Sep 102021
 
 September 10, 2021  Posted by at 8:29 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  69 Responses »


Johannes Vermeer Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window 1657-59 (newly restored)

 

One Flew Over the Kookaburra’s Nest (Bridge)
The Last Post (VanDen Bossche)
Vaccinated Account For 70% Of UK Covid-19 Deaths Since February (DE)
The Unvaccinated will be Punished (TFog)
The CDC Just Changed the Definition of ‘Vaccine’ and ‘Vaccination’ (PJM)
Biden Vaccine Mandates Could Affect 100 Million Americans (Cx)
17 Republican Governors Oppose Biden’s Federal Vaccine Mandate (Bn)
Biden Exempts Over 600,000 USPS Workers From Federal Vaccination Order (ZH)
Poll: 20%+ Of Unvaccinated People Want To Be Banned From Doing Things (Il)
Unvaccinated Officers ‘Huge Issue’ In Efforts To Build Immunity – Minister (K.)
Moderna Developing Two-in-One Booster Shot For Covid-19 And Flu (RT)
It Is Time To STRIKE (Denninger)
CDC Tightened Masking Guidelines After Threats From Teachers Union (Fox)
Critics Assail Widely Touted Study On Mask Effectiveness (JTN)

 

 

 

 

Fauci

 

 

Perfect title to open the day with.

“..the act of expressing medical second opinions – a ‘luxury’ that doctors have enjoyed since at least the Middle Ages – has been outlawed..”

One Flew Over the Kookaburra’s Nest (Bridge)

Reminiscent of Nurse Ratched in Ken Kesey’s classic 1962 novel, Australian officials have completely lost the plot over the virus, as they rob citizens of their basic democratic and human rights in the name of protecting them.
Eight o’clock the walls whirr and hum into full swing. The speaker in the ceiling says, ‘Medications,’ using the Big Nurse’s voice. – ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ While George Orwell’s dystopian novel ‘1984’ remains the go-to work of literature for helping wrap one’s brain around these increasingly mental times, Kesey’s masterpiece ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ has been relegated to the back of society’s bookshelf. That’s unfortunate, especially in the case of Australia, which appears to be hard at work penning the sequel.

The role of ‘Big Nurse,’ Kesey’s tyrannical antagonist, who has an arsenal of medication at her disposal, would go to Australian health chief Dr. Kerry Chant. This medical authoritarian recently informed the 8.1 million locked-down subjects of New South Wales that Covid will be with us “forever” and people will have to just “get used to” rolling up their sleeves for endless booster shots. Chant’s grim assessment of Australia’s future faced no challenges from other professionals, which should come as no surprise, since the act of expressing medical second opinions – a ‘luxury’ that doctors have enjoyed since at least the Middle Ages – has been outlawed. While few would find fault with Chant’s wry observation that “we want diseases to be totally eliminated,” it is the total absence of democratic procedure in this wild goose chase that is alarming.

After all, it was Dr. Chant who advised citizens in the heat of summer not to “start up a conversation” with others in public spaces – a wonderful excuse to keep the populace squirming under the heel of bureaucracy. In the next chapter of this Keseyian tragedy, Australian leaders are passionately signaling – virtuously, of course – that the only way to escape from creeping medical apartheid is for everyone to submit to the jab. “There is going to be a vaccinated economy, and you get to participate in that if you are vaccinated,” Victoria Premier Dan ‘Big Brother’ Andrews informed a roomful of puzzled and muzzled reporters. “We’re going to move to a situation where, to protect the health system, we are going to lock out people who are not vaccinated and can be.”

Aside from ‘ape-shit crazy,’ there is really only one way to interpret that incredibly disturbing remark: either you agree to submit to a vaccination, or the “vaccinated economy” will be closed to you. Now, whether that lockout will only apply to the bread and circuses that make up Victoria’s vibrant cultural scene – nightclubs, concerts and sporting events, for example – or to the more indispensable venues, such as grocery stores and medical clinics, the Dear Leader would not say.

Gerald

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Do we see him as fully exonerated now?

The Last Post (VanDen Bossche)

The mass vaccination hype will undoubtedly enter history as the most reckless experiment in the history of medicine. It will be cited as the unequivocal proof of how overuse or misuse of man-made antimicrobials leads to antimicrobial resistance, regardless of whether the antimicrobial is an antibiotic or an antibody administered through passive immunization or elicited via active immunization. Mass vaccination campaigns conducted in the middle of a viral pandemic will, for generations to come, become the most sobering example of the boundaries of human intervention in nature in general and of the boundaries of conventional vaccinology in particular. This irrational experiment will unambiguously highlight the clear-cut limitations of conventional vaccine approaches.

It will convincingly illustrate that – unlike natural acute self-limiting infection or disease – ‘modern’ technologies alone do not suffice to develop vaccines that are capable of preventing viral transmission or immune escape. For that matter, even ‘modern’ vaccines will not allow conventional B or T cell-directed antigens to generate herd immunity when massively administered in the heat of a pandemic of a highly mutable virus. Because of the disastrous consequences the current mass vaccination campaign will entail, I cannot imagine that the word ‘vaccine’ will continue to persist in the medical vade-mecum. In order to highlight the short-comings of all vaccines eliciting conventional B- or T cell-centered immune responses I propose to coin a new term for these vaccines and refer to them as ‘conditionally immune protection-inducing formulations’ (CIPIFs).

While the word ‘vaccine’ may be banned, the word ‘fact checker’ will only gain traction as a general term used for any scientifically illiterate person who uses arrogance to vilify those who speak the truth and promotes – in exchange for dirty money – a narrative and groupthink mentality that are merely inspired by the interests of the stakeholders they blindly support.

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You might expect this over, say, the last two months. But not six; in February not many people were vaccinated.

Note: Case fatality rate among fully vaccinated is 5x higher than among unvaccinated.

Vaccinated Account For 70% Of UK Covid-19 Deaths Since February (DE)

Because of the threats now being made to give an experimental Covid-19 injection to children against the advice of the JCVI, and the confirmation that vaccine passports will be introduced in the United Kingdom from October, you’re probably not aware that Public Health England have released a report at precisely the same time which reveals 70% of Covid-19 deaths since February are people who had been vaccinated. The report titled ‘SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern and variants under investigation in England’, is the 22nd technical briefing on alleged variants of concern in the United Kingdom and makes for extremely interesting reading once you realise what the statistics are actually telling us.

PHE have compiled a helpful table which shows the number of alleged confirmed Delta variant cases in the UK alongside the number of alleged deaths due to the variant. The table shows that since the 1st February 2021 up to the 29th August 2021 there have been 492,528 alleged confirmed cases of the Delta variant. Of these 144,067 had been confirmed in the past 28 days alone. The data shows that people who are not vaccinated account for just 44% of the alleged confirm Covid cases, whilst those who are fully vaccinated account for 23% of the alleged confirmed cases. A further 16% of the alleged cases are people who had received one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine at least 21 days prior to their alleged confirmed Covid-19 infection.

