcoin’s price has swung wildly recently. The world’s largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization inched near $65,000 ahead of Coinbase’s listing on April 14. Less than 10 days later, bitcoin slid below the critical $50,000 level, extending losses for the seventh day in a row. The decline below $50,000 has bitcoin testing a new technical support level that could signal continued weakness, especially after its 50-day moving average failed to hold as support. The broader crypto market has come under pressure after reports said this week that US President Joe Biden would look to double the capital-gains tax rate for wealthy investors.

Read more …

 

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Apr 232021
 


Rembrandt van Rijn Christ and St Mary Magdalene at the Tomb 1638

 

Biden Vows To Cut Nearly Half Of Greenhouse Emissions By 2030 (SAC)
GOP Sen. Ron Johson Criticizes ‘Big Push’ To Get Everyone Vaccinated (F.)
Greek Gov’t Legislates “Legal Impunity” For Epidemiologists’ Committee (KTG)
Greece to Recognize Validity of Sputnik V Vaccine for Travelers (GR)
One Dose Of Pfizer Or Oxford Jab Reduces Covid Infection Rate By 65% (G.)
Japan Rolls Out Vaccine Slowly, Despite Looming Olympics (Y!)
Russia To Withdraw Troops From Deployment On Border With Ukraine (RT)
Russia To Make Areas Of Airspace Inaccessible To Foreign Missiles, Drones (RT)
Russia Behind ‘Directed Energy’ Attacks On US Troops In Syria – Pentagon (ZH)
Who Runs The World? Blackrock and Vanguard (Sardi)
Why The ‘Magic Money Tree’ Suddenly Appeared When Covid-19 Hit (RP)

 

 

Flooding at a coal mine in one of the smallest of 61 counties in #Xinjiang #China shut down 35% of #Bitcoin’s global mining power this weekend.

 

 

Not the Onion. But way over the top.

 

 

Big differences.

 

 

If you find yourself hopeful when seeing this, snap out of it. This is just a way to spend trillions of your money on greenwashing. Here is the pattern that will continue, again:

“..the Obama administration aimed to reduce emissions 26% to 28% below 2005 levels by 2025. Currently, the U.S. has not yet reached the halfway point in achieving that goal.”

Replacing one source of energy with another one is useless, only using -a whole lot- less energy works. For that, we will need to redesign our cities and homes. Not our cars. And that will cost a lot of money, which won’t be available anymore, because it’s been spent on grandiose plans for windmills and solar panels to one-on-one replace all present sources. And that’s just the first problem.

Biden Vows To Cut Nearly Half Of Greenhouse Emissions By 2030 (SAC)

President Joe Biden on Earth Day vowed to slash U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 50% to 52%—compared to 2005 levels—by 2030, as part of a broader goal of achieving net-zero emissions in the country by 2050. “These steps will set America on a path of a net-zero emissions economy by no later than 2050,” Biden told a virtual climate summit, attended by 40 leaders from around the world, Thursday morning as he announced the new emissions goal. “Scientists tell us that this is the decisive decade, this is the decade we must make decisions that will avoid the worst consequences of a climate crisis,” Biden said.


“This is a moral imperative. An economic imperative. A moment of peril, but also a moment of extraordinary possibilities,” the president added. The new greenhouse target more than doubles the United States’ previous target under the 2015 Paris climate agreement, when the Obama administration aimed to reduce emissions 26% to 28% below 2005 levels by 2025. Currently, the U.S. has not yet reached the halfway point in achieving that goal.

Biden energy boom

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Heretic.

GOP Sen. Ron Johson Criticizes ‘Big Push’ To Get Everyone Vaccinated (F.)

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) on Thursday questioned the “big push” to ensure everyone is vaccinated against coronavirus, putting him at odds with many of his Senate Republican colleagues who have attempted to close the partisan gap in vaccination rates. In an interview with conservative Wisconsin radio host Vicki McKenna, herself a vocal coronavirus vaccine skeptic, Johnson launched into a condemnation of “vaccine passports,” a credential that would allow businesses to verify vaccination status. But Johnson also went a step further, declaring he sees “no reason to be pushing vaccines on people,” arguing their distribution should be “limited” to those most vulnerable to coronavirus, and asking, “if you have a vaccine, quite honestly, what do you care if your neighbor has one or not?”

Johnson said he is “getting highly suspicious” of the “big push to make sure everybody gets the vaccine,” stating it’s “not a fully approved vaccine” but also arguing that the fact it is 95% effective means only a limited number of people need to be vaccinated. The comments put Johnson at odds with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who spent much of the last Senate recess urging Republican men to get vaccinated amid public opinion polling that shows they are the least likely to do so. Johnson is one of the Senate’s most prolific promoters of coronavirus pseudoscience, holding hearings last year as the chair of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee to promote unproven treatments like Hydroxychloroquine.

[..] Johnson has drawn outrage from lawmakers in both parties for some of his recent comments, particularly on the Jan. 6 attack, which he has routinely sought to downplay. He said the attack “didn’t seem like an armed insurrection to me” in February, and last month he said the attackers “truly respect law enforcement” and claimed he wasn’t concerned for his safety during the incident – but might have been if the attackers were affiliated with Black Lives Matter.

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First time I’ve seen this. Many countries will follow. No investigation allowed.

Greek Gov’t Legislates “Legal Impunity” For Epidemiologists’ Committee (KTG)

The Greek government has tabled a amendment to the Parliament to secure legal impunity for the committee of the epidemiologists advising the government on pandemic issues. The regulation comes amid pressure from the opposition to make the minutes of the meetings public. The introduction to provide impunity to infectious disease committee members in charge of the pandemic measures is for sure a unique worldwide. The amendment introduces impunity for the epidemiologists’ committee members from any form of prosecution or even questioning and protects them from having to testify if they were in “conflict of interest.”

The amendment was submitted by the Health Ministry in a legislation of Code of Judicial Officers of the Justice Ministry. It reportedly bears the signatures of the Health and Justice Ministers and other members of the government. It will be voted in the parliament later on Thursday. According to news website news247.gr, Article 4 of the amendment stipulates that members of the National Committee for the Protection of Public Health against the coronavirus disease Covid 19, the Committee for the Management of Public Health Emergencies by Infectious Diseases and the National Vaccination Committee are not liable, not prosecuted and are not examined for opinion they formulated or vote they gave in the exercise of their duties in the context of the operation of the above committees. Prosecution is allowed only for defamation or insult.

Particularly troubling, notes the website, is the provision that committee members are not prosecuted but can not even be questioned. It raises questions about what this means in the event that either a public prosecutor’s investigation or a possible pre-investigation committee of the Parliament is conducted in the future. In this case, it is possible that the members of the committee may not even be called as witnesses. It should be noted that this regulation comes after the intense pressure from the opposition to make public the minutes of the infectious disease committees and also in a period of the pandemic where the decisions of the committee are extremely important. At the same time, it comes in the middle of the vaccination process and also concerns the vaccination committee.

It is worth recalling that there have already been complaints from the opposition about conflicts of interest between members of the committee and their professional activities, notes news247. It should also be recalled that there has been recently a debate about the committee decisions and how much the members obey the government s plans to open or close activities than the scientific dictates. The gradual lifting of the lockdown and the opening of tourism in mid-May (unofficially on April 19) with daily infections are over 3000 and an average of 75 deaths per day while had many Greeks wonder why there was a 5.5 months lockdown anyway. [..] The government, ministers and lawmakers have immunity anyway.

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Also: “Germany to buy 30 million doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine”. EU Covid management is crumbling.

Greece to Recognize Validity of Sputnik V Vaccine for Travelers (GR)

Greece is taking all possible necessary precautions to ensure a successful launch of the 2021 tourism season on May 14 to avoid last year’s losses — including accepting the validity of Russia’s “Sputnik V” vaccine in allowing Russians to visit the country. The vaccine, dubbed the “traveling companion,” has a 97.6% efficacy rate under trial conditions, according to its makers. This was based on data analysis on the infection rate among people receiving both shots of the vaccine. The Sputnik V vaccine was registered in 60 countries worldwide as of April 19, 2021 from Argentina and Mexico to Israel and the Philippines. Russian officials say they have signed deals to produce it in South Korea and India. Via a post on Twitter on April 6, 2021, the distributor confirmed that it could supply Greece with the vaccine for 500,000 people in May.


A soft opening of the tourism sector in Greece commenced on Monday, April 20, by lifting its seven-day quarantine requirements for international travelers arriving from the EU, the Schengen Area, the US, the UK, Israel, Serbia, and the United Arab Emirates upon proof of vaccination, immunity, or a negative PCR test on arrival. Expected in this is group is hundreds of thousands of tourists from Russia as a result of joint efforts to resume tourism activity between the two countries. However, the Sputnik V is still under review by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). There are not enough doses of other vaccines available in the EU to satisfy demand, so the desire for new options is substantial. The EU Green Passport regulation, due to be adopted soon, does not recognize vaccines that have not yet been approved by the EMA. However, it is flexible enough to allow EU member states to accept the validity of certain vaccines, such as Russia’s Sputnik V, on what it calls a “bilateral level.”

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That’s less effective than ivermectin. Good thing they didn’t research that, so they can keep saying: well, there’s no research! The only way to keep the EUA.

One Dose Of Pfizer Or Oxford Jab Reduces Covid Infection Rate By 65% (G.)

One shot of the Oxford/AstraZeneca or Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine reduces coronavirus infections by nearly two-thirds and protects older and more vulnerable people as much as younger, healthy individuals, a study has found. The results from Oxford University and the Office for National Statistics are a welcome boost to the vaccination programme and the first to show the impact on new infections and immune responses in a large group of adults in the general population. By driving down rates of infection the vaccines will not only prevent hospitalisations and deaths but help break chains of transmission and so reduce the risk of a damaging resurgence of disease as the UK reopens.

The researchers analysed Covid test results from more than 350,000 people in the UK between December and April. They found that 21 days after a first jab – the time it takes the immune system to mount a decent response – new Covid infections dropped by 65%. The vaccines were more effective against symptomatic than asymptomatic infections, reducing rates by 72% and 57% respectively, compared with those seen in the unvaccinated population. A second shot of the Pfizer vaccine boosted protection further, causing symptomatic infections to fall by 90% and asymptomatic infections by 70%. Because the Oxford vaccine was approved and rolled out later, it is too early to assess the impact of those second doses.

Scientists on the team said the findings supported the UK’s decision to prioritise giving first shots to elderly and more vulnerable people by delaying second doses. “There was no evidence that the vaccines were less effective among older adults or those with long-term health conditions,” said Dr Koen Pouwels, a researcher on the team.

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“A majority of Japanese already oppose holding the Games this summer..”

Japan Rolls Out Vaccine Slowly, Despite Looming Olympics (Y!)

Three months before it hosts the Olympics – the biggest international event since the pandemic began – Japan has fully vaccinated less than one percent of its population in a cautious, slow-moving programme. Olympic organisers and local officials stress vaccines are not a prerequisite for the Games. Participants will not have to be inoculated before arrival and there are no plans to prioritise vaccination of Japanese athletes or volunteers. But the slow rollout in the world’s third-largest economy, which experts say is driven by a mixture of caution and entrenched bureaucratic hurdles, is starting to weigh on public opinion. The government has emphasised caution to build trust in the vaccine, said Takakazu Yamagishi, director of the Center for International Affairs at Nanzan University, who researches health policy.

But, seeing speedy vaccinations elsewhere, “more and more people are realising that the delayed vaccination process has put Japan in a difficult position to hold the Olympics,” he told AFP. This could “weaken their support for the Games”. A majority of Japanese already oppose holding the Games this summer, and Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who faces a general election this year, has been under pressure for months over his coronavirus response. The country’s outbreak has been comparatively small so far, with fewer than 10,000 deaths. But several regions, including Tokyo, requested new virus states of emergency this week over a fresh wave of cases that has already overwhelmed some local healthcare systems.

Writing in the British Medical Journal this month, four health experts cited Japan’s “sluggish vaccine rollout” among other factors in urging plans to hold the Games “be reconsidered as a matter of urgency”. Polls show three-quarters of Japan’s public consider the rollout slow, with 60 percent saying they are dissatisfied with the programme. Olympic organisers insist the rollout’s pace will not impact the Games. “We’ll be able to deliver the Games even without vaccination,” Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto told reporters on Wednesday.

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A big nothing. But a warning at the same time.

Russia To Withdraw Troops From Deployment On Border With Ukraine (RT)

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu has announced that troops deployed in the west and south of the country in recent days will soon begin returning to base, saying they have now passed tests of their combat readiness. The chief of the country’s military revealed on Thursday that a number of units of the regular army and airborne divisions had been transferred to the area, near the shared border with Ukraine, as part of surprise military exercises. The buildup had caused alarm in Kiev, and been cited by Western nations as a potential precursor to an invasion, which the Kremlin repeatedly denied.


According to Shoigu, “the goals of the sudden inspection have been fully achieved. The troops demonstrated their ability to ensure reliable defense of the country.” As a result, he has now ordered commanders to “plan and begin the return of troops to their places of regular deployment, beginning from April 23.” By the end of the month, the minister said, “the personnel of the 58th Army of the Southern Military District, the 41st Army of the Central Military District, the 7th, 76th Air Assault and 98th Airborne Divisions of the Airborne Forces” will return to their normal bases. However, he warned that the army would “react and respond adequately to all changes in the situation near Russian borders.”

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“.. render foreign satellite navigation systems completely useless, disabling an enemy’s high-precision weapons.”

Russia To Make Areas Of Airspace Inaccessible To Foreign Missiles, Drones (RT)

Russia’s electronic warfare specialists will practice creating ‘protection areas’ in the country’s airspace that could render foreign satellite navigation systems completely useless, disabling an enemy’s high-precision weapons. According to Moscow daily Izvestia, citing a source in the Defense Ministry, radio-electronic warfare troops will practice using the technology during exercises this year, with the practice to be held nationwide in 2022. The system, known as Field-21, creates interference that disorients foreign satellite navigation systems, including the American GPS NAVSTAR. According to experts, the creation of special zones could be used to protect military facilities, as well as industrial areas, making the airspace virtually impenetrable. They believe the new approach will radically increase national security.


With satellite navigation foiled, enemy high-precision weapons and drones will not be able to direct themselves towards their target. “Electronic warfare systems hit several cruise missile systems at once,” military historian Dmitry Boltenkov told Izvestia. “Satellite navigation interference causes them to get ‘lost’ in space and dramatically reduces their accuracy. If the radio altimeter signal is suppressed, the ammunition will also not be able to perform its combat mission as expected.” Radio-electronic troops have already been deployed in Syria, where an electronic warfare protection dome has been created over the areas of Tartus and Khmeimim, protecting the military from attacks by militant drones. Russia has been involved in the Syrian Civil War since 2015, when it was invited by the Damascus government, led by President Bashar Assad, to help fight against a terrorist insurgency in the country.

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One thing about flimsy nonsensical narratives is you must keep feeding them. Then when someone asks for proof, you can point to all the other “cases” and say: see?! it fits a pattern.

Russia Behind ‘Directed Energy’ Attacks On US Troops In Syria – Pentagon (ZH)

In the newest dramatic allegations against suspected Russian malfeasance, the Department of Defense (DoD) on Thursday revealed that it believes the Russian military targeted US troops in Syria with ‘directed energy attacks’ in order to make them ill and unable to conduct normal operations. Apparently some US troops occupying the country began reporting “flu-like symptoms” which caused the DoD to investigate possible linkage to microwave or directed energy weapons on the battlefield of Syria. Politico reports that “officials identified Russia as a likely culprit, according to two people with direct knowledge of the matter.” DoD officials said they briefed top lawmakers on intelligence which they say points to Russia being behind a series of these suspected high tech attacks.

This follows a major investigation being conducted since last year of similar mysterious attacks against US personnel across the globe. Controversy has raged since late 2016 into 2017 and the “Havana syndrome” story, which involved some 50 diplomatic officials working at the US Embassy in Cuba coming down with strange illnesses and symptoms which many blamed on high tech ‘sonic attacks’ of some sort. Personnel reported experiencing everything from vomiting to concussions to chronic headaches to minor brain injuries. But analysts and scientists have been deeply divided on the issue, with speculation ranging from high pitched sounds from crickets or even mass hysteria causing the illness.

