Nov 272020
 


Max Ernst Santa Conversazione 1921

 

Total COVID19 Cases In US May Be Eight Times Higher Than Reported (F.)
New Study Highlights Alleged Accounting Error Regarding COVID Deaths (AIER)
Want To Make Your Vax More Effective? Add A Shot Of Sputnik V (RT)
5 More Ways Joe Biden Magically Outperformed Election Norms (Fed.)
The Most Predictable Election Fraud Backlash Ever (Tracey)
Sidney Powell: Poll Workers Altered Large Numbers Of Michigan Ballots (JTN)
DC’s Corrupted Legislative Process (sundance)
Yanis Varoufakis Calls For Black Friday Boycott Of Amazon (G.)
Poland, Hungary Moving Deeper Into Isolation In EU – Senior EU Diplomat (R.)
Trump Must Pardon Snowden & Assange – Tulsi Gabbard (RT)
Assange Partner In Twitter Appeal For Trump To Issue Pardon (ES)

 

 

Close the schools?

 

 

Supreme Court Justice Gorsuch on Cuomo closing churches

 

 

“..nearly 53 million people in the U.S. had been infected with Covid-19 by the end of September.”

Total COVID19 Cases In US May Be Eight Times Higher Than Reported (F.)

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


If the trend of unreported cases still holds true as of Thursday, the U.S. — which has 12.5 million confirmed cases — could be approaching 100 million total infections across the country. In October, the World Health Organisation had said that nearly 10% of the world population or nearly 760 million people may have already been infected with Covid-19, despite the fact that only 35 million confirmed cases had been recorded as of that time. “When you count anything, you can’t count it perfectly,” Mike Ryan, the executive director of the WHO’s health emergencies program, had said back then adding, “But I can assure you that the current numbers are likely an underestimate of the true toll of Covid.” Scientists have also suggested that deaths due to the pandemic have also been severely undercounted, with the CDC stating that the U.S. had recorded nearly 300,000 excess deaths during the pandemic as of October 3. This number was nearly 100,000 deaths more than what had been officially recorded by the states.

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“These data analyses suggest that in contrast to most people’s assumptions, the number of deaths by COVID-19 is not alarming. In fact, it has relatively no effect on deaths in the United States.”

New Study Highlights Alleged Accounting Error Regarding Covid Deaths (AIER)

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

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

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

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And why not?

Want To Make Your Vax More Effective? Add A Shot Of Sputnik V (RT)

Responding to the news of the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab facing a new set of trials, the developers of the pioneering Russian Sputnik V vaccine have suggested combining the two vaccines to drastically improve AstraZeneca’s efficacy. The idea appeared on the official Twitter page of the Sputnik V vaccine, which is financed by the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), on Thursday. “We suggest trying a regimen of combining the AZ shot with the #SputnikV human adenoviral vector shot to boost efficacy,” said the message, referring to AstraZeneca’s published trial results.

The offer follows comments from AstraZeneca’s CEO Pascal Soriot to Bloomberg on Thursday, who admitted the company will have to “do an additional study” before its vaccine is ready, given that its trials have resulted in varying efficacy, depending on the dose. Despite a number of unexplained inconsistencies during the trials, on Monday AstraZeneca said it would seek emergency authorization for its coronavirus vaccine. With the British-Swedish developer rushing to roll out an inoculation, RT on Wednesday compiled a list of seven questions for AstraZeneca, asking the company to dispel doubts about the safety and efficacy of its jab.

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“Joe Biden achieved the impossible. It’s interesting that many more journalists aren’t pointing that out.”

5 More Ways Joe Biden Magically Outperformed Election Norms (Fed.)

In all the excitement among objective journalists for Joe Biden’s declared victory, reporters are missing how extraordinary the Democrat’s performance was in the 2020 election. It’s not just that the former vice president is on track to become the oldest president in American history, it’s what he managed to accomplish at the polls this year. Candidate Joe Biden was so effective at animating voters in 2020 that he received a record number of votes, more than 15 million more than Barack Obama received in his re-election of 2012. Amazingly, he managed to secure victory while also losing in almost every bellwether county across the country. No presidential candidate has been capable of such electoral jujitsu until now. While Biden underperformed Hillary Clinton’s 2016 totals in every urban county in the United States, he outperformed her in the metropolitan areas of Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania.

Even more surprising, the former VP put up a record haul of votes, despite Democrats’ general failures in local House and state legislative seats across the nation. He accomplished all this after receiving a record low share of the primary vote compared to his Republican opponent heading into the general election. Clearly, these are tremendous and unexpected achievements that would normally receive sophisticated analysis from the journalist class but have somehow gone mostly unmentioned during the celebrations at news studios in New York City and Washington, D.C. The massive national political realignment now taking place may be one source of these surprising upsets. Yet still, to have pulled so many rabbits out of his hat like this, nobody can deny that Biden is a first-rate campaigner and politician, the likes of which America has never before seen.

[..] 5. Biden Overcame Trump’s Commanding Primary Vote
In the past, primary vote totals have been remarkably accurate in predicting general election winners. Political analyst David Chapman highlighted three historical facts before the election. First, no incumbent who has received 75 percent of the total primary vote has lost re-election. Second, President Trump received 94 percent of the primary vote, which is the fourth highest of all time (higher than Dwight Eisenhower, Nixon, Clinton, or Obama). In fact, Trump is only one of five incumbents since 1912 to receive more than 90 percent of the primary vote. Third, Trump set a record for most primary votes received by an incumbent when more than 18 million people turned out for him in 2020 (the previous record, held by Bill Clinton, was half that number). For Biden to prevail in the general election, despite Trump’s historic support in the primaries, turns a century’s worth of prior election data on its head. Joe Biden achieved the impossible. It’s interesting that many more journalists aren’t pointing that out.

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“..a desperate woman screaming from a balcony at the top of her lungs, “You just gave us Hitler,” before being escorted out by police.”

The Most Predictable Election Fraud Backlash Ever (Tracey)

Anyone who was remotely sentient during the aftermath of the 2016 election should be the furthest thing from surprised that the frenzy of that period has now been replicated in the aftermath of the 2020 election, albeit with a different partisan and temperamental hue. I attended the official meeting of the Electoral College in Harrisburg, PA — December 2016 — and it was quite a mind-melting experience. Once an uneventful formality that hardly anyone except hardcore obsessives even knew was happening, the actual convening of the Electoral College had become an object of national fascination.

Protesters, egged on by Democratic-affiliated advocacy groups and frenetic social media campaigns, had shown up at the State Capitol to berate Pennsylvania’s Republican electors and demand that they not vote to certify the state’s popular vote outcome for Donald Trump — on the ground that Trump had committed “treason,” and therefore posed such a dire national security threat that centuries of precedent should be summarily thrown out the window in order to block his assumption of office. The precise nature of this alleged “treason” was seldom clarified. It sufficed that they’d been given the impression of some nebulously treasonous activity through a series of Intelligence Community leaks, dutifully laundered as always through the corporate media, which by then was in a hair-on-fire tailspin over Trump’s victory.

The bid to interfere in the Electoral College process that year, and deprive Trump of the presidency through extra-legal means, obviously failed. But it gained enough elite support along the way to be highly notable, especially given how extreme the proposed remedy was (simply ignore popular vote outcomes in various states and block Trump on the basis of CIA rumors.) Top media figures, academics, and activists like Peter Beinart, Larry Lessig, Michael Moore, Paul Krugman, and DeRay McKesson joined the haphazard putsch effort. TV stars like Martin Sheen and Bob Odenkirk recorded impassioned video pleas arguing for electors to subvert the expressed will of voters.

John Podesta, the Hillary Clinton campaign chairman whose Gmail account was reputed to have been successfully “phished” by fearsome Russian “hackers,” issued a statement demanding that electors be granted an unheard-of “intelligence briefing” — with the implication for what should be done with that “briefing” information too obvious to need stating outright. The meeting in Harrisburg concluded with the expected affirmation of Trump’s win — followed by a desperate woman screaming from a balcony at the top of her lungs, “You just gave us Hitler,” before being escorted out by police.

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Wonder what the courts are going to say. The spelling errors don’t make the cases more compelling. But this is not a spelling bee.

Sidney Powell: Poll Workers Altered Large Numbers Of Michigan Ballots (JTN)

Prominent defense attorney Sidney Powell is asking a federal court to block the certification of Michigan’s election results or void the entire election, alleging there was widespread efforts by poll workers in Detroit and elsewhere to falsify, double-count or discard ballots. “Election workers illegally forged, added, removed or otherwise altered information on ballots, the Qualified Voter File and Other Voting Records,” Powell’s lawsuit filed late Wednesday and made public on Thanksgiving Day alleged. The suit named Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and the state board of canvassers as defendants, alleging they created an election system on Nov. 3 that enabled widespread fraud and violated the equal protection clause of the Constitution.

“Defendants’ egregious misconduct has included ignoring legislative mandates concerning mail-in ballots– including the mandate that mail-in ballots be post-marked on or before Election Day — and critically, preventing Plaintiff’s poll watchers from observing the receipt, review, opening, and tabulation of mail-in ballots,” the suit said. “It is necessary to order appropriate relief, including, but not limited to, enjoining the certification of the election results pending a full investigation and court hearing, ordering a recount of the election results, or voiding the election and ordering a new election, to remedy the fraud,” Powell wrote in a lawsuit filed late Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Detroit and made public on Thanksgiving.

Powell’s lawsuit in Michigan carried some similar claims as one she filed at the same time in Atlanta to challenge Georgia’s results. But in the Michigan case, she offered evidence from a large number of witnesses who alleged in Wayne County and the city of Detroit tens of thousands of voting irregularities were witnessed. She charged that Detroit and Wayne County officials took actions “permitting illegal double voting by persons that had voted by absentee ballot and in person; counting ineligible ballots – and in many cases – multiple times; counting ballots without signatures, or without attempting to match signatures, and ballots without postmarks, pursuant to direct instructions from Defendants.”

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Hardly anybody knows.

DC’s Corrupted Legislative Process (sundance)

CTH often describes the background DC motives with the phrase: “There are Trillions at Stake.” Here we take a look at what that really means, and how DC politics is not quite based on the ideas that frame many reference points. With people taking notice of DC politics for the first time; and with people not as familiar with the purpose of DC politics; we end up within two different references. Perhaps it is valuable to reset the larger frames of reference and provide clarity. Most people think when they vote for a federal politician -a House or Senate representative- they are voting for a person who will go to Washington DC and write or enact legislation. This is the old-fashioned “schoolhouse rock” perspective based on decades past. There is not a single person in congress writing legislation or laws.


In modern politics not a single member of the House of Representatives or Senator writes a law, or puts pen to paper to write out a legislative construct. This simply doesn’t happen. Over the past several decades a system of constructing legislation has taken over Washington DC that more resembles a business operation than a legislative body. Understand this dynamic and you understand how politicians become multi-millionaires on much lesser salaries; and why ‘We The People’ are insignificant and annoying gnats to their business model. Here’s how it works right now. Outside groups, often called “special interest groups”, are entities that represent their interests in legislative constructs.

These groups are often representing foreign governments, Wall Street multinational corporations, banks, financial groups or businesses; or smaller groups of people with a similar connection who come together and form a larger group under an umbrella of interest specific to their affiliation. Sometimes the groups are social interest groups; activists, climate groups, environmental interests etc. The social interest groups are usually non-profit constructs who depend on the expenditures of government to sustain their cause or need. The for-profit groups (mostly business) have a purpose in Washington DC to shape policy, legislation and laws favorable to their interests. They have fully staffed offices just like any business would – only their ‘business‘ is getting legislation for their unique interests. These groups are filled with highly-paid lawyers who represent the interests of the entity and actually write laws and legislation briefs.

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Bezos just grins.

Yanis Varoufakis Calls For Black Friday Boycott Of Amazon (G.)

The economist Yanis Varoufakis has called for a one-day boycott of Amazon on Black Friday as trade unionists, environmental activists, privacy campaigners and tax justice advocates plan coordinated actions against the company’s sites and supply chain. Amazon’s success during the coronavirus pandemic – at one point the company was reported to be making sales of $11,000 (£8,200) a second – has vastly inflated its share price, increasing the personal wealth of its chief executive, Jeff Bezos, already the world’s richest man, by $70bn. Bloomberg estimates his current wealth to be $187bn. In an online video, Varoufakis asks viewers “not even to visit” Amazon’s website on Black Friday – the retail industry’s most profitable day of the year – which falls on 27 November this year.


“By boycotting Amazon you will be adding your strength to an international coalition of workers and activists,” he said. “Amazon is not a mere company. It is not merely a monopolistic mega-firm. It is far more, and far worse, than that. It is the pillar of a new techno-feudalism.” Under a banner of “make Amazon pay”, Friday’s actions are intended as the start of a campaign against the retailer’s record on workers’ rights, environmental impact, tax avoidance, work with police and immigration authorities, and what activists say are invasions of privacy via its growing range of internet-connected devices. The campaign is co-convened by Progressive International, a global initiative bringing together progressive leftwing groups, politicians and intellectuals, including Varoufakis, Prof Noam Chomsky and Bernie Sanders, and UNI Global, a trade union federation representing 20 million workers including the UK’s GMB union.

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Their voices don’t count.

Poland, Hungary Moving Deeper Into Isolation In EU – Senior EU Diplomat (R.)

Poland and Hungary are moving deeper into isolation in the 27-nation European Union by blocking the EU’s 2021-2027 budget and recovery fund needed to pull the EU out of a recession caused by the COVIOD-19 pandemic, a senior EU diplomat said on Thursday. Warsaw and Budapest have vetoed the bloc’s 1.8 trillion euro financial package for 2021-2027 because it links access to the money with an obligation to respect the rule of law. Both capitals are under EU investigation for not respecting it. Earlier on Thursday, Polish and Hungarian prime ministers jointly repeated their objection to the rule of law condition, digging in their heels as the bloc seeks to unwind the deadlock. “It is clear that there is absolutely no support for reopening the conditionality mechanism in the European Parliament or in the Council,” the senior diplomat said. “With their statement Poland and Hungary are moving deeper and deeper into isolation,” the diplomat said.

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“..please consider pardoning those who, at great personal sacrifice, exposed the deception and criminality of those in the deep state..”

Trump Must Pardon Snowden & Assange – Tulsi Gabbard (RT)

Outgoing Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has urged President Donald Trump to issue pardons for Edward Snowden and Julian Assange, echoing growing calls to absolve whistleblowers who helped to “expose” the US “deep state.” “Since you’re giving pardons to people, please consider pardoning those who, at great personal sacrifice, exposed the deception and criminality of those in the deep state,” Gabbard said in a tweet addressed to the president on Thursday, referring to Snowden and Assange. The request comes less than a day after Trump granted a pardon for former national security adviser Michael Flynn. His case became a central plank in the Trump-Russia “collusion” narrative after he was accused of misleading investigators about contacts with a Russian diplomat following Trump’s election win in 2016.

While the Justice Department moved to have the case thrown out, citing misconduct in the FBI’s probe, a federal judge resisted that effort, prompting the president to intervene on Wednesday. Gabbard, who’s set to leave office at the end of her congressional term, previously introduced a resolution alongside GOP lawmaker Matt Gaetz (Florida) urging the government to drop its charges against Snowden – who was indicted under the World War I-era Espionage Act for his role in leaking classified material revealing illegal mass surveillance by the National Security Agency (NSA). Though the antiquated law was originally intended to prosecute foreign spies, it has been repeatedly wielded against journalists and whistleblowers.

Snowden himself weighed in later on Thursday, saying he had “seen more calls for pardon this year than in all others combined.” No other issue in our time unites left, right, and center like the struggle to end governments’ abuse of mass surveillance and secrecy. The Libertarian Party echoed the message, noting that Kentucky Republican Thomas Massie has publicly backed the pardons as well, while journalist Glenn Greenwald argued that nothing would “shape Trump’s legacy” better than a reprieve for the two whistleblowers. Snowden approached Greenwald after making off with a massive trove of classified documents in 2013 while working as an NSA subcontractor under Booz Allen Hamilton. Fearing prosecution, he fled the US, hoping to secure asylum in Latin America, but was stranded in Russia after his passport was revoked by US authorities. He has remained there since, where he has been granted permanent residency status after seven years in legal limbo.

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A cousin of Assange was just freed in Iran. What Australia did for her, they should also do for Juliann.