Unfortunately, it looks as if we have been lied to and instead of the Covid-19 vaccines being our route back to normal they are instead quite the opposite. Because the data published by Public Health England shows us that the number of alleged deaths due to the Delta variant are not just higher among those who have received two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, they are astronomically higher. The total number of deaths to have occurred since February 2021 involving the Delta Covid-19 variant that have been linked to vaccination status total 1,698. Of these just 30% have been among the unvaccinated population, despite the fact most second vaccinations were administered between April and June.

Whereas fully vaccinated account for 64.25% of Covid-19 deaths since February 2021, and when including the partly vaccinated in those numbers they account for 70%. However, it’s important to note that many of the deaths that occurred in the partly vaccinated population may have actually been people who had received two doses of a Covid-19 injection due to the fact PHE does not regard them as having had two doses if it has not been two weeks since they had the second dose. But what does this mean in terms of the risk of death if infected with the Delta Covid-19 variant? Well it means the risk of death increases significantly in those who have been fully vaccinated. 536 deaths have occurred among 219,716 confirmed cases in the unvaccinated population since February. This is a case fatality rate of 0.2%. Whereas 1,091 deaths have occurred among 113,823 cases among the fully vaccinated population. This is a case fatality rate of 1%.

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Tricks.

The Unvaccinated will be Punished (TFog)

It is official: the unvaccinated have become the scapegoats. As we said in August, “trust them at their word when they advocate restricting your rights and inflicting punishment if you remain unvaccinated.” This is the result (but not the end-result) of a creeping nastiness towards the unvaccinated that we warned about last month, after the NYC required a vaccine to “participate in society fully” and The Atlantic said the unvaccinated “belong on the no-fly list.” Others contributed and pushed things further. The call by the New York Times’ Ezra Klein to start “raising the costs of remaining vaccinated.” Dr. Fauci said the government needed to “do something to get them to be vaccinated.”

Biden listened. He is mandating that larger employers mandate vaccines or undergo weekly testing or be fined up to $14,000 per violation. As the AP reports: The requirement for large companies to mandate vaccinations or weekly testing for employees will be enacted through a forthcoming rule from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration [OSHA] that carries penalties of $14,000 per violation, an administration official said. The White House did not immediately say when it would take effect, but said workers would have sufficient time to get vaccinated. This coincides with Biden mandating federal employees and contractors get the vaccine. All except USPS, whose workers somehow escaped this mandate.

I would guess the USPS union donations (which are almost all to Democrats) and their endorsement of Biden in 2020 might have something to do with this exemption. Anyway, the Biden Administration will attempt to implement the employer vaccine mandate and punishments through an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS). Think of this as a temporary measure that allows the agency to bypass normal rulemaking and regulatory procedures. The ETS is governed by 29 USC 655, which states:

Look closely at part (A), which requires the Secretary of Labor to determine that “employees are exposed to grave danger from exposure to substances or agents determined to be toxic or physically harmful or from new hazards.” How has OSHA determined ALL large employers are exposing their employees to “grave danger”? Here’s the answer: they haven’t. And they don’t think they have to. In using the ETS – which are temporary – the Biden Administration is bypassing statutory and caselaw requirements that govern permanent health and safety standards. Think of that for a moment: that they wish to use temporary regulations to mandate permanent vaccines.


If this were permanent, OSHA would have to make “a threshold finding that a place of employment is unsafe—in the sense that significant risks are present and can be eliminated or lessened by a change in practices.” This legal maneuvering, which lessens OSHA’s evidentiary and fact-finding burdens, should be no surprise. OSHA (like Biden himself) has a long history of unlawfulness and of ignoring its own regulations. Most recently, the agency is refusing to enforce its own rules (arguably) requiring employers who mandate vaccinations from recording the side effects.

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More tricks.

The CDC Just Changed the Definition of ‘Vaccine’ and ‘Vaccination’ (PJM)

For your entire life, you’ve known that when you get vaccinated, you’re protected from a particular disease. You’ve probably been vaccinated for such diseases as polio, tetanus, measles, diphtheria, and others, and you no longer have to worry about them, because the whole reason your parents took you to the doctor to get those shots was to protect you from those diseases. Polio, in particular, has been completely wiped out in the United States thanks to the immunity created by vaccination. This is why the CDC says that vaccines provide immunity, which means that we can be exposed to a disease without becoming infected by it. At least they used to. A recent change on the CDC website should disturb all of us because it appears that the CDC is trying to change how we understand vaccinations. Here’s the “Definition of Terms” for Immunization as captured on August 26, 2021. I’ve highlighted the key points.

These definitions have been in place since at least May 16, 2018. Here’s the “Definition of Terms” for immunizations now, which was updated on September 1, 2021, with changes highlighted.

So in a week, a vaccine went from being something that “produces immunity to a specific disease” to something that merely “stimulates the body’s immune response against diseases,” and a vaccination no longer “produces immunity” to a disease, just “protection” from a disease. Does anyone else find this disturbing? Why did the CDC suddenly redefine “vaccine” and “vaccination” to make them sound similar to your basic non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug or a prescription drug you have to keep taking regularly? No explanation for the change is given.


Is this part of the Biden administration’s efforts to make the public accept regular COVID-19 boosters by changing how we understand the purpose of vaccines? Vaccines, we’re now supposed to accept, don’t provide us with immunity, just protection from disease. This vague definition essentially makes it easier for the government to recommend endless boosters for COVID (or any other disease) because vaccines, they say, no longer make us “immune.” And yes, there are several vaccines that do need boosters, but that never changed our understanding or the definition of vaccines and vaccination.

@RepThomasMassie Check out @CDCgov ’s evolving definition of “vaccination.” They’ve been busy at the Ministry of Truth:

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It is reasonable to wonder what would have happened if Trump had announced this.

Biden Vaccine Mandates Could Affect 100 Million Americans (Cx)

In an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19’s Delta variant and boost the U.S.’s vaccination numbers, Joe Biden is set to enforce new federal vaccination requirements that could impact at least 100 million Americans. The Associated Press reports that the new guidelines require people who work for employers with at least 100 workers to be vaccinated, or get tested for the virus every week. Those who work at health facilities that get Medicare or Medicaid also have to be completely vaccinated. Additionally, a new executive order will mandate that people working for the executive branch and contractors who work with the federal government will have to be vaccinated and cannot be regularly tested instead.

While speaking Thursday, Biden touted the progress made on COVID since he took office. He also accused “elected officials” of undermining his administration’s fight against the virus. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that Biden’s “overarching objective here is to reduce the number of unvaccinated Americans,” with around 80 million adult Americans still unvaccinated. The new “action plan” also includes further requirements, like doubling federal fines for airline passengers who decline to wear masks during flights, or those who refuse to cover their faces on federal property. Biden is also working to expand the supply of virus tests, boost federal support to schools as they are opening, and require large entertainment venues and arenas to check vaccination cards or proof of negative test upon entry.