But Politico reports of these newest allegations of the potential targeting of Americans in northeast Syria as follows: “The briefings included information about injuries sustained by U.S. troops in Syria, the people said. The investigation includes one incident in Syria in the fall of 2020 in which several troops developed flu-like symptoms, two people familiar with the Pentagon probe said.” The CIA is said to also be looking into these suspected attacks via its own task force. Strangely, the Politico report also included a denial that troops in Syria were ever found to be victims of such weapons by the Pentagon press spokesperson, strongly suggesting this is a continuation of the current, highly politicized “just blame Russia” climate in Washington…

A Pentagon spokesperson, however, said the department is not aware of directed-energy attacks against U.S. troops in Syria. The spokesperson declined further comment on the Pentagon’s interactions with Capitol Hill or any internal investigation. “The incidents of suspected directed-energy attacks by Russia on Americans abroad became so concerning that the Pentagon’s office of special operations and low-intensity conflict began investigating last year, according to two former national security officials involved in the effort. It’s unclear exactly how many troops were injured, or the extent of their injuries.”

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Pretty brilliant exposé. By someone calling herself Covid Lie.

Who Runs The World? Blackrock and Vanguard (Sardi)

If you’ve been wondering how the world economy has been hijacked and humanity has been kidnapped by a completely bogus narrative, look no further than this video by Dutch creator, Covid Lie. What she uncovers is that the stock of the world’s largest corporations are owned by the same institutional investors. They all own each other. This means that “competing” brands, like Coke and Pepsi aren’t really competitors, at all, since their stock is owned by exactly the same investment companies, investment funds, insurance companies, banks and in some cases, governments. This is the case, across all industries. As she says:

“The smaller investors are owned by larger investors. Those are owned by even bigger investors. The visible top of this pyramid shows only two companies whose names we have often seen…They are Vanguard and BlackRock. The power of these two companies is beyond your imagination. Not only do they own a large part of the stocks of nearly all big companies but also the stocks of the investors in those companies. This gives them a complete monopoly. A Bloomberg report states that both these companies in the year 2028, together will have investments in the amount of 20 trillion dollars. That means that they will own almost everything. Bloomberg calls BlackRock “The fourth branch of government”, because it’s the only private agency that closely works with the central banks.

BlackRock lends money to the central bank but it’s also the advisor. It also develops the software the central bank uses. Many BlackRock employees were in the White House with Bush and Obama. Its CEO. Larry Fink can count on a warm welcome from leaders and politicians. Not so strange, if you know that he is the front man of the ruling company but Larry Fink does not pull the strings himself. BlackRock, itself is also owned by shareholders. Who are those shareholders? We come to a strange conclusion. The biggest shareholder is Vanguard. But now he gets murky. Vanguard is a private company and we cannot see who the shareholders are.

The elite who own Vanguard apparently do not like being in the spotlight but of course they cannot hide from who is willing to dig. Reports from Oxfam and Bloomberg say that 1% of the world, together owns more money than the other 99%. Even worse, Oxfam says that 82% of all earned money in 2017 went to this 1%. In other words, these two investment companies, Vanguard and BlackRock hold a monopoly in all industries in the world and they, in turn are owned by the richest families in the world, some of whom are royalty and who have been very rich since before the Industrial Revolution. Why doesn’t everybody know this? Why aren’t there movies and documentaries about this? Why isn’t it in the news? Because 90% of the international media is owned by nine media conglomerates.

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How did we get from austerity to spending trillions?

Why The ‘Magic Money Tree’ Suddenly Appeared When Covid-19 Hit (RP)

Coronavirus has proven that austerity was a political choice and that the ‘Magic Money Tree’ really does exist, progressive economists have said. Whether it be Joe Biden’s $1.9trillion relief bill or Rishi Sunak’s £50billion furlough scheme, centrist and conservative governments have suddenly found a way to spend in the public’s interest. All it took was a pandemic. In an event for Let’s Talk It Over entitled ‘The Austerity Doctrine in the Time of Coronavirus’, Yanis Varoufakis, Stephanie Kelton, Naomi Klein and Brian Eno discussed whether the “pandemic has ended the reign of austerity as policy and mindset”. Stephanie Kelton, a former economic adviser to Bernie Sanders, said: “Everything was in a budgeting framework and then Covid happened.

“Governments started committing huge sums of money. So where does it come from? The CARE act, for example, was Congress’ way of ordering up $2.2billion from the Federal Reserve. “They can commit to spending money that they do not have. If the votes are there, then the money follows. “Almost no-one believes any longer that the ‘coffers’ can be empty. “Everyone can now see that the government no longer needs to keep its powder dry. As Kelton explains in her now famous tome, countries that print their own money can easily spend their way towards economic prosperity without any notion of paying it back – as long as the economic potential of the nation is not reached. In the US, the total federal debt is nearing $30trillion – but does it really matter? To enact austerity to ‘pay for’ a year of generous public spending would not achieve anything except for a downward economic spiral, Varoufakis said.

The former Greek Finance Minister added: “I’m calling in from the epicentre of austerity. If there was a New Deal in 2011, after we had lost 25 percent of our GDP (in the crisis), it would have been a majestic success. “But instead, we continued and had a downward spiral. “We need to have major debt restructuring at the public and private level for countries that don’t have the same privilege as the United States in printing their own money. “The nightmare of the powerful is that the weak have alternatives. So when they hear about Universal Basic Income and job creation schemes they think it will become a nightmare for them. “As oligarchs, they are following the right instincts. Using the ‘magic money tree’ to empower the power is seriously circumscribing their own power.”

In essence, the powerful adore austerity and malign public debt because anything close to Modern Monetary Theory would give working people too many alternatives, Varoufakis said. Naomi Klein claimed that tax rises after the pandemic are a necessity – but only on the rich. Modern Monetary Theory dictates that one of the roles of taxation, in addition to curbing inflation, is to reduce inequality. She explained: “In theory, we need to raise taxes on corporations and the wealthy not because we need to do it, but because of the levels of inequality. “It’s also a moral hazard for the wealthy to not have to live in the mess that they made. We’ve seen the wealthy retreat into their castles, as it were, and the pandemic has made this even more apparent. “Austerity is about disciplining a workforce.”

Read more …

 

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Apr 222021
 
 April 22, 2021  Posted by at 8:50 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  50 Responses »


Giotto Lamentation 1306

 

Unvaccinated Worker Starts Outbreak In Mostly Vaccinated Nursing Home (NYT)
Mass Vaccination Sites Are Shutting Down Over ‘Decreased Demand’ (F.)
COVID Vaccine Blood Clot Risk Was Known, Ignored & Buried (Hudak)
Boris Johnson Says UK Will Have To ‘Learn To Live With Virus’ (RT)
The Covidian Cult – Part II (CJ Hopkins)
The Unraveling of the American Empire (Chris Hedges)
US Sanctions Only Make Russia’s Economy Even More Self-Sufficient (RT)
Putin Says Russia Developing High-Tech Nuclear & Laser Weapons (RT)
Prague Gives Moscow Ultimatum To Let Czech Diplomats Return (Y!)
Ukraine Encourages Western Allies To Kick Russia Out Of SWIFT (EurActiv)
Georgia & Ukraine Launch ‘Remarkable’ Attack On Academic Freedom (RT)
USPS ‘Covert Operations Program’ Monitors Americans’ Social Media Posts (Y!)
In Epic Hack, Signal Developer Turns Tables On Forensics Firm Cellebrite (AT)

 

 

 

 

Dr. Sucharit Bhakdi on blood clotting (full video below)

 

 

Sweden’s continuing success story.

 

 

If you can set off an outbreak where 90% is vaccinated, how can the answer be more vaccination and masks? Obviously, the vaccine doesn’t work as advertized.

And didn’t Pfizer-BioNTech say their contraption was 95% effective? Why then only 66% for these residents?

Note: The New York Times used the term “immunized” for the residents, but that doesn’t seem to be the same as “vaccinated”. Not anymore, at least.

Unvaccinated Worker Starts Outbreak In Mostly Vaccinated Nursing Home (NYT)

An unvaccinated health care worker set off a Covid-19 outbreak at a nursing home in Kentucky where the vast majority of residents had been vaccinated, leading to dozens of infections, including 22 cases among residents and employees who were already fully vaccinated, a new study reported Wednesday. Most of those who were infected with the coronavirus despite being vaccinated did not develop symptoms or require hospitalization, but one vaccinated individual, who was a resident of the nursing home, died, according to the study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Altogether, 26 facility residents were infected, including 18 who had been vaccinated, and 20 health care personnel were infected, including four who had been vaccinated. Two unvaccinated residents also died.

The report underscores the importance of vaccinating both nursing home residents and health care workers who go in and out of the sites, the authors said. While 90 percent of the 83 residents at the Kentucky nursing home had been vaccinated, only half of the 116 employees had been vaccinated when the outbreak was identified in March of this year. The study, released in tandem with one involving Chicago nursing homes, underscored the importance of maintaining measures like use of protective gear, infection control protocols and routine testing, no matter the level of vaccination rates. The rise of virus variants also has increased concerns. Resistance to vaccines has been steep among nursing home staffs nationwide, and the low acceptance rates of vaccination increase the likelihood of outbreaks in facilities, according to the authors, a team of investigators from the C.D.C. and Kentucky’s public health department.

“To protect skilled nursing facility residents, it is imperative that health care providers, as well as skilled nursing facility residents, be vaccinated,” the authors of the Kentucky study wrote. The outbreak involved a variant of the virus that has multiple mutations in the spike protein, of the kind that make the vaccines less effective. Vaccinated residents and health care workers at the Kentucky facility were less likely to be infected than those who had not been vaccinated, and they were far less likely to develop symptoms. The study estimated that the vaccine, identified as Pfizer-BioNTech, showed effectiveness of 66 percent for residents and 75.9 percent for employees, and were 86 percent to 87 percent effective at protecting against symptomatic disease.

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The video is hilarious. Fauci claims that Texas is doing so well without lockdown because Texans behave so much better than locked down Michiganians.

Other than that, he doesn’t answer Jordan’s question, but the chairman says he did anyway. “Your time is up.” It’s like comedy hour.

Mass Vaccination Sites Are Shutting Down Over ‘Decreased Demand’ (F.)

Mass vaccination sites across the U.S. have announced plans to shut down in recent days due to insufficient demand, even though all U.S. adults are now eligible to receive coronavirus vaccines. Palm Beach County, Florida, is shutting down three mass vaccination sites in favor of new mobile vaccination efforts, the Palm Beach Post reported Wednesday, after the sites were operating at only 50% capacity this week. Mass vaccination sites in Clarkesville, Georgia, and North Carolina will shut down by the end of May, officials announced this week, and Summit County, Ohio, canceled a planned mass vaccination clinic on April 27 citing “decreased demand.”

Several Texas mass vaccination sites in Williamson and Galveston counties are shutting down, and Galveston officials asked the state not to send the county any vaccine next week as the number of residents making vaccine appointments declines. Waukesha County, Wisconsin, will likely shut down its mass vaccine site to new first doses by the end of the week, as the county hits its target of 60% of eligible residents being vaccinated. Some vaccination locations have made plans to close before this week: Sites in Las Vegas and Cascade County, Montana, were announced to be shutting down last week, for instance, while Mercer County, Ohio, shuttered their drive-through mass vaccine clinic earlier in April.

Officials are reporting noticeable decreases in the number of people getting inoculated in areas where sites are not closing, including in Texas, Idaho, Missouri, Alabama, Maine and Maryland, where Gov. Larry Hogan predicted Wednesday the state would be shutting down mass vaccination sites “at some point soon.” 3.02 million. That’s the seven-day average of Covid-19 vaccines administered in the U.S. each day as of Wednesday, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data analyzed by the New York Times. That average has been steadily declining in recent days after peaking at approximately 3.3 million shots per day last week.

Jim Jordan Fauci

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Cerebral Venous Thrombosis: all of its symptoms seem to be identical to what we are told COVID-19 symptoms are.

COVID Vaccine Blood Clot Risk Was Known, Ignored & Buried (Hudak)

Joining us today is Dr. Sucharit Bhakdi, here to discuss the ‘dangerous mRNA vaccines’ and how he and his organization warned about the blood clots (and much else now coming to pass) that we are now seeing from the COVID-19 injections, months before they began. He stresses that it is important that we come to understand what Cerebral Venous Thrombosis is, and why all of its symptoms seem to be identical to what we are told COVID-19 symptoms are.

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So much for the vaccine success.

All of a sudden dexamethasone pops up again. Ivermectin next?!

Boris Johnson Says UK Will Have To ‘Learn To Live With Virus’ (RT)

The UK will be hit by yet another wave of Covid infections later this year, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said as he revealed that the government was looking into treating people with tablets against the disease. “The majority of scientific opinion in this country is still firmly of the view that there will be another wave of Covid at some stage this year and so we must as far as possible learn to live with this disease,” he told a news briefing on Tuesday. The PM added that with record infection levels around the world, “we cannot delude ourselves that Covid has gone away.” He also said he saw nothing in the data to suggest the UK would have to deviate from its “cautious but irreversible” roadmap out of lockdown.


Johnson also announced the creation of a new antivirals taskforce to help with the search for new medicines and support their development in clinical trials in order to make them available by the autumn. He said the treatments could include a tablet that would stop people with Covid-19 becoming severely ill, or a pill to prevent someone contracting the virus from close contacts who are infected. The PM did not say if such treatments were currently being trialled. The UK was the first country to repurpose dexamethasone to treat Covid-19, Johnson said. The drug is usually used to treat severe allergies, skin conditions and inflammation.

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“..society has been transformed into something resembling an infectious disease ward, or an enormous hospital from which there is no escape.”

The Covidian Cult – Part II (CJ Hopkins)

How did we ever get to this point … to the point where, as I put it in The Covidian Cult, “instead of the cult existing as an island within the dominant culture, the cult has become the dominant culture, and those of us who have not joined the cult have become the isolated islands within it?” To understand this, one needs to understand how cults control the minds of their members, because totalitarian ideological movements operate more or less the same way, just on a much larger, societal scale. There is a wealth of research and knowledge on this subject (I mentioned Robert J. Lifton in my earlier essay), but, to keep things simple, I’ll just use Margaret Singer’s “Six Conditions of Mind Control” from her 1995 book, Cults in Our Midst, as a lens to view the Covidian Cult through.

Six Conditions of Mind Control

1. Keep the person unaware of what is going on and how she or he is being changed a step at a time. Potential new members are led, step by step, through a behavioral-change program without being aware of the final agenda or full content of the group. Looking back, it is easy to see how people were conditioned, step by step, to accept the “New Normal” ideology. They were bombarded with terrifying propaganda, locked down, stripped of their civil rights, forced to wear medical-looking masks in public, to act out absurd “social-distancing” rituals, submit to constant “testing,” and all the rest of it. Anyone not complying with this behavioral-change program or challenging the veracity and rationality of the new ideology was demonized as a “conspiracy theorist,” a “Covid denier,” an “anti-vaxxer,” in essence, an enemy of the cult, like a “suppresive person” in the Church of Scientology.

2. Control the person’s social and/or physical environment; especially control the person’s time. For over a year now, the “New Normal” authorities have controlled the social/physical environment, and how New Normals spend their time, with lockdowns, social-distancing rituals, closure of “non-essential” businesses, omnipresent propaganda, isolation of the elderly, travel restrictions, mandatory mask-rules, protest bans, and now the segregation of the “Unvaccinated.” Basically, society has been transformed into something resembling an infectious disease ward, or an enormous hospital from which there is no escape. You’ve seen the photos of the happy New Normals dining out at restaurants, relaxing at the beach, jogging, attending school, and so on, going about their “normal” lives with their medical-looking masks and prophylactic face shields. What you’re looking at is the pathologization of society, the pathologization of everyday life, the physical (social) manifestation of a morbid obsession with disease and death.

3. Systematically create a sense of powerlessness in the person. What kind of person could feel more powerless than an obedient New Normal sitting at home, obsessively logging the “Covid death” count, sharing photos of his medical-looking mask and post-“vaccination” bandage on Facebook, as he waits for permission from the authorities to go outdoors, visit his family, kiss his lover, or shake hands with a colleague? The fact that in the Covidian Cult the traditional charismatic cult leader has been replaced by a menagerie of medical experts and government officials does not change the utter dependency and abject powerlessness of its members, who have been reduced to a state approaching infancy. This abject powerlessness is not experienced as a negative; on the contrary, it is proudly celebrated. Thus the mantra-like repetition of the “New Normal” platitude “Trust the Science!” by people who, if you try to show them the science, melt down completely and start jabbering aggressive nonsense at you to shut you up.

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“War, when it is waged to serve utopian absurdities [..] descends into a quagmire.”

“All we really make anymore are weapons. Once this is understood, perpetual war makes sense, at least for those who profit from it.”

The Unraveling of the American Empire (Chris Hedges)

America’s defeat in Afghanistan is one in a string of catastrophic military blunders that herald the death of the American empire. With the exception of the first Gulf War, fought largely by mechanized units in the open desert that did not — wisely — attempt to occupy Iraq, the United States political and military leadership has stumbled from one military debacle to another. Korea. Vietnam. Lebanon. Afghanistan. Iraq. Syria. Libya. The trajectory of military fiascos mirrors the sad finales of the Chinese, Ottoman, Hapsburg, Russian, French, British, Dutch, Portuguese and Soviet empires. While each of these empires decayed with their own peculiarities, they all exhibited patterns of dissolution that characterize the American experiment.