Assange Partner In Twitter Appeal For Trump To Issue Pardon (ES)

Julian Assange’s partner has appealed to US President Donald Trump to pardon him. Stella Moris used Thanksgiving Day to issue a plea to the president after he pardoned ex-national security adviser Michael Flynn. Ms Moris made a personal plea to Mr Trump through Twitter, saying it was the only channel he seems to value. Including a picture of her and Mr Assange’s two children, she tweeted: “These are Julian’s sons Max and Gabriel. They need their father. Our family needs to be whole again. I beg you, please bring him home for Christmas.” She also said that Mr Assange was a cousin of Kylie Moore-Gilbert, a lecturer at Melbourne University who was reportedly released from an Iranian jail yesterday following two years in detention.


On Dr Moore-Gilbert’s release, she said: “Like Julian, Kylie was charged in a bogus espionage case. She was tried in secret and convicted to 10 years. She spent two years in Iran’s most notorious prisons. There has barely been news about her case, other than letters smuggled from prison. “Julian has petitioned Iran’s leaders to release her earlier this year. I told Julian the news over the phone. He wants to express his gratitude to Australian and UK diplomats for securing her freedom.” She that said that 49 inmates and 15 staff on his wing at Belmarsh prison in London had now tested positive for coronavirus, while he has tested negative. Mr Assange is reportedly been let out of quarantine since the outbreak, along with others who have tested negative. A Prison Service spokesman said: “We’ve introduced further safety measures following a number of positive cases.”

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JFK

 

 

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Nov 262020
 
 November 26, 2020  Posted by at 10:14 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  17 Responses »


JMW Turner Lake Llanberis and Snowdon Color Study c.1800

 

Pa. Commonwealth Court Orders Halt To Certification Process (PG)
Sidney Powell Sues Georgia Officials: ‘Massive Scheme To Rig Election’ (JTN)
Giuliani, Trump Pull Off ‘One Hell Of A Hearing’ On PA Election Fraud (ZH)
Trump Pardons Ex-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn (JTN)
Supreme Court Strikes Down Cuomo’s COVID Restrictions On Religious Services
Should COVID19 Vaccines Be Mandatory? (Conv.)
Cuba Could be on the Brink of a Revolutionary COVID Vaccine (MPN)
WHO Names Line-up For International Team Looking Into Coronavirus Origins (SCMP)
EU Parliament Votes Against Referring to Julian Assange in Rights Report (Sp.)

 

 


If the same percentage of votes were rejected as in 2016, Trump would win

 

 

A man does not yield when the mere universe has turned against him; he yields when his own heart has turned against him. We surrender, not when circumstances are miserable, but when we are miserable.

– G. K. Chesterton

 

 

Let the chips fall where they may.

Pa. Commonwealth Court Orders Halt To Certification Process (PG)

Pennsylvania is prohibited from certifying the rest of its election results in down ballot races — and from taking any further action in regards to yesterday’s certification of the presidential race — pending a hearing on Friday in an appellate court, or intervention by the state Supreme Court. The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, in an order signed by Judge Patricia McCullough, issued an injunction Wednesday that stops the state from continuing its certification, and intends to hear evidence in a case filed by U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly and GOP congressional candidate Sean Parnell about the constitutionality of mail-in ballots. Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, Gov. Tom Wolf and the state — named as defendants in the suit — appealed the Commonwealth Court order to the state Supreme Court.

As it stands now, the hearing in Commonwealth Court is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Friday. The state certified the results in the race for president on Tuesday, giving its 20 electoral votes to Democrat Joe Biden and his running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris. The court order said the state is prohibited from acting “to the extent that there remains any further action to perfect the certification of the results” of the races for president and vice president. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro wrote on Twitter that the order “does not impact yesterday’s appointment of electors.” In their suit, Mr. Kelly and Mr. Parnell are arguing that state lawmakers violated Pennsylvania’s Constitution by adopting Act 77 last year, which expanded the mail-in balloting option to let all qualified voters to vote by mail without an excuse.

They allege that absentee voting — which required an excuse from a set of allowed reasons — was rebranded as no-excuse mail-in voting “absent any constitutional authority.” The Republican-controlled state Legislature responded, in legal filings, that the case should be dismissed because Act 77 didn’t alter the requirements of who constitutes a qualified voter, and that the Legislature is constitutionally authorized to prescribe the method by which those electors may cast their votes.

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And now you need evidence.

Sidney Powell Sues Georgia Officials: ‘Massive Scheme To Rig Election’ (JTN)

Prominent defense attorney Sidney Powell sued Georgia’s top officials late Wednesday, alleging in federal court that the GOP-run state government permitted a massive voter fraud scheme that rigged the Nov. 3 election in favor of Democrat Joe Biden. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Atlanta on behalf of several Georgia residents, electors and Republican Party officials and named Gov. Brian Kemp, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and state election board members as defendants. The 104-page complaint asked the court to issue an injunction “prohibiting the Governor and Secretary of State from transmitting the currently certified results to the Electoral College based on the overwhelming evidence of election tampering.”

“The fraud was executed by many means, but the most fundamentally troubling, insidious, and egregious is the systemic adaptation of old-fashioned ‘ballot-stuffing,'” Powell’s suit alleged. “It has now been amplified and rendered virtually invisible by computer software created and run by domestic and foreign actors for that very purpose. Mathematical and statistical anomalies rising to the level of impossibilities, as shown by affidavits of multiple witnesses, documentation, and expert testimony evince this scheme across the state of Georgia. “This scheme and artifice to defraud affected tens of thousands of votes in Georgia alone and ‘rigged’ the election in Georgia for Joe Biden,” the suit added.

Powell’s suit made a variety of allegations, including that:

• At least 96,600 absentee ballots were requested and counted but were never recorded as being returned to county election boards by the voter. “Thus, at a minimum, 96,600 votes must be disregarded,” the suit said.
• Kemp and Raffensperger “rushed through the purchase of Dominion voting machines and software in 2019 for the 2020 Presidential Election” without due diligence and disregarded safety concerns.
• “There is incontrovertible physical evidence that the standards of physical security of the voting machines and the software were breached, and machines were connected to the internet in violation of professional standards and state and federal laws.”
• Fulton County election workers used a claim of a water leak to evacuate poll watchers and workers for several hours on Election night, even as “several election workers remained unsupervised and unchallenged working at the computers for the voting tabulation machines until after 1:00 AM.
• State officials in a settlement with Democratic parties made changes to election procedures that violated both state law and the U.S. Constitution.

Strenstrom Missing USB cards

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Quite the video footage.

Giuliani, Trump Pull Off ‘One Hell Of A Hearing’ On PA Election Fraud (ZH)

Upon the request of Pennsylvania Senator Doug Mastriano (R), the state’s Senate Majority Policy Committee is holding a public hearing to discuss election issues and irregularities at 12:30 ET. Former NYC Mayor and current Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani will appear. President Trump was slated to join him, only to cancel following adviser Boris Epshteyn’s Covid-19 diagnosis.

[..] President Trump joined the PA hearing by phone and was immediately on the offense, saying that “this is an election we won easily. We won it by a lot. This election has to be turned around.” “What we saw on November 3rd was not the United States of America. Democrats cheated. It was a fraudulent election. It would be very easy for me to wait 4 years and try again. We can’t wait for 4 years. Don’t be intimidated by these people. They don’t love our country!” “They kept poll watchers in pens in Philadelphia and then they threw them out of the building. You couldn’t see a thing on those cameras. They could have been playing a baseball game.”

“It’s a disgrace this is happening to our country. We got 11 million more votes than we did 4 years ago. At 10pm in the evening we were way ahead. Everybody knows we won it. The whole world is watching us. We can’t let them get away with this. We have more votes than voters!” Trump ends his remarks by telling Giuliani over speakerphone: “This is going to be your crowning achievement because you’re saving our country.”

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Pardoned against his will. But the court case would never have finished, so he’s relieved all the same.

Trump Pardons Ex-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn (JTN)

President Trump on Wednesday fully pardoned his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, bringing to end a tumultuous four-year criminal case that felled the three-star general before prosecutors reversed course and declared they had improperly pursued his prosecution. Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general, had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about talking with a Russian diplomat during the 2016 Trump administration transition period. Attorney General William Barr earlier this year asked a federal court in Washington, D.C., to allow the Justice Department to drop the case. However, the matter has since been tied up in legal proceedings.

Trump informed the general and his lawyer Sidney Powell of the decision Wednesday afternoon, ahead of Thanksgiving Day. Flynn was elated by the news and the two men talked “like they had never missed a day since the campaign or early White House days,” an eyewitness told Just the News. Trump announced the news on his Twitter page. “It is my Great Honor to announce that General Michael T. Flynn has been granted a Full Pardon. Congratulations to @GenFlynn, and his wonderful family, I know you will now have a truly fantastic Thanksgiving!” he tweeted. Sidney Powell, the defense lawyer who doggedly sought to prove Flynn’s innocence post conviction, applauded the decision, suggesting it was necessary because the U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan had refused to dismiss the lying charge, even after DOJ pleaded it be done.

“The pardon of Michael Flynn is solely up to the President, but given the corruption we have witnessed in the judiciary and multiple agencies of government executed against General Flynn, this persecution should end,” she said. “The FBI and DOJ have been a national embarrassment for more than 15 years. It was my fervent hope to make our judicial system work to exonerate an innocent man–as all the Left would want were he anyone but Trump or Michael Flynn, but enough is enough. This is sick. It’s painfully obvious Judge Sullivan is playing an evil political game with a good man’s life and family. The entire country deserves better.”

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“But even in a pandemic, the Constitution cannot be put away and forgotten.”

Supreme Court Strikes Down Cuomo’s COVID Restrictions On Religious Services

The Supreme Court late Wednesday struck down New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s new COVID-19 restrictions on religious gatherings, as new Justice Amy Coney Barrett cast one of her first high-impact votes and Chief Justice John Roberts sided in dissent with the court’s liberal bloc. In a 5-4 decision, the court said Cuomo’s restrictions violated the Constitution’s First Amendment right to freedom of worship and granted an injunction barring the rules from being enforced. “Members of this Court are not public health experts, and we should respect the judgment of those with special expertise and responsibility in this area,” the majority opinion said. “But even in a pandemic, the Constitution cannot be put away and forgotten. The restrictions at issue here, by effectively barring many from attending religious services, strike at the very heart of the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious liberty.”


Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote a separate opinion siding with the conservative majority, saying churches and synagogues were treated differently than commercial institutions by the state. “It is time — past time — to make plain that, while the pandemic poses many grave challenges, there is no world in which the Constitution tolerates color-coded executive edicts that reopen liquor stores and bike shops but shutter churches, synagogues, and mosques,” Gorsuch argued. Roberts’ dissenting opinion accused the court of acting irrationally and disregarding the public health expertise of the state. “It is a significant matter to override determinations made by public health officials concerning what is necessary for public safety in the midst of a deadly pandemic,” he wrote.

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A for vs against discussion. Here’s the against part.

Should COVID19 Vaccines Be Mandatory? (Conv.)

Mandatory vaccination does not automatically increase vaccine uptake. An EU-funded project on epidemics and pandemics, which took place several years before COVID-19, found no evidence to support this notion. Looking at Baltic and Scandinavian countries, the project’s report noted that countries “where a vaccination is mandatory do not usually reach better coverage than neighbour or similar countries where there is no legal obligation”. According to the Nuffield Council of Bioethics, mandatory vaccination may be justified for highly contagious and serious diseases. But although contagious, Public Health England does not classify COVID-19 as a high-consequence infectious disease due to its relatively low case fatality rate.

COVID-19 severity is strongly linked with age, dividing individual perceptions of vulnerability within populations. The death rate is estimated at 7.8% in people aged over 80, but at just 0.0016% in children aged nine and under. In a liberal democracy, forcing the vaccination of millions of young and healthy citizens who perceive themselves to be at an acceptably low risk from COVID-19 will be ethically disputed and is politically risky. Public apprehensions for a novel vaccine produced at breakneck speed are wholly legitimate. A UK survey of 70,000 people found 49% were “very likely” to get a COVID-19 vaccine once available. US surveys are similar. This is not because the majority are anti-vaxxers.

Despite promising headlines, the trials and pharmaceutical processes surrounding them have not yet been scrutinised. With the first trials only beginning in April, there is limited data on long-term safety and efficacy. We don’t know how long immunity lasts for. None of the trials were designed to tell us if the vaccine prevents serious disease or virus transmission. To disregard these ubiquitous concerns would be counterproductive. As a tool for combating anti-vaxxers – estimated at around 58 million globally and making up a small minority of those not getting vaccinated – mandatory vaccines are also problematic. The forces driving scientific and political populism are the same. Anti-vaxxers do not trust experts, industry and especially not the government. A government mandate will not just be met with unshakeable defiance, but will also be weaponised to recruit others to the anti-vaxxer cause.

Read more …

“Cuban immunization developments are being seriously hamstrung by the actions of the U.S. government, primarily due to the decades-long blockade on the island..”

Cuba Could be on the Brink of a Revolutionary COVID Vaccine (MPN)

Cuba has announced positive and promising results for a number of separate COVID-19 vaccines it is currently developing, but U.S. sanctions against the small island nation are hampering the development and rollout of the potentially life-saving treatments. Two candidates, named Sovereign 1 and Sovereign 2, have generated antibodies blocking infection in animals and are showing similarly encouraging signs on tests on human subjects. Meanwhile, a separate vaccine, based on a protein from the hepatitis B virus, is unique in that it is delivered through the nasal tract and does not require a needle to administer.

Should any of these efforts ultimately succeed, the Caribbean nation — already a medical powerhouse that has developed a lung cancer vaccine and methods to stop mother-to-baby HIV and syphilis transmission— will likely become an important supplier to other Latin American and developing countries who have been effectively shut out from purchasing COVID vaccines from Western companies, as rich nations have already begun hoarding coronavirus medicines. Dr. Helen Yaffe of Glasgow University, author of “We Are Cuba!: How a Revolutionary People Have Survived in a Post-Soviet World,” was impressed and heartened by the news, telling MintPress:

“Cuba now has four COVID-specific vaccine candidates under clinical trial. The fact that a small Caribbean island can achieve such a remarkable feat is testimony to its state-owned biotech sector, which is directed towards public health demands and integrated into its healthcare and education systems. After years of being told that only the market can lead to efficiency and innovation, Cuba’s socialist planned economy demonstrates what is possible when there is political will, good coordination, organization and the priority of social welfare.”

However, Cuban immunization developments are being seriously hamstrung by the actions of the U.S. government, primarily due to the decades-long blockade on the island, something which the Cuban government estimates has cost it over 750 billion U.S. dollars. As Reuters reported, cash-strapped Cuba cannot afford to buy the raw materials necessary to upscale its vaccine development to help other countries. Hospitals face huge obstacles importing lifesaving equipment from abroad due to the blockade, while the sanctions force the country, which imports the large majority of its staples, to spend far more on food than other nations. As a result, almost one third of young children suffer from anemia due to the monotonous and sub-par nutrition available, according to the World Food Program.

Read more …

The WHO continues to play a debatable role.

WHO Names Line-up For International Team Looking Into Coronavirus Origins (SCMP)

The World Health Organization has named the scientists on an international team tracing the origins of the new coronavirus, as their mission gathers steam some 11 months after the virus was identified. The 10-person team includes public health experts, animal health specialists and virus hunters from Japan, Qatar, Germany, Vietnam, Russia, Australia, Denmark, the Netherlands, Britain and the United States. They will work alongside Chinese scientists on a set of investigations into how the virus that causes Covid-19 emerged and spilled over into humans, triggering a pandemic that has now claimed over 1.4 million lives.

The WHO on Monday said the names of the international team members had been shared with member states and released online, despite concerns about harassment given that the virus origins have become a highly contentious subject. “There has been a level of attack and abuse to people involved in international science. It is not an easy space to be in right now and let me be plain about that,” said Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme. He pointed to hate mail and threats within a climate of “anti-science movements” and “ideologic politics”. “We would like to thank them for their openness and transparency and for allowing us to release their names. That’s not an easy choice,” he said at a news briefing.

[..] One hanging question is when the international team will join field studies on the ground in China, considered a critical part of the mission, which was called for by over 130 nations at a May meeting of the WHO’s governing body.
Ryan on Monday said they “fully expect” the international team will be on the ground for this work, and they would like the scientists to be “deployed as soon as possible”. “We have reassurances from our Chinese government colleagues that … a field part of the mission will be facilitated as soon as possible, in order that the international community can be reassured of the quality of the science,” he said.

Read more …

Cowards.

EU Parliament Votes Against Referring to Julian Assange in Rights Report (Sp.)