While there are over 208 million Americans who have been vaccinated with at least one dose, the number of cases has surged by 300 percent a day. There are also now two-and-a-half times more hospitalizations and almost twice as many deaths as this time last year.

Pelosi

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“..get them out of the way..”

17 Republican Governors Oppose Biden’s Federal Vaccine Mandate (Bn)

President Joe Biden on Thursday delivered a tyrannical speech announcing the federal vaccine mandates that he was decreeing by executive order. Seventeen Republican governors thus far have issued statements in direct opposition to Biden’s federal vaccine mandate. “In his most forceful pandemic actions and words, President Joe Biden on Thursday announced sweeping new federal vaccine requirements affecting as many as 100 million Americans in an all-out effort to increase COVID-19 vaccinations and curb the surging delta variant,” the AP reported. “Speaking at the White House, Biden sharply criticized the roughly 80 million Americans who are not yet vaccinated, despite months of availability and incentives,” the report said. “We’ve been patient, but our patience is wearing thin,” Biden said. “And your refusal has cost all of us.”

President Biden also specifically threatened resistant Republican governors by saying that would he use his executive powers to “get them out of the way.” “Let me be blunt,” Biden said. “My plan also takes on elected officials in states that are undermining you in these life-saving actions. Right now local school officials are trying to keep children safe in a pandemic while their governor picks a fight with them and even threatens their salaries or their jobs. Talk about bullying the schools.” “If they’ll not help, if these governors won’t help us beat the pandemic, I will use my power as president to get them out of the way,” he added. “The Department of Education has already begun to take legal action against states undermining protection that local school officials have ordered.”

Republican governors have begun to issue their responses to the federal government’s overreach and the president’s threats. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis actually issued a statement in opposition to Biden’s executive order before it was officially issued. “How could we get to the point in this country where you would not let them earn a living because of their choice on the vaccine?” Gov. DeSantis said. “I just think that’s fundamentally wrong. I do not believe that people should lose their jobs over this issue, and we will fight that.”

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“..the Postal Service is an independent agency of the executive branch, and it is required to be specifically included in executive orders that apply to working conditions for federal employees.”

Biden Exempts Over 600,000 USPS Workers From Federal Vaccination Order (ZH)

All people are equal before “the scienceTM“, but some unions are more equal. We previously noted that in an unspoken footnote to Biden’s bombastic “no jab, no job” speech, various labor unions had quietly (and not so quietly) voiced their displeasure to the now official mandatory vaccinations including NYC teachers, California’s largest public sector union and of course, the US Postal Service. And now we know that while Biden was eager to frame his new vaxx policy as all inclusive and with no exception, that was not really true. According to the Washington Post citing a “White House official speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss not-yet-public portions of the president’s plan”, U.S. Postal Service workers were not included in Biden’s executive order requiring all federal employees to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.


While Biden framed his mandate as one covering all federal workers and all companies with more than 100 staff, he forgot to mention that any labor union that is instrumental in keeping the Democrats in power would be granted a very “unscientific” exemption. The loophole in question, according to the report, according to the White House source, is that the “USPS has a separate statutory scheme and is traditionally independent of federal personnel actions like this” even though postal workers would be strongly encouraged to comply with the mandate. Paradoxically, the WaPo also notes that this “explainer” is in conflict with reality: after all, the Postal Service is an independent agency of the executive branch, and it is required to be specifically included in executive orders that apply to working conditions for federal employees.

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Gallup does an onion.

Poll: 20%+ Of Unvaccinated People Want To Be Banned From Doing Things (Il)

A new Gallup poll claiming a slim majority of Americans support vaccine passports also claims that nearly 1 in 4 unvaccinated Americans support banning themselves from flying and 1 in 5 support banning themselves from going to work, staying at a hotel, dining at a restaurant and attending events with large crowds. “Per Gallup, 20%+ of unvaccinated people want themselves banned from doing things,” columnist Phil Kerpen commented on Twitter. Here’s how Gallup’s “senior scientist” Frank Newport, Ph.D. tried to explain away the comically embarrassing results: The relationship between vaccination status and attitudes about vaccination requirements, however, is by no means perfect. As seen in the accompanying table, between 20% and 32% of Americans give seemingly contradictory opinions — vaccinated people who say there should be no vaccination requirements to do these activities, and unvaccinated people who say there should be.


The notion 20-25% of unvaccinated Americans want to be banned from leaving their home is not “seemingly contradictory,” it’s directly contradictory. On the flip side, people who took the shots not wanting to have an Orwellian vaccine passport control grid rolled out for everyone isn’t contradictory at all. Your poll is comically stupid and your analysis of it is even dumber. This is about as clear as it gets that Gallup polls are worthless garbage which are published to shape public opinion and influence government policy rather than reflect what the public actually thinks.

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Greece. 40% of officers unvaccinated. At least.

Unvaccinated Officers ‘Huge Issue’ In Efforts To Build Immunity – Minister (K.)

The percentage of unvaccinated police officers in Greece is a big problem for the government’s plan to build immunity, Alternate Interior Minister Stelios Petsas said on Thursday. “It is a huge issue which undermines the credibility of [police] checks to a great extent and creates reactions among the citizens who are being checked,” he told Skai TV, adding that he is in favour of mandating inoculations for security forces. “I have said many times in the past about several categories of public sector workers who are in contact with citizens that this needs to be addressed.” Skai reported that the current vaccination rate stood at 60-62% among officers. Late August data seen by Kathimerini put the number of vaccinated officers to just 58% in the Hellenic Police (ELAS). ELAS is the main body tasked with enforcing the various health restrictions imposed by the government and its officers come in close contact with the public.

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Moderna still hasn’t developed one single medicine that was approved.

Moderna Developing Two-in-One Booster Shot For Covid-19 And Flu (RT)

Moderna has announced that it is developing a single-dose vaccine to bring to the market that will combine a two-in-one booster shot that protects against both Covid-19 and flu. On Thursday, drugmaker Moderna unveiled its latest innovation in the fight against Covid-19 – a “pan-respiratory annual booster vaccine” that combines a booster against Covid-19 and one against regular flu. “Our number one priority as a company right now is to bring to market a pan-respiratory annual booster vaccine, which we plan to always customize and upgrade,” said CEO Stéphane Bancel. Moderna is not the first to have announced the creation of a combined jab for Covid-19 and flu.

American vaccine-maker Novavax announced on Wednesday that it has started an early stage trial in Australia to test its own two-in-one shot, having enrolled 640 healthy adult volunteers between the ages of 50 and 70. Last week, Moderna submitted data to the European Medicines Agency for conditional approval for its Covid-19 vaccine to be used as a booster shot. Meanwhile, the US Food and Drug Administration greenlighted top-up doses of mRNA vaccines manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna in mid-August for people with compromised immune systems. Moderna’s two-dose Covid-19 vaccine boasts a high efficacy rate of 93% six months after the administration of its second shot, barely waning from the 94.5% protection reported during its phase-three clinical trials.