Imperial ineptitude is matched by domestic ineptitude. The collapse of good government at home, with legislative, executive and judicial systems all seized by corporate power, ensures that the incompetent and the corrupt, those dedicated not to the national interest but to swelling the profits of the oligarchic elite, lead the country into a cul-de-sac. Rulers and military leaders, driven by venal self-interest, are often buffoonish characters in a grand comic operetta. How else to think of Allen Dulles, Dick Cheney, George W. Bush, Donald Trump or the hapless Joe Biden? While their intellectual and moral vacuity is often darkly amusing, it is murderous and savage when directed towards their victims.

There is not a single case since 1941 when the coups, political assassinations, election fraud, black propaganda, blackmail, kidnapping, brutal counter-insurgency campaigns, U.S. sanctioned massacres, torture in global black sites, proxy wars or military interventions carried out by the United States resulted in the establishment of a democratic government. The two-decade-long wars in the Middle East, the greatest strategic blunder in American history, have only left in their wake one failed state after another. Yet, no one in the ruling class is held accountable.

War, when it is waged to serve utopian absurdities, such as implanting a client government in Baghdad that will flip the region, including Iran, into U.S. protectorates, or when, as in Afghanistan, there is no vision at all, descends into a quagmire. The massive allocation of money and resources to the U.S. military, which includes Biden’s request for $715 billion for the Defense Department in fiscal year 2022, a $11.3 billion, or 1.6 percent increase, over 2021, is not in the end about national defense. The bloated military budget is designed, as Seymour Melman explained in his book, The Permanent War Economy, primarily to keep the American economy from collapsing. All we really make anymore are weapons. Once this is understood, perpetual war makes sense, at least for those who profit from it.

Read more …

For decades now.

US Sanctions Only Make Russia’s Economy Even More Self-Sufficient (RT)

As Washington threatens to impose more sanctions on Russia, analysts expect Moscow’s response to be the same as usual – speeding up the drive to make the nation’s economy more self-sufficient. “The Americans are saying: be careful or we could do more, but Russia is just going to continue down the path toward economic autarky,” the deputy chief economist at the Institute of International Finance in Washington, Elina Ribakova, told Bloomberg. The administration of US President Joe Biden on Sunday warned of “consequences” if opposition activist Alexey Navalny were to die in prison. The warning followed the introduction by Washington of new economic penalties over claims of Russian hacking and election interference. The measures include a ban on purchases of bonds on Russia’s primary market.

However, President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said on Friday that the fundamentals of the Russian economy were unaffected by the move. “Macroeconomic stability is fully ensured,” Peskov said, “and the efficiency of our economic bloc is recognized internationally. We have no reason to doubt this state of affairs.” International rating agencies confirm that Russia is well positioned for a near-term market disruption because it has a high cash buffer and demand from local banks is robust, according to Fitch. Moody’s said on Monday that Russia’s financial reserves will allow the country to cope with the negative effects of the sanctions. Ratings agency S&P also noted that the sanctions will not have a significant impact on the replenishment of the Russian budget and will not undermine the stability of the country’s financial markets.

Experts point out that during the seven years of Western sanctions on Russia over Ukraine, the Russian government and central bank reduced the country’s exposure to dollars, shifted assets out of the US, and sold a smaller share of its debt to foreigners. Russia has been reshaping its international holdings, cutting the share of the US dollar in favor of other currencies and gold. The country’s foreign reserve holdings have been steadily growing in recent years, and amounted to $580.5 billion as of April 9. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the reserves surged by over $40 billion last year. The share of gold in Russia’s forex reserves jumped above dollars for the first time on record in 2020. The precious metal made up 24% of the central bank’s stockpile as of the end of September. The share of dollar assets was 22%, down from more than 40% in 2018.

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“I hope no one will think of crossing red lines in their relations with Russia. Where that line sits is ours to determine.”

Putin Says Russia Developing High-Tech Nuclear & Laser Weapons (RT)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that the vast majority of the country’s Soviet-era atomic stockpile will soon be replaced by modern weapons, warning that Moscow is intent on defending itself against foreign aggression. Speaking as part of his annual address to the Federal Assembly in Moscow on Wednesday, Putin said that his government “wants to have positive relationships with everyone on the international stage, including those with whom relations have broken down recently. We really don’t want to burn bridges.” At the same time, however, he cautioned that “those who mistake this stance for weakness need to know that Russia’s response [to any aggression] will be asymmetrical, swift and harsh.”

Those planning provocations, he said, “will regret their deeds in a way they have not regretted anything else for a long time.” As part of the country’s plans to defend itself, he said, its stockpile of strategic weapons is currently being overhauled, updating older Soviet-era equipment in favor of next-generation technology, such as “hypersonic and laser” armaments. Among the overhaul, he revealed that the advanced RS-28 Sarmat missile will be delivered to troops in the field from 2022. A heavy intercontinental ballistic rocket, it boasts up to 15 nuclear warheads which can be directed against individual targets and each deliver 350 kilotons of atomic hellfire. Ship-mounted missiles and other, “next-generation” projectiles are also slated for deployment in the near future.

According to the president, more than two-thirds of Russia’s military equipment will be “modern” at the end of the next three years, while more than 88% of nuclear weapons will be this year as well. Putin also referenced the Peresvet, a secretive laser cannon that is said to have the potential to shoot down both enemy aircraft and incoming missiles. The weapon has reportedly already been deployed to installations across the country. “We have patience, self-confidence and righteousness on our side,” Putin added. “I hope no one will think of crossing red lines in their relations with Russia. Where that line sits is ours to determine.”

The US is currently reportedly developing a $100 billion ground-based intercontinental ballistic missile system to replace its Cold War-era Minuteman-III rockets. However, it has come under criticism from experts, with the Federation of American Scientists arguing that the program has been driven by industry lobbying rather than a genuine need for the launch complex “in a post-Cold War security environment.”

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“We suggest Prague leave ultimatums for communication within NATO,” said spokeswoman Maria Zakharova. “With Russia such a tone is unacceptable.”

Prague Gives Moscow Ultimatum To Let Czech Diplomats Return (Y!)

The Czech government on Wednesday warned Moscow it might expel more Russian diplomats unless the 20 Czech nationals ejected from Russia were allowed to return to work within a day. Moscow responded by saying the ultimatum was “unacceptable”. On Saturday, Prague expelled 18 Russian embassy staff in a row over Russia’s alleged role in an explosion that killed two people in the Czech Republic in 2014. Moscow sent back the Czech diplomats in retaliation on Monday. “The Russian Federation has until 1200 tomorrow (1000 GMT) to allow the return of all expelled diplomats back to the Czech embassy in Moscow,” Jakub Kulhanek, the new Czech foreign minister, told reporters. “If they cannot return, I will cut the number of Russian embassy staff in Prague so it would correspond to the current situation at the Czech embassy in Moscow,” he added.

After summoning Russian ambassador Alexander Zmeyevski, Kulhanek said Moscow’s retaliation had been “disproportionate and it in fact paralysed the embassy”. The Russian foreign ministry condemned the Czech position. “We suggest Prague leave ultimatums for communication within NATO,” said spokeswoman Maria Zakharova. “With Russia such a tone is unacceptable.” The Czech ambassador would be summoned on Thursday, she added. Prague currently has five diplomats and 19 technical staff at the embassy in Moscow, far fewer than the Russian workforce in Prague. “The expulsion of 18 Russian diplomats in turn did not jeopardise the functioning of the Russian embassy,” said Kulhanek, who was only appointed as minister on Wednesday.

The EU backed the Czech Republic as its foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the bloc stood “ready to support its further efforts to bring those responsible to justice”. “The EU condemns the disproportionate reaction and subsequent threats of Russian Federation towards the Czech Republic,” Borrell said in a statement, vowing “the staunchest resolve” in addressing disruptive acts by Russian intelligence on EU soil. Czech officials, including Interior Minister Jan Hamacek, who was standing in as foreign minister until Kulhanek’s appointment, said Tuesday that they might aim to reset relations with Russia — and that this could involve the expulsion of all Russian diplomats in Prague. [..] Hamacek also said that Prague would no longer consider buying Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine against Covid-19.

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Creating chaos through proxies.

Ukraine Encourages Western Allies To Kick Russia Out Of SWIFT (EurActiv)

Ukraine on Wednesday (21 April) urged Western allies to show they were prepared to punish Moscow with new sanctions, including kicking Russia out of the global SWIFT payments system, to deter the Kremlin from resorting to more military force against Ukraine. In an interview with Reuters, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said while Kyiv had no new information indicating that Russia had decided to take new military action against Ukraine, it was important for the West to act now to prevent that happening.Ukraine is trying to shore up international support in its standoff with Moscow over a build-up of Russian troops on its eastern border and in Crimea. “I have no information to state that the decision to launch a military operation against Ukraine has already been taken. So it can go in either direction now,” Kuleba said.

“And this is why the reaction of the West, the consolidated reaction of the West, is so important now, to prevent Putin … from making that decision.” Kyiv and Moscow have traded blame for a collapse in the ceasefire in the eastern Donbass region, where Ukrainian troops have battled Russian-backed forces in a conflict Kyiv says has killed 14,000 people since 2014. Kuleba said he asked Washington to supply “powerful means of electronic warfare” to counter Russia’s capacity to jam Ukrainian communications when he met US Secretary of State Antony Blinken last week. He also revealed he had urged a meeting of European Union foreign ministers on Monday to consider “banning Russia from SWIFT” as part of a package of new economic sanctions if Russia escalated the situation.

[..] Putin on Wednesday warned the West not to cross Russia’s “red lines”, saying Moscow would respond swiftly and harshly to any provocations. “I read the message of President Putin the following way: ‘we will be crossing your red lines, but you are not allowed to cross our red lines, and we will be defining where our red lines are,’” Kuleba said.

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The University’s riposte is great.

Georgia & Ukraine Launch ‘Remarkable’ Attack On Academic Freedom (RT)

A professor from Ireland’s Dublin City University has lambasted a “remarkable attempt to undermine academic freedom” from the embassies of Georgia and Ukraine after they complained about a course he teaches at the institution. Donnacha Ó Beacháin is an internationally-respected professor with extensive experience teaching students about politics in the countries that once formed the Soviet Union. He was targeted by two diplomats who claimed that his program, named ‘Russia and the post-Soviet space’, was spreading “disinformation and Russian propaganda narratives.” Georgia and Ukraine, who both have strained relationships with Moscow, are covered in the course.

In particular, Ó Beacháin was accused of inviting a “well-known Russian propagandist” to speak. In fact, the person in question was Sergey Markedonov, a visiting fellow at the Washington-based think tank CSIS, which receives funding from the US government. Ó Beacháin described him as “probably the leading authority in Russia on conflicts in the Caucasus.” As well as inviting Markedonov, the professor also pointed out that the course has had a guest speaker from Ukraine, and he even asked the current Georgian ambassador to address the students. “The module is called ‘Russia and the Former Soviet Space,’ but if the Georgia/Ukraine diplomats had their way, the only view we wouldn’t get is from Russia,” Ó Beacháin wrote on Twitter.

In a letter to the embassies, the university’s president, Dáire Keogh, stressed the importance of “academic freedom” and noted that the professor had “invited guests from different backgrounds to expose students to their points of view.” “Those invited to contribute to the module include speakers from Georgian and Ukrainian backgrounds, including former officials,” the letter said. Speaking to Ireland’s state broadcaster, RTE, Ó Beacháin’s colleague John Doyle blasted the complaints as “absolutely unprecedented,” noting that there has never been another issue when an embassy not only complained to a university professor, but also contacted the Department of Foreign Affairs – presumably attempting to create a diplomatic incident.

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The Postal Service? What’s next, the supermarket?

USPS ‘Covert Operations Program’ Monitors Americans’ Social Media Posts (Y!)

The law enforcement arm of the U.S. Postal Service has been quietly running a program that tracks and collects Americans’ social media posts, including those about planned protests, according to a document obtained by Yahoo News. The details of the surveillance effort, known as iCOP, or Internet Covert Operations Program, have not previously been made public. The work involves having analysts trawl through social media sites to look for what the document describes as “inflammatory” postings and then sharing that information across government agencies. “Analysts with the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) Internet Covert Operations Program (iCOP) monitored significant activity regarding planned protests occurring internationally and domestically on March 20, 2021,” says the March 16 government bulletin, marked as “law enforcement sensitive” and distributed through the Department of Homeland Security’s fusion centers. “Locations and times have been identified for these protests, which are being distributed online across multiple social media platforms, to include right-wing leaning Parler and Telegram accounts.”


A number of groups were expected to gather in cities around the globe on March 20 as part of a World Wide Rally for Freedom and Democracy, to protest everything from lockdown measures to 5G. “Parler users have commented about their intent to use the rallies to engage in violence. Image 3 on the right is a screenshot from Parler indicating two users discussing the event as an opportunity to engage in a ‘fight’ and to ‘do serious damage,’” says the bulletin.

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Hacking the hackers turns out to be easy.

In Epic Hack, Signal Developer Turns Tables On Forensics Firm Cellebrite (AT)

For years, Israeli digital forensics firm Cellebrite has helped governments and police around the world break into confiscated mobile phones, mostly by exploiting vulnerabilities that went overlooked by device manufacturers. Now, Moxie Marlinspike—creator of the Signal messaging app—has turned the tables on Cellebrite. On Wednesday, Marlinspike published a post that reported vulnerabilities in Cellebrite software that allowed him to execute malicious code on the Windows computer used to analyze devices. The researcher and software engineer exploited the vulnerabilities by loading specially formatted files that can be embedded into any app installed on the device. “There are virtually no limits on the code that can be executed,” Marlinspike wrote.

He continued: “For example, by including a specially formatted but otherwise innocuous file in an app on a device that is then scanned by Cellebrite, it’s possible to execute code that modifies not just the Cellebrite report being created in that scan, but also all previous and future generated Cellebrite reports from all previously scanned devices and all future scanned devices in any arbitrary way (inserting or removing text, email, photos, contacts, files, or any other data), with no detectable timestamp changes or checksum failures. This could even be done at random, and would seriously call the data integrity of Cellebrite’s reports into question.”

Cellebrite provides two software packages: The UFED breaks through locks and encryption protections to collect deleted or hidden data, and a separate Physical Analyzer uncovers digital evidence (“trace events”). To do their job, both pieces of Cellebrite software must parse all kinds of untrusted data stored on the device being analyzed. Typically, software that is this promiscuous undergoes all kinds of security hardening to detect and fix any memory-corruption or parsing vulnerabilities that might allow hackers to execute malicious code. “Looking at both UFED and Physical Analyzer, though, we were surprised to find that very little care seems to have been given to Cellebrite’s own software security,” Marlinspike wrote. “Industry-standard exploit mitigation defenses are missing, and many opportunities for exploitation are present.”

Read more …

 

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Apr 212021
 


Mark Chagall I and the village 1911

 

 

Joe Biden declares a “national emergency”, calls Putin a killer, slaps more sanctions on Russia, for which he has his Foreign Secretary Antony Blinken declare that “Today, we announced actions to hold the Russian Government to account for the SolarWinds intrusion, reports of bounties on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, and attempts to interfere in the 2020 U.S. elections,” … and then “invites” Putin for a summit.

For the SolarWinds “intrusion”, the US has never provided any evidence at all, the Russian bounties story was -finally- fully debunked well before Blinken made his statement -which makes him look very incompetent-, and the election interference narrative is by now just too dumb to even get into. No evidence for it whatsoever after 2 years of the Mueller investigation, but now Putin’s at it again? Who did he want to win, then? Trump again, after apparently not even trying in 2016?

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky states that his country should urgently be made a full member of both NATO and the EU, and has his own proxy, Ukraine’s ambassador to Germany, Andriy Melnyk, solemnly claim that not just “The only possibility for this [to prevent alleged invasion plans] is for Ukraine to finally become a NATO member”, but also that “Ukraine has no other choice: either we are part of an alliance such as NATO and are doing our part to make this Europe stronger, or we have the only option – to arm by ourselves, and maybe think about nuclear status again”.… And then Zelensky invites Putin for a summit. In the Donbass, no less.

These people are all as insincere as they possibly could be, but they trust that this doesn’t matter anymore. The western media have been planting the “Putin is a monster” seeds in their readers and viewers for many years now, and critical thought has long since left the building. Yes, that is the ultimate effect of what’s called propaganda, and as long as the sheeple “victims” don’t recognize it as such, it works like a charm.