Any mention of the prosecution of Julian Assange has been removed from the EU’s latest report on fundamental rights, despite the best efforts of MEPs such as Ireland’s Clare Daly. The European Parliament passed the final version of the fundamental rights report for 2018 – 2019 on 25 November, excluding any mention of imprisoned publisher and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. An amendment to include reference to Mr Assange lost with 408 votes against its inclusion, 191 votes in favour and 93 abstentions. Chris Williamson, a former Labour MP and long-time supporter of Mr Assange, lamented the final vote, saying:

“This is a sad day for European democracy, freedom of speech and human rights. The European Parliament has failed to live up to its rhetoric about standing for fundamental rights. It has shown itself to be nothing more than a paper tiger that is content with being the US administration’s poodle”. The original draft of the fundamental rights report contained a passage saying that “the detention and criminal prosecution of Julian Assange sets a dangerous precedent for journalists as affirmed by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe” But, according to Irish MEP Clare Daly, a committee of European parliamentarians made up of the European People’s Party (EPP), the Socialists and Democrats (S&D) and the Renew Europe party voted to remove the passage from the report, on 23 November.

The Left group of MEPs (European United Left/Nordic Green Left) and Ms Daly, who was actually in charge of preparing the original draft report, lobbied heavily for the passage to be returned into the final draft. In a video published on 23 November, Ms Daly called upon EU citizens to contact their MEPs and push them to reinsert the paragraph mentioning Mr Assange, via Amendment 44, in their final vote. “I believe that no report on the situation of fundamental rights in the European Union could possibly be taken seriously if it fails to mention the Trump administration’s radical and dangerous prosecution of a journalist for important journalism that was carried out in the European Union”, Ms Daley said in her message.

Read more …

 

 

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Maradona

 

 

 

 

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Nov 252020
 
 November 25, 2020  Posted by at 6:41 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , ,  17 Responses »


Willem de Kooning Door to the river 1960

 

 

While I’m trying to read my way into the world of vaccines, not my field at all, I think the logical/philosophical implications should be clear: the model for doing medicine in a global pandemic must of necessity be global cooperation. But we apparently are not capable of that (anymore). Because the pandemic must be mined for profit.

Not so much for the AstraZenaca/Oxford vaccine, which is produced in a not-for-profit capacity, or the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, but certainly for the Pfizer and Moderna ones. We should just refuse those, but we’re -told we are- desperate, and they know it.

So it’s politics and profit that determine the world of vaccines. What a sorrowful state of affairs. And that’s not even the worst of it. Far from it. With vaccines -that we know of- being developed in Cuba (4x), China, Russia (2x), West (multiple), etc., maybe we can have the luxury of choosing the ones that do the least harm?

Well, there’s a trap door hidden somewhere in there. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use a whole new (revolutionary!) technique to produce vaccines. Some people even refuse to call them vaccines because of this. Vaccines as we -used to- know them were based on taking a harmless strand of a virus/bacteria and using it to urge your immune system to produce antibodies.

mRNA (messengerRNA) is very different. Here, it’s a synthetic, artificial entity designed to be injected into your cells to provoke certain reactions. And in the case of the Pfizer/Moderna vaccines, it’s basically entirely untested.

They intend to ship out billions of doses of their vaccines, which would essentially create billions of human guinea pigs. The risk is not so much short term, the only thing they would have to provide evidence for, it’s long term, for which they do not. What is that risk? We don’t know, it’s never been tested.

The problem seems obvious: once more people begin to understand this, more people will refuse to be inoculated with these “vaccines”. But then “authorities” will demand you take them to fly/move/just go outside? I don’t see it. What I see is human guinea pigs. And why, if there are other non-mRNA vaccines about to come forward? Money will cure the pandemic? The South China Morning Post had this today:

Pfizer-BioNTech Says Final Analysis Shows Vaccine 95% Effective

A major milestone in the race for a vaccine to counter Covid-19 was reached on Wednesday, when the first vaccine developers to complete phase 3 trials announced results in what has been the fastest vaccine development in history.[..]

Getting enough doses out to the world will take time, coordination and infrastructure. Pfizer and BioNTech have said they could produce 1.3 billion doses by the end of 2021. Several hundred million doses are already booked by major economies like the US and EU. Each immunisation requires two doses and there is an additional hurdle – they need to be transported and stored at minus 70 degrees Celsius (minus 94 Fahrenheit). All told, leading vaccine makers have projected that some 16 billion doses could be made next year..

Pfizer and BioNTech announced results after their trial reached a planned end point of 170 infections of Covid-19 among their nearly 44,000 participants. Of the cases, 162 were observed in the placebo group, while there were eight cases among those who had received the vaccine candidate, BNT162b2. The efficacy rate of 95 per cent was consistent across age, gender, race and ethnicity demographics, the companies said. Notably, the observed efficacy for adults over 65 years of age was over 94 per cent, an important marker for a group whose Covid-19 mortality rate far exceeds younger age groups.

But that makes no mention of the development method, or the risks involved. Which could be huge. I mean, it’s fine to say we need a lot of vaccine doses, and fast, but with AstraZeneca promising 2 billion in 2021, and Russia 1 billion, and China 1 billion or so as well, what exactly is the risk/reward ratio here? Why splurge into mRNA vaccines if you don’t have to? Is it just profit driven? When so many people are dying?

 

Here’s a bit from an Automatic Earth comments section yesterday. Commenter “upstateNYer” said:

I’m not yet clear on how “the scientists” made sure this mRNA hijacker will quit forcing my cells to produce stuff once its demands are met. Does anyone here with medical knowledge understand how it’s guaranteed that the mRNA strands don’t get just a bit power hungry and take over more than initially agreed upon?

In reaction to which, commenter Doc Robinson cited a Jerusalem Post article from November 17:

Could mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines Be Dangerous In The Long Term?

[..] the fact remains that if Pfizer succeeds – or Moderna, with whom Israel also has a contract – these will be the first-ever messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines brought to market for human patients. In order to receive Food and Drug Administration approval, the companies will have to prove there are no immediate or short-term negative health effects from taking the vaccines. But when the world begins inoculating itself with these completely new and revolutionary vaccines, it will know virtually nothing about their long-term effects.


When Moderna was just finishing its Phase I trial, The Independent wrote about the vaccine and described it this way: “It uses a sequence of genetic RNA material produced in a lab that, when injected into your body, must invade your cells and hijack your cells’ protein-making machinery called ribosomes to produce the viral components that subsequently train your immune system to fight the virus.”

Doc Robinson on the potential risks:

1. the bio-distribution and persistence of the induced immunogen expression
[spreading throughout the body and lasting longer than intended]

2. possible development of auto-reactive antibodies
[potentially leading to auto-immune conditions]

3. toxic effects of any non-native nucleotides and delivery system components.
[such as from nanoparticles and potential allergens like polyethylene glycol (PEG)]

“There is a race to get the public vaccinated, so we are willing to take more risks… But he acknowledged that there are unique and unknown risks to messenger RNA vaccines, including local and systemic inflammatory responses that could lead to autoimmune conditions.


An article published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, a division of the National Institutes of Health, said other risks include the bio-distribution and persistence of the induced immunogen expression; possible development of auto-reactive antibodies; and toxic effects of any non-native nucleotides and delivery system components.

And then there was this Reuters article from October 29:

Doc Robinson:

The vaccines being developed by Russia, J&J and CanSino use a human adenovirus platform, which is a proven technology used in Ebola vaccines and cancer treatments. The other frontrunners are “based on new, largely unproven technology platforms designed to produce vaccines at speed.” Other vaccine candidates using more conventional approaches won’t have late-stage trial results until sometime in 2021. I am going to avoid mRNA vaccines like the plague, and wait and see whether the conventional approaches produce anything with a good track record and minimal risk.

Next Crop of COVID-19 Vaccine Developers Take More Traditional Route

Many leading candidates now in final-stage testing are based on new, largely unproven technology platforms designed to produce vaccines at speed. They include messenger RNA (mRNA) technology used by Moderna Inc and Pfizer Inc with partner BioNTech SE, and inactivated cold virus platforms used by Oxford University/AstraZeneca Plc, Johnson & Johnson and CanSino Biologics, whose vaccine has been approved for military use in China.

Merck & Co in September started testing a COVID-19 vaccine based on a weakened measles virus that delivers genes from the new coronavirus into the body to stimulate an immune response to the coronavirus. Of these, only the technology offered by J&J and CanSino that use [human] cold viruses as vectors to deliver coronavirus genetic material have ever produced a licensed vaccine – for Ebola. [The Russian vaccine also uses this technology.]

The next set of candidates – with late-stage trial results expected in the first half of 2021 – are heavily skewed toward approaches that have produced successful vaccines. Conventional methods include using a killed or inactivated version of the pathogen that causes a disease to provoke an immune response, such as those used to make flu, polio and rabies vaccines. Also more common are protein-based vaccines that use purified pieces of the virus to spur an immune response. Vaccines against whooping cough, or pertussis, and shingles employ this approach.

I don’t know about you, but this scares the heebees out of me. If given the choice, I’d much rather not be a guinea pig for some Big Pharma experiment. There have been in our past very succesful vaccines, and I would maybe list penicilline in that list, but certainly Jonas Salk’s 1955 polio vaccine, off which nobody got rich, and it feels just completely crazy to now exploit a pandemic for profit. It’s just wrong.

Maybe COVID19 is not our biggest problem? Maybe our own mindset is? If we can no longer work with Russia and China on global issues, but we instead turn to large corporations to solve them for us for profit, we have already conceded defeat? Our own defeat?!

I don’t like the smell of this. Be careful out there. Don’t volunteer to be a human guinea pig just so you can fly a plane, or walk outside.

 

 

 

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Nov 252020
 
 November 25, 2020  Posted by at 10:02 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,  18 Responses »


Willem de Kooning Police Gazette 1955

 

Over 1 Billion Doses Of Russia’s COVID Vaccine Expected In 2021 (RT)
As A Doctor, People Ask Me If It’s Safe To Take A New Covid Vaccine (RT)
Could mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines Be Dangerous In The Long Term? (JP)
Short Term, High-Dose Vitamin D Supplementation For COVID-19 (BMJ)
UPS Stepping Up Dry Ice Production, Freezers For Vaccines (Y!)
Dragon Flies, Eagle Crashes At Geoeconomic Summits (Escobar)
Biden Climate Envoy John Kerry Is A Lifelong Joke (NYP)
Pompeo Spells Out New Normal: All Criticism Of Israel Is ‘Antisemitic’ (Cook)
The Trump Administration May Privatize Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac (MW)
The Five-Day Christmas COVID Bubble: How Will It Work? (G.)

 

 

Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are based on mRNA technique. AstraZeneca/Oxford’s, and Russian vaccine Sputnik V, use traditional technique. They are also much cheaper. AstraZeneca was developed as a not-for-profit. Russia wants theirs to be cheap. But the EU has banned the Russian vaccine, though it could be the best, because: Russia!

AstraZeneca has said they will produce 2 billion vaccine doses in 2021, Russia 1 billion. Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have already made people billionaires even before production. Why use mRNA vaccines anyway? Money.

 

 

But RussiaRussia! Hungary wanted to try it, and the EU said: no! Like a global pandemic doesn’t need a global answer.

Over 1 Billion Doses Of Russia’s COVID Vaccine Expected In 2021 (RT)

More than 500 million people will be able to take the pioneering Russian Sputnik V vaccine against the coronavirus next year. Its developers say the two-shot jab will be sold cheaper than those of its foreign competitors. The drug will be produced not only in Russia but also by “leading foreign pharmaceutical companies” who agreed to cooperation deals with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF). Talks with additional international partners are underway to further increase production capacity. “Sputnik V will be two or more times cheaper than mRNA vaccines with similar efficacy levels,” RDIF said in a statement.


A single dose of the Russian vaccine is going to cost $10, according to the producer, meaning it will set each person back $20 for two shots – which is still way below the price tags of US biotech firms Pfizer and Moderna, who are eyeing $39 and $50-74 for their vaccines, respectively. Notably, it’s only foreign buyers who would need to pay up, as the Russians will be getting Sputnik V for free. International customers are scheduled to receive first shipments of the vaccine in January. The new data announced by Moscow’s Gamaleya Center, which developed the Sputnik V formula, suggests that its vaccine is 95 percent effective. The result was based on Phase Three clinical trials that involved almost 20,000 volunteers who were administered two shots of the drug.

Read more …

By Malcolm Kendrick, doctor and author who works as a GP in the National Health Service in England.

“We are told that none of the mRNA can get into the nucleus of the cell, where it could become incorporated into the DNA. I hope so. Could it trigger an immune cascade? I hope not.”

As A Doctor, People Ask Me If It’s Safe To Take A New Covid Vaccine (RT)

Now, we have a thing called a messenger RNA vaccine (mRNA). RNA is, effectively, a single strand of DNA – the double helix that sits within our cells and makes up our genetic code. Many viruses are made up of a single strand of RNA, surrounded by a protein sphere. They enter the cell, take over the replication systems, make thousands of copies of themselves, then exit the cell. Sometimes killing the cell as they do so, sometimes exiting more gently. Covid19 (Sars-Cov2) is an RNA virus. Knowing this, rather than attempting to create a weakened virus, which can take years, or break the virus into bits, the vaccine researchers decided to use Sars-Cov2’s RNA against itself. To do this, they isolated the section of RNA which codes for the ‘spike’ protein – which is the thing the virus uses as a ‘key’ to enter cells.

They then worked out how to insert this small section of RNA, messenger RNA, into the cell, where it takes over a part of the protein replication mechanisms that sit inside all cells. They turn the mechanism into a 3D printer, churning out copies of the spike protein. These spike proteins then leave the cell – somehow or other, this bit is unclear. The immune system comes across them, recognises them as ‘alien’ and attacks. In doing so, antibodies are created, and the immune memory system kicks into action. If, later on, a Sars-Cov2 virus gets into the body, the immune system fires up and attacks the remembered spike protein. Hopefully killing the entire virus. This is all, certainly very clever stuff. What, as they say, could possibly go wrong?

The first thing to say is that, with something this new, we don’t really know. It could be that it is absolutely 100 percent safe. We are told that none of the mRNA can get into the nucleus of the cell, where it could become incorporated into the DNA. I hope so. Could it trigger an immune cascade? I hope not. I know that the researchers will be looking very, very, closely at the novel safety issues that could emerge. If they are not, they damned well should be. However, the timelines here are very short. It normally takes many years to create safe and effective vaccines. Here is it happening in, effectively, weeks. The early stage human safety studies have been crammed very tightly together.

In addition, we will also have very little information on such things as whether or not the vaccine actually reduces serious infections or death, as noted by Professor Haseltine in a recent article: “These [vaccine] protocols do not emphasize the most important ramifications of COVID-19 that people are most interested in preventing: overall infection, hospitalization, and death.” Prof. Haseltine also argues that the trials have all been “designed to succeed.” The reality is that we are rushing and rushing. There are very good reasons for this rush, but I advise caution. Should everyone take the vaccine? Probably yes for those at highest risk of serious infection and death, where the potential benefit is high. As for anyone healthy, under the age of sixty, I would wait. As I shall be.

Read more …

mRNA should be tested first for a much longer time.

Could mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines Be Dangerous In The Long Term? (JP)

Israelis celebrated on Friday when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that the country had signed a deal with Pfizer Inc. to buy its novel coronavirus vaccine. But the fact remains that if Pfizer succeeds – or Moderna, with whom Israel also has a contract – these will be the first-ever messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines brought to market for human patients. In order to receive Food and Drug Administration approval, the companies will have to prove there are no immediate or short-term negative health effects from taking the vaccines. But when the world begins inoculating itself with these completely new and revolutionary vaccines, it will know virtually nothing about their long-term effects.

“There is a race to get the public vaccinated, so we are willing to take more risks,” Tal Brosh, head of the Infectious Disease Unit at Samson Assuta Ashdod Hospital, told The Jerusalem Post. When Moderna was just finishing its Phase I trial, The Independent wrote about the vaccine and described it this way: “It uses a sequence of genetic RNA material produced in a lab that, when injected into your body, must invade your cells and hijack your cells’ protein-making machinery called ribosomes to produce the viral components that subsequently train your immune system to fight the virus.” “In this case, Moderna’s mRNA-1273 is programmed to make your cells produce the coronavirus’ infamous coronavirus spike protein that gives the virus its crown-like appearance (corona is crown in Latin) for which it is named,” wrote The Independent.