The pharma company also said that it is “making progress on enrolling patients in our rare disease programs, and we are fully enrolled in our personalized cancer vaccine trial.” It also said its phase-two study of its authorized Covid-19 vaccine for children between 6 months and 12 years was ongoing. So far, the study is being carried out on 4,000 children between 6 and 12, while dosage selection studies are still underway for younger age groups.

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“Natural immunity from prior infection is 7-13x, and perhaps as much as 25x as effective as is a vaccine.”

It Is Time To STRIKE (Denninger)

The data is in folks, and the lies are collapsing. Biden is due to unleash his “six point” plan (the latest iteration) to alleged “Beat Delta.” You can bet it will contain more mandates. What it won’t do is recognize these key facts, and thus will fail and will kill Americans unless he is stopped. Natural immunity from prior infection is 7-13x, and perhaps as much as 25x as effective as is a vaccine. This is the data from Israel and multiple studies. A study from Cleveland Clinic, following more than a thousand of their employees who were infected, found zero reinfections. Think about that folks — zero so-called “breakthroughs” among previously-infected and not-vaccinated people.

The CDC ITSELF has published their own data that if infected while vaccinated you are equally contagious to someone who was not vaccinated. Further, contrary to the original claims of the CDC and vaccine makers that the vaccines reduce or eliminate symptomatic infections in virtually every case (95% of the time) they found that 79% of vaccinated people who got infected were symptomatic. This is statistically identical to unvaccinated persons who sometimes have fully-asymptomatic infections. If you are vaccinated and get infected you are just as likely to infect (and potentially sicken or kill) another person, vaccinated or not, as someone who is not vaccinated. This is formally-admissible evidence in court as it is a direct publication of the CDC! The CDC has admitted, in print, that there is no public-health benefit from the vaccines.

The vaccines are failures. This should not surprise as every previous coronavirus vaccine attempt also failed. Yes, they may provide personal protection against serious outcomes for a few months. The original trials may have been rigged to show that. The manufacturers deliberately set the dose to produce antibody levels much higher than natural infection. Why would you do that when, as with any drug, the higher the dose the greater the adverse effects? The logical reason is that you knew you had to keep protection levels adequate for the four months of the trial and then you intended to unblind the study which immediately destroys the ability to follow up and assess the effect of the vaccine over longer periods of time. Both Moderna and Pfizer did exactly that and the FDA let them.

Do not be deceived by outright lies in the media; if you don’t know someone who’s fully-vaccinated and got laid out flat on their back or killed by Covid-19, you will. In Texas at a monoclonal antibody infusion center (where you go if infected and at high risk) the case rate between vaccinated and unvaccinated is statistically identical to Texas’ vaccination rate. At Duke University where everyone must be vaccinated this year there have been multiple outbreaks. Cornell has a five times higher case rate now, with everyone vaccinated by mandate, than they did last fall. There are multiple such examples and they prove the vaccines rapidly become at best worthless. A “mandate” is thus a demand that you the take the risk of serious injury or death for no reason other than political demand.

JAMA, the official journal of the American Medical Association, has published proof that the vaccines are at best failures and at worst may be enhancing Covid-19 infections. Specifically, they published a study from blood donations showing the presence of alleged immunity in 83.3% of Americans. This is sufficient to suppress any virus with an R0 of up to just under 6, and obviously since May it has only climbed. They did differentiate between antibodies from infection and vaccination, which we can do in this case due to the design of the vaccines. This study found 20% of Americans have had Covid-19 and are presumptively immune; the balance was from vaccination. The problem is that if the vaccines worked the summer spike we have seen was impossible, yet it happened. This is hard proof the vaccines do not work over time; you have taken the risk of serious adverse events up to and including death for a benefit that lasts no more than six months.

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US ruled by unions..

CDC Tightened Masking Guidelines After Threats From Teachers Union (Fox)

The Biden administration tightened its masking guidance after a prominent teachers union threatened White House officials with publicly releasing harsh criticism, internal emails show. The National Education Association sent a draft statement to White House officials that included harsh criticism of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s masking guidance, the emails show. But the teachers union ultimately published a version with a much softer tone, and the CDC clarified its guidance to indicate that everyone should be masked in schools, regardless of vaccination status. The new emails show further coordination between the White House and teachers unions just months after reports highlighted the extent the unions had influenced the administration’s messaging on school reopenings.

The watchdog group Americans for Public Trust obtained the emails through a Freedom of Information Act request and provided them to Fox News. The CDC announced on May 13 that fully vaccinated Americans could stop wearing masks indoors and outside, which sparked confusion about how this policy would apply to schools. One day later, on May 14, Erika Dinkel-Smith, the White House director of labor engagement, said she stopped the NEA from releasing a critical statement that had called for immediate clarification. “Would you know when Dr. Wolensky would be able to call NEA-Pres. Becky Pringle?” Dinkel-Smith wrote in the email. “They’ve gotten significant incoming and are getting targeted for a response from the media. I’ve gotten them to hold on their statement calling for clarification.” That same day, Dinkel-Smith received the NEA’s draft statement, allowing them to weigh in on it.

“We appreciate the developing nature of the science and its implications for guidance, but releasing the guidance without accompanying school-related updates creates confusion and fuels the internal politicization of this basic health and safety issue,” the draft statement read. “CDC has consistently said, and studies support, that mitigation measures, including to protect the most vulnerable, remain necessary in schools and institutions of higher education – particularly because no elementary or middle school students, and few high school students, have been vaccinated.” “This will also make it hard for school boards and leaders of institutions of higher education to do the right thing by maintaining mitigation measures,” it continued. “We need CDC clarification right away.”

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“Based on the 95% confidence intervals, we do not even know if surgical mask efficacy is more than 0%..”

Critics Assail Widely Touted Study On Mask Effectiveness (JTN)

An acclaimed study on the effectiveness of masks in reducing symptomatic COVID-19 has been widely mischaracterized and suffers from serious design flaws, according to critics. They include Harvard Medical School epidemiologist Martin Kulldorff, who was suspended from Twitter for a month for questioning the protective power of masks for unvaccinated elderly people. The randomized controlled trial (RCT) of 600 Bangladeshi villages from November through April was led by a management professor at Yale, Jason Abaluck, with participation from medical and public health researchers at Yale, Stanford and the University of California Berkeley, among other institutions.

The working paper was funded by a grant from charity assessment nonprofit GiveWell to the Institute for Poverty Action, which studies the effectiveness of programs to reduce global poverty, and has yet to be peer-reviewed. The nonprofit National Bureau of Economic Research published a shorter and somewhat different version. Several variations were tried with the “treatment” villages. The researchers “cross-randomized mask promotion strategies at the village and household level, including cloth vs. surgical masks,” and some were given window signs indicating the household wears masks. A quarter of the villages were promised a “monetary incentive” for village leaders if they hit 75% mask compliance within the eight-week study. “Neither participants nor field staff were blinded to intervention assignment,” the study said.