 

I’ve been wondering for a long time why Boris Yeltsin appointed Putin as his successor in 1999, and I can’t find much information on it. Yeltsin was a US asset, and sold out his country to the CIA and a bunch of CIA-asset homegrown oligarchs. I’ve always suspected that when Yeltsin left, he felt a lot of regret for what he had done to Russia, and that maybe appointing Putin was his way to try and make up for that. I see people saying that Yeltsin thought Putin was pliable, but I think perhaps he knew exactly how Putin thought.

A “detail”: remember that after the collapse of the Soviet Union, male life expectancy for a period of time feel from a very steep cliff. And nothing Yeltsin did provided a solution to that crisis. Then, in August 1999, he appointed Putin as his prime minister, and didn’t leave a year later as planned, but 4 months later, in December. His chief of staff, Valentin Yumashev , who had hired Putin as his deputy in 1997, wrote his resignation speech:

Mr Yumashev was entrusted with writing Yeltsin’s resignation speech. “It was a hard speech to write. It was clear the text would go down in history. The message was important. That’s why I wrote the famous line ‘Forgive me’. “Russians had suffered such shock and stress during the 1990s. Yeltsin had to speak about this.”

Back to today. All economic -and other- sanctions against Russia since Putin first became president have led to one thing only: the country has dramatically increased its self-sufficiency. And in the process has upgraded its weapons arsenal to a level that no western country even comes close to, including the US, for maybe 10% of what the same US has spent on its own arsenal.

Russia’s latest generation of hypersonic missiles, against which no country has any defense, are far superior to what anybody else possesses. When they said recently they could take out a specific building in Kyiv if they wanted, they were not exaggerating. So yeah, look for Biden and Blinken and NATO et al to soon start using that superiority as a reason to incite more war vs Moscow.

A war they could never win, but that’s not the point any longer. One might argue of course that it never was after the advent of nuclear weapons. The whole point of NATO today, its raison d’être, is that it can create chaos wherever it goes and looks. It’s no longer capable of defending anyone from the Russian threat, but then that threat hasn’t been there for many years.

 

And NATO wants to continue existing, as does the Pentagon, and Boeing and Raytheon, it’s all about money, so they have to make up a threat, aided by their media brethren. That‘s why you see, from time to time, reports about Putin having yet another person “poisoned”, why governments in countries like the UK and Germany go along with the narrative, and why media in all other vassal states parrot these stories.

In that vein, the story this week out of Czechia, which expelled 18 Russian diplomats, kind of sets a new standard in absolute nonsense.

The Czech organised crime squad (NCOZ) said it was looking for two men using Russian passports in relation to the explosions. The passports bear the names of Alexander Petrov, born in 1979, and Ruslan Boshirov, born in 1978, and their holders are also wanted in Britain in connection with Skripal’s poisoning in Salisbury.

Mark Ames’ reaction to this on Twitter is so good, I’m not going to try to beat him to it: : “If I understand this right, apparently GRU thought it’d be smart to use the same 2 spies to carry out 2 separate deadly operations in NATOland – 2014 bombing in Czech Rep, 2018 Skripal poisoning – using exact same aliases & fake passports in both operations.”

Now that the west has lost its military superiority, all that’s left for it to claim is some sort of “intelligence superiority”, so it portrays Russians as really dumb people. Putin tries to poison one person after another, invariably people who are no threat to him at all, with the deadliest poisons on the planet, and fails time and again. Navalny is a US asset who gets 2% max of votes in a poll, Skripal is a former military intel officer who was allowed to go to the UK after being exposed as a double-agent (!), but they fit the 20+ year old narrative of Putin as Pol Pot. Stories. They are all that counts. Reality, not so much. Bernays and Goebbels are having a ton of fun in their own private hells.

So how will the Ukraine episode be resolved? Not easy. Making the world’s 2nd-most corrupt country a full member of NATO is out of the question, Russia will never accept that. Which is why the west is pushing it. Ukraine with nukes is even more preposterous, if that is possible (hard call). Dmitry Orlov suggested a “solution” the other day about which I have major question marks, but he’s Russian and I’m not, so take a look:

Putin’s Ukrainian Judo

The answer, I believe, is obvious: evacuation. There are around 3.2 million residents in Donetsk People’s Republic and 1.4 million in Lugansk People’s Republic, for a total of some 4.6 million residents. This may seem like a huge number, but it’s moderate by the scale of World War II evacuations. Keep in mind that Russia has already absorbed over a million Ukrainian migrants and refugees without much of a problem.

Also, Russia is currently experiencing a major labor shortage, and an infusion of able-bodied Russians would be most welcome. Domestically, the evacuation would likely be quite popular: Russia is doing right by its own people by pulling them out of harm’s way. The patriotic base would be energized and the already very active Russian volunteer movement would swing into action to assist the Emergencies Ministry in helping move and resettle the evacuees.

The elections that are to take place later this year would turn into a nationwide welcoming party for several million new voters. The Donbass evacuation could pave the way for other waves of repatriation that are likely to follow. There are some 20 million Russians scattered throughout the world, and as the world outside Russia plunges deeper and deeper into resource scarcity they too will want to come home.

While they may presently be reluctant to do so, seeing the positive example of how the Donbass evacuees are treated could help change their minds. The negative optics of surrendering territory can be countered by not surrendering any territory. As a guarantor of the Minsk Agreements, Russia must refuse to surrender the Donbass to the Ukrainian government until it fulfills the terms of these agreements, which it has shown no intention of doing for seven years now and which it has recently repudiated altogether.

[..] The West would be left with the following status quo. The Donbass is empty of residents but off-limits to them or to the Ukrainians. The evacuation would in no sense change the standing or the negotiating position of the evacuees and their representatives vis-à-vis the Minsk agreements, locking this situation in place until Kiev undertakes constitutional reform, becomes a federation and grants full autonomy to Donbass, or until the Ukrainian state ceases to exist and is partitioned. The Ukraine would be unable to join NATO (a pipe dream which it has stupidly voted into its constitution) since this would violate the NATO charter, given that it does not control its own territory.

Further sanctions against Russia would become even more difficult to justify, since it would be untenable to accuse it of aggression for undertaking a humanitarian mission to protect its own citizens or for carrying out its responsibilities as a guarantor of the Minsk agreements. The Donbass would remain as a stalker zone roamed by Russian battlefield robots sniping Ukrainian marauders, with the odd busload of schoolchildren there on a field trip to lay flowers on the graves of their ancestors. Its ruined Soviet-era buildings, not made any newer by three decades of Ukrainian abuse and neglect, will bear silent witness to the perpetual ignominy of the failed Ukrainian state.

Dmitry suggests 4.6 million people leave the Donbass so peace may be restored. But most of those people grew up there, and so did their families. And largely peacefully so, until the US and NATO, John McCain and Victoria Nuland and Geoffrey Pyatt, tried to take over Ukraine. Why should Russia, instead of protecting these people where they live, migrate them and protect them in Russia? Anyone ask for their own opinion?

There would be a giant empty piece of land where they once lived, in a kind of demilitarized zone? And what then? Nobody in Ukraine would come up with the idea to move into the empty land? And if they did, Russia would have to shoot them from Russian territory? I sort of see the reasoning of course, but not all of it. It only seems to work if you see Russia, and the Russians in the Donbass, as the aggressors.

Were they? Are they? Russia only sprung into action when the west tried to take away their sole warm water port, Sevastopol in Crimea. An election was held, and 97% of mostly Russians voted to be part of Russia. Yeah, that upset NATO and the other usual suspects, but that doesn’t make Russia an aggressor.

Russia has no reason to “invade” Ukraine. They don’t need even more territory, they’re already by far the largest nation on earth. Moreover, they don’t have the military to occupy large swaths of land. They only have the capacity to protect their own.

Thing is, they really got that down. So the only thing NATO can do, in its quest to prove it has reason to exist, is to create chaos, as I said before. But there is a problem with consciously creating chaos between nuclear powers, instead of maintaining communication channels, as the US and USSR always did during the Cold War. Do we all understand this means we are in a worse situation today than back then? That all those expulsions of diplomats only make the situation worse?

And that some fool could actually fire a nuclear missile because of that? Me, I’m not so sure anymore. Between the Covid virus and the US cancel culture, there are not that many western people paying attention to warmongers and NATO aka warheads. Not a good idea.

 

 

 

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Apr 212021
 


Paul Gauguin The wave 1888

 

Genetic Vaccines: Are They the New Thalidomide? (Merritt)
WHO Emergency Committee Rejects Vaccination Demands For Entry Permits (RT)
Vaccine Passports Are Something Made Up By Conspiracy Theorists? (OP)
Damning Data Hands Up An Indictment (Denninger)
The Lockdown Paradigm Is Collapsing (AIER)
Devastating Lawsuit Over Disastrous Bayer’s Monsanto Acquisition (NC)
Relations Between Russia & US Are Being Slowly Dismantled (Lukyanov)
EU Walks Back Claim of 150,000 Russian Troops Near Ukraine Border (Antiwar)
Ukraine’s Zelensky Invites Putin To Meet In War-Torn East (ZH)
EU Reaches Major Climate Deal Ahead Of Biden Climate Summit (AP)

 

 

 

 

Life insurance and COVID. Insurers have had zero reaction to the “increased risks”. There must be a reason for that.

 

 

I don’t feel like talking about George Floyd, too many already do. But I do find it curious that the jury was not sequestered.

Tucker Candace
https://twitter.com/i/status/1384671880116899840

 

 

Excellent long overview of all things Covid by Lee D. Merritt MD.

“Legally, those who get the vaccine are unnamed participants in a Stage IV FDA trial. “

Genetic Vaccines: Are They the New Thalidomide? (Merritt)

Many Americans have heard the news account of Dr. Gregory Michael, a 56-year-old Florida physician who, after receiving his first dose of a Pfizer COVID vaccine on December 18 of last year, was hospitalized three days later. He had a total loss of his platelets — the little blood cells that stop bleeding. In spite of being treated by a team of physicians, he died two weeks later from a brain hemorrhage, and was reported to have had zero platelets. By February 10, 2021, 36 other similar cases were reported in the mainstream media. Pfizer, which along with its partner BioNTech made the vaccine the doctor received, said in a statement that it was aware of the death. Typically, they concluded, “We are actively investigating this case, but we don’t believe at this time that there is any direct connection to the vaccine.”

Pfizer made this “finding” despite several unusual circumstances of the case. First, low-platelet disorders, known as idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), most commonly affect children, and generally follow a viral illness. Only 10 percent of ITP cases occur in adults, who usually present with a slow onset form of the disorder, referred to as chronic ITP. The disorder usually starts by someone noticing easy bleeding, such as slow oozing from gums or the nose, or bruises showing up without trauma. Rarely do platelets drop below 20,000, and generally treatment either reverses the disease or prolongs life for years in spite of the problem. What happened to this physician and the others seems to be a new previously unseen problem related to vaccination — despite the manufacturers’ claims.

Increasingly, vaccine manufacturers and government officials are following the sarcastic maxim from Samuel Shem’s novel of medical residency entitled The House of God that “if you don’t take a temperature you can’t find a fever.” In other words, if we don’t critically look at the actual recorded patient damage, we won’t find our products to be defective. Now, major media are increasingly getting on board, condemning “vaccine hesitancy” and pushing everyone to get vaccinated for COVID, discounting any dangers. But in the practice of medicine, we are supposed to employ the “precautionary principle” — above all do no harm. Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 “vaccines” are experimental, employing a genetic technology never before used on humans.

Ironically, many people who wouldn’t purchase the first edition of a new car line are lining up to take an injection they know nothing about, that has never successfully passed animal trials, that could never meet the required “safety level” for a “drug,” and is unapproved for the prevention of COVID except as an emergency experiment. Legally, those who get the vaccine are unnamed participants in a Stage IV FDA trial. Moreover, a vaccine is supposed to prevent disease. By that definition, these agents are not even vaccines. They are more properly termed “experimental unapproved genetic agents.” By admission of the manufacturers themselves, both the Pfizer and Moderna products only lessen the symptoms of COVID; they don’t prevent transmission.

[..] In truth, neither recipients nor their doctors know what is in these “vaccines.” Only a few people at the top of the Moderna, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and AstraZeneca research groups really understand them. These mRNA injections produce a potentially deadly pathogen — the spike protein — in your cells. The Emergency Use Authorization for the Pfizer product says that it contains “a nucleoside-modified messenger RNA (modRNA) encoding the viral spike glycoprotein (S) of SARS-CoV-2.” If your immune system is strong enough to withstand this onslaught and create some immunity, you may survive the first onslaught. But even if you don’t die in the short term, mRNA is an epigenetic controller of DNA. Though this foreign synthetic mRNA doesn’t actually become part of your DNA to make you a “GMO human,” as some people have been worrying about, it can control DNA in ways we have yet to completely understand.

Read more …

But nobody listens anymore.

WHO Emergency Committee Rejects Vaccination Demands For Entry Permits (RT)

The WHO Emergency Committee has strictly rejected the use of corona vaccination cards as a requirement for entry permits. According to the panel, there is still too little clarity as to whether and how the vaccination prevents the virus from being passed on. The committee reiterated its previously expressed position on Monday and again opposed the use of vaccination records as a condition for resuming international travel opportunities. He cited the fact that there is so far no clear evidence of the effects of the vaccination on the transmission of the coronavirus. At the same time, health experts described such requirements as unfair because of the uneven distribution of vaccines around the world. They would deepen existing rifts between people from different countries, it said from the panel.

Instead, countries were recommended to rely more on quarantine measures for international travelers and to present other “coordinated, time-limited, risk- and evidence-based approaches to health measures”. The statement by the independent emergency committee that advises the World Health Organization (WHO) on pandemic issues comes amid concerns over persistent inequality in the global distribution of coronavirus vaccines. The pandemic could hardly be overcome unless all countries had access to sufficient vaccines, drugs and tests. The committee therefore recommended that the “emergency of international scope” declared at the end of January 2020 be maintained until further notice. The WHO had previously criticized the growing gap between vaccine use in different countries as a “moral scandal” and “catastrophic moral failure”.

The organization called on world leaders to promote a fairer distribution of vaccines. Nevertheless, the WHO Emergency Committee praised the progress made by the international vaccine procurement initiative COVAX and called on its member countries to support it. The program, within the framework of which a total of two billion doses of the corona protective agent is to be distributed worldwide by the end of 2021, is primarily dependent on poorer countries for deliveries with vaccines. In addition, the committee recommended that the WHO test new vaccines for their safety and effectiveness more quickly and that the responsible authorities in the member countries be strengthened. Risk monitoring should be strengthened, especially with regard to new mutated virus variants, he added.

Read more …

Double faced?

“.. the World Health Organization, who recently opposed the creation of a vaccine passport, is now working to do just that.”

Vaccine Passports Are Something Made Up By Conspiracy Theorists? (OP)

In March, the European Commission opened a proposal to create a “Digital Green Certificate” to allow travel inside the EU during the “pandemic.” This Digital Green Certificate would serve as a documentation that a person has been vaccinated for COVID, received a negative test for COVID, or has recovered from it. It will include a QR Code to ensure the authenticity and security of the certificate and will be made free of charge in paper or digital form. The Digital Green Certificate will have three certificates included within it including: • Vaccination certificates, stating brand of the vaccine used, data and place of inoculation and number of doses administered. • Negative test certificates (either a NAAT/RT-PCR test or a rapid antigen test). Self-tests will be excluded for the time being. • Medical certificates for people who have recovered from COVID-19 in the last 180 days.

According to Euro News, “Where member states accept proof of vaccination to waive certain public health restrictions such as testing or quarantine, they would be required to accept, under the same conditions, vaccination certificates issued under the Digital Green Certificate system,” the Commission said in a statement. [..] The instrument will be valid in all EU countries and will be open for Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway as well as Switzerland. It will be issued to EU citizens and their family members, regardless of their nationality. Other countries are following suit in the Digital Vaccine Passport scheme. But while the EU debates what sort of technology to use and what parameters will be included, various European countries are taking matters into their own hands, choosing instead to create their own versions of a vaccine passport, all varying between each country.

For instance, Estonia is planning to launch its own pilot program at the end of April. France is doing the same. In addition, the World Health Organization, who recently opposed the creation of a vaccine passport, is now working to do just that. And they are all working with the usual suspects – Google, Apple, Microsoft, IBM and a host of other corporations. What is more likely is that European countries will all implement different versions of the passport and, in the midst of chaos, the EU will have to step in and standardize the process. The WHO will likely lead the charge in implementing the process worldwide.

Read more …

“The CDC’s own data proves they lied.”