Brosh said that this does not mean the vaccine changes people’s genetic code. Rather, he said it is more like a USB device (the mRNA) that is inserted into a computer (your body). It does not impact the hard drive of the computer but runs a certain program. But he acknowledged that there are unique and unknown risks to messenger RNA vaccines, including local and systemic inflammatory responses that could lead to autoimmune conditions. An article published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, a division of the National Institutes of Health, said other risks include the bio-distribution and persistence of the induced immunogen expression; possible development of auto-reactive antibodies; and toxic effects of any non-native nucleotides and delivery system components.

Brosh compared the mRNA vaccine to traditional vaccines, such as those for influenza, which use an inactivated virus that was destroyed by heat or chemicals to elicit an immune response without infecting the recipient. Others, such as for measles or mumps, use a weakened virus that is unable to hurt you but can still train your immune system to fight it. Oxford University’s AstraZeneca, the Russian’s Sputnik V and the Israel Institute for Biological Research’s Brilife are all based on more traditional technologies.

Read more …

Better than a vaccine?

Short Term, High-Dose Vitamin D Supplementation For COVID-19 (BMJ)

Background Vitamin D has an immunomodulatory role but the effect of therapeutic vitamin D supplementation in SARS-CoV-2 infection is not known.

Aim Effect of high dose, oral cholecalciferol supplementation on SARS-CoV-2 viral clearance.

Design Randomised, placebo-controlled.

Participants Asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 RNA positive vitamin D deficient (25(OH)D<20 ng/ml) individuals.

Intervention Participants were randomised to receive daily 60 000 IU of cholecalciferol (oral nano-liquid droplets) for 7 days with therapeutic target 25(OH)D>50 ng/ml (intervention group) or placebo (control group). Patients requiring invasive ventilation or with significant comorbidities were excluded. 25(OH)D levels were assessed at day 7, and cholecalciferol supplementation was continued for those with 25(OH)D <50 ng/ml in the intervention arm. SARS-CoV-2 RNA and inflammatory markers fibrinogen, D-dimer, procalcitonin and (CRP), ferritin were measured periodically.

Outcome measure Proportion of patients with SARS-CoV-2 RNA negative before day-21 and change in inflammatory markers.

Results Forty SARS-CoV-2 RNA positive individuals were randomised to intervention (n=16) or control (n=24) group. Baseline serum 25(OH)D was 8.6 (7.1 to 13.1) and 9.54 (8.1 to 12.5) ng/ml (p=0.730), in the intervention and control group, respectively. 10 out of 16 patients could achieve 25(OH)D>50 ng/ml by day-7 and another two by day-14 [day-14 25(OH)D levels 51.7 (48.9 to 59.5) ng/ml and 15.2 (12.7 to 19.5) ng/ml (p<0.001) in intervention and control group, respectively]. 10 (62.5%) participants in the intervention group and 5 (20.8%) participants in the control arm (p<0.018) became SARS-CoV-2 RNA negative. Fibrinogen levels significantly decreased with cholecalciferol supplementation (intergroup difference 0.70 ng/ml; P=0.007) unlike other inflammatory biomarkers.

Conclusion Greater proportion of vitamin D-deficient individuals with SARS-CoV-2 infection turned SARS-CoV-2 RNA negative with a significant decrease in fibrinogen on high-dose cholecalciferol supplementation.

Read more …

Who’s pushing for this when 3 billion doses of non-nMRA vaccine doses are coming?

UPS Stepping Up Dry Ice Production, Freezers For Vaccines (Y!)

Global shipping giant UPS on Tuesday said it would start making dry ice in the United States and also distribute ultra-cold temperature freezers as it prepares to handle the logistics of shipping Covid-19 vaccines. Facing the world’s largest coronavirus outbreak, the US government’s Operation Warp Speed plans to distribute 6.4 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in the first week after it’s cleared for emergency use, which could come as soon as December 10. That vaccine requires ultra-cold long-term storage of -70 degrees Celsius (-94 Fahrenheit), and the company has developed special containers with dry ice to keep it cool for up to 15 days, while other vaccines may also need dry ice in transport.


In a statement, UPS said it had added equipment in its facilities that can produce up to 1,200 pounds of dry ice an hour for the shipping needs of these vaccines, which can be distributed within 24 hours of production to US and Canadian hospitals. “Healthcare facilities in Louisville, Dallas and Ontario will ensure we have the capability to produce dry ice to sufficiently pack and replenish shipments as needed to keep products viable and effective,” Wes Wheeler, president of medical arm UPS Healthcare, said in a statement.

Read more …

QR.

Dragon Flies, Eagle Crashes At Geoeconomic Summits (Escobar)

Four geoeconomic summits compressed in one week tell the story of where we stand in these supremely dystopian times… The (virtual) signing of RCEP in Vietnam was followed by the equally virtual BRICS meeting hosted by Moscow, the APEC meeting hosted by Malaysia, and the G20 this past weekend hosted by Saudi Arabia. Cynics have not failed to note the spectacular theater of the absurd of having the Top 20 – at least in theory – economies discussing what is arguably the turning point in the world-system linked to a beheading-friendly desert oil hacienda with a 7th century mentality.


The Riyadh declaration did its best to lift the somber planetary mood, vowing to deploy “all available policy tools” (no precise details) to contain Covid-19 and heroically “save” the global economy by “advancing” global pandemic preparedness, vaccine development and distribution – in tandem with debt relief – for the Global South. Not a peep about The Great Reset – the Brave New World scheme concocted by Herr Schwab of Davos and fully supported by the IMF, Big Tech, transnational Big Capital interests and the oh so benign Prince Charles. Meanwhile, off the record, G20 sherpas moaned about the lack of real global governance and multiple attacks on multilateralism.

And not a peep as well about the real life vaccine war between the expensive Western candidates – Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca – and the much cheaper Russia-China versions – Sputnik V and Sinovac. What seems to be the case is that any agenda – sinister or otherwise – fits the one-size-fits-all vow by the G20 to provide “opportunities of the 21st century for all by empowering people, safeguarding the planet, and shaping new frontiers.” At the G20, President Xi Jinping did not waste the chance – after RCEP, BRICS and APEC – to once again emphasize China’s priorities: multilateralism, support for WTO reform, ample international cooperation on vaccine research and production.


But then, in tandem with reducing tariffs and facilitating the trade of crucial medical supplies, Xi proposed a global health QR code – a sound way to restore global travel and trade: “While containing the virus, we need to restore the secure and smooth operation of global industrial and supply chains.” Predictably, there were howls about neo-Orwellian intrusion, comparing the QR code with the exceptionally misunderstood Chinese credit system. Herr Schwab’s Great Reset in fact proposes something similar, with even more neo-Orwellian overtones, disguised under an innocent “Covid Pass” app, or highly secure “health passport”. What Xi has proposed amounts to just a mutual recognition of health certificates, issued by different nations, based on nucleic acid tests. No gene altering vaccines coupled with nanochips. These QR codes, incorporated to health apps, are already used for domestic travel in China.

Read more …

Kerry is just like Biden. A career sell-out.

“..Biden, having vowed to make fighting climate change a top priority, simply wants someone who’ll look like he’s trying hard — but won’t actually get anything done.”

Biden Climate Envoy John Kerry Is A Lifelong Joke (NYP)

What was Joe Biden thinking for his choice of climate-change ambassador extraordinaire? John Kerry is one of the biggest gasbags in American politics, singlehandedly responsible for massive amounts of terrible emissions. People have been laughing at him since Yale, when “Doonesbury” creator Garry Trudeau was zinging his pretentious, vacuous self-promotion. We look forward to the anti-carbon lectures from a guy who travels the globe on private jets and luxury yachts. Set aside his deer-in-the-headlights loss as the Democrats’ presidential nominee in 2004. He was a joke as secretary of state under President Barack Obama — off on his yacht during Egypt’s 2013 military coup.

He vowed a crushing response when Syria crossed Obama’s infamous “red line” — only to have Obama pull the rug out from under him and agree to let Russia pretend to take Syria’s chemical weapons away instead. Kerry also cluelessly “negotiated” the Iran nuclear deal even as the real talks were being run out of the White House; then he had to pretend to cheer an accord that gave away several points he’d said were non-negotiable, such as truly tough inspection requirements. And he helped craft the 2015 Paris climate accord — a performative non-binding “triumph.”


The Kerry-initiated Israeli-Palestinian peace talks of 2013-14 went absolutely nowhere. He later blasted President Trump over moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem, insisting it would cause “an absolute explosion” — when it actually helped bring unprecedented Arab-Israeli rapprochement. The only conclusion you can draw is that Biden, having vowed to make fighting climate change a top priority, simply wants someone who’ll look like he’s trying hard — but won’t actually get anything done.

Read more …

Still crazy.

Pompeo Spells Out New Normal: All Criticism Of Israel Is ‘Antisemitic’ (Cook)

It is tempting to dismiss last week’s statements by Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, equating anti-Zionism with antisemitism and suggesting the global movement to boycott Israel is driven by hatred of Jews, as the last gasp of a dying administration. But that would be foolhardy. Pompeo’s decision to label all but the most tepid criticism of Israel as antisemitism is fully in line with the current redrawing of the limits of western political debate about Israel. To underscore his message, Pompeo issued his statement as he headed to an illegal Jewish settlement in the West Bank – the first such official visit by a US secretary of state.


New guidelines announced that in future the US would mark settlement goods as “Made in Israel”, concealing the fact that they are produced in the occupied Palestinian territories. For good measure, Pompeo described the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS), widely supported by Palestinians, as a “cancer”. “We will regard the global, anti-Israel BDS campaign as antisemitic,” he added. The state department would identify any individual or group opposed to “doing business in Israel or in any territory controlled by Israel” – that is, in the settlements – “and withdraw US government support”.

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They should close both down.

The Trump Administration May Privatize Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac (MW)

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been kept in conservatorship limbo for over a decade now. But the Trump administration may move to end that before leaving office in January. In the wake of the government bailouts of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the housing-finance giants were placed into conservatorship. The Federal Housing Finance Agency, a new regulator, was created to oversee the two companies’ operations as the companies recovered from the subprime-mortgage crisis and repaid the federal government. In that time, Fannie and Freddie’s shareholders — other than the federal government — have gone without even a single dividend payment. For most of this time, Fannie and Freddie’s profits have been swept to the Treasury Department.

Conservatorship was not intended to be a permanent thing. In April 2019, Vice President Mike Pence’s former chief economist, Mark Calabria, was confirmed as the director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the main regulator overseeing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Since assuming that post, Calabria has moved to lay the groundwork needed to get the two companies out of conservatorship. But with President Trump’s loss in the elections earlier this month, a wrench was thrown in those plans. Former Vice President Joe Biden is unlikely to be in any hurry to move Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac out of their current arrangement. Faced with that reality, Calabria appears to be considering a plan to move Fannie and Freddie out of conservatorship before the inauguration, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.


Depending on how the exit is orchestrated, it could have a major impact on the housing finance ecosystem. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are not mortgage lenders — they buy and securitize mortgage loans, providing a crucial inflow of capital. All told, nearly half of all mortgages created in the first quarter of 2020 (47%) were backed by Fannie and Freddie, according to data from Inside Mortgage Finance and the Urban Institute. “Director Calabria has previously been quoted as saying that he believed the GSEs would be able to successfully exit the conservatorship sometime in 2022,” said Rick Sharga, a mortgage industry veteran and executive vice president at real-estate analytics firm RealtyTrac. “Accelerating the exit by at least a year seems ambitious at best, and risky at worst, given the critical role Fannie and Freddie play in providing mortgage market liquidity and stability.”

Read more …

Look, people know you’re just making it up. You’re inviting unrest.

The Five-Day Christmas COVID Bubble: How Will It Work? (G.)

The government has announced that up to three households will be able to mix indoors and stay with each other overnight from 23 to 27 December under loosened coronavirus restrictions across the UK. But how exactly will these new “Christmas bubbles” work?

Can I eat out with my Christmas bubble? No. In a blow to pubs and restaurants, and families who like to avoid the piles of washing-up, separate households in a Christmas bubble will not be able to meet up in hospitality venues. Restrictions on these venues – which will vary depending on which tier they are placed in from 2 December – will remain in place over the festive period. However, members of a Christmas bubble can meet at home, in places of worship and in outdoor public places including gardens. You can continue to meet people who are not in your Christmas bubble outside your home according to the rules in the tier you are staying in.

Is there a limit on the number of people who can meet up as part of a bubble? There is no maximum size for a Christmas bubble, so you don’t need to worry if you and those you join with live in large households. This means three households of two people each – a total of six people – are allowed to meet, just as three households of, say, six people each – a total of 18 people – are also allowed to meet.

If I’m already in a bubble with another household, do we count as one household or two for the new Christmas rules? Under the rules, a support bubble will count as one household when Christmas bubbles are being formed. In England, support bubbles have been permitted for a number of months throughout Covid restrictions, allowing a household with one adult to join with another household. Those in a support bubble can still visit each other, stay overnight and visit public places together. This means that, technically, if three support bubbles – each comprising two separate households – were to join together in a Christmas bubble, six households would be able to meet.

Can I join more than one Christmas bubble? No, the bubbles have to be exclusive, and they cannot change over the five-day period – so pick your households carefully. This means that you can’t mix with two households on Christmas Day, and then a different two households on Boxing Day. However, children whose parents are separated will be able to move between two Christmas bubbles so they’re able to celebrate with both parents.

Do I need to socially distance from the people in my Christmas bubble? Bubble members will not be required to social distance while they are together, so they can hug or kiss under the mistletoe. However, people are advised to exercise caution if there are vulnerable people involved in their bubble. “This virus is not going to grant a Christmas truce,” Boris Johnson said on Monday.

Read more …

 

 

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Nov 232020
 


Egon Schiele Port of Trieste 1907

 

 

Don’t miss the update on our support for the Monastiraki social kitchen in Athens.. And please consider donating to our efforts for this Christmas season.

 

 

 

US, Germany, UK Could Start COVID Vaccinations As Early As December (G.)
AstraZeneca’s COVID19 Vaccine Shows Average Efficiency Of 70% (RT)
Most Coronavirus Cases Are Spread By People Without Symptoms – CDC (CNN)
WHO Envoy Predicts Third Wave Of COVID19 In Europe Next Year (RT)
Portuguese Court: PCR Tests “Unreliable” & Quarantines “Unlawful” (OffG)
Rudy Giuliani: Sidney Powell Not Part Of Trump Legal Team (JTN)
Michael Flynn Jr. on Trump Team’s Sidney Powell Statement (GP)
Nunes Claims Obama Is Joe Biden’s ‘Overlord’, Calls For Special Counsel (DM)
Taxpayers Face $435 Billion in Student-Loan Losses Already Baked In (WS)
China Daily Paid US Newspapers Millions To Publish Propaganda This Year (DC)
The US Has Withdrawn From The Treaty On Open Skies (JTN)

 

 

Save a puppy

 

 

But will it all take a whole year?

US, Germany, UK Could Start COVID Vaccinations As Early As December (G.)

As G20 leaders pledged to ensure the equitable distribution of Covid-19 vaccines, drugs and tests so that poorer countries are not left out, the US, UK and Germany each announced plans to begin vaccinations in their countries in December, while Spain said it would start administering the vaccine to its citizens in January. Britain could give regulatory approval to Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine as early as this week, even before the US authorises it, the UK’s Telegraph newspaper reported on Sunday. Pfizer and BioNTech could secure emergency US and European authorisation for their Covid-19 vaccine next month after final trial results showed a 95% success rate and no serious side effects. Moderna last week released preliminary data for its vaccine showing 94.5% effectiveness.


The better-than-expected results from the two vaccines, both developed with new messenger RNA (mRNA) technology, have raised hopes of an easing of a pandemic that has killed more than 1.3 million people. In the US, the head of the US vaccine program, Moncef Slaoui, said the first Americans to receive a vaccine could get it as soon as 11 December, CNN reported on Sunday. “Our plan is to be able to ship vaccines to the immunisation sites within 24 hours from the approval, so I expect maybe on day two after approval on the 11th or the 12th of December,” he said in an interview to CNN. Citing government sources, the Telegraph also said the UK’s National Health Service had been told to be ready to administer it by 1 December. Britain formally asked its medical regulator, the MHRA, last week to assess the suitability of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Read more …

That’s not very high. How about the Russian vaccine?