About 335,000 people provided data on symptoms, if any, by the end of the eight-week period. In the villages that “received free masks, information on the importance of masking, role modeling by community leaders, and in-person reminders,” the interventions reduced “symptomatic seroprevalence” by 9.3% and the “prevalence of COVID-like symptoms” by 11.9%. Villages that got surgical masks reduced symptomatic infection by 11% — twice as high for those ages 50-60 and three times higher for those older than 60. Cloth masks, by contrast, had “an imprecise zero” effect. For surgical masks specifically, the differences between treatment and control groups were statistically insignificant for every age group under 50. This age-based finding was a red flag for some critics, as was the confounding variable of increased physical distancing observed among the masked group.

“Odd that mask advocates are excited by this study,” Kulldorff, a pioneer in vaccine safety research, tweeted last week. “As a vaccine advocate, I would be horrified if a vaccine trial showed 11% efficacy. Based on the 95% confidence intervals, we do not even know if surgical mask efficacy is more than 0%,” he wrote.

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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.

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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.”

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Aug 172020
 


Claude Monet The Wooden Bridge 1872

 

One-Second Coronavirus Test Achieves 95% Success Rate (JP)
Biden and Trump Matchup Tightens As Enthusiasm Hits New High (CNN)
Mueller Aide Weissmann Tells DOJ Attorneys Not To Help Investigators (Turley)
The Manufactured Hysteria Over Mail Delivery (PJM)
A Reality-Based Look At Trump And The Post Office (York)
Washington’s Successful Vote-by-Mail System Wasn’t Built Overnight (CC)
Adam Schiff’s Inaccurate Russia Tweets Raise Double-Standard Question (JTN)
Japan’s Economy Shrinks At Record -27.8% Annual Rate (AP)
UK Housing Market Has Busiest Month In More Than 10 Years (G.)
New Zealand Delays General Election By A Month Amid COVID19 Outbreak (G.)
The Roots Of Wokeness (Sullivan)

 

 

What do you think about the post office narrative? Which side is trying to use it to influence the election?

How about the CNN poll that says all of a sudden Trump has closed the double digit gap to Biden? Is that the Kamala effect, or did CNN wake up to the realization that those huge gaps make people less likely to vote?

How about CNN’s -implied- claim that Biden voters are mpre enthusiastic than Trump voters? Does that ring true?

 

 

Can we move new global cases under 200,000? US new cases at the lowest since June 23. US deaths at “just” 522, but that complies with a weekend pattern.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can anyone at all explain why these tests are not used all over the world? There are many rapid tests with comparable success rates. What are we waiting for? Does anyone understand why these tests are much more useful than the standard CPR ones? This is presented as a breakthrough, but it isn’t, really.

One-Second Coronavirus Test Achieves 95% Success Rate (JP)

An initial clinical trial of a coronavirus-testing technology that is believed to detect viruses in a fluid sample in less than a second has achieved a 95% success rate, according to data released last week from the trial performed at Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer. The test was designed by Newsight Imaging, a Ness Ziona-based start-up firm, and centers on a device that is about the size of a computer mouse, which can identify and classify evidence of a virus in the body in less than a second, using a sample of fluid – blood serum or saliva – inserted into a disposable test cuvette. In spectroscopy, a sample is tested with a broadband light source, Newsight CEO Eli Assoolin told The Jerusalem Post last month when it first received Sheba Medical Center’s IRB Ethics (“Helsinki”) Committee approval to conduct a pilot program for rapid COVID-19 detection tests.


The light that returns from the sample is analyzed to determine its wavelength content. “We collect the spectral signature after the light is absorbed in the sample, and then we can analyze the content of it,” he said, noting that spectral-analysis technology has already been used to identify certain human diseases and abnormalities. “Basically, on one side, you have the source of light, and on the other side, you have the sensor chip – a sensitive and fast camera that can see different wavelengths. In the middle, you put the sample,” Assoolin said. Prof. Eli Schwartz of the Center for Geographic Medicine and Tropical Diseases at Sheba said that under laboratory conditions, the research team was clearly able to differentiate between COVID-19 samples that were positive and those that were negative, with a 95% accuracy rate. “For a new AI-based technology such as this, the results are quite encouraging,” Schwartz said.

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As the virtual Dem convention starts, CNN is in a bit of a bind. They’ve been reporting on various polls that all show Biden leading Trump by double-digit margins, but even their viewers haven’t forgotten how they predicted Hillary had a 95% chance of winning in 2016. And of course the problem with those wide margins is they make people wonder why they should vote, if the outcome is so clear.

So now there’s a poll that shows Trump is fast catching up (the Kamala effect?) , but not without adding the rather curious notion that “Among the 72% of voters who say they are either extremely or very enthusiastic about voting this fall, Biden’s advantage over Trump widens to 53% to 46%.”

Is there anyone who believes that Biden voters are more enthusiastic than Trump voters? Doesn’t that contradict everything we’ve seen?

Biden and Trump Matchup Tightens As Enthusiasm Hits New High (CNN)

Joe Biden’s lead over Donald Trump among registered voters has significantly narrowed since June, according to a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS, even as the former vice president maintains an advantage over the President on several top issues and his choice of California Sen. Kamala Harris as a running mate earns largely positive reviews. And on the eve of the party conventions, a majority of voters (53%) are “extremely enthusiastic” about voting in this year’s election, a new high in CNN polling in presidential election cycles back to 2003. Overall, 50% of registered voters back the Biden-Harris ticket, while 46% say they support Trump and Pence, right at the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Among the 72% of voters who say they are either extremely or very enthusiastic about voting this fall, Biden’s advantage over Trump widens to 53% to 46%. It is narrower, however, among those voters who live in the states that will have the most impact on the electoral college this fall. Across 15 battleground states, the survey finds Biden has the backing of 49% of registered voters, while Trump lands at 48%. The pool of battleground states in this poll includes more that Trump carried in 2016 (10) than were won by Hillary Clinton (5), reflecting the reality that the President’s campaign is more on defense than offense across the states. Taken together, though, they represent a more Republican-leaning playing field than the nation as a whole.


The movement in the poll among voters nationwide since June is concentrated among men (they split about evenly in June, but now 56% back Trump, 40% Biden), those between the ages of 35 and 64 (they tilt toward Trump now, but were Biden-leaning in June) and independents (in June, Biden held a 52% to 41% lead, but now it’s a near even 46% Biden to 45% Trump divide). Trump has also solidified his partisans since June. While 8% of Republicans or Republican-leaning independents in June said they would back Biden, that figure now stands at just 4%. And the President has boosted his backing among conservatives from 76% to 85%.

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Weissmann likely doesn’t know what Clinesmith agreed to tell Durham in his guilty plea.