Damning Data Hands Up An Indictment (Denninger)

I still can’t find 500,000 excess deaths caused by Covid in 2020; they’re simply not there among the diseases the CDC reported out and since the base risk is 1/50,000 even across half the population being infected we could only account for 3,000 deaths. It is thus clear that if in fact Covid-19 has killed anywhere near the number of people claimed those other morbid conditions, all of which are serious diseases standing alone, have to account for the increase between them. Indeed the most-common, by far (40% of additional deaths by disease) were due to heart attacks and the next was diabetes at 13%. Between diabetes and heart attacks, both almost-exclusively due to lifestyle choices and thus your personal decisions, 53% of the excess 120,475 deaths are accounted for. If we add in strokes, which also are largely lifestyle-related then we’re at about 2/3rds.

Among those diseases that are allegedly “the biggest comorbid factors” I can find only 120,475 more deaths that Covid-19 may have contributed to and which included those diseases as a causal factor in total. Did Covid-19 cause all of those 120,000 additional deaths or were they caused by, in the case of diabetes, strokes and heart attacks for example, the additional 50lbs that a material percentage of people put on during the lockdowns (and over 20lbs on average!) from eating takeout trash full of fast carbs and being involuntarily cooped up in their homes? We do not know so this can only describe an upper boundary or caused mortality — not a lower one. This analysis doesn’t mean even more people didn’t die with Covid, but an alleged “Covid” death that wasn’t accompanied by one of the CDC’s specifically-called out diseases.

The CDC “selects” these specific categories and ICD codes, I remind you, because they’re particularly large percentages of the whole among diseases that kill people. When the CDC says that only a few thousand people died of Covid alone this data is rather interesting wouldn’t you say? After all being shot while Covid positive, or ODing, dying in a car wreck or wrapping your motorcycle around a telephone pole in no way implies you died of Covid, does it? To so-imply or state is to deliberately deceive the public and inculcate fear; it is a lie. Yet the media and government have in fact said it did because they have repeatedly claimed more than four times the number of people who the CDC links to specific diseases in fact died “of” Covid-19. The CDC’s own data proves they lied.


How fear distorts perception.

Read more …

“.. the presence or absence of lockdowns in the face of the virus seem completely uncorrelated with any disease trajectory.”

The Lockdown Paradigm Is Collapsing (AIER)

It’s taken much longer than it should have but at last it seems to be happening: the lockdown paradigm is collapsing. The signs are all around us. The one-time hero of the lockdown, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, is now deeply unpopular and most voters want him to resign. Meanwhile, polls have started to favor Florida governor and lockdown opponent Ron DeSantis for influence over the GOP in the future. This remarkable flip in fortunes is due to the dawning realization that the lockdowns were a disastrous policy. DeSantis and fellow anti-lockdown governor Kristi Noem are the first to state the truth bluntly. Their honesty has won them both credibility.

Meanwhile, in Congressional hearings, Representative James Jordan (R-OH) demanded that Dr. Fauci account for why closed Michigan has worse disease prevalence than neighboring Wisconsin which has long been entirely open. Fauci pretended he couldn’t hear the question, couldn’t see the chart, and then didn’t understand. Finally he just sat there silent after having uttered a few banalities about enforcement differentials. The lockdowners are now dealing with the huge problem of Texas. It has been fully open with no restrictions for 6 weeks. Cases and deaths fell dramatically in the same period. Fauci has no answer. Or compare closed California with open Florida: similar death rates. We have a full range of experiences in the US that allow comparisons between open and closed and disease outcomes. There is no relationship.

Or you could look to Taiwan, which had no stringencies governing its 23.5 million people. Deaths from Covid-19 thus far: 11. Sweden, which stayed open, performed better than most of Europe. The problem is that the presence or absence of lockdowns in the face of the virus seem completely uncorrelated with any disease trajectory. AIER has assembled 33 case studies from all over the world showing this to be true. Why should any of this matter? Because the “scientists” who recommended lockdowns had posited very precisely and pointedly that they had found the way to control the virus and minimized negative outcomes. We know for sure that the lockdowns imposed astonishing collateral damage. What we do not see is any relationship between lockdowns and disease outcomes.

Read more …

“It looks like Bayer will eventually declare bankruptcy.”

Devastating Lawsuit Over Disastrous Bayer’s Monsanto Acquisition (NC)

The Bayer purchase of Monsanto has been described as the worst deal of all time, beating even the train wreck of Time Warner’s AOL acquisition. As we wrote in August: “Yes, nearly every penny of the $66 billion that Bayer paid for Monsanto has gone poof. Yes, Bayer is the first time in German corporate history that a public company got a majority vote of no confidence from its shareholders. Yes, Bayer is at risk of bleeding out over seemingly endless Monsanto-related liability claims (Roundup has so taken the center stage that what would ordinarily be a big-deal litigation drain, Dicamba, is treated as an afterthought). Unlike any other company ever facing similar litigation, Bayer has neither taken Roundup off the market, nor reformulated it, nor put a cancer warning on it. It looks like Bayer will eventually declare bankruptcy.”

The original filing did a devastating job of describing why Bayer was so keen to do the horrific Monsanto, and on such terrible terms: the above-mentioned all cash offer, which it funded by borrowing boatloads of debt. Bayer was small enough in the world of ever-growing chemical and Pharma behemoths to make for a nice meal. Acquisitive Pfizer had just had a big deal scuppered for legal reasons, and Bayer’s management worried it might be the next target. It settled quickly on Monsanto despite or one might argue because of its terrible reputation; it served as a poisoned pill. The litany of horrors goes on. Bayer was unable to do proper due diligence by being too close a competitor. Monsanto had to sell a trophy asset for anti-trust reasons….yet Bayer didn’t demand a price adjustment.

The acquisition process dragged on long enough that the WHO had named glysophate a probable carcinogen, yet Bayer didn’t beat a retreat. Bayer believed the scientists who insisted that glysophate hadn’t been proven to cause cancer, when the WHO designation was more than enough to set off a tsunami of product liability lawsuits, many of which garnered eye-popping awards (among the ugly facts that came out was that Monsanto employees wore hazmat-type gear when working with glysophate yet made no warnings about the need to wear protective coverings to consumers).

Read more …

Maybe not all that slowly.

Relations Between Russia & US Are Being Slowly Dismantled (Lukyanov)

If the proposed summit between US President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin goes ahead, it will attract the attention of the world’s media and give both men a PR boost. But nothing will fundamentally change. Russian-American relations have gone through some interesting curves on the road recently, leaving many commentators at a loss. Stern warnings, a military showdown, reported plans to deploy the US Navy to the Black Sea (subsequently apparently cancelled), President Joe Biden calling his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin and proposing a face-to-face summit, followed by a new round of sanctions that apparently could have been worse but would do for now.

Next came Biden’s executive order that focused on the growing Russia “threat,” and then another invitation to talk in an address that Washington viewed as a gesture of reconciliation. All of this, and in such a short time, does seem chaotic. However, we will get some clarity if we consider two factors. First, what we are witnessing right now is the final stage in the process of dismantling relations between Russia and the US as they have existed for several decades. Second, most international players’ actions are motivated by complex domestic issues. Reacting to the challenges facing them on the home front always takes precedence, while foreign policy is either a secondary matter, or, if they are dealing with a major power that wouldn’t remove itself from the arena, it becomes an instrument for solving internal problems.

Let’s begin with the first factor. Since the late 1940s, Moscow and Washington have been each other’s main conversation focus. The dialogue has been confrontational in nature but pivotal for the global political landscape. It once was at the center of everything, because the two powers engaged in it had equal military and political capabilities. During the Cold War years, the parties worked out an efficient, functional system of stabilizing and rationalizing the confrontation. In the 1990s, parity disappeared in many areas – except nuclear capabilities. But it wasn’t enough for maintaining the core elements of the former type of relations – neither in their essential aspects, nor in ritualistic ones.

Significant advances were made at the end of the 20th and beginning of the 21st century, such as mutual openness or political and humanitarian contacts, but they didn’t change the nature of the relations. The two countries stayed rivals, but now with drastically different levels of power and resources. And as disagreements grew, the openness started evolving into a disadvantage. We are not going to analyze here what went wrong or discuss the very possibility of things developing differently. Today, Russia and the USA do not see each other as key partners – even in confrontational engagement. Each country views the other as more of a nuisance, getting in the way of executing their strategy. During the previous Cold War years, there was some mutual respect between the Soviet Union and America, as each country recognized its opponent’s ideological and political legitimacy. It is gone now.

Read more …

Hey, who’s going to check?

EU Walks Back Claim of 150,000 Russian Troops Near Ukraine Border (Antiwar)

The European Union had to correct a claim made by its foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, concerning Russian troops near the Ukrainian border. Borrell told reporters on Monday that there were “over 150,000” Russian troops near the border. The number was corrected in a transcript of his briefing on the EU’s website to “over 100,000.” Despite the change, it’s still unclear how the EU determined that there are over 100,000 Russian troops near the border. Russia has announced the deployment of additional forces near Ukraine in recent weeks, but nothing has indicated it sent over 100,000 troops to the region. Last week, a spokesperson for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky claimed there were 80,000 troops stationed along the border of Ukraine, with 40,000 of them in Crimea.


The fact that Russia has troops in Crimea is no surprise. Moscow had a military base in the peninsula even before Crimea joined the Russian Federation in 2014. An alarmist report from the Daily Mail published satellite images that it claims show a Russian military build-up at a base in Crimea. But the base is located in southern Crimea, nowhere near the conflict zone in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region. Demonstrating that the Daily Mail report lacks any credibility, it repeats Borrell’s original claim that 150,000 Russian troops have amassed as fact. When asked about Borrel’s comments, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the situation is “concerning” to the US. “What I can tell you is, in general, we have continued to see this build-up increase. And again, that is concerning to us,” He said. While Kirby didn’t offer any numbers, he claimed the Russian troop deployment is “certainly bigger” than the 2014 deployment Kirby said resulted in a “violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Read more …

What would Putin stand to gain?

Ukraine’s Zelensky Invites Putin To Meet In War-Torn East (ZH)

Following on the heels of last week’s Joe Biden invitation to Vladimir Putin for a bilateral summit proposed for the summer to tackle a range of still simmering contentious issues, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has issued a surprised invitation late Tuesday for Putin to meet him in the war-torn east of Ukraine. In making the announcement Zelensky told Putin that such a direct high states meeting where the two leaders can talk de-escalation is essential as there are a “million lives at stake” in any potential outbreak of major conflict, according to AFP: “Zelensky told the Russian leader that he was ready “to invite you to meet anywhere in the Ukrainian Donbass where the war is going on”, adding that “million of lives at stake” in the conflict between government forces and pro-Kremlin separatists in the east of the country.”


Days ago Zelensky traveled to an area near Mariupol in Donetsk where he “walked the front line with the troops” amid renewed fighting with Russian-backed separatists in the eastern Donbass region. Zelensky’s direct invitation to Putin to meet over the crisis came the same day Russia’s Defense Ministry justified its troop build-up in the South, particularly in Crimea and near the border with Ukraine, by calling it a necessary “deterrent” to NATO’s “destabilization” of the region. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that “Nato’s attempts to destabilize situations in the Middle East and Transcaucasian region force Russia to take symmetric measures of strategic deterrence,” according to an Interfax citation by Bloomberg. Following Biden’s proposal to meet face-to-face with Putin we and others noted that it appeared Ukraine’s leadership had been effectively sidelined by the two rival superpowers.

Read more …

Stop paying attention to these “deals”. It’s PR only.

EU Reaches Major Climate Deal Ahead Of Biden Climate Summit (AP)

The European Union reached a tentative climate deal that is intended to make the 27-nation bloc climate-neutral by 2050, with member states and parliament agreeing on new carbon emissions targets on the eve of a virtual summit hosted by U.S. President Joe Biden. “Our political commitment to becoming the first climate-neutral continent by 2050 is now also a legal commitment. The climate law sets the EU on a green path for a generation,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said early Wednesday. Under the provisional deal reached after officials negotiated through the night, the EU will also commit itself to an intermediate target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.


“It was high time for the agreement, as Europe has to show where it stands in view of the positive developments in the USA and China,” said European Parliament member Peter Liese, the negotiator for the EPP Christian Democrat group. The 2030 target had been 40%, but under the pressure of increasing evidence of climate change and a more environmentally conscious electorate, it was pushed up, although the EU legislature had wanted a higher target of 60%. Lawmakers from The Greens specifically complained that too many accounting tricks had been used to reach the level of 55% and that in reality the reduction would equate to a 52.8% reduction of direct emissions. Its environmental expert, MEP Michael Bloss said EU member nations and parliament “have rushed through a weak climate law for the sake of a photo-op with President Joe Biden.”

Read more …

 

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The football SuperLeague has self-imploded in 48 hours. Here’s why Europe’s biggest teams wanted the league: their debts. They made a deal with JPMorgan that would give them some $4 billion. And even that was just a deferred loan, payable over 23 years. To get out of debt today, get in a worse situation in the future. Hey, goverments do it too.

 

 

 

 

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Apr 182021
 
 April 18, 2021  Posted by at 8:37 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  23 Responses »


Vincent van Gogh Green Wheat Field With Cypress 1889

 

Viral Sequence Suggests Coronavirus Jumped Between Hotel Rooms (G.)
The Blood-Clot Problem Is Multiplying (Atl.)
UK Church Leaders Warn Against ‘Dangerous’ Vaccine Passport Plans (G.)
Denying the Demonic (Edward Curtin)
Ukrainian Envoy: NATO or Nuclear Weapons (Antiwar)
US Laments ‘Unwanted Escalation’ & Warns It Reserves Right To Retaliate (RT)
Czech Govt Expels 18 Russian Diplomats Over 2014 Blast (Y!)
Macron Urges ‘Clear Red Lines’ With Russia Amid Buildup Near Ukraine (Y!)
Russia, Ukraine Expel Diplomats As Tensions Soar (Y!)
CNN Viewership Down By Half Since Biden Took Office (ZH)
Biden Describes Border Surge As ‘Crisis’ For First Time (JTN)

 

 

 

 

 

 

• Florida: No lockdowns or masks
• Texas: Ended lockdowns, restrictions and mask mandates on 10th March 2021
• California: Full lockdown and mask mandate

 

 

What type of ventilation do they have?

Viral Sequence Suggests Coronavirus Jumped Between Hotel Rooms (G.)

Covid-19 appears to have jumped between neighbouring rooms in hotel quarantine in Sydney after seven cases of people arriving from different countries were revealed to have the same viral sequence. NSW Health said today that it had been notified on Friday that the returned travellers had the same viral sequence. The cases may have to be reclassified as locally acquired. The seven cases came from two family groups who arrived from different countries on different days. They stayed in adjacent rooms on the 12th floor of the Adina Apartments Hotel at Sydney’s Town Hall.


Staff who worked on the floor when the original case was believed to have been infectious – between 8 and 11 April – are self-isolating. NSW Health said all security staff who worked on the 12th floor at the time had had at least one vaccination. Other people in quarantine on the 12th floor at the time have all been retested and returned negative results.

Read more …

It’s certainly growing. Interesting: the producers have all received immunity. But how about the governments that push these things onto their people?

The Blood-Clot Problem Is Multiplying (Atl.)

For weeks, Americans looked on as other countries grappled with case reports of rare, sometimes fatal blood abnormalities among those who had received the AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19. That vaccine has not yet been authorized by the FDA, so restrictions on its use throughout Europe did not get that much attention in the United States. But Americans experienced a rude awakening this week when public-health officials called for a pause on the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, after a few cases of the same, unusual blood-clotting syndrome turned up among the millions of people in the country who have received it.

The world is now engaged in a vaccination program unlike anything we have seen in our lifetimes, and with it, unprecedented scrutiny of ultra-rare but dangerous side effects. An estimated 852 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered across 154 countries, according to data collected by Bloomberg. Last week, the European Medicines Agency, which regulates medicines in the European Union, concluded that the unusual clotting events were indeed a side effect of the AstraZeneca vaccine; by that point, more than 220 cases of dangerous blood abnormalities had been identified. Only half a dozen cases have been documented so far among Americans vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and a causal link has not yet been established. But the latest news suggests that the scope of this problem might be changing.

Whether the blood issues are ultimately linked to only one vaccine, or two vaccines, or more, it’s absolutely crucial to remember the unrelenting death toll from the coronavirus itself—and the fact that COVID-19 can set off its own chaos in the circulatory system, with blood clots showing up in “almost every organ.” That effect of the disease is just one of many reasons the European Medicines Agency has emphasized that the “overall benefits of the [AstraZeneca] vaccine in preventing COVID-19 outweigh the risks of side effects.” The same is true of Johnson & Johnson’s. These vaccines are saving countless lives across multiple continents.

But it’s also crucial to determine the biological cause of any vaccine-related blood conditions. This global immunization project presents a lot of firsts: the first authorized use of mRNA vaccines like the ones from Pfizer and Moderna; the first worldwide use of adenovirus vectors for vaccines like AstraZeneca’s, Johnson & Johnson’s, and Sputnik V; and the first attempt to immunize against a coronavirus. Which, if any, of these new frontiers might be linked to serious side effects? Which, if any, of the other vaccines could be drawn into this story, too? How can a tiny but disturbing risk be mitigated as we fight our way out of this pandemic? And what might be the implications for vaccine design in the years to come?