AstraZeneca’s COVID19 Vaccine Shows Average Efficiency Of 70% (RT)

The coronavirus vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and drug maker AstraZeneca has shown an average efficiency of 70 percent, depending on dosage, the partners said as they announced clinical trial results. The developers revealed the preliminary results on Monday, following trials conducted in the UK and Brazil. Depending on the dosage, the vaccine showed varying efficiency of up to 90 percent, while the Pfizer vaccine is 95 percent effective and Russia’s Sputnik V is 92 percent effective. “One dosing regimen showed vaccine efficacy of 90 percent when AZD1222 was given as a half dose, followed by a full dose at least one month apart, and another dosing regimen showed 62 percent efficacy when given as two full doses at least one month apart,” the AstraZeneca developers said in a statement, adding, “analysis from both dosing regimens resulted in an average efficacy of 70 percent.”


AstraZeneca’s CEO Pascal Soriot said the vaccine’s “efficacy and safety” showed it will be highly effective against the coronavirus and it will have an “immediate impact” on the Covid-19 crisis. The announcement was welcomed by UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock who said the preliminary trial results were “fantastic news.” “These figures … shows that the vaccine in the right dosage can be up to 90 percent effective,” he told Sky News. “We’ve got 100 million doses on order and should all that go well, the bulk of the rollout will be in the new year.”

Read more …

Confusion over droplets vs arerosols.

Most COVID transmission by people without symptoms
– Ppl w/o symptoms don’t cough and sneeze much
– When talking, aerosols dominate over droplets by x100-2000
– Surfaces transmit inefficiently (per CDC)

Most Coronavirus Cases Are Spread By People Without Symptoms – CDC (CNN)

Most coronavirus infections are spread by people who have no symptoms, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in newly updated guidance. It’s one of the main reasons mask use is so important, the CDC said. “Most SARS-CoV-2 infections are spread by people without symptoms,” the agency said in a section of its website devoted to explaining the science of how to use masks to control the spread of the virus. “CDC and others estimate that more than 50% of all infections are transmitted from people who are not exhibiting symptoms,” it added in the guidance posted Friday. “This means at least half of new infections come from people likely unaware they are infectious to others.”


According to the CDC, 24% of people who transmit the virus to others never develop symptoms and another 35% were pre-symptomatic. It also said 41% infected others while experiencing symptoms. Peak infectiousness comes five days after infection, the agency said on the website. “With these assumptions, 59% of infections would be transmitted when no symptoms are present but could range (from) 51%-70% if the fraction of asymptomatic infections were 24%-30% and peak infectiousness ranged 4-6 days.” It cited a study published in July in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and as-yet unpublished CDC data. Previously, the health organization has not characterized what percentage of infections are spread by symptomless people. “Infection is spread primarily through exposure to respiratory droplets exhaled by infected people when they breathe, talk, cough, sneeze, or sing,” the agency added.

Read more …

WHO still not in favor of lockdowns. But that falls on deaf ears.

WHO Envoy Predicts Third Wave Of COVID19 In Europe Next Year (RT)

With Europe already suffering a second wave of coronavirus infections, World Health Organization envoy David Nabarro has warned that the region could see another spike in infections next year In an interview on Saturday with Swiss newspaper Solothurner Zeitung, Nabarro said that European governments failed to build up the “necessary infrastructure” to keep the virus under control after the first wave of infections this spring. Now we have the second wave. If they don’t build the necessary infrastructure, we’ll have a third wave early next year. Infections are once again surging throughout Europe, after a lull this summer.


France and Germany recorded some 33,000 new cases combined on Saturday, while the UK reported nearly 20,000 cases on the same day, and Spain announced more than 15,000 on Friday. Deaths remain proportionally lower throughout Europe than during the first wave, however. Despite Nabarro’s stark prediction, the WHO has cautioned against responding too heavy-handedly to the pandemic. In a briefing on Thursday, the organization’s European director, Hans Kluge, called for “systematic and general mask-wearing” and “strict controls on social gatherings,” but described national lockdowns as a “last resort” policy.

Read more …

“The reddit Covid19 board actually removed the post, because it was “not a reliable source”, despite relying on the official court documents.”

Portuguese Court: PCR Tests “Unreliable” & Quarantines “Unlawful” (OffG)

An appeals court in Portugal has ruled that the PCR process is not a reliable test for Sars-Cov-2, and therefore any enforced quarantine based on those test results is unlawful. Further, the ruling suggested that any forced quarantine applied to healthy people could be a violation of their fundamental right to liberty. Most importantly, the judges ruled that a single positive PCR test cannot be used as an effective diagnosis of infection. The specifics of the case concern four tourists entering the country from Germany – all of whom are anonymous in the transcript of the case – who were quarantined by the regional health authority. Of the four, only one had tested positive for the virus, whilst the other three were deemed simply of “high infection risk” based on proximity to the positive individual.

All four had, in the previous 72 hours, tested negative for the virus before departing from Germany. In their ruling, judges Margarida Ramos de Almeida and Ana Paramés referred to several scientific studies. Most notably this study by Jaafar et al., which found that – when running PCR tests with 35 cycles or more – the accuracy dropped to 3%, meaning up to 97% of positive results could be false positives. The ruling goes on to conclude that, based on the science they read, any PCR test using over 25 cycles is totally unreliable. Governments and private labs have been very tight-lipped about the exact number of cycles they run when PCR testing, but it is known to sometimes be as high as 45. Even fearmonger-in-chief Anthony Fauci has publicly stated anything over 35 is totally unusable.

[..] The media reaction to this case has been entirely predictable – they have not mentioned it. At all. Anywhere. Ever. The ruling was published on November 11th, and has been referenced by many alt-news sites since…but the mainstream outlets are maintaining a complete blackout on it. The reddit Covid19 board actually removed the post, because it was “not a reliable source”, despite relying on the official court documents.

Read more …

Looks a bit sloppy.

Rudy Giuliani: Sidney Powell Not Part Of Trump Legal Team (JTN)

Rudy Giuliani, the lead attorney for President Trump’s election challenges, and Trump Campaign Senior Legal Adviser Jenna Ellis said Sunday that high-profile attorney Sidney Powell does not work for the president personally or for his campaign. “Sidney Powell is practicing law on her own,” the statement from Giuliani and Ellis said. “She is not a member of the Trump Legal Team. She is also not a lawyer for the President in his personal capacity.” Powell on Thursday spoke during a press conference where Giuliani and Ellis also spoke. “I look forward to Mayor Giuliani spearheading the legal effort to defend OUR RIGHT to FREE and FAIR ELECTIONS!” President Trump tweeted on November 14. “Rudy Giuliani, Joseph diGenova, Victoria Toensing, Sidney Powell, and Jenna Ellis, a truly great team, added to our other wonderful lawyers and representatives!”

Powell, who has alleged that massive corruption occurred during the 2020 election, said during an interview on Newsmax that a “biblical” filing is forthcoming regarding the state of Georgia. “Georgia is extremely bad,” Powell said. “We’ve got ballots being shredded, ballots being thrown out in trash bags…the votes being switched, the algorithms being run: You name the manner of fraud and it occurred in Georgia,” she said. While media outlets have projected Joe Biden to be the winner of the 2020 presidential contest, President Trump has not conceded and has made allegations of election fraud.

The Peach State is “probably gonna be the first state I’m gonna blow up,” Powell said, remarking that “Mr. Kemp and the secretary of state need to go with it because they’re in on the Dominon scam with their last minute purchase or award of a contract to Dominon of $100 million dollars. The state bureau of investigation for Georgia oughta be looking into the financial benefits received by Mr. Kemp and the secretary of state’s family about that time.”

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She was suspended by Twitter too.

Michael Flynn Jr. on Trump Team’s Sidney Powell Statement (GP)

As we suspected, the news this evening about Sidney Powell not being on the Trump team is an act to protect Sidney and the Trump team and not a message of disappointment in her latest interviews and actions at all. The Trump campaign issued a statement Sunday night announcing Sidney Powell is not a member of President Trump’s legal team. The statement was posted online by campaign attorney Jenna Ellis on behalf of lead campaign attorney Rudy Giuliani. Powell had appeared at a campaign legal team press conference earlier this week alongside Giuliani and Ellis. Statement:

Attorney Sidney Powell was not able to respond tonight. Sidney was censored and suspended by Twitter earlier today. Mike Flynn, Jr. released a statement tonight.

Sidney released a statement to CBS News. She signed off — #KrakenOnSteroids

General Michael Flynn’s son, Mike Jr., followed up with a message tonight on Parler noting that the earlier message from the President’s team is not a reflection of any misstatements on Sidney’s part:

Read more …

‘President Obama is the only president that I know that only moved about a mile from the White House – set up shop, has all his people there..’

Nunes Claims Obama Is Joe Biden’s ‘Overlord’, Calls For Special Counsel (DM)

Rep. Devin Nunes has claimed former President Barack Obama is President-elect Joe Biden’s ‘overlord’ and called for a special counsel to take over the investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia probe. Nunes, a California Republican and staunch ally of President Donald Trump, appeared on Fox News Channel’s Sunday Morning Futures in an interview with host Maria Bartiromo. ‘President Obama is the only president that I know that only moved about a mile from the White House – set up shop, has all his people there,’ Nunes said, referring to the Obama family’s rented mansion in Washington DC. ‘Most of his people were promoting Kamala Harris to run before she bombed out, wasting hundreds of millions of dollars, and then they propped up Joe Biden,’ Nunes claimed.

Later in the interview, Nunes referred to Obama as Biden’s ‘overlord.’ Nunes also called on Attorney General Bill Barr to appoint a special counsel to take over U.S. Attorney John Durham’s investigation into potential malfeasance in the Russian collusion investigation. ‘Now we’re sitting waiting for Durham to complete this investigation. I think people are getting not only very frustrated but also, there’s a growing concern that Durham is not going to come out with anything and then Biden and Obama are going to be back in, and they’re going to shut this investigation off,’ Nunes said. Durham was appointed by Barr more than a year and a half ago to investigate any misconduct by the FBI and others others related to the inquiry into links between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

So far, Durham’s investigation has secured one guilty plea from a former FBI lawyer, who admitted to doctoring a document used to obtain surveillance warrants on a Trump campaign aide. Trump has raged that the Russian collusion probe, which cast a shadow over much of his presidency, was a ‘failed coup,’ and expressed fury that Durham did not issue more indictments prior to the November election. Nunes said that he feared Biden’s administration would shut down the Durham probe before it could be concluded. ‘I’ve been very clear about this,’ the congressman said. ‘Every day that ticks by, it’s going to become an absolute necessity that a special counsel is appointed on the way out.’

‘Now that doesn’t mean that Biden wouldn’t fire the special counsel, but at least you’d have a special counsel office set up, with money, so that this investigation can continue, because I’m not seeing the indictments that I should be seeing when you take into the account that I’ve made 14 criminal referrals involving dozens and dozens of people,’ he continued.

Read more …

“Most of the losses would come from the already established income-based repayment programs and the debt forgiveness at the end of their term.”

Taxpayers Face $435 Billion in Student-Loan Losses Already Baked In (WS)

In 2009, the US government entered the business of reckless, no-matter-what lending to students, even to older students with subprime credit ratings and to students at iffy for-profit colleges with dubious degree programs. And then tuition soared, and student housing went upscale and became a global asset class with its own commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) that are now experiencing record delinquency rates. And Apple and textbook publishers and everyone began feeding at the big trough, with students just being the conduit for this money. Student-loan balances on the government’s financial statement skyrocketed from $147 billion in 2009 to $1.37 trillion at the beginning of 2020, despite the 11% decline in student enrollment since 2011.


Taxpayers face a loss of $435 billion on the $1.37 trillion in student loans on the government’s financial statement at the beginning of this year, even if no additional loans are issued going forward, according to an internal study by the Department of Education, reported by the Wall Street Journal which reviewed the documents. Most of the losses would come from the already established income-based repayment programs and the debt forgiveness at the end of their term. The expected loss of $435 billion is far larger than the rosy estimates released previously, including the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate in May 2019 of a loss of $31 billion, including administrative costs. The student loan balances in the chart above do not include student loans carried by private lenders that are guaranteed by the US government and that will produce additional losses for taxpayers.

Read more …

Is this legal?

China Daily Paid US Newspapers Millions To Publish Propaganda This Year (DC)

An English-language newspaper controlled by the Chinese Communist Party’s propaganda department paid U.S. media companies nearly $2 million for printing and advertising expenses over the past six months, even amid heightened scrutiny over Beijing’s disinformation efforts in the West. China Daily paid The Wall Street Journal more than $85,000 and the Los Angeles Times $340,000 for advertising campaigns between May and October 2020, according to a disclosure that the propaganda mill filed this week with the Justice Department under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). China Daily also paid Foreign Policy magazine $100,000, The Financial Times, a U.K.-based newspaper, $223,710, and $132,046 to the Canadian outlet Globe & Mail for advertising campaigns, according to the filing.


The Beijing-based outlet paid several newspaper companies a total of $1,154,666 for printing costs, including $110,000 to the Los Angeles Times, $92,000 to The Houston Chronicle and $76,000 to The Boston Globe. Overall, China Daily spent more than $4.4 million on printing, distribution, advertising and administration expenses over the past six months, according to the FARA filing. China Daily, which is controlled by the Chinese Communist Party’s State Council Information Office, its propaganda agency, has for years paid newspapers and magazines in the U.S. and other Western countries to publish advertorials designed to look like legitimate news articles. China Daily paid The Washington Post more than $4.6 million from late 2016 through October 2019, according to a FARA disclosure China Daily filed in June. The Journal received $6 million for advertorials from 2016 through April 2020, according to the disclosure.

Read more …

RussiaRussia.

The US Has Withdrawn From The Treaty On Open Skies (JTN)

The U.S. departed the Treaty on Open Skies on Sunday, following an announcement earlier this year that the nation planned to withdraw from the treaty. “On May 22, 2020, the United States exercised its right pursuant to paragraph 2 of Article XV of the Treaty on Open Skies by providing notice to the Treaty Depositaries and to all States Parties of its decision to withdraw from the Treaty, effective six months from the notification date,” a press statement from the State Department’s Cale Brown notes. “Six months having elapsed, the U.S. withdrawal took effect on November 22, 2020, and the United States is no longer a State Party to the Treaty on Open Skies.”


In a statement earlier this year, Secretary of State Mike Pompo accused Russia of violating the treaty. “While the United States along with our Allies and partners that are States Parties to the Treaty have lived up to our commitments and obligations under the Treaty, Russia has flagrantly and continuously violated the Treaty in various ways for years,” Pompeo said. “This is not a story exclusive to just the Treaty on Open Skies, unfortunately, for Russia has been a serial violator of many of its arms control obligations and commitments.”

Read more …

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

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Nov 212020
 
 November 21, 2020  Posted by at 11:22 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  15 Responses »


Salaì Penitent Magdalene 1515 to 1520

 

 

Don’t miss the update on our support for the Monastiraki social kitchen in Athens.. And please consider donating to our efforts for this Christmas season.

 

 

 

Sanford Health CEO on COVID19 Hospitalizations: ‘There’s Not A Crisis.’ (AL)
More People Are Getting COVID19 Twice (AAAS)
How Pfizer Plans To Keep Its Vaccine At Deep-Frozen During Transport (CBS)
Trump Targets Medicare Drug Prices With Cost-cutting Measures (Fox)
61% Think Trump Should Concede to Biden (Rasmussen)
PBS Does A Deep Dive On Georgia’s Use Of Dominion Voting Systems Machines (GP)
Dominion Voting ‘Lawyers Up’, Abruptly Backs Out Of PA Hearing (Heine)
The Many Layers of Travail (Jim Kunstler)
Sidney Powell: Tucker Carlson Was ‘Insulting, Demanding, And Rude’ (WE)
The Pentagon and the CIA Are in Charge of Foreign Policy (FFF)
How ‘Western’ Media Select Their Foreign Correspondents (MoA)

 

 

 

 

BlackRock Bitcoin replacing gold

 

 

“For me to wear a mask defies the efficacy and purpose of a mask and sends an untruthful message that I’m susceptible to infection or could transmit it.”

Sanford Health CEO on COVID19 Hospitalizations: ‘There’s Not A Crisis.’ (AL)

Sanford Health’s chief executive says South Dakota doesn’t need a mask-mandate, and the worst of the pandemic is days away from being in the rear-view mirror. Kelby Krabbenhoft, president and CEO of Sanford Health, told the Argus Leader in an interview Thursday his healthcare system is positioned well to handle the amount of COVID-19 patients coming through the door. Krabbenhoft, 62, said as of Thursday, Sanford Health’s network of hospitals in the region were caring for a 1,400 patients, 390 of which are hospitalized with COVID-19. And while that has put a large burden on front-line workers, he said Sanford has capacity to handle even more patients should hospitalizations continue to go up before mass vaccination begins in January. “At this point, we feel we’ve got this under control,” Krabbenhoft said. “There’s not a crisis.”