Weissmann’s your typical dirty cop/dirty lawyer. Rumor has it he was in charge of the Mueller probe, not Mueller himself. And yes, he has strong links to the Dems and Hillary.

Mueller Aide Weissmann Tells DOJ Attorneys Not To Help Investigators (Turley)

I recently wrote a column discussing how Democratic leaders, including Vice President Joe Biden, have argued against continuing the investigation by U.S. Attorney John Durham despite growing evidence of misconduct by Justice Department officials and now the first guilty plea by former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith. Now, Andrew Weissmann, one of the top prosecutors with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, has derided the Clinesmith plea while actually calling on Justice Department attorneys to refuse to help on ongoing investigations that could implicate aspects of his own prior work. I was among those who expressed concern when Mueller selected Weissmann due to his history of controversial prosecutorial decisions, including a pattern of prosecutorial overreach in the Enron litigation.

Weissmann’s recent statements (made before the release of his new book on the Russian investigation) have only served to reaffirm those concerns. Recently, Weissmann wrote an extraordinary and disturbing New York Times op-ed (with former Defense Department special counsel Ryan Goodman). In the column, he appeared to call on Justice Department lawyers to undermine the Durham investigation as well as the investigation by U.S. Attorney John Bash’s investigation into the “unmasking” requests by Obama administration officials. They wrote “Justice Department employees in meeting their ethical and legal obligations, should be well advised not to participate in any such effort.”

Consider that line for a moment. Weissmann is openly calling on attorneys to refuse to help on investigations that could raise questions about his own decisions. Durham is looking at a pattern of errors, false statements, bias, and now criminal conduct in the Russian investigation. There is obviously overlap with the Mueller investigation which discussed many of the same underlying documents and relied on work by some of the same individuals. The failure to address misconduct, bias, or criminal conduct by such individuals would be embarrassing to both Weissmann and Mueller. Despite that obvious conflict of interest, Weissmann is calling on attorneys to stand down. It is the same troubling position that was once taken by Sally Yates, who told an entire federal agency not to assist the President in his travel ban.

[..] I believe that the public needs to have a full and transparent account of what happened in the Russian investigation on both sides. Like many, Weissmann would like transparency on only one side and to shutdown the Durham investigation despite Horowitz referring matters for criminal investigation and finding a host of false statements, errs, and professional misconduct. Even the addition of a criminal plea has not stopped Weissmann from denouncing this investigation. For years, I have criticized Weissmann’s record of dubious prosecutorial judgment, bias, and overreach. However, that case against Weissmann is not nearly as powerful as the case he is making against himself.

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What a crazy story.

The Manufactured Hysteria Over Mail Delivery (PJM)

That dastardly Donald Trump is at it again. He is either the evilest man ever to hold the office of president or the dumbest. He is either a Machiavellian genius manipulating the media and his hypnotized followers or a bumbling know-nothing idiot. Trump is being accused of sabotaging the November elections because he won’t give the postal unions and incompetent managers in the postal service $25 billion to play with. The money will stave off catastrophe for about a year at the rate the USPS is burning through cash. Without that money, we’re informed by those in the know, thousands — no, tens of thousands — no, millions of voters who wait until the last minute to mail in an absentee ballot might not have their votes counted because, well, Trump.

The procrastinators in America are up in arms and plan a demonstration to show their outrage. But it probably won’t happen until after the election since that’s when they’ll eventually get around to it. The “crisis” in postal delivery presupposes that, prior to Trump’s shenanigans, the USPS was doing fine — nothing that a few tens of billions of taxpayer dollars couldn’t fix. In fact, that’s what the postal unions are saying. In a statement released on Saturday, the letter carriers and postal workers’ unions assure the public that even without the money, they can do the job. [..] So what’s all the hubbub about? The letter carriers say they can deliver the ballots on time. The postal employees claim they don’t need the extra cash. Where, pray tell, is there a “crisis”?


Nancy Pelosi knows. In fact, she’s about to call the members of the House of Representatives off the campaign trail and back to Washington to deal with the “crisis.” Politico: “Pelosi and other top Democrats, including House Majority Leader Steny Democrats are looking to address organizational issues at the Postal Service in the coming weeks, not to provide additional funding at this time, according to sources familiar with the discussion.” Nothing says “crisis” in Washington quite like pulling politicians away from their campaigns for a political stunt like holding an “emergency” session of Congress.

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The USPS has been a mess for decades. Nothing to do with Trump. But yes, he does think the issue risks being used against him.

A Reality-Based Look At Trump And The Post Office (York)

The idea that the Postal Service will not be able to handle the volume of mail in the election, or not be able to handle it within normal Postal Service time guidelines, does not make much sense. According to its most recent annual report, last year, in fiscal year 2019, the Postal Service handled 142.5 billion pieces of mail. “On a typical day, our 633,000 employees physically process and deliver 471 million mailpieces to nearly 160 delivery points,” the report says. This year, that number is higher, given the Postal Service’s delivery of census forms and stimulus checks. Those alone added about 450 million additional pieces of mail.

In 2016, about 136 million Americans voted in the presidential election. The number will probably be a bit higher this year. If officials sent ballots to every single American registered to vote — about 158 million people — and then 140 million people returned ballots, the roughly 298 million pieces of mail handled over the course of several weeks would be well within the Postal Service’s ability to handle. Of course, officials will not send a ballot to every American registered to vote, and not every voter will vote by mail. Whatever the final number is, the ballots that are cast by mail will not cripple a system that delivers 471 million pieces of mail every day.

There are, of course, compelling examples of election dysfunction, most notably the mess New York made of some of its congressional primaries this summer. But rather than representing a Postal Service problem, that was because some states are unprepared for a dramatic increase of voting by mail. The states have to prepare the ballots, address them, and process and count them when the Postal Service delivers them. That is the focus of the entirely legitimate fears of a possible vote-counting disaster this year. But it’s not the Postal Service.

[..] The Postal Service is not funded by a regular appropriation. It is, instead, an “independent agency” and is expected to support itself, beyond a yearly appropriation of about $55 million to cover the costs of mail for the blind and overseas balloting in elections. The Postal Service has lost money for a very long time. In fiscal year 2019, it had operating revenues of $71.1 billion and operating expenses of $79.9 billion, leaving it with a deficit of $8.8 billion. At the moment, Postal Service officials have told Congress, it has about $14 billion in cash on hand, putting it on the road to fiscal insolvency (without further aid) in late 2021. In the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, the $2 trillion relief measure passed in March, Congress gave the Postal Service a $10 billion borrowing authority. After the bill became law, there were negotiations between the Postal Service and the Treasury Department on the terms of the borrowing; a deal was announced in July.