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Amen:

“For the church of Jesus Christ to shut out those deemed by the state to be social undesirables would be anathema to us and a denial of the truth of the gospel.”

UK Church Leaders Warn Against ‘Dangerous’ Vaccine Passport Plans (G.)

Hundreds of UK church leaders have told the prime minister that plans to use vaccine passports for entry into venues is “one of the most dangerous policy proposals ever to be made in the history of British politics” with the “potential to bring about the end of liberal democracy as we know it”. An open letter to Boris Johnson signed by more than 1,250 clergy from different Christian denominations across the UK says the “introduction of vaccine passports would constitute an unethical form of coercion and violation of the principle of informed consent”. It says people may have valid reasons for being unable or unwilling to be vaccinated against Covid, “including, for some Christians, serious issues of conscience related to the ethics of vaccine manufacture or testing”.

Covid status certificates would be “divisive, discriminatory, and destructive”, it adds. “We risk creating a two-tier society, a medical apartheid in which an underclass of people who decline vaccination are excluded from significant areas of public life. There is also a legitimate fear that this scheme would be the thin end of the wedge. “This scheme has the potential to bring about the end of liberal democracy as we know it and to create a surveillance state in which the government uses technology to control certain aspects of citizens’ lives. As such, this constitutes one of the most dangerous policy proposals ever to be made in the history of British politics.” The letter says there is no logical sense in terms of protecting others in introducing Covid status certificates as a requirement for entry for venues, which could include churches.

“If the vaccines are highly effective in preventing significant disease, as seems to be the evidence from trial results to date, then those who have been vaccinated have already received protection; there is no benefit to them of other people being vaccinated,” it says. Describing the proposal as “illiberal and dangerous”, the signatories say: “As Christian leaders we … envisage no circumstances in which we could close our doors to those who do not have a vaccine passport, negative test certificate, or any other ‘proof of health’. For the church of Jesus Christ to shut out those deemed by the state to be social undesirables would be anathema to us and a denial of the truth of the gospel.”

Read more …

“The FDA issued Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs) for these inoculations only under the proviso that they may make an infection less severe. Yet millions have obediently taken a shot that doesn’t do what they think it does.”

Denying the Demonic (Edward Curtin)

In March of last year as the coronavirus panic was starting, I wrote a somewhat flippant article saying that the obsession with buying and hoarding toilet paper was the people’s vaccine. My point was simple: excrement and death have long been associated in cultural history and in the Western imagination with the evil devil, Satan, the Lord of the underworld, the Trickster, the Grand Master who rules the pit of smelly death, the place below where bodies go. The psychoanalytic literature is full of examples of death anxiety revealed in anal dreams of shit-filled overflowing toilets and people pissing in their pants. Ernest Becker put it simply in The Denial of Death: “No mistake – the turd is mankind’s real threat because it reminds people of death.”

The theological literature is also full of warnings about the devil’s wiles. So too the Western classics from Aeschylus to Melville. The demonic has an ancient pedigree and has various names. Rational people tend to dismiss all this as superstitious nonsense. This is hubris. The Furies always exact their revenge when their existence is denied. For they are part of ourselves, not alien beings, as the tragedy of human history has shown us time and again. Since excremental visions and the fear of death haunt humans – the skull at the banquet as William James put it – the perfect symbol of protection is toilet paper that will keep you safe and clean and free of any reminder of the fear of death running through a panicked world. It’s a magic trick of course, an unconscious way of thinking you are protecting yourself; a form of self-hypnosis.

One year later, magical thinking has taken a different form and my earlier flippancy has turned darker. You can’t hoard today’s toilet paper but you can get them: RNA inoculations, misnamed vaccines. People are lined up for them now as they are being told incessantly to “get your shot.” They are worse than toilet paper. At least toilet paper serves a practical function. Real vaccines, as the word’s etymology – Latin, vaccinus, from cows, the cowpox virus vaccine first used by British physician Edward Jenner in 1800 to prevent smallpox – involve the use of a small amount of a virus. The RNA inoculations are not vaccines. To say they are is bullshit and has nothing to do with cows. To call them vaccines is linguistic mind control.

These experimental inoculations do not prevent the vaccinated from getting infected with the “virus” nor do they prevent transmission of the alleged virus. When they were approved recently by the FDA that was made clear. The FDA issued Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs) for these inoculations only under the proviso that they may make an infection less severe. Yet millions have obediently taken a shot that doesn’t do what they think it does. What does that tell us? Hundreds of millions of people have taken an injection that allows a bio-reactive “gene-therapy” molecule to be injected into their bodies because of fear, ignorance, and a refusal to consider that the people who are promoting this are evil and have ulterior motives. Not that they mean well, but that they are evil and have evil intentions. Does this sound too extreme? Radically evil? Come on!

So what drives the refusal to consider that demonic forces are at work with the corona crisis? Why do the same people who get vaccinated believe that a PCR test that can’t, according to its inventor Kary Mullis, test for this so-called virus, believe in the fake numbers of positive “cases”? Do these people even know if the virus has ever been isolated? Such credulity is an act of faith, not science or confirmed fact. Is it just the fear of death that drives such thinking? Or is it something deeper than ignorance and propaganda that drives this incredulous belief?

Read more …

The Ukraine government really is this crazy.

Ukrainian Envoy: NATO or Nuclear Weapons (Antiwar)

Today Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky seconded a statement by Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili that “it is time for concrete proposals for Ukraine and Georgia to obtain a NATO MAP and a plan to join the EU.” The two countries have been paired as partners for future NATO membership, with both being promised membership in the global military bloc at the NATO summit in Bucharest, Romania in 2008. Ukraine’s ambassador to Germany, Andriy Melnyk, seconded Zelensky’s demand that NATO admit Ukraine as a full member, stating that only that move would prevent a Russian invasion: “The only possibility for this [to prevent alleged invasion plans] is for Ukraine to finally become a NATO member.”

He also claimed that had his country been in NATO in 2014 the secession of Donetsk, Lugansk and Crimea would not have occurred; neither would the now seven-year was in the Donbass. He neglected to state whether the U.S.-engineered uprising and overthrow of an internationally-recognized government would also have occurred. Most likely not, as the populations of NATO nations are not allowed to elect, or if elect, keep any government Washington and Brussels view with disapprobation. The envoy then made this provocative statement: “Ukraine has no other choice: either we are part of an alliance such as NATO and are doing our part to make this Europe stronger, or we have the only option – to arm by ourselves, and maybe think about nuclear status again. How else can we guarantee our defense?”

He also claimed there were 90,000 Russian military personnel deployed to the Donbass border and to Crimea; in his words, “We are dealing with the largest troop movement in Russia since the Second World War.” Which is arrant nonsense. When the Soviet Union was dissolved in 1991 a third of total Soviet nuclear weapons were in Ukraine; with 1,700 warheads in the country it had the third largest nuclear arsenal in the world after the U.S. and Russia. In 1994 Ukraine joined the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons as a non-nuclear-weapon nation. It’s that decision the above-cited ambassador suggested be reversed. In fairness, this isn’t the first time the question of Ukraine developing its own nuclear weapons capacity has been broached.

Over the past twenty years NATO-trained military leaders have raised the issue. But never before, and never during a crisis remotely comparable to the present one, has the issue been phrased so brutally: either place Ukraine under NATO Article 5 mutual military assistance status – and NATO acknowledges itself a nuclear alliance – or Ukraine will reassert itself as a nuclear power. The shelling of the Donbass will be mild in comparison to what an armed conflict between a nuclear Ukraine and nuclear Russia would portend.

Russia does the exact same thing the US does and it’s labeled escalation.

US Laments ‘Unwanted Escalation’ & Warns It Reserves Right To Retaliate (RT)

As Russia blacklisted eight current and former American officials and sent ten diplomats packing in retaliation for US sanctions, the State Department has lamented the “escalatory” response and said that Washington might respond. “Our recent actions were proportionate and appropriate to Russia’s harmful activities. Today’s announcement by the Russian government was escalatory and regrettable,” a State Department spokesman said in a statement on Friday evening. “It is not in our interest to get into an escalatory cycle, but we reserve the right to respond to any Russian retaliation against the United States.” Foggy Bottom was responding to the announcement that Moscow will expel 10 US diplomats, restricting the number of short-term visas for State Department staff to 10 per year, and ban the US embassy from hiring citizens of Russia and third countries as administrative staff.

The “open ground” memorandum of 1992, allowing US diplomats to move freely around Russia, has also been “declared invalid due to systematic violations” by Americans, the Russian Foreign Ministry said. There are also plans to “halt the activities… of American foundations and NGOs controlled by the Department of State and other US government agencies” since the US “shows no intention of scaling back its systematic subversive efforts.” These measures were a response to President Joe Biden’s executive orders sanctioning 30 Russian individuals and entities for allegedly interfering in the 2020 US presidential election and alleged involvement in the SolarWinds hack – both of which Russia has vehemently denied. Biden also expelled 10 Russian diplomats and banned US companies from trading in Russian sovereign debt.

Russia also chose to respond to Biden’s March 2 decision to sanction several Russian officials accused – with no evidence provided – of involvement in the alleged “poisoning” of opposition blogger Alexey Navalny. On Friday, Moscow banned eight current and former US officials from entering Russia. The ban applies to FBI Director Christopher Wray, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Attorney General Merrick Garland, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, Director of Federal Bureau of Prisons Michael Carvajal, and President Joe Biden’s domestic policy adviser Susan Rice. Former national security adviser John Bolton made the Russian blacklist as well. As did James Woolsey, who ran the CIA between 1993 and 1995 – and recently authored a book ‘Operation Dragon: Inside the Kremlin’s Secret War on America’, which accused the Soviet Union of assassinating US President John Fitzgerald Kennedy in 1963.

The unusual step to publicize the response was taken “in view of the unprecedented complications in Russia-US relations provoked by Washington,” the Foreign Ministry said. US sanctions and messages from Washington “show that Washington is not willing to listen and does not appreciate the restraint that we have displayed despite the tensions that have been purposefully fueled” by Washington since the Obama administration, said the Foreign Ministry. [..] Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters on Friday that Russia could have inflicted “painful measures” on US businesses, but chose not to do so – at this time.

Read more …

Some things are just too insane:

“Czech police said on Saturday they were looking for two men with Russian passports that had also been used by the suspects in the 2018 poisoning attempt on Sergei Skripal in Britain..”

Mark Ames: “If I understand this right, apparently GRU thought it’d be smart to use the same 2 spies to carry out 2 separate deadly operations in NATOland—2014 bombing in Czech Rep, 2018 Skripal poisoning—using exact same aliases & fake passports in both operations.”

Czech Govt Expels 18 Russian Diplomats Over 2014 Blast (Y!)

The Czech government said Saturday it would expel 18 Russian diplomats identified by local intelligence as secret agents of the Russian SVR and GRU services that are suspected of involvement in a 2014 explosion. Czech police also said later they were seeking two Russians in connection with the blast, which killed two people, with passports used by the suspects in the attempted poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal in 2018. “Eighteen employees of the Russian embassy must leave our republic within 48 hours,” Foreign Minister Jan Hamacek told reporters. Prime Minister Andrej Babis said Czech authorities had “clear evidence” linking GRU officers from unit 29155 to the blast in a military ammunition warehouse near the eastern Czech village of Vrbetice.

He added that he had received the information on Friday, without explaining why the investigation had taken so long. “The explosion led to huge material damage and posed a serious threat to the lives of many local people, but above all it killed two citizens,” Babis said. The blast occurred on October 16, 2014 at a warehouse with 58 tonnes of ammunition. It was followed months later by another big blast at a nearby warehouse with 98 tonnes of ammunition. The Czech organised crime squad (NCOZ) said it was looking for two men using Russian passports in relation to the explosions. The passports bear the names of Alexander Petrov, born in 1979, and Ruslan Boshirov, born in 1978, and their holders are also wanted in Britain in connection with Skripal’s poisoning in Salisbury.

Russia denied involvement in the poisoning but some 300 diplomats were sent home in subsequent tit-for-tat expulsions. “The two men were present on Czech territory in… October 2014” when the Vrbetice blast occurred, the NCOZ said, adding that the two men also used Tajik and Moldovan identities. Babis said the expulsion of 18 diplomats had the full support of President Milos Zeman, a veteran leftwinger who has fostered close ties with both Moscow and Beijing. Zeman has repeatedly spoken out against his country’s Security Information Service (BIS), which has accused Russian intelligence services of orchestrating recent cyberattacks on the Czech foreign ministry and other targets.

Read more …

You said what? Ha ha ha!

“I do prefer constructive dialogue, but to have a constructive and efficient dialogue, you need credibility.”

Macron Urges ‘Clear Red Lines’ With Russia Amid Buildup Near Ukraine (Y!)

French President Emmanuel Macron said the international community has to “define clear red lines with Russia,” in an interview extract released Saturday, adding that countries must be ready to impose sanctions in case of “unacceptable behavior.” His remarks, made during an interview with the US network CBS, came amid high tensions over a major military buildup by Russian forces along the border with Ukraine. Macron said the world needed to make it clear to Moscow that while it preferred “open and frank dialogue,” it will not shy from imposing sanctions after any “unacceptable behavior.” “Indeed, we have to sanction. This is what we did after (Russia annexed Crimea in 2014) or after a series of crises which happen. And I think we have to define clear red lines with Russia. This is the only way to be credible.”


He added: “I think that sanctions are not sufficient in itself, in themselves, but sanctions are part of the package. I do prefer constructive dialogue, but to have a constructive and efficient dialogue, you need credibility.” Russia is believed to have deployed tens of thousands of soldiers near its border with Ukraine and in Crimea. Clashes along the border, which had nearly ceased after a cease-fire reached last summer, have recently resumed. On Thursday, US President Joe Biden announced financial sanctions against Moscow and the expulsion of 10 Russian diplomats over a massive series of cyber attacks against US targets, as well as over Russian interference in American elections. In addition, eight people linked to the “occupation” of Crimea were sanctioned.

Read more …

Ukraine tries to resemble an actual country.

Russia, Ukraine Expel Diplomats As Tensions Soar (Y!)

Russia on Saturday said it would expel a Ukrainian diplomat, prompting an immediate pledge of retaliation from Kiev, further escalating tensions over Moscow’s troop build-up on Ukraine’s eastern flank. The detention of a Ukrainian consul in the second city Saint Petersburg comes at a time of global concern of a repeat of Moscow’s 2014 aggression, when Russia annexed the peninsula of Crimea and backed separatists in Ukraine’s east. Moscow claimed the Ukrainian diplomat had been caught “red-handed” trying to obtain sensitive information. In response, the Ukrainian foreign ministry protested “the illegal” detention of its diplomat and said Kiev would expel a senior Russian diplomat. Kiev has been battling Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine since 2014 and clashes intensified early this year, effectively shredding a ceasefire agreed last July.


Around 30 Ukrainian troops have been killed since the start of the year, compared to 50 last year. Most of them were victims of sniper fire. Russia has detained a number of Ukrainian nationals on suspicion of spying in recent years but the arrest of a diplomat is rare. “A Ukrainian diplomat, a consul of Ukraine’s Consulate General in Saint Petersburg, Alexander Sosonyuk, has been detained by Russia’s FSB,” the security service said in a statement, using the Russian language spelling of his name. He was held on Friday, the security service said. Kiev said the diplomat had spent several hours in detention. The Russian foreign ministry said Saturday it had summoned Ukraine’s charge d’affaires Vasyl Pokotylo and told him that the Ukrainian diplomat had 72 hours to leave the country “beginning April 19”.

Read more …

Clown News Network.

CNN Viewership Down By Half Since Biden Took Office (ZH)

While CNN may no longer be torturing people in airports, voluntary viewership has fallen over 50% in multiple categories since President Biden took office, according to Fox News. Who knew that their best move during the 2020 election would have been to help Trump win, instead of helping Biden. In the first three weeks of 2021, the network averaged 2.2 million viewers – only to plummet to just one million viewers – a decline of 54%. Among the key advertising demographic of adults age 25-54, ratings are down 60%. From December 28 through Inauguration day, viewership went from 617,000 viewers in that demographic to just 244,000 since Biden took office.

“CNN’s liberal primetime hosts Anderson Cooper, Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon haven’t been able to keep their audiences under the new administration, either. CNN averaged 3.1 million viewers from 8-11 p.m. from Dec. 28 through Inauguration Day but only 1.4 million since for a whopping 55-percent decline. Over the same time period, CNN’s primetime lineup lost 63 percent of its viewers among the crucial demo.” -Fox News. CNN also fared worse than liberal competitor MSNBC, which lost ‘only’ 34% of its total-day viewers, and 30% of primetime viewers under Biden. Fox News points out, of course, that their viewership has remained mostly flat – as declines remained in the single digits.