And though state health officials have previously stated vaccine doses would begin arriving in South Dakota sometime in December, Krabbenhoft said new information provided to him Thursday indicates Sanford’s first vaccine shipment could come even sooner than that. “I feel like with a vaccine — I’m told we’re about 10 days away from receiving it — it feels like the cavalry is coming,” he said. Krabbenhoft was reiterating comments he made the day prior in an email sent to all Sanford Health staff, in which he disclosed that he dealt with a COVID-19 diagnosis of his own earlier this year. In the Argus Leader interview, he said he contracted the virus while watching a football game on an outdoor patio with a friend who was asymptotic at the time.

He likened his case to that of a severe cold or the flu, having worsening symptoms for about a week before beginning to improve. Now that he’s had the virus, he presumes he’s immune to the virus for at least a few months and can’t spread it. That’s why Krabbenhoft told his employees in the email that he doesn’t always wear a mask when he’s in public settings. “The information, science, truth, advice and growing evidence is that I am immune for at least seven months and perhaps for years to come, similar to that of chicken pox, measles, etc,” he wrote in the email. “For me to wear a mask defies the efficacy and purpose of a mask and sends an untruthful message that I’m susceptible to infection or could transmit it.”

Read more …

“The bar is very high,” Moss says. “In many cases, the genetic material just isn’t there.”

More People Are Getting COVID19 Twice (AAAS)

In late June, Sanne de Jong developed nausea, shortness of breath, sore muscles, and a runny nose. At first, she thought it might be lingering effects from her COVID-19 infection in the spring. De Jong, 22, had tested positive on 17 April and suffered mild symptoms for about 2 weeks. She tested negative on 2 May—just in time to say farewell to her dying grandmother—and returned to work as a nursing intern in a hospital in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. But when her symptoms re-emerged, her doctor suggested she get tested again. “A reinfection this soon would be peculiar, but not impossible,” she told De Jong, who by then had again lost her sense of smell and had abdominal pains and diarrhea. The call from her municipal health service came on 3 July. De Jong had tested positive again. “You’re kidding me!” she recalls saying.

Scientists are keenly interested in cases like hers, which are still rare but on the rise. Reinfections hint that immunity against COVID-19 may be fragile and wane relatively quickly, with implications not just for the risks facing recovered patients, but also for how long future vaccines might protect people. “The question everybody wants to answer is: Is that second one going to be less severe most of the time or not?” says Derek Cummings, who studies infectious disease dynamics at the University of Florida. “And what do reinfections teach us about SARS-CoV-2 immunity in general?” South Korean scientists reported the first suspected reinfections in April, but it took until 24 August before a case was officially confirmed: a 33-year-old man who was treated at a Hong Kong hospital for a mild case in March and who tested positive again at the Hong Kong airport on 15 August after returning from a trip to Spain.

Since then, at least 24 other reinfections have been officially confirmed—but scientists say that is definitely an underestimate. To count as a case of reinfection, a patient must have had a positive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test twice with at least one symptom-free month in between. But virologist Chantal Reusken of the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) explains that a second test can also be positive because the patient has a residue of nonreplicating viral RNA from their original infection in their respiratory tract, because of an infection with two viruses at the same time or because they had suppressed but never fully cleared the virus. So most journals want to see two full virus sequences, from the first and second illnesses, that are sufficiently different, says Paul Moss, a hematologist at the University of Birmingham.

“The bar is very high,” Moss says. “In many cases, the genetic material just isn’t there.” Even if it is, many labs don’t have the time or money to clinch the case. As a result, the number of genetically proven reinfections is orders of magnitude lower than that of suspected reinfections. The Netherlands alone has 50 such cases, Brazil 95, Sweden 150, Mexico 285, and Qatar at least 243.

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Why bother if other vaccines don’t require this?

How Pfizer Plans To Keep Its Vaccine At Deep-Frozen During Transport (CBS)

Pfizer is now the first company to apply for emergency authorization of its coronavirus vaccine, setting off a sprint by scientists at the Food and Drug Administration to approve it. About 25 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine may become available in December, 30 million in January and 35 million more in February and March, according to information presented to the National Academy of Medicine this week. Recipients will need two doses, three weeks apart. CBS News got an inside look at the logistical challenges of getting Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to the public, including a required storage temperature you would find in the coldest places on Earth.

Colder than Antarctica in winter, dry ice – made from carbon dioxide – is crucial for moving and storing these vaccines. Pfizer’s vaccine needs to be kept at 94 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. Dry ice helps maintain the subarctic temperature during shipping. Pfizer developed a thermal shipper, which they call a “cool box,” for the trip. It’s about the size of a carry-on suitcase. “There’s dry ice that goes around it, and then it has actually a device within it that has a continuous GPS and temperature monitor,” said Tanya Alcorn, vice president of Pfizer’s BioPharma Global Supply Chain. Each “cool box” contains a minimum of about 1,000 vaccine doses, which poses a challenge for rural communities with no place to store them.


Tim Size, executive director of the Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative, which represents 43 rural hospitals across the state, said, “I don’t think anybody wants to give a message that rural Wisconsin or rural America is second class.” “If you can ship 1,000, you can ship 200,” he added. “It’s more expensive. It’s more cumbersome, but it allows rural to be getting vaccinated at the same time urban’s getting vaccinated.”

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“..end rebates paid to the so-called middlemen in Medicare..”

Trump Targets Medicare Drug Prices With Cost-cutting Measures (Fox)

The Trump administration on Friday announced three measures designed to cut prescription drug prices – with a particular focus on seniors – pursuant to executive orders signed earlier this year. “Together, these reforms will save Americans patients many, many billions of dollars every single year,” Trump said during a press conference at the White House. The first would end rebates paid to the so-called middlemen in Medicare, who are supposed to pass them on to commercial plans – though there is doubt over whether that happens. Instead, the discounts are expected to be offered to consumers directly at the pharmacy counter. There has been a concern that this policy could result in higher Part D premiums for beneficiaries.


The second action announced on Friday aims to make U.S. drug prices more competitive by linking prices paid for prescriptions under Medicare to prices charged for the same drugs in other countries. Trump said that Medicare will look at prices paid by other developed nations and instead of paying “the highest price on the list,” the program “will pay the lowest price.” Additionally, the administration said it would end the Unapproved Drug Initiative, which was designed to prevent the use of unapproved drugs, but instead has allowed drugmakers to exploit older drugs that have received renewed approval and exclusivity by hiking prices. One study found that prices were increased by as much as 1,644% after approval.

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30% of Democrats Believe Election Stolen from Trump

61% Think Trump Should Concede to Biden (Rasmussen)

Most voters now believe President Trump should admit that he lost the election, although they’re less certain their friends and neighbors would agree. They’re more closely divided, however, over whether the Democrats stole the election as Trump contends.The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 61% of Likely U.S. Voters think Trump should concede the presidential election to Democrat Joe Biden. Just 33% disagree. (To see survey question wording, click here.) 84% of Democrats, 37% of Republicans and 59% of voters not affiliated with either major party believe Trump should concede. 57% of Republicans disagree.

Among all voters, though, only 51% think their friends and neighbors believe Trump should concede. 30% suspect they would disagree, but 18% are not sure. 47% say it’s likely that Democrats stole votes or destroyed pro-Trump ballots in several states to ensure that Biden would win, but 50% disagree. This includes 36% who say it’s Very Likely and 41% who consider it Not At All Likely. The survey of 1,000 Likely U.S. Voters was conducted November 17-18, 2020 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

Looking back at the presidential election, Trump voters overwhelmingly say they voted for the president, while a sizable number of Biden supporters admit they were voting against Trump rather than for the former vice president. The older the voter, the less supportive they are of Trump conceding the election to Biden. Whites oppose concession more strongly than blacks and other minority voters do. Even among those who Strongly Approve of Trump’s job performance, nearly one-in-four (23%) believe he should admit he lost. Of course, that compares to 93% of those who Strongly Disapprove of the job he’s been doing. 61% of Republicans say it’s Very Likely the Democrats stole the election, but just as many Democrats (61%) say it’s Not At All Likely. Among unaffiliateds, 29% feel it’s a stolen election; 45% do not.

80% of voters who do not believe Trump should concede yet think it’s Very Likely Democrats stole votes or destroyed pro-Trump ballots in several states to ensure that Biden would win. Fifteen percent (15%) of those who want Trump to concede agree. Trump’s job performance was the most important issue for Biden voters, closely followed by the coronavirus. For Trump voters, the economy came first and then how the president did his job. Just two weeks before this year’s Election Day, 94% said their vote would be correctly recorded and counted, with 73% who said it was Very Likely. Following the election, those findings fell to 71%and 47% respectively.

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PBS Went to Georgia One Week Before the Election

PBS Does A Deep Dive On Georgia’s Use Of Dominion Voting Systems Machines (GP)

One week before the 2020 election PBS went to Georgia to do a deep dive of their Dominion Voting Systems. One of their experts, Harry Hursti from Nordic Innovation Labs, told PBS the Georgia system does not seem to have any safeguards. Georgia’s vote tabulating system was a complex system of laptops, ipads, magnetic cards, touch screens, printers and scanners. Investigators found several troubling issues before the election. One expert said it would be easy to dublicate the ballot codes and make up new ballots.

PBS does a deep dive on Georgia’s use of Dominion Voting Systems machines.

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Not a great look.

Dominion Voting ‘Lawyers Up’, Abruptly Backs Out Of PA Hearing (Heine)

Dominion Voting Systems Thursday night abruptly backed out of attending a fact-finding hearing that was set for Friday morning with the Pennsylvania House State Government Committee. At a press conference Friday morning, State Govt Committee Chair Seth Grove said the 1.3. million Pennsylvanians who used Dominion’s voting machines have been “hung out to dry and slapped in their faces.” Pennsylvania lawmakers had scheduled the hearing with the voting machine manufacturer “to help identify and correct any irregularities in the election process,” according to the House Republican Caucus. “It is vitally important voters have faith in the machines they use to cast their ballots.

On the heels of Gov. Tom Wolf unilaterally decertifying every voting machine in the Commonwealth, we need to know whether these new machines met expectations, whether they are reliable and whether they are not subject to interference,” said Rep. Grove (R-York). Dominion had initially agreed to attend the hearing, before it “abruptly canceled,” Grove said. “I was impressed at what appeared to be the willingness that Dominion Voting Systems to address accusations and it would have put 1.3. million Pennsylvanians who used their machines at ease—including myself, thinking that Dominion was willing to publicly back up their product which PA taxpayers invested millions to purchase” he noted during the presser. “Unfortunately, last evening, Dominion Voting Systems lawyered up, and backed out of their commitment to the people of Pennsylvania to provide their input in a public format.”

Grove blasted the company for “retreating into the darkness,” rather than appearing at the hearing with “honesty and integrity.” The committee chair said he wanted to know why a company with nothing to hide would back out. “Why would a vender of public goods fear discussing their product sold to the public for the public good? If Dominion’s products were successful and operated as they were supposed to, why wouldn’t Dominion take the opportunity to publicly review its success?” Grove demanded. “How hard is it to say, ‘our ballot machines worked exactly as promised and they’re 100 percent accurate’?” “After weeks of accusations, why has Dominion Voting Systems not released any analysis of the success of its voting machines to the public in order to stop their accusers in their tracks? If they have nothing to hide, why are they hiding from us?” he asked.

John Oliver

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“..we’ll have to stand by like grownups and see how it all plays out in the courts.”

“(If I were her, I’d be deep into the George Dickel No. 12 Sour Mash by eight o’clock that night, Tucker Time.)”

The Many Layers of Travail (Jim Kunstler)

One thing you could say about the three Trump campaign lawyers’ joint press conference at high noon, Thursday: it sure wasn’t slick. But then, are we now such a nation of lobotomized chumps that our chief criteria for any public acting-out of an acute national melodrama is slickness of presentation? I guess we like our crises fluffed, like a Caitlin Jenner spot on The View. This one, though, is raw and savage.

And so there stood Rudy Giuliani in that cramped briefing room, with dark rivulets running down both temples as if he were sweating blood (more likely, hair dye), cracking jokes at times, and laying out some rather harsh predicates for pending election fraud lawsuits. Next up, the usually demure Sidney Powell appeared boiling over with grief and rage at the hijacking of American democracy, and the Deep State’s long-running connivance with all that, yielding nearly to tears at moments as she sketched out the sinister history and associations of the Dominion and Smartmatic vote systems — and the utter failure of public officialdom to monitor any of it for many years. Then Jenna Ellis, much in command of herself, emphasized perhaps half a dozen times, and quite sternly for the obdurately seditious news media, that the actual evidence would be revealed in court and that the day’s presentation was a mere overview. Got that? In court.

The news media didn’t get the message — on purpose, as usual — and so the stories flew all over the Internet’s gaslit echo chambers that the three lawyers failed to make a case. Later that night, Tucker Carlson piled on Sidney Powell for not sharing what she intends to present in a court of law. Apparently, she hung up the phone on him. Let’s face it, the lady has had a hard month, and a hard year, having to battle the malevolent and depraved Judge Emmet Sullivan over the dismissal of the case against General Flynn (as ordered by the DOJ), and now this colossal hairball of a momentous and historic election fraud case. (If I were her, I’d be deep into the George Dickel No. 12 Sour Mash by eight o’clock that night, Tucker Time.)

All right then, Mr. Trump’s lawyers have set the table for this epic political food-fight with just a few weeks to file and proceed, and we’ll have to stand by like grownups and see how it all plays out in the courts. There may be other sideshows and shenanigans in the various state legislatures over electoral college slates and such, along the way, but meanwhile I want to remind you that there are many other layers in this burgeoning mega-crisis worth being mindful of.

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“..As soon as he saw multiple states shut down the voting on the night of the election, he knew the same thing was happening here.”

Sidney Powell: Tucker Carlson Was ‘Insulting, Demanding, And Rude’ (WE)

Sidney Powell, an attorney on President Trump’s election legal team, shot back at Fox News host Tucker Carlson the morning after he said she “got angry” and refused to provide evidence on his show for her claims of voting software flipping votes. “No, I didn’t get angry with the request to provide evidence,” the former federal prosecutor said Friday morning during an interview with Fox Business anchor Maria Bartiromo. “In fact, I sent an affidavit to Tucker that I had not even attached to a pleading yet to help him understand the situation, and I offered him another witness who could explain the mathematics and the statistical evidence far better than I can. I’m not really a numbers person,” she added. “But he was very insulting, demanding, and rude, and I told him not to contact me again, in those terms,” Powell concluded.

Powell did not state whether it was Carlson or a member of his team she spoke to about appearing on his show. [..]On his show Friday night, Carlson said that he had made “a lot of requests” for Powell to provide evidence for the Trump campaign’s allegations of widespread voter fraud but was given “not a page.” “We took Sidney Powell seriously. We had no intention of fighting with her. We’ve always respected her work. We simply wanted to see the details. How could you not want to see them? So, we invited Sidney Powell on the show. We would’ve given her the whole hour. We would’ve given her the entire week, actually, and listened quietly the whole time at rapt attention. That’s a big story. But she never sent us any evidence, despite a lot of requests — polite requests. Not a page,” Carlson said.

After Powell told Carlson to stop contacting her, he said that his team “checked with others around the Trump campaign, people in positions of authority,” who said that “Powell had never given them any evidence either.” Carlson’s show followed a wild press conference featuring Powell and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani in which they laid out their claim of a “massive” vote-rigging scheme, laying much of the blame on Dominion Voting Systems. “We have one very strong witness who has explained how it all works,” Powell said. “His affidavit is attached to the pleadings of Lin Wood and the lawsuit he filed in Georgia. … As soon as he saw multiple states shut down the voting on the night of the election, he knew the same thing was happening here.”

Dinesh D’Souza

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Not the President.

The Pentagon and the CIA Are in Charge of Foreign Policy (FFF)

President Trump has announced that he is ordering a partial withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan and Iraq during the waning days of his administration. Why only partial? And why now in the waning days of his presidency? After all, when Trump campaigned in 2016. his expressed aim was to bring all the troops home from those two countries. He repeatedly vowed to bring an end to America’s “forever wars.” There is a simple explanation for Trump’s failure, one that unfortunately so many Americans are loathe to consider: It’s not the president who is in charge of foreign policy. Instead it is the Pentagon and the CIA that are in charge. Trump had four years to bring home those troops. Clearly he wanted to. The reason he didn’t – the reason he still can’t – is because the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the CIA won’t let him.