The ability to borrow $10 billion, the postmaster general said, would “delay the approaching liquidity crisis.” [..] The House HEROES Act would give $25 billion to the Postal Service in what is essentially a bailout. The bill mentions nothing about helping the Postal Service handle the upcoming election or any other election. Indeed, the only stipulation at all placed on the $25 billion is that the Postal Service, “during the coronavirus emergency, shall prioritize the purchase of, and make available to all Postal Service employees and facilities, personal protective equipment, including gloves, masks, and sanitizers, and shall conduct additional cleaning and sanitizing of Postal Service facilities and delivery vehicles.” If the House Democrats who wrote and passed the bill intended the money to be spent specifically for elections, they did not say so in the text of the legislation.

Jie Boden

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From April, but highly appropriate. We’ve discussed this in the Comments, and I keep thinking that one, or a few, states having a working model doesn’t mean it’s endlessly scalable.

Washington’s Successful Vote-by-Mail System Wasn’t Built Overnight (CC)

State officials across the nation are turning to Washington state for advice on how to set up a vote-by-mail system before the November presidential election, but officials say that question is just the first of many they should be asking. Secretary of State Kim Wyman, who is in charge of Washington’s election system, and King County Elections Director Julie Wise, who runs elections in the county where more than a third of Washington voters fill out a ballot, said the list of questions other states need to answer in order to effectively implement vote-by-mail is long and complicated. And mid-April may be too late to start making the switch from a mostly in-person system to a vote-at-home configuration, said Wise, who worked on in-person voting for a decade before moving, along with the state of Washington, to vote-by-mail elections in 2011.

“We’ve been at it for a decade. It’s not an easy lift to make that transition,” said Wise, between meetings to plan for a November election that could change dramatically — even in one of the nation’s five vote-by-mail states — because of the ongoing threat of the coronavirus. “You’re cutting it very short,” was her response to recent inquiries from other states and counties, in addition to sharing a packet of information about how King County votes by mail, from the technology to the people. Among the questions other states and municipalities should be asking, according to Wyman and Wise:


• Do we need to buy new equipment to count the votes? • Do we have current addresses of our voters? Have we tried to mail them anything recently? • How recent are the signature cards from voters? Do we need to ask millions of people to fill out new ones? • Do we have a place to count votes that can accommodate the people needed to verify ballots and count them, while allowing for social distancing? • What state laws would we need to change in order to allow for most votes to be cast by mail? • Will we provide free postage? • How much will that cost? • Will we provide drop boxes and, if so, how many? • Do we need to set up some in-person sites for people to vote or register and how can you do that while accounting for social distancing? • How much will this transition cost? Where will the money come from? And that’s just the beginning of the list.

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It’s not just his tweets. Schiff and the Dems have been getting away for so long with utter falsehoods they themselves may not even recognize them as such anymore. And who’s going to call them on it now? The MSM have been getting away with the exact same thing. But what use is it to go for a soft touch approach like this from John Solomon? Just say Schiff’s a blatant liar. Because he is. And opther people, like a journalist, may claim innocence, but the chair of the House Intelligence Committee can definitely not.

Adam Schiff’s Inaccurate Russia Tweets Raise Double-Standard Question (JTN)

Twitter has on more than one occasion appended or flagged President Trump’s tweets as misleading. But so far, it has not done the same with several posts by House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff that are demonstrably false or misleading, raising questions of a double standard. For instance, Schiff tweeted in July 2018 that “the release of the Carter Page FISA application makes clear, once again, the FBI acted lawfully and appropriately” in reference to the surveillance warrant the bureau used to spy on the Trump adviser during the Russia collusion probe. In fact, the FISA application that Schiff referred to in the tweet contained 51 statements that were inaccurate, misleading or undocumented, and included 17 violations of FBI rules ranging from false and unverified information to omissions of exculpatory evidence of innocence, the Justice Department inspector general reported last December.

Likewise, DOJ officials withdrew two of the four Page FISA applications, and the chief judge of the FISA court ruled in March that the FBI has misled the court. “There is thus little doubt that the government breached its duty of candor to the Court with respect to those applications,” U.S. District Judge James Boasberg said. And last week, an ex-FBI lawyer agreed to plead guilty to a felony and admitted he falsified a document to deceive the court. In other words, the FBI acted unlawfully and inappropriately in the Page FISA debacle. And to date, Twitter hasn’t flagged or appended Schiff’s tweet even though he has enormous influence on the platform with 2.4 million followers.

Just the News identified more than a dozen tweets that Schiff has posted since 2017 that are inaccurate or misleading based on the declassified information that has been made public over the last year by the Justice Department, FBI, and intelligence community. Earlier this month, for instance, Schiff tweeted out a claim that Trump had not taken action to stop Russia from interfering in elections. “Donald Trump has never deterred Russia from interfering in U.S. elections. Far from it. The sum total of Trump’s words and actions has only encouraged Russian meddling in our elections,” Schiff wrote.

[..] Several times, Schiff has tweeted claims that there is evidence Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia to hijack the 2016 election. For instance, the California Democrat posted a tweet in April 2018 accusing Republicans of ignoring “when in plain sight — evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.” Multiple investigations ranging from the Senate Intelligence Committee to Special Counsel Robert Mueller have concluded there is no evidence any Trump campaign official – or any other American – colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 election. “The investigation did not establish that members of the trump campaign conspired to coordinate it with the Russian government in its election interference activities,” Mueller wrote, saying extensive contacts between Trump campaign officials and Russians did not amount to a conspiracy.

Then-Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr last year came to a similar conclusion. “We don’t have anything that would suggest there was collusion by the Trump campaign and Russia,” he announced.

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Again, it’s not the lockdowns:

“Private consumption dipped at an annual rate of nearly 29% as shoppers stayed home, leaving malls and restaurants nearly empty of customers. That was without any full shutdown of businesses to contain coronavirus outbreaks [..]”

Japan’s Economy Shrinks At Record -27.8% Annual Rate (AP)

Japan’s economy shrank at annual rate of 27.8% in April-June, the worst contraction on record, as the coronavirus pandemic slammed consumption and trade, according to government data released Monday. The Cabinet Office reported that Japan’s preliminary seasonally adjusted real GDP, the sum of a nation’s goods and services, fell 7.8% quarter on quarter. The annual rate shows what the number would have been if continued for a year. Japanese media reported the latest drop was the worst since World War II. But the Cabinet Office said comparable records began in 1980. The previous worst contraction, a 17.8% drop, was in the first quarter of 2009, during the global financial crisis.

The world’s third largest economy was already limping along when the virus outbreak struck in China late last year. It has weakened as the pandemic gained ground, leading to social distancing restrictions and prompting many people to stay home when they can. “In April, May, a state of emergency was issued, it was a situation where the economy was artificially stopped so to speak, and the impact was severe,” said Yasutoshi Nishimura, minister Economic and Fiscal Policy. “These are tough numbers but they bottomed out in April and May, we would like to put all our efforts into returning to a growth trajectory,” Nishimura told reporters.