When asked if he was worried about the ratings disaster, CNN host Don Lemon told the New York Times’ podcaster “Sway”: “No. I’m not worried about it … Trump was a horrible person. And he was terrible for the country. And it is better for all — for the world that he is no longer the President of the United States,” adding “So if that means that cable news ratings go down? Aww. So I’m not really that concerned about it. I would prefer that my ratings go down and Trump not be in office than my ratings be sky-high and him be there. That’s the honest truth.”

https://twitter.com/i/status/1382529326839697409

Read more …

“..liberal Democrats complained.”

Biden Describes Border Surge As ‘Crisis’ For First Time (JTN)

President Biden on Saturday called the historic border surge a “crisis” for the first time, even as he pushed ahead with plans to increase the caps for refugees admitted into the United States. ”We’re going to increase the number [of refugees],” he said at a news conference. “The problem was that the refugee part was working on the crisis that ended up on the border with young people. We couldn’t do two things at once. But now we are going to increase the number.” His comments came one day after the Biden administration had to do a flip-flop, first announcing it was freezing refugee caps at the same 15,000 level that President Trump had created and then retreating a few hours later when liberal Democrats complained.


Biden had said in February he planned to raise the cap to 125,000, next year while his administration had suggested the number might increase to 62,000 for this year. The original announcement Friday was met with outrage by far-left Democrats, who then applauded the reversal. “This is a testament to the power that people’s movements, community advocates, & progressive coalitions have built,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.

Read more …

 

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Calvin introduced non-fungible tokens many years ago:

 

 

 

Maher COVID

 

 

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Apr 172021
 


Edvard Munch Spring 1889

 

The Eruption of the Refugee Crisis and the Push for Vaccine Passports (MPN)
And Now Proof: Covid Vaccines Are More Dangerous Than Covid (Denninger)
Florida Gov. DeSantis Says Lockdowns Were A “Huge Mistake” (ET)
De-escalate Before Ukraine Conflict Turns Into Nuclear Holocaust- Gabbard (RT)
How Putin’s “Saber-Rattling” Forced A Biden Summit (ZH)
Russia Blocking Of Black Sea Would Be ‘Unjustified’ – NATO (Y!)
Biden Isn’t Ending The Afghanistan War, He’s Privatizing It (GZ)
Journalists Spread a CIA Fraud About Russia, Embrace a New One (Greenwald)
Liz Cheney Was Top Peddler Of Debunked ‘Russian Bounties’ Story (ZH)
Rachel Maddow is Bill O’Reilly (Taibbi)
US Corporate Media Is Guilty Of The Exact Same “Interference” As Russia (Tracey)
Joe Biden’s Demonic Phase (Jim Kunstler)
Hunter Biden on Burisma, Don Jr., and Cooking Crack (DB)
Govt’s Won’t Let Bitcoin Take On State-issued Currencies – Jim Rogers (Kitco)
The Echoes Of China’s Financial Crisis Are Being Heard (SMH)

 

 

 

 


A sailboat shielded by clouds, Chios Island, Greece. @avgoustidisermis

 

 

“..the architects of the biosecurity state..”

The Eruption of the Refugee Crisis and the Push for Vaccine Passports (MPN)

The controversy erupted on Twitter even as the 32,000-foot-high plume of smoke from Saint Vincent’s La Soufrière volcano was still rising in the sky. The firestorm on American social media platforms over reports that only those vaccinated against COVID-19 would be allowed to evacuate the eastern Caribbean island sheds light on the architects of the biosecurity state who have descended on Saint Vincent & the Grenadines (SVG) to explore the limits of mandatory public health protocols in the midst of a natural disaster now projected to “last months.” Global organizations, NGOs, and members of the scientific community are coordinating emergency response efforts in Saint Vincent. Power outages, no clean water, and continued volcanic eruptions have rendered parts of the island virtually uninhabitable, plunging Vincentians who have managed to escape into a condition of quasi-statelessness where notions of human rights and civil liberties become malleable.

“Refugees are in a position of complete vulnerability,” says Dr. Diego Garcia Ricci, from the Ibero-American University in Mexico City, speaking to MintPress. The constitutional law professor and data privacy expert addressed some of the issues surrounding the plight of refugees as biometric data like retinal scans, fingerprinting and even gender, become a pillar of identity documentation and incipient travel requirements in the wake of the pandemic. “While biometrics can be useful for identification purposes, mistakes do happen,” Garcia Ricci warns. Most at risk from these mistakes, abuse and racial profiling arising out of biometric digital identity systems are those whose need for the ‘state’ is made indispensable by virtue of being rendered stateless. Free agents with no agency are prime targets for global entities like the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), which claims to speak for close to 80 million forcibly displaced people.

Vincentians who are unable or refuse to leave the island are likely to be reclassified as “internally displaced persons” or IDPs, another kind of refugee as defined by the UNHCR. Such classifications are part of a vast structure of laws and guidelines enshrined in the archives of supranational state entities like the European Commission and the United Nations, based on the Convention and Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, which establishes international rules governing the treatment and rights of refugees, whose numbers have nearly doubled since 2012, ballooning from 45.2 million “displaced” to 79.5 million as of the last count.

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“In healthy adults and especially healthy children they should be prohibited outright as they are, on the math, more dangerous than the virus.”

And Now Proof: Covid Vaccines Are More Dangerous Than Covid (Denninger)

I suspected the data would be forthcoming showing this given the VAERS reports and now we have it:

I Using an electro nic health records network we estimated the absolute incidence of cerebral venous thrombosis (CVT) in the two weeks following COVID-19 diagnosis (N=513,284), or influenza (N=172,742), or receipt of the BNT162b2 or mRNA-1273 COVID-19 vaccines (N=489,871).


The incidence of portal vein thrombosis (PVT) was also assessed in these groups, as well as the baseline CVT incidence over a two-week period. The incidence of CVT after COVID-19 diagnosis was 39.0 per million people (95% CI, 25.2–60.2). This was higher than the CVT incidence after influenza (0.0 per million people, 95% CI 0.0 – 22.2, adjusted RR=6.73, P=.003) or after receiving BNT162b2 or RNA-1273 vaccine (4.1 per million people, 95% CI 1.1 – 14.9, adjusted RR=6.36, P<.001).

Wait a second…. you said the vaccines are more dangerous yet the data says that Covid-19 is ten times as dangerous as the vaccine for the same condition. So how can the title of this article be correct? Simple: For every reported infection somewhere around ten are not reported. Either they’re completely asymptomatic (about 30%) or mild enough that the person in question does not identify it as potentially Covid-19 and thus does not get tested. Yet both of the latter confer immunity just as does a symptomatic case. Further, you’re not guaranteed to get the disease. You are guaranteed to take the risk if you get the shot. Therefore we must adjust for the risk of contracting the disease which is not certain; you may have already had it and not know it and, in addition, you may have cross-reactive immunity.

Therefore the shot is close to or even more-dangerous than the disease. The baseline for approval of any therapy is that it must be much less dangerous than the disease itself. When it comes to vaccines the usual expectation is that it should 100x or more safer to get the shot than the disease, simply on the basis that you are not guaranteed to get the disease irrespective of how bad it is. If the disease is particularly lethal either generally or to you then a risk that is material for the vaccine is acceptable. What’s even worse is that this risk is basically identically in both mRNA and viral-vector (e.g. J&J) formulations; they both cause the same result in the same percentage of recipients, yet the FDA is still allowing the mRNA vaccines to be administered!

Covid-19, in non-morbid (young, but not exclusively so) people, only kills about 1/50,000 times — so if the shot gets you 1/250,000 times it’s a bad risk since a huge percentage of infections are not medically known as they are clinically significant and you are not guaranteed to be infected at all since you may have already had it and not known it or be resistant due to a previous infection with some other coronavirus and thus not at risk of developing clinical disease. These shots are not approvable on the math for other than materially-morbid individuals. In healthy adults and especially healthy children they should be prohibited outright as they are, on the math, more dangerous than the virus.

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“When you have people too scared to go to the emergency room when they’re literally having a heart attack, that didn’t happen in a vacuum..”

Florida Gov. DeSantis Says Lockdowns Were A “Huge Mistake” (ET)

Standing behind the desk in his office in Tallahassee, DeSantis leafed through a folder of praise he’s received from around the nation and across the globe. Hanging on the walls around the relatively small space was a portrait of Abraham Lincoln, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights as well as the uniform the governor wore as the captain of the Yale baseball team. When asked why he chose Lincoln, DeSantis said the president is the best example of a leader who had to make difficult decisions in a time of crisis. When asked why some of the leaders today have continued with lockdowns even with ample evidence of their ineffectiveness, the governor theorized that the people involved have committed too much to the narrative and have made it impossible to change course.

“You have a situation where if you’re in this field, the pandemic, that’s something that you kind of prepare for and you’re ready for. And a lot of these people muffed it,” he said. “When push came to shove, they advocated policies that have not worked against the virus but have been very, very destructive. They are never going to admit they were wrong about anything, unfortunately.” Elected leaders aren’t the only ones to blame, according to the governor. The media and big tech companies played a major role in perpetuating fears about the virus while selectively censoring one side of the mitigation debate. DeSantis said the media and tech giants stood to benefit from the lockdown as people stayed home and consumed their products.

“It was all just to generate the most clicks that they could. And so that was always trying to do the stuff that would inspire the most fear,” DeSantis said. Two weeks after the interview, an undercover video recorded by Project Veritas showed a technical director at CNN talking about the boost the network received due to its pandemic coverage. “It’s fear. Fear really drives numbers,” CNN Technical Director Charlie Chester said. “Fear is the thing that keeps you tuned in.” The fear-mongering worked, DeSantis said, pointing to CDC statistics showing that 4 out of 10 American adults delayed or avoided getting urgent or routine medical treatment in June 2020. The agency’s report said that the pattern may have contributed to the excess deaths reported during that period, due to preventable illnesses and injuries going untreated.

Emergency room doctors had reported that fewer people were coming in with cardiac-related chest pains while more were coming in with late-stage appendicitis, something that is usually caught much earlier. The pandemic has also led to a sharp decrease in cancer screenings and detections. “When you have people too scared to go to the emergency room when they’re literally having a heart attack, that didn’t happen in a vacuum,” DeSantis said.

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“..the American people must decide if they’re willing to go to war with Russia on behalf of Ukraine. If not – the rhetoric must be toned down.”

De-escalate Before Ukraine Conflict Turns Into Nuclear Holocaust- Gabbard (RT)

Unless the world wants to see loved ones “burned alive in a nuclear holocaust,” politicians should cut out the “macho” act and begin to deescalate. That’s according to former US congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, a US Army veteran. Speaking to Tucker Carlson on Fox News on Thursday, Gabbard said the American people must decide if they’re willing to go to war with Russia on behalf of Ukraine. If not – the rhetoric must be toned down. “Such a war would come at a cost beyond anything we can really imagine,” she told Carlson. “This is something that will directly impact…every single one of your viewers.” “It is a war in which there are no winners,” she added.

The conflict in Donbass started in 2014, when two pro-Russia breakaway republics unilaterally declared independence from Kiev. While a peace deal was agreed upon later that year, both sides regularly report ceasefire violations. Much of the region is now split into the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. According to Kiev, both of the unrecognized states are controlled by Russia, which the Kremlin denies. Moscow says both Donetsk and Lugansk are part of Ukraine. Fears of a full-scale war have been growing in recent weeks. Media reports have revealed a build-up of both Russian manpower and equipment, particularly on the Crimean peninsula and by the eastern Ukrainian frontier. This came after news of increased shelling of Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region by Kiev’s forces, and revelations that the Ukrainian Army was increasing its number of troops in the area.

Kiev is supported by the US, which has provided money, equipment and expertise. However, Washington has not given Ukraine the status of a full ally. According to Gabbard, it would be a disaster if a war kicks off in Ukraine. In particular, she highlighted the “thousands of nuclear weapons” Moscow and Washington have aimed at each other, warning that “hundreds of millions” could die and suffer if a war kicks off.

Tulsi Gabbard
https://twitter.com/TulsiGabbard/status/1383022106779267076

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Uhhh, no. Putin is not eager to meet with Biden, Lavrov et al have made that plenty clear: such ameeting would only be used to make Putin look bad, or worse. And no, it’s not saber-rattling when you respond to 10s of 1000s gathering on your border.

How Putin’s “Saber-Rattling” Forced A Biden Summit (ZH)

[..] given Biden’s recent offer to sit down with Putin for a bilateral summit this summer, which is still on the table, it appears Ukraine’s leadership has been effectively sidelined. As one FT piece underscored this week, Putin’s troop build-up has succeeded in pressuring the Biden administration for a coveted summit to decide the future of Ukraine. “The summit format will also please the Kremlin by effectively cutting Kyiv out of any negotiations, and allow Putin to project the image of two global superpowers deciding the future fate of the conflict,” FT observed. Here’s more from FT… “If Vladimir Putin’s decision to deploy tens of thousands of troops to Ukraine’s border in the past few weeks was driven primarily by a desire to get the west’s attention, he did not have to wait too long for his reward.

Hours after his defense minister on Tuesday admitted Russia had mobilised two armies and three paratroop divisions to positions close to the conflict-wracked frontier, US President Joe Biden phoned the Kremlin with an offer of a bilateral summit: a long sought-after prize for Putin who craves a seat at the world’s highest negotiating table. …Those 50,000 extra soldiers, scores of tanks and other heavy weaponry spooked Kyiv and other European powers, and sparked a hurried response from Nato and the US amid fears over a potential outbreak of fighting between the two countries.” This wasn’t a stand-alone assessment, given also this week BBC came to a similar conclusion.

The BBC commentary underscored that the Russian troop build-up was never ultimately about some kind of hyped “invasion” of Ukraine – as Kiev officials have been shouting – but instead about bringing massive leverage to bear in forcing Biden’s hand. To the chagrin of the West’s Russia hawks, the BBC essentially pointed to a major diplomatic victory and ‘checkmate’ of sorts for the Russian side… The build-up has been impossible to ignore: thousands of Russian troops deployed towards Ukraine; US warships reportedly heading for the Black Sea and Russia’s foreign ministry warning them off “for their own good”. As the hostile rhetoric and military moves around Ukraine have intensified, Western politicians have begun fearing an open invasion and urging Russia’s Vladimir Putin to “de-escalate”.

Russia has refused: the defense ministry this week insisted its moves were in response to “threatening” Nato exercises in Europe. Then Mr Putin got a phone-call from the White House. And then, noted the BBC, Biden suggested a near-future face-to-face summit with Putin, which gives Russia the edge given it was the US side that first proposed it: “In Putin’s game of brinkmanship, Biden blinked first,” argues journalist Konstantin Eggert, after Joe Biden made his first call to the Kremlin and proposed meeting Mr Putin “in the coming months”. It’s just weeks after the US president agreed with an interviewer that Russia’s leader was “a killer”. President Biden’s new move is now a new topic of debate – disaster prevention or a mistaken concession – but in the run-up to a summit, the risk of major military action by Russia certainly fades.

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Well, the US stated again that it doesn’t recognize the present status of Crimea, maybe that’s enough to make it justified.

Russia Blocking Of Black Sea Would Be ‘Unjustified’ – NATO (Y!)

Russian plans to block parts of the Black Sea would be “unjustified”, NATO said Friday, calling on Moscow “to ensure free access to Ukrainian ports in the Sea of Azov, and allow freedom of navigation”. Russian state media have reported that Moscow intends to close parts of the Black Sea to foreign military and official ships for six months. Such a move could affect access to Ukrainian ports in the Sea of Azov, which is connected to the Black Sea through the Kerch Strait, on the eastern tip of the Crimean peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014. The move has triggered concerns in the United States and the European Union.

Russia’s “ongoing militarisation of Crimea, the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov are further threats to Ukraine’s independence, and undermine the stability of the broader region,” a spokeswoman for NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said in a statement. Blocking the Black Sea would “be an unjustified move, and part of a broader pattern of destabilising behaviour by Russia,” she added. NATO called on Russia to “de-escalate immediately, stop its pattern of provocations, and respect its international commitments”. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby noted that Russia was justifying plans to block the Black Sea until October on the grounds that it is preparing military exercises.

“Russia has a history of taking aggressive actions against Ukrainian vessels and impeding international maritime transit in the Black Sea, particularly near the Kerch Strait,” he told reporters. “It’s just the latest example of its ongoing campaign to undermine and destabilise Ukraine,” he added, reaffirming Washington’s “unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity”. “We call on Russia to cease its harassment of vessels in the region, and reverse its build-up of forces along Ukraine’s border and occupied Ukraine.”

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“Over 18,000 Pentagon contractors remain in Afghanistan..”