Longtime readers of my blog know that I have periodically referenced a book titled National Security and Double Government by Michael J. Glennon, who is a professor of law at Tufts University and served as counsel to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He knows what he is talking about. I highly recommend his book.Glennon’s thesis is a simple one: The real power of the federal government lies with the national-security establishment – namely the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA. They permit the president, the Congress, and the Supreme Court to maintain the veneer of power. That veneer is unimportant to the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA. What’s important to them is who holds the power, not who appears to hold the power.

Trump’s inability to bring the troops home from Afghanistan and Iraq provides confirmation of Glennon’s thesis. Trump wanted to bring them home. He vowed to bring them home. He had four years to bring them home. He was unable to do so. The Pentagon and the CIA simply would not permit it. In his Farewell Address in 1961, President Eisenhower warned about the danger to America’s democratic processes from what he called the “military-industrial complex.” That was almost 60 years ago. As we have seen with President Trump, the national-security state has grown ever more powerful since then.

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What the NYT has become.

How ‘Western’ Media Select Their Foreign Correspondents (MoA)

Did you ever wonder why ‘western’ mainstream media get stories about Russia and other foreign countries so wrong? It is simple. They hire the most brainwashed, biased and cynic writers they can get for the job. Those who are corrupt enough to tell any lie required to support the world view of their editors and media owners. They are quite upfront about it. Here is evidence in form of a New York Times job description for a foreign correspondent position in Moscow:

To be allowed to write for the Times one must see the Russian Federation as a country that is ruled by just one man. One must be a fervent believer in MI6 produced Novichok hogwash. One must also believe in Russiagate and in the multiple idiocies it produced even after all of them have been debunked. One must know that vote counts in Russia are always wrong while U.S. vote counting is the most reliable ever. Russian private military contractors (which one must know to be evil men) are ‘secretly deployed’ to wherever the editors claim them to be. Russia’s hospitals are of cause always much worse than ours. Even when it is easy to check that Vladimir Putin (the most evil man ever) is at work in the Kremlin the job will require one to claim that he is hiding in a villa.

Most people writing for the Times will actually not believe the above nonsense. But the description is not for a position that requires one to weight and report the facts. It is for a job that requires one to lie. That the Times lists all the recent nonsense about Russia right at the top of the job description makes it clear that only people who support those past lies will be considered adequate to tell future lies about Russia. No honest unbiased person will want such a job. But as it comes with social prestige, a good paycheck and a probably nice flat in Moscow the New York Times will surely find a number of people who are willing to sell their souls to take it.

Interestingly the job advertisement does not list Russian language capabilities as a requirement. It only says that ‘Fluency in Russian is preferred’. ‘Western’ mainstream media are filled with such biased, cynic and self-censoring correspondents who have little if any knowledge of the country they are reporting from. It is therefore not astonishing that ‘western’ populations as well as their politicians have often no knowledge of what is really happening in the world.

Read more …

 

 

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Neil DeGrasse Tyson Galileo

 

 

Apple

 

 

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Nov 202020
 


Paul Klee Girl in Mourning 1939

 

The End of the Pandemic Is Now in Sight (Zhang)
1 Million Chinese Injected With Sinopharm Vaccine In Emergency Use Scheme (SCMP)
Sidney Powell: Trump Team To Sue Officials To Invalidate Election Results (ZH)
I Know Sidney Powell. She Is Telling the Truth (Zmirak)
There Is Evidence, Actually (Athey)
The New Ruling Coalition: Opposition to Afghanistan Withdrawal (Greenwald)
The Global Reset Scam (Macleod)
Netanyahu Seeks To Cement Permanent Rule By Israel’s Far-right (Cook)
Comedians Rate Journalist Humor (Taibbi)
BBC Edits Out ‘Derogatory’ Words In ‘Fairytale Of New York’ (RT)

 

 

I did not watch the Trump lawyers’ presser, but the strong reactions on all sides are intriguing. Even Tucker Carlson goes after Sidney Powell for not showing him evidence that she intends to present in court. Hold your horses, I’d say.

And I’m not sure why they held the conference at that point in time, knowing anything short of laying out their court case right there and then would be criticized. But I for one don’t mind waiting a few more days. Court cases require more work than press-ops.

 

 

Bongo Biden

 

 

Trump Michigan Wisconsin Data Dumps

 

 

Bit optimistic, perhaps? But the underlying science is certainly interesting.

“mRNA vaccines cannot cause infection because they do not contain the whole virus.”

The End of the Pandemic Is Now in Sight (Zhang)

mRNA vaccines offer a clever shortcut. We humans don’t need to intellectually work out how to make viruses; our bodies are already very, very good at incubating them. When the coronavirus infects us, it hijacks our cellular machinery, turning our cells into miniature factories that churn out infectious viruses. The mRNA vaccine makes this vulnerability into a strength. What if we can trick our own cells into making just one individually harmless, though very recognizable, viral protein? The coronavirus’s spike protein fits this description, and the instructions for making it can be encoded into genetic material called mRNA.

Both vaccines, from Moderna and from Pfizer’s collaboration with the smaller German company BioNTech, package slightly modified spike-protein mRNA inside a tiny protective bubble of fat. Human cells take up this bubble and simply follow the directions to make spike protein. The cells then display these spike proteins, presenting them as strange baubles to the immune system. Recognizing these viral proteins as foreign, the immune system begins building an arsenal to prepare for the moment a virus bearing this spike protein appears. This overall process mimics the steps of infection better than some traditional vaccines, which suggests that mRNA vaccines may provoke a better immune response for certain diseases.

When you inject vaccines made of inactivated viruses or viral pieces, they can’t get inside the cell, and the cell can’t present those viral pieces to the immune system. Those vaccines can still elicit proteins called antibodies, which neutralize the virus, but they have a harder time stimulating T cells, which make up another important part of the immune response. (Weakened viruses used in vaccines can get inside cells, but risk causing an actual infection if something goes awry. mRNA vaccines cannot cause infection because they do not contain the whole virus.) Moreover, inactivated viruses or viral pieces tend to disappear from the body within a day, but mRNA vaccines can continue to produce spike protein for two weeks, says Drew Weissman, an immunologist at the University of Pennsylvania, whose mRNA vaccine research has been licensed by both BioNTech and Moderna. The longer the spike protein is around, the better for an immune response.

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Strange silence in the west about Chinese and Russian vaccines.

1 Million Chinese Injected With Vaccine In Emergency Use Scheme (SCMP)

Almost 1 million Chinese have been given an experimental Covid-19 vaccine developed by the state-owned Sinopharm under the government’s emergency use scheme, the company’s chairman said. China is one of just two countries, along with Russia, known to have used so-called vaccine candidates – products that are still undergoing clinical trials to test their efficacy and safety – to inoculate its citizens. “In terms of emergency use, the vaccines were applied to nearly a million people and there has not been a single case of a serious adverse event. People have had only mild symptoms,” Liu Jingzhen, chairman of China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm), said in an interview with a Sichuan-based digital media company that was published on Wednesday.


“Until now, all our progress, from research to clinical trials to production and emergency use, we have been leading the world,” he said. Besides the recipients of the Sinopharm jabs, authorities in Zhejiang said they had made a Covid-19 vaccine developed by the privately owned pharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotec available to high-risk groups in the east China province under the emergency use scheme. Exactly how many citizens have received the jabs is unknown, but local and foreign media reports showed images of people lining up outside disease control and prevention centres to receive them.

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“It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific and political operations.”

Sidney Powell: Trump Team To Sue Officials To Invalidate Election Results (ZH)

Shortly before the Associated Press announced late on Thursday that Joe Biden had won the state of Georgia after its secretary of state said that Biden had remained ahead after a hand recount of the state’s 5 million presidential votes making him the first Democratic presidential candidate in 28 years to win the state pending any potential litigation by Trump, the president’s attorney Sidney Powell warned that a “flurry of lawsuits” await election officials who certify the results of the election which she believes are fraudulent. The former federal prosecutor, who is also Michael Flynn’s lead attorney in a case about lying to the FBI, told Fox Business host Lou Dobbs on Thursday that the Trump camp will press forward with legal action, targeting election officials as they certify the 2020 results in several key battleground states that have been called for President-elect Joe Biden.

One of them would be Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, who must certify the results by Friday. Dobbs also asked if Trump’s llegal team will pursue legal action against Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic: “Are you pressing forward with legal action against them for those violations?” Dobbs asked. “Not against the company and the software,” Powell responded. “But the suits will be against the election officials to invalidate the results of the election and force it to the legislatures and the Electoral College and then the Congress if necessary.” As we reported earlier, Powell asserted that Dominion and Smartmatic are “inexplicably intertwined.” She appeared with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and other members of Trump’s election legal team at a press conference in Washington, D.C., to accuse Democrats of an elaborate plot by his opponents to “rig” voting machines in the presidential.

During that conference, Giulianni said that he “can prove that [Trump] won Pennsylvania by 150,000 votes” and that “the people who did this have committed one of the worst crimes that I’ve ever seen or heard.” The former NYC mayor also said there is a pattern in the voting data that suggests “a plan from a centralized place” to commit voter fraud in Democrat-run cities. At the same time, Powell said President Trump “won by a landslide,” and that their legal team will prove it.

Giuliani presser

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“When I saw that she was representing General Mike Flynn, I knew one thing for sure — that he was innocent.”

I Know Sidney Powell. She Is Telling the Truth (Zmirak)

Back in 2014, I worked freelance for a public relations firm in New York City. It was there that I met an unusual woman. I didn’t know many lawyers or Texans, but I knew better than to chalk up her qualities to either her profession or her home. It’s rare that I encounter someone who I’m afraid to argue with, because of her sheer brain power and towering personal rectitude. But this was such a person. This woman had quite a career behind her. An evangelical Christian, she’d been a federal prosecutor — and quit, outraged at the corruption she saw among her colleagues. She did more than quit. Horrified by prosecutors hiding exculpatory evidence and targeting the innocent because of their personal politics, she became a defense attorney, to help people fight the feds.

But that wasn’t enough. At a huge financial sacrifice, she took time off from her practice to write a book. And self-publish it. And hire a public relations firm to get it out to people, when media ignored it. That book, Licensed to Lie, is absolutely chilling. It shows innocent Americans, even a U.S. Senator such as Ted Stevens of Alaska, unable to defend themselves against prosecutors with vendettas. It recounts how innocent companies, like accounting firm Arthur Anderson, can be broken by biased and dishonest federal prosecutors, and left in ruins. A real-life legal horror story, the book was too disturbing for me to read it through to the end. And its author was Sidney Powell, whom I used to go to lunch with in midtown Manhattan. In retrospect, I feel privileged. I knew she was a powerhouse, but I little suspected what an historic role she would someday play. When I saw that she was representing General Mike Flynn, I knew one thing for sure — that he was innocent.

Sidney’s not one of those lawyers who works for people she thinks are guilty as sin. She wouldn’t have gone on Fox News, and One America, and Newsmax, night after night and coolly laid out his defense in a tone of righteous outrage if this were just some client. Because the abuse of power and perversion of law Sidney witnessed made her more than just some lawyer. It made her a crusader. It made her … Joan of Arc. So watching the press conference with Jenna Ellis, Rudolph Giuliani, and Sidney Powell was different for me than for most. I don’t know Ms. Ellis or Mayor Giuliani, though I don’t suspect that they’re cynical, partisan hacks, as Ross Douthat suggests. Keep in mind that a week before the 2016 election, Douthat tried to suppress the pro-life vote for Trump by comparing a voting for Trump to shooting abortionists on the street. That’s one way to keep a job at The New York Times, I suppose.

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“It is too early to dismiss Giuliani’s efforts as a mere clown show.”

There Is Evidence, Actually (Athey)

Call me crazy for taking the man with hair dye dripping down his cheeks seriously, but I think it would be unfair to dismiss Rudy Giuliani. Amusingly shambolic he may be. That doesn’t mean he is wrong. The media has been claiming since the election ended that President Trump’s claims of voter fraud are ‘baseless’ and ‘without evidence’. That just is not true. The President’s lawyer gave examples of it during today’s press conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington DC. But everyone is too busy mocking him to pay attention. I tried to listen to what Giuliani actually said and not what he looked like or the characterization of him by the rest of the media. The cameras started feverishly clicking the first time he wiped the sweat from his face, all but guaranteeing that would be the focus of the presser.

Giuliani did in fact present evidence of voter fraud today but many people simply didn’t want to hear it. He cited multiple Americans, one by name, who have signed sworn affidavits stating that they witness some type of fraud, whether it was pro-Trump ballots being thrown out without cause, ballots being backdated to before the election, poll workers being told not to ask voters for identification, and more. As Giuliani helpfully pointed out, affidavits are considered ‘evidence’ in a court case. Whether you agree or disagree with them is a different question. And it’s reasonable that not all of the people who signed their names would be willing to go public. If you want to hear more of the evidence that was presented, just watch the first hour or so of the press conference.

The more difficult — and crucial — question is whether Trump’s legal team has enough witnesses or other evidence to actually overturn the election in court. That is what journalists should be addressing. But it is simply wrong for the media to assert there is NO evidence of fraud. I felt like I was living in a different reality when we moved into the question-and-answer portion of the presser and reporters repeatedly demanded Giuliani ‘give us the evidence’. Trump campaign legal adviser Jenna Ellis was right when she said that ‘court cases take time to build and to try. This is not an episode of Law & Order’. I did not feel entirely satisfied by what was presented at the presser, but I am intrigued enough to want the process to play out properly in court. Any honest American should want the same. This is not a trial by media — we cannot expect a legal team to unveil all of their evidence before they get their day in court. It is too early to dismiss Giuliani’s efforts as a mere clown show.

Tucker Sidney Powell

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“An unholy union of the National Security State and the neocon-backed and corporate-funded Democratic Party are about to assume power: with media-supported internet censorship a key weapon.”

The New Ruling Coalition: Opposition to Afghanistan Withdrawal (Greenwald)

The Trump era has engendered numerous fractures, one might say realignments, in the political order. Long-time ideological allies are now adversaries, and long-time political enemies are now in full-fledged coalitions. These shifts are not temporary or Trump-dependent but enduring, because they are grounded in shared core beliefs about the defining debates shaping our new politics and how to consolidate real power: call it the Lincoln Project Syndrome. One major reason for this transformation is a fundamental difference in how to understand Trump: is he the primary author of America’s pathologies or merely a symptom of pathologies which long pre-dated him?

Relatedly: is removing Trump from power a vital step in returning the U.S. to its previous status as a benevolent and law-abiding republic, or is isolating him as the principal cause of the nation’s woes a cynical propaganda tactic for whitewashing the sins of those who are actually responsible so that they can rebuild their reputations and again assume power? Were Trump’s policies some radical, unprecedented aberration from U.S. political tradition or, stylistic quirks aside, a standard continuation of it? How one answers those questions — along with whether one believed that the Kremlin had infiltrated the White House and assumed command of the levers of U.S. power through elaborate blackmail schemes or whether one recognized that this was a CIA-fabricated propaganda fraud excavated from crusty Cold War scripts — determined where one fell on many of the most contentious political debates over the last four years (my answer to all of the questions is the latter choice).

That’s why the millions of Americans who, due to fear of Trump, began paying close attention to politics and consuming news products only in 2016 were such easy marks for peddling fear-mongering narratives and revisionism: because they lacked the crucial historical context in which to place Trump and understand his ascension to the presidency. But there is another critical debate, one that has rarely been conducted explicitly, that is also a key determinant of where one falls in this new alignment: what are the real power centers in the U.S., the ones most responsible for its worst acts and greatest dangers?

There are many places where that answer resides. One can find it right now in the ongoing effort to denounce the Trump White House for attempting to remove troops from Afghanistan, where the U.S. has been fighting and shooting and bombing in a war now about to enter its 20th year. Take a look at who is demanding that those troops remain, and there you will find the real axis of power — all of its component parts — in the United States.

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“..at 82 years old he is probably getting impatient about the progress towards his personal vision of ultimate power.”

The Global Reset Scam (Macleod)

Increasingly, people are beginning to realise that their world is undergoing a period of rapid change, with the future of fiat money now uncertain. For most, it is too difficult to even contemplate. But growing uncertainties are driving wild speculation about what those in authority now have in store for the human race in the form of a global reset. It is a time for conspiracy theorists, aided and abetted by our politicians and central bankers who are being increasingly evasive, because events are spiralling out of their control. Then there is America’s Deep State, or the British equivalent, the more recently christened Blob; an amorphous entity comprised of the permanent bureaucracy with its own agenda. These faceless planners have moved on from merely making ministers’ lives difficult if they deviate from the blob’s predetermined course — immortalised in “Yes Minister” and its sequel series “Yes Prime Minister”.