[..] The economy shrank 0.6% in the January-March period, and contracted 1.8% in the October-December period last year, meaning that Japan slipped into recession in the first quarter of this year. Recession is generally defined as two consecutive quarters of contraction. [..] Japanese economic growth was flat in July-September. Growth was minimal the quarter before that. [..] For the April-June period, Japan’s exports dropped at a whopping annual rate of 56%. Private consumption dipped at an annual rate of nearly 29% as shoppers stayed home, leaving malls and restaurants nearly empty of customers. That was without any full shutdown of businesses to contain coronavirus outbreaks [..]

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In a bit of a dip? No panic, let’s blow another housing bubble. The instrument this time is a stamp duty holiday.

UK Housing Market Has Busiest Month In More Than 10 Years (G.)

The housing market has had its busiest month in more than 10 years in July, with the traditional summer lull replaced by a flurry of activity from buyers and sellers, according to the property website Rightmove. The site, which typically lists about 95% of homes for sale in the UK, said the “rulebook has been rewritten”, with the boom fuelled by pent-up demand during lockdown accelerating as the summer has progressed. It said the number of monthly sales agreed in Britain had been the highest since it started tracking the figure a decade ago, up by 38% on the same period last year and worth a combined total of more than £37bn. Would-be sellers were also active, with more properties coming on to the market than in any month since 2008.

Asking prices have fallen by an average of 0.2% across mainland Britain, but this has been driven by a 2% drop in London, where the number of homes coming on to the market is up by 69% year-on-year. In seven regions, asking prices hit record highs as sellers sought to make the most of the demand. The housing market was closed in lockdown and reopened in mid-May, sparking a flurry of activity. July brought a stamp duty holiday on homes costing up to £500,000 in England and £250,000 in Wales and Scotland, which further fuelled activity.


Last week figures from the UK’s largest estate agency firm, Countrywide, showed that demand for homes costing between £500,000 and £750,000 had soared since the tax break was announced, and Rightmove’s figures suggest a similar effect for other agents. The number of sales agreed for large homes was up by 59% annually, while for first-time properties the rise was 29% and on homes with three or four bedrooms, excluding four-bed detached properties, it was 38%.

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She didn’t want to do it.

New Zealand Delays General Election By A Month Amid COVID19 Outbreak (G.)

New Zealand is to delay its general election by a month due to the outbreak of Covid-19 in Auckland, the country’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, has said. Calls had been growing from opposition parties for the election to be moved, with opposition leaders saying it wasn’t “just and fair” to hold an election while an outbreak was underway and level 3 restrictions were in place in the country’s largest city, prohibiting campaigning. Ardern said after consulting with every political party in parliament, as well as the electoral commission, she had decided to move the general election from 19 September to 17 October. She said her first suggestion of moving it by two weeks had been rejected by the Electoral Commission as not enough time to prepare logistics such as venues.

“The Electoral Commission, via the Ministry of Justice, has advised me that a safe and accessible election is achievable on this date,” Ardern said. “Moving the date by four weeks also gives all parties a fair shot to campaign and delivers New Zealanders certainty without unnecessarily long delays.” Ardern said Covid-19 would be with the world “for some time to come” and repeatedly pushing the election date would not lessen the risk of disruption to voters and parties. “This is why the Electoral Commission has planned for the possibility of holding an election where the country is at level 2, and with some parts at level 3. I will not change the election date again.” New Zealand is in the midst of its first outbreak since eliminating the disease in June, with dozens of people infected and held in quarantine in Auckland, a city of 1.5 million.


On Monday nine news cases of Covid-19 were reported, bringing the total number of cases related to the south Auckland cluster to 58. Maori and Pasifika people have been disproportionately infected by the latest outbreak. Five people were in hospital being treated for the disease, and the source of the outbreak remained a mystery, the ministry of health said. “We still don’t have any particular clues as to the origin of the outbreak,” director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said.

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Must read for today. How do new words enter our lexicon? To what extent are they propagated, and by whom, and for which purposes? Ever heard of critical theory?

In my view, this typifies the institutionalization of education and knowledge. Which claims that the only things that you can learn that are of any value are to be found in schools. Say that often enough and nothing of value can be found there anymore. Knowledge as a monopoly doesn’t work.

The Roots Of Wokeness (Sullivan)

In the mid-2010s, a curious new vocabulary began to unspool itself in our media. A data site, storywrangling.org, which measures the frequency of words in news stories, revealed some remarkable shifts. Terms that had previously been almost entirely obscure suddenly became ubiquitous—and an analysis of the New York Times, using these tools, is a useful example. Looking at stories from 1970 to 2018, several terms came out of nowhere in the past few years to reach sudden new heights of repetition and frequency. Here’s a list of the most successful neologisms: non-binary, toxic masculinity, white supremacy, traumatizing, queer, transphobia, whiteness, mansplaining. And here are a few that were rising in frequency in the last decade but only took off in the last few years: triggering, hurtful, gender, stereotypes.

Language changes, and we shouldn’t worry about that. Maybe some of these terms will stick around. But the linguistic changes have occurred so rapidly, and touched so many topics, that it has all the appearance of a top-down re-ordering of language, rather than a slow, organic evolution from below. While the New York Times once had a reputation for being a bit stodgy on linguistic matters, pedantic, precise and slow-to-change, as any paper of record might be, in the last few years, its pages have been flushed with so many neologisms that a reader from, say, a decade ago would have a hard time understanding large swathes of it. And for many of us regular readers, we’ve just gotten used to brand new words popping up suddenly to re-describe something we thought we knew already. We notice a new word, make a brief mental check, and move on with our lives.

But we need to do more than that. We need to understand that all these words have one thing in common: they are products of an esoteric, academic discipline called critical theory, which has gained extraordinary popularity in elite education in the past few decades, and appears to have reached a cultural tipping point in the middle of the 2010s. Most normal people have never heard of this theory—or rather an interlocking web of theories—that is nonetheless changing the very words we speak and write and the very rationale of the institutions integral to liberal democracy. What we have long needed is an intelligible, intelligent description of this theory which most people can grasp. And we’ve just gotten one: “Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything About Race, Gender and Identity,” by former math prof James Lindsay and British academic, Helen Pluckrose. It’s as deep a dive into this often impenetrable philosophy as anyone would want to attempt. But it’s well worth grappling with.

What the book helps the layperson to understand is the evolution of postmodern thought since the 1960s until it became the doctrine of Social Justice today. Beginning as a critique of all grand theories of meaning—from Christianity to Marxism—postmodernism is a project to subvert the intellectual foundations of western culture. The entire concept of reason—whether the Enlightenment version or even the ancient Socratic understanding—is a myth designed to serve the interests of those in power, and therefore deserves to be undermined and “problematized” whenever possible. Postmodern theory does so mischievously and irreverently—even as it leaves nothing in reason’s place. The idea of objective truth—even if it is viewed as always somewhat beyond our reach—is abandoned. All we have are narratives, stories, whose meaning is entirely provisional, and can in turn be subverted or problematized.

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