Biden Isn’t Ending The Afghanistan War, He’s Privatizing It (GZ)

Over 18,000 Pentagon contractors remain in Afghanistan, while official troops number 2,500. Joe Biden will withdraw this smaller group of soldiers while leaving behind US Special Forces, mercenaries, and intelligence operatives — privatizing and downscaling the war, but not ending it.

On April 14, President Joe Biden announced that he would end the U.S.’s longest war and withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan on the 20th anniversary of the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks. Over 6,000 NATO troops will also be withdrawn by that time. “War in Afghanistan was never meant to be a multigenerational undertaking,” Biden said during his remarks from the White House Treaty Room, the same location from which President George W. Bush had announced the war was beginning in October 2001. “We were attacked. We went to war with clear goals. We achieved those objectives. Bin Laden is dead and al Qaeda is degraded in Afghanistan and it’s time to end the forever war.”

Biden’s claim that he is ending the forever war is misleading. As The New York Times reported, the United States would remain after the formal departure of U.S. troops with a “shadowy combination of clandestine Special Operations Forces, Pentagon contractors and covert intelligence operatives.” Their mission will be to “find and attack the most dangerous Qaeda or Islamic state threats, current and former American officials said.” The Times further reported that the United States maintains a constellation of air bases in the Persian Gulf region as well as in Jordan, and a major air headquarters in Qatar, which could provide a launching pad for long-range bomber or armed drone missions into Afghanistan.

Matthew Hoh, a disabled combat veteran who resigned from the State Department in 2009 in protest of the war, stated that a genuine peace process in Afghanistan is “dependent upon foreign forces leaving Afghanistan.” Further, Hoh said that, “Regardless of whether the 3500 acknowledged U.S. troops leave Afghanistan, the U.S. military will still be present in the form of thousands of special operations and CIA personnel in and around Afghanistan, through dozens of squadrons of manned attack aircraft and drones stationed on land bases and on aircraft carriers in the region, and by hundreds of cruise missiles on ships and submarines.”

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Clickbait.

Journalists Spread a CIA Fraud About Russia, Embrace a New One (Greenwald)

The story appeared — coincidentally or otherwise — just weeks after President Trump announced his plan to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2020. Pro-war members of Congress from both parties and liberal hawks in corporate media spent weeks weaponizing this story to accuse Trump of appeasing Putin by leaving Afghanistan and being too scared to punish the Kremlin. Cable outlets and the op-ed pages of The New York Times and Washington Post endlessly discussed the grave implications of this Russian treachery and debated which severe retaliation was needed. “This is as bad as it gets,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Then-candidate Joe Biden said Trump’s refusal to punish Russia and his casting doubt on the truth of the story was more proof that Trump’s “entire presidency has been a gift to Putin,” while Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) demanded that, in response, the U.S. put Russians and Afghans “in body bags.”

What was missing from this media orgy of indignation and militaristic demands for retaliation was an iota of questioning of whether the story was, in fact, true. All they had was an anonymous leak from “intelligence officials” — which The New York Times on Thursday admitted came from the CIA — but that was all they needed. That is because the vast majority of the corporate sector of the press lives under one overarching rule: When the CIA or related security state agencies tell American journalists to believe something, we obey unquestioningly, and as a result, whatever assertions are spread by these agencies, no matter how bereft of evidence or shielded by accountability-free anonymity, they instantly transform, in our government-worshipping worldview, into a proven fact — gospel — never to be questioned but only affirmed and then repeated and spread as far and wide as possible.

That has been the dynamic driving the relationship between the corporate press and the CIA for decades, throughout the Cold War and then into the post-9/11 War on Terror and invasion of Iraq. But it has become so much more extreme in the Trump era. As the CIA became one of the leading anti-Trump #Resistance factions — a key player in domestic politics to subvert the presidency of the 45th President regarded by media figures as a Hitler-type menace — the bond between the corporate press and the intelligence community deepened more than ever. It is not an exaggeration to call it a merger: so much so that a parade of former security state officials from the CIA, NSA, FBI, DHS and others was hired by these news outlets to deliver the news. The partnership was no longer clandestine but official, out in the open, and proud.

The first goal this story served was to weaponize it in the battle waged by pro-war House Democrats and their neocon GOP allies to stop Trump’s withdrawal plan from Afghanistan. How, they began demanding upon publication of the CIA/NYT story, can we possibly leave Afghanistan when the Russians are trying to kill our troops? Would that not be a reckless abdication to the Kremlin of this country that we own, and would withdrawal not be a reward to Putin after we learned he was engaged in such dastardly plotting to kill our sons and daughters?

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“Cheney was persistent in pushing the story, much to the frustration of colleagues and even allies on Capitol Hill..”

Liz Cheney Was Top Peddler Of Debunked ‘Russian Bounties’ Story (ZH)

As Democrats seized on a now-debunked New York Times report that the Kremlin placed bounties on the heads of American troops in Afghanistan – blaming President Trump for deliberately downplaying the aggression to appease ‘Lord Putin’ (as the story goes) – Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) punched right, peddling the fabricated bounties story to any and all who would listen, according to The Federalist. Fast forward ten months later, and the Daily Beast reports that a senior administration finally admitted: “The United States intelligence community assesses with low to moderate confidence that Russian intelligence officers sought to encourage Taliban attacks on U.S. and coalition personnel in Afghanistan in 2019 and perhaps earlier. “Low to moderate confidence” is another way of saying “unproven and potentially false, “in part because it relies on detainee reporting,” which is often unreliable.


Yet, Cheney pounced in an effort to undermine then-President Trump, while using the fake news to also lobby for a prolonged military presence in the region as the Trump administration was pulling troops out of Afghanistan. More via The Federalist: “Two days later, Politico, in an article titled, “Cheney takes on Trump,” wrote, “in her latest rebuke of Trump, Cheney openly questioned whether the president was aware of reports that the Russians offered Afghan militants bounties to kill U.S. troops and demanded the administration take a more aggressive posture toward the Kremlin. Cheney was persistent in pushing the story, much to the frustration of colleagues and even allies on Capitol Hill as she continued an inner-party crusade against the president in an election year from her position as House conference chair.”

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The rest is behind a Substack paywall.

Rachel Maddow is Bill O’Reilly (Taibbi)

If you’d told me back in 2005, when I first met Rachel Maddow, that the lightning-quick, ultra-smooth broadcaster would someday supplant Bill O’Reilly as the #1 name in cable news, I wouldn’t have been surprised, at all. But I’d have been shocked if you told me she got to the top by being Bill O’Reilly. With Maddow in the lead role, MSNBC has become Fox, but somehow more craven, jingoistic, and shameless. If you don’t believe it, compare their narratives side by side, and see if you can spot a real difference between Bush-era Fox and Maddow’s MNSBC broadcasts from this past week. On February 16, 2001, six months before 9/11, O’Reilly said on Fox, “You know, I don’t take Saddam Hussein all that seriously anymore, as far as a world threat.” He added, “Maybe I’m wrong and naive here. Should we be very frightened of this guy?”

Within two years, O’Reilly reversed course. He launched himself into an incredible 16-year run as the #1-rated star on cable by playing Madame DeFarge for the Bush/Cheney War on Terror. His show became a nighty fireside chat in which citizens tuned in to fulminate over stories of Saddam’s boundless evil, denounce traitorous unbelievers, and engage in McCarthyite interrogations of the insufficiently patriotic. He moved the factual record by himself. On December 6, 2002, he told his audience: “I can’t, in good conscience, tell the American people that I know for sure that [Saddam] has smallpox or anthrax or he’s got nuclear or chemical and that he is ready to use that.” But two months later, on February 17, 2002, he was saying, “According to the U.N., he’s got anthrax, VX gas, ricin, and on and on.”

Two weeks after that, as Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting noted, O’Reilly was saying things like, “This guy we know has anthrax and VX and all this stuff.” He furthermore announced that “Once the war against Saddam Hussein begins, we expect every American to support our military, and if you can’t do that, just shut up,” adding that “Americans, and indeed our allies, who actively work against our military once the war is underway will be considered enemies of the state by me.” By the runup to the invasion, O’Reilly was berating anyone who even tried to suggest the WMD case was not airtight, or had the temerity to suggest that Saddam Hussein was not the equal of Hitler. “Whoa, whoa. It’s not Hitler?” he snapped in one broadcast. “What’s the difference?”

Want to know how seven in ten Americans during the war came to believe that Saddam Hussein was somehow behind 9/11? In part, because people like O’Reilly regularly said things like, “Saddam Hussein… I believe is involved with this World Trade Center and Pentagon bombing,” and “I believe that you’re going to find out that money from Iraq flowed in and helped [9/11] happen.” O’Reilly eventually got around to putting his “spotlight” on anyone who didn’t publicly back the invasion effort. He even took on Pope John Paul II, saying, “And then the pope sits in Rome and says, gee, this is terrible, but does not throw his moral authority behind removing this dictator.”

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The media has more incentive.

US Corporate Media Is Guilty Of The Exact Same “Interference” As Russia (Tracey)

[..] there was nothing new about the suite of anti-Russia charges promulgated Thursday by the US federal government, and parroted as usual with maximum credulity across the US media ecosystem. The charges were again predicated on the idea that Russian “interference” and/or “influence” is an extremely foreboding test for the survival of US Democracy. Taking bold action, the Treasury Department levied sanctions against a bunch more Russians for their claimed nefarious behavior in carrying out this interference/influence — a fulfillment of Joe Biden’s oft-stated campaign pledge that under his watch, Russia would finally “pay a price” for allegedly engaging in such activities. Donald Trump, it was thought, had been appallingly lax in his resolve to confront this threat; now, a new sheriff is in town.

Leaving aside the question of whether it’s prudent to assume that Janet Yellen is suddenly in possession of a foolproof methodology for attributing the provenance of “cyber operations” to specific foreign individuals and nation-states, it’s worth emphasizing what exactly is being alleged in the statement. The Treasury Department document reads: “Outlets operated by Russian Intelligence Services focus on divisive issues in the United States, denigrate US political candidates, and disseminate false and misleading information.” Noting that these same characteristics could be just as easily applied to US corporate media outlets is so blindingly self-evident as to almost be redundant. Were there not “outlets” during the 2020 election that were “focused” on “denigrating” Donald Trump? Or for that matter, Joe Biden?

Do “divisive issues” not tend to be “focused on” by these same outlets as a basic precept of their core business model? Controversy = clicks/views, which equals revenue. Everyone knows this. Yet when scary Russian outlets are said to employ this same logic in their own content-production enterprises, it magically becomes dangerous enough to justify all manner of punitive government and corporate action. Including but not limited to: censorship purges, tighter regulation of online speech, and, as Biden announced Thursday, sanctions and expulsion of diplomats. “Disseminating false and misleading information”? The entire US media just got caught “disseminating” a fake story about Russians putting bounties on the heads of US soldiers in Afghanistan. If you’re truly concerned about the dissemination of “false and misleading information” having deleterious effects on the health of US political culture, your first target should be CNN.

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“..the US has absolutely nothing to gain from continuing to antagonize Russia..”

Joe Biden’s Demonic Phase (Jim Kunstler)

The lesson there is that the US has absolutely nothing to gain from continuing to antagonize Russia, and that the mentally weak Joe Biden is merely projecting the picture of a weakened and confused USA by keeping it up. Of course, a closer read might be that these hijinks are meant to distract from the more serious and consequential breakdown in relations between the US and China, currently engineered by the blundering team of Sec’y of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, who went to Alaska recently to tell the Chinese delegation that they were morally unworthy of conducting trade negotiations, thereby torpedoing the trade negotiations that they went to Alaska to conduct. Smooth move fellas.


Unlike Russia, with its eleven time zones, which actually does not want or need any more territory, China is surely making hegemonic moves all over the place, not just around Hong Kong and Taiwan but in Africa and South America, while it strives to build the world’s largest navy, exports gain-of-function viruses, replaces the US in space exploration, and excels at weaponizing computer science. China’s weaknesses are a lack of sufficient domestic oil supply and food, which its current moves aim to correct. It was on its way to turning the US into a raw materials and food-crop colony when Mr. Trump came along and tried to put a stop to that. And now Ol’ Joe has cancelled that action — after being on the receiving end of Chinese financial largesse in four years out-of-office. Nothing to see there, folks, says Merrick Garland’s Department of Justice, while in possession of Hunter Biden’s laptop, with its trove of incriminating memoranda.

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Glenn Greenwald: In this interview with @thedailybeast, this statement from Hunter Biden about his emails and laptop is a complete lie. No intelligence agency, let alone all of them, concluded it was a Russian operation, but you wouldn’t know that from the DB article:

Hunter Biden on Burisma, Don Jr., and Cooking Crack (DB)

Jong-Fast asks Biden when he realized that the former president and his son were fixated on him. “That was right around when I started to get sober and clean… It was only then did I realize the level of their obsession because long enough to look up from whatever drink or drug I was just pursuing at the moment. And it seemed like that every word out of the president’s mouth was some kind of demeaning or just horrible insult towards me,” he answers. “Do you think they did it because they wanted you to kill yourself?” Jong-Fast replies. “As a person in recovery, one of the things that I have truly tried to come to grips with is that the world actually does not revolve around me,” Biden says. “I mean, usually it doesn’t. But on this, I feel that it does,” Jong-Fast says.

“I don’t think that they thought that they would necessarily convince anyone not to vote for my dad because I’m an addict. I think there’s far, far too many people—I mean, everyone I know knows someone that they love—that suffer from addiction,” Biden says. “I think that they thought that they would be able to distract my dad enough that he wouldn’t be able to focus on the campaign… But it had the exact opposite effect… They obviously don’t know what it’s like to be a part of a family, at least this family.” Jong-Fast also asks Biden about the leaked emails that caused such a stir at the end of the campaign. He claims he had no idea what she’s talking about. The email from an executive at Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company, thanking Biden for “the opportunity to meet your father and spend some time with him”?

“I truly don’t know the origin of a lot of this stuff,” Biden replies. The email titled “expectations,” which involved details for how much he might get paid by China’s largest private energy company? “I literally don’t know what you’re even referring to. Is it from me?” Biden answers. “You know, I mean, there is a intelligence report from, from all of our intelligence agencies that has come to the conclusion that this was a Russian operation.”

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“This is a good time to be old. ”

Govt’s Won’t Let Bitcoin Take On State-issued Currencies – Jim Rogers (Kitco)

Money will become more and more digitized, according to Jim Rogers, investor, best-selling author, and co-founder of the Quantum Fund, but the question is whether or not non-government issued digital currencies will prevail. “If cryptocurrencies become successful, most governments will outlaw it, because they don’t want to lose their monopoly, every government in the world is working on computer money now, including the U.S. The Chinese are there already. I can’t imagine that the governments are going to say ok, this is our crypto money, or you can use their crypto money, that’s not the way governments work, historically,” Rogers told Michelle Makori, editor-in-chief of Kitco News.

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“Lai was charged, found guilty of corruption (and bigamy!) and was executed in January.”

The Echoes Of China’s Financial Crisis Are Being Heard (SMH)

In the late 1990s China experienced a massive bad debt crisis – there are estimates that more than half of its state-owned enterprises( SOEs) were insolvent in the mid-1990s – with the non-performing loans within the balance sheets of China’s four major banks thought to be between a quarter and a third of their total assets. The government reacted to the emergence of that destabilising mountain of bad debts by recapitalising the state-owned banks; carving out their non-performing loans and handing them over to four new asset management companies to manage them out of the system over time. Huarong was one of those asset managers, established to acquire and then manage the bad loans made by the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.

The Huarong predicament and the context of the swelling tide of SOE-related defaults highlight not just dangerously and system-threatening excessive leverage and poor allocation of capital within the heart of China’s economy but significant, indeed egregious, governance failures. Now the company set up to manage bad debts is itself apparently teetering on the verge of bankruptcy due to its own non-performing loans and will either be restructured or fail. While it is not a bank it is a substantial financial institution, with about $340 billion of assets and net assets of about $32 billion. Embarrassingly for the Chinese authorities, although it listed In Hong Kong in 2015, it is a state-controlled enterprise. The Ministry of Finance owns a majority of its shares.

The company got itself into trouble, it seems, by expanding beyond its charter as a manager of banks’ bad debts into quasi banking activities itself; lending to property developers, setting up securities trading businesses and essentially playing in the shadows of the system that the tightly-regulated banks have been forbidden to enter.It was able to do so because its former chairman, Lai Xiaomin, was by his own admission subjected to absolutely no oversight and was able to treat Huarong as his own plaything. When he was arrested in 2018 he admitted taking more than $350 million of “bribes” over the previous decade and was found to have about $50 million of cash stashed in an apartment he called “The Supermarket.” Lai was charged, found guilty of corruption (and bigamy!) and was executed in January.

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