As we saw with Brexit, The Blob has been rigging political outcomes, even conniving in elections. Christopher Steele, an ex-MI6 officer produced a dodgy dossier on Trump to influence the American presidential election in 2016. But there is no such thing as an ex-MI6 Agent because of the Official Secrets Act, so we can only conclude that the intelligence arm of The Blob sanctioned it on a distanced basis. MI6 works with other intelligence agencies under the five-eyes agreement and is close to the CIA. Though they do not necessarily share intelligence, it is impossible to conceive of Steele’s role in influencing the outcome of a US presidential election without the CIA’s knowledge. Almost certainly, the fact that it was commissioned must have been with the CIA’s blessing.

At the time of writing, we do not know the outcome of the current presidential election, but enough doubt has been thrown on the validity of the voting process to implicate unknown parties in managing the outcome. It can never be proved, but for increasing numbers of sceptics it looks like a Deep State operation. It is therefore hardly surprising that conspiracies abound. The most prominent of these conspiracies has hit the headlines in recent weeks. Its ambition is to take the lead in resetting the world by dismantling the capitalist system in favour of a greater technocratic rule — a fourth industrial revolution no less, even planting microchips in humans to read their brains and control them. The leader is one Klaus Schwab, whose World Economic Forum runs the annual Davos bunfight.

As leader of the Davos forum, Schwab probably sees himself as the coordinator of world government. If so, at 82 years old he is probably getting impatient about the progress towards his personal vision of ultimate power. The covid chaos and the success of his climate change agenda must be encouraging him to think he is very close to a breakthrough. Alternatively, we might consider Schwab as a latter-day Charles Fourier (1772—1837), the utopian socialist philosopher, whose forgotten ideals were only marginally more narcissistic and bizarre than Schwab’s.

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“..his moves to get into bed with politicians representing a section of Israeli society he has long characterized as the enemy..”

Netanyahu Seeks To Cement Permanent Rule By Israel’s Far-right (Cook)

Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is only weeks away from the scheduled start of his long-awaited corruption trial – the endgame in a series of investigations that have been looming over him for years. As a result, he has been taking extraordinary measures to save his political skin. One of the most surprising is his moves to get into bed with politicians representing a section of Israeli society he has long characterized as the enemy. In recent weeks Netanyahu has been working overtime to prise apart the Joint List, a coalition of 15 legislators in the parliament who represent Israel’s large Palestinian minority. In particular, he has been making strenuous overtures to Mansour Abbas, head of the United Arab List, a conservative Islamic party.

This is a dramatic about-face. Netanyahu’s political trademark over the past five years has been incessant incitement against Israel’s Palestinian minority – one in five of the population. These 1.8 million citizens are the remnants inside Israel of the Palestinian people, the vast majority of whom were ethnically cleansed from their homeland in 1948, in events Palestinians call their Nakba, or Catastrophe. Netanyahu appears to hope that sabotaging the Joint List will offer him short-term help as he seeks to evade his trial. But there may be a longer-term electoral dividend too. Destroying the Joint List, now the third largest party in the Israeli parliament, would remove the main stumbling block on the path to permanent rule by the far-right coalition he dominates.

Israel’s Palestinian parties – like the minority they represent – have always been regarded as illegitimate political actors within a self-declared Jewish state. Israeli politicians, including Netanyahu, regularly depict them as a “fifth column” or “supporters of terror”. The Palestinian parties have never been invited into any of the regular coalition governments that rule Israel. The closest they have been to power was when they propped up the government of Yitzhak Rabin – very much from the outside – in the early 1990s. Even then the arrangement was implemented out of necessity: it was the only way Rabin could get the “Oslo peace process” legislation through the parliament over the opposition of a majority of Jewish legislators.

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Not sure what to make of this.

Comedians Rate Journalist Humor (Taibbi)

The Trump years were supposed to be a golden age for humor in journalism. There were tens of thousands of jokes about Trump. In fact, the grotesque cartoon of the blob in orange with a teeny Mario Kart knoblet — fat Trump in diapers, fat Trump as Jabba the Hut, fat Trump waving ICBMs at Kim Jong-Un and saying, “Mine’s Bigger” — became almost a mandatory element in op-ed pages of major dailies. It was other genres that took a hit. By the weeks before the election, even the New York Times was running features about how Trump “ruined political comedy,” as funny-for-funny’s sake gave way to the humor of political intent. The Times noted that one of the few success stories during the last four years was Trevor Noah of the Daily Show, who got there via “observational humor coupled with declarations of broader progressive values.”


Humor decoupled from Trump or “broader progressive values” grew rarer over the last four years, to the point where the last attempts left involved gentle puns in ledes and headlines, and the occasional apolitical burn by a critic in an inside section. TK sat down with Comedy Cellar owner Noam Dworman and longtime standup artist Tim Dillon, a regular on the Joe Rogan Show whose eponymous podcast is a hit. Some may recognize Dillon as the comedian who co-piloted a recent Rogan episode with Alex Jones. Asked if there were uncomfortable moments on the show, Dillon explained, “I don’t know that there are comfortable moments.” He laughed. “It’s hard to be funny, because you’ll say something crazy and Alex will just be like, ‘That’s a good point.’”

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They’re killing off your culture. You’re being cancelled.

BBC Edits Out ‘Derogatory’ Words In ‘Fairytale Of New York’ (RT)

The BBC was pilloried online after one of its radio stations decided to start playing an edited version of the beloved Christmas song ‘Fairytale of New York’ out of fear that an old-fashioned lyric would offend young listeners.
The 1987 song was first recorded and performed as a duet between Celtic folk punk band the Pogues and British singer Kirsty MacColl. “We know the song is considered a Christmas classic and we will continue to play it this year, with our radio stations choosing the version of the song most relevant for their audience,” the BBC said on Thursday. BBC Radio 1, which is mostly geared towards young people, said it will play an edited version of the song because its young listeners are “particularly sensitive to derogatory terms for gender and sexuality.”

The station further argued that people unfamiliar with the track “would find some of the words stark and not in line with what they would expect to hear on air.” In the lyrics, which are sung in the form of a dialogue between an alcoholic and a heroin addict, the homophobic slur “f****t” will be replaced with “haggard,” while another word will be removed entirely. The Scotsman newspaper reported that the word “slut” will be muted. BBC said its Radio 2 station, which targets a more mature audience, will continue to play the unedited version and “monitor listeners’ views.” The broadcaster’s Radio 6 Music, which specializes in alternative music, will play both versions at the “discretion” of individual DJs.

The track was briefly censored on BBC Radio 1 in 2007, but the station quickly resumed playing the original after receiving complaints from listeners. The decision to edit the song now was likewise widely slammed online as “ridiculous” and “pathetic.”“Like our delicate ears will bleed if the BBC doesn’t save us from hurty words,” one person tweeted. Some called the move “patronising,”arguing that it is not up to the broadcaster to “edit our music and art,” while others blasted the decision as “political correctness gone mad” and said more people were offended by the censorship than the song.

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sand stars

 

 

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Nov 182020
 


Paul Klee Analysis of Various Perversities 1922

 

The Coronavirus Is Killing Westerners. Immigrants Are Saving Them. (Legrain)
PA Gov Announces New COVID rules, Including Wearing A Mask In Your House (Fox)
US Approves First Rapid Home COVID19 Test (Y!)
Chemicals Found In Everyday Products Could Hinder COVID Vaccine (G.)
US Govt Study Highlights COVID-19 Risk From Bars And Restaurants (MedE)
Why Trump Will Likely Win a Second Term (Phoenix)
Trump Fires Agency Head Who Vouched For 2020 Vote Security (AP)
Wayne County Fails To Certify Election Results, Then Reverses Course (JTN)
Biden’s First Climate Appointment Is A Fossil Fuel Industry Ally (DP)
1% Of People Cause Half Of Global Aviation Emissions (G.)
Obama: The Internet Is “The Single Biggest Threat To Our Democracy” (AP)

 

 

With regards to the top issues of COVID and the US elections, there’s definitively a Groundhog Day feeling about the news.

About the elections, let the process play out and land where it may, provided it’s done legally. The haste to declare Biden President-elect, by people who have no voice in the decision, feels eery. When it comes with warnings that “more people may die” if Trump doesn’t concede yesterday, it feels dishonest.

About COVID, as I said somewhere below: After 10 months, we can’t keep treating COVID as the only problem in town. That’s myopic. We need a bigger picture.

 

 

Sidney Powell Outlines Affidavit Showing Purpose of SmartMatic Voting System to Control Elections

 

 

 

 

Katie Porter New Proof On Why I Am CERTAIN Trump Will Win

 

 

And Big Pharma makes all the money.

The Coronavirus Is Killing Westerners. Immigrants Are Saving Them. (Legrain)

Early results suggest that the COVID-19 vaccine developed by BioNTech and Pfizer is more than 90 percent effective. If it also proves safe and regulators approve it soon, it could save many lives, allow people to resume a normal life, and give struggling economies a shot in the arm. It is hard to think of any other invention that could provide such a huge immediate boost—and the world has Turkish immigrants to Germany to thank for it. Ugur Sahin, the co-founder and chief executive of BioNTech, a German biotech start-up, arrived in Germany as a child. He is the son of an auto worker who came to Germany as part of its postwar guest worker program. BioNTech’s chief medical officer, Ozlem Tureci, who is Sahin’s wife, is the daughter of a Turkish doctor who also moved to Germany. Both went on to become scientists.

Their start-up, which had previously focused on developing innovative cancer treatments, is now set to be the first to use the novel messenger RNA technology to develop a vaccine. Moreover, Moderna, the U.S. biotech company whose vaccine also looks promising, was co-founded by a group that includes two immigrants—Canadian biologist Derrick Rossi and Lebanese-born scientist and investor Noubar Afeyan—and its CEO is French. The achievements of Sahin and Tureci—which were celebrated even by outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump, who rarely has anything good to say about immigrants, let alone Muslim ones—have exposed the fallacy of anti-immigrant discourse in Europe and North America.

While many anti-immigration figures do look more favorably on highly skilled migrants than other foreigners, Sahin could hardly have been selected by the skills-based immigration policies that many governments in rich countries increasingly favor. Indeed, if he hadn’t moved to Germany as a child, the world might never have realized what it had missed out on. For all Sahin’s individual brilliance, he is unlikely to have achieved as much had he not moved to Germany, benefited from an excellent scientific education, and seized the greater research and business opportunities available there.

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Panic. Because “the science” has failed to paint a convincing and consistent picture. The science contradicts itself time and again. Just look at all the different measures various governments are taking. Lockdown is just an easy way out of failure.

After 10 months, we can’t keep treating COVID as the only problem in town.

PA Gov Announces New COVID rules, Including Wearing A Mask In Your House (Fox)

Pennsylvania is planning to take additional steps to address a sharp increase in coronavirus infections and hospitalizations, including requiring masks to be worn indoors with limited exceptions, officials said Tuesday.In addition, starting Friday, anyone who enters Pennsylvania must be tested at least 72 hours before arrival, and if they can or do not get a test, they must quarantine for 14 days. The order does not apply to people who commute to neighboring states for work or health care, officials said, and will be largely self-enforced.Pennsylvania already has a statewide mask mandate, limits on indoor and outdoor gatherings and occupancy restrictions at bars and restaurants.

But the new rules go even further. Masks are required outside where it isn’t possible to maintain at least a six-foot distance from others, according to the order, and inside where people from multiple households are gathering, even if they can maintain a social distance. Like the rest of the nation, Pennsylvania has seen coronavirus infections explode in recent weeks. The state is reporting more than 5,000 new infections per day, up more than 115% in just two weeks, and hospitalizations and the percentage of tests coming back positive are up sharply. Deaths are on the rise, as well.Governors and mayors around the country have been tightening restrictions in response to the worsening pandemic.

On Monday, Philadelphia said it would ban indoor gatherings and indoor dining and shutter casinos, gyms, museums and libraries. Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf imposed a state-at-home order and shuttered businesses deemed “non-life-sustaining” early in the pandemic. In September though, a judge ruled Wolf’s pandemic restrictions unconstitutional.

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The rapid test takes an awfully long time to be accepted.

US Approves First Rapid Home COVID19 Test (Y!)

The US issued an emergency use authorization for the first self-administered rapid coronavirus test Tuesday, as more parts of the country increase restrictions in an attempt to halt a Covid-19 surge. The Food and Drug Administration approved a testing kit for people age 14 and older whom a doctor suspects to have Covid-19. The test, which is by prescription only, delivers results in 30 minutes. “We continue to demonstrate unprecedented speed in response to #COVID19,” tweeted FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn. “FDA authorized the first #COVID19 test that’s fully self-administered & provides results at home. It’s an important advancement, underscoring our commitment to expanding test access.” The authorization is for an at-home nasal sample kit developed by Lucira Health. Users collect a sample with the included nasal swab, then put the sample in a small vial.


The vial is inserted into a small device that tests the sample. A light-up display on the device shows a user’s result in 30 minutes or less. The test is designed to be affordable and is intended to cost less than $50, according to the Lucira Health website. The FDA had previously approved at-home Covid-19 tests, giving the green light in late April and early May to two nasal sample collection kits and one saliva sample collection kit. But samples from those kits had to be sent to a lab for processing, instead of delivering results at home. While the Lucira test provides results on the spot, it still isn’t the kind of cheap and rapid antigen test that some researchers have called to use for large-scale population screening.

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We are weak and poisoned cretaures.

Chemicals Found In Everyday Products Could Hinder COVID Vaccine (G.)

The successful uptake of any vaccine for Covid-19, a crucial step in returning a sense of normalcy after a year ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic, could be hindered by widespread contamination from a range of chemicals used in everyday products. Small amounts of per- and polyfluoroalkyl (or PFAS) chemicals are commonly found in the bodies of people in the US, as well as several other countries. These man-made chemicals, used in everything from non-stick pans to waterproof clothes to pizza boxes, have been linked to an elevated risk of liver damage, decreased fertility and even cancer. But scientists warn some of these chemicals can also cause another little-known but potentially significant defect by reducing the effectiveness of certain administered vaccines.

This impediment could cast a shadow over efforts to roll out a Covid-19 vaccine to enough people that restrictions on day-to-day life are eased. “At this stage we don’t know if it will impact a corona vaccination, but it’s a risk,” said Philippe Grandjean, an adjunct professor of environmental health at the Harvard School of Public Health. “We would have to cross our fingers and hope for the best.” Research led by Grandjean has found that children exposed to PFAS had significantly reduced antibody concentrations after given tetanus and diphtheria vaccinations. A follow-up study of adult healthcare workers found similar results. Meanwhile, a certain type of PFAS, called perfluorobutyrate (or PFBA), accumulates in the lungs and can heighten the severity of illness suffered by people who are infected with Covid-19, separate research by Grandjean, yet to be peer-reviewed, has suggested.

German company BioNTech and the US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer provoked a surge of optimism over an impending Covid vaccine after announcing a contender was 90% effective in preventing people from falling ill with the disease. The scientist behind the vaccine has predicted it will “bash the virus over the head” and help lift the pandemic that has crippled much of the world since the beginning of the year. The Pfizer vaccine is based on messenger RNA genetic material and it’s uncertain if PFAS contamination would disrupt its efficacy in patients. But there are several other vaccine contenders that are formulated around the protein spikes of the virus, similar to vaccines for tetanus and diphtheria, and they may well also have poor results in people who have ingested PFAS.

“People with high exposure to PFAS have a non-protective and very low antibody levels after four vaccinations for diphtheria and tetanus,” Grandjean said. “So if a vaccine for Covid is similar, the PFAS will likely inhibit the response from a vaccine. But it is an unknown at this stage.”

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Reminds me of something I quoted recently. But something definitively does not add up.

Howard Beckett tweeted on Sunday about the UK: “Governments own stats have 4% of cases arising from hospitality, 20% from the workplace and a whopping 36% from education. So we shut bars & restaurants and keep schools & universities open.”

US Govt Study Highlights COVID-19 Risk From Bars And Restaurants (MedE)

A new study by US health authorities published Thursday provided more data showing that, when it comes to catching COVID-19, visiting bars and restaurants is far more dangerous than going shopping, working from an office or using public transport. It was already suspected that this was the case, but few studies have sought to rigorously establish a hierarchy of risk in public activities. The new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) isn’t perfect: it can’t confirm definitively where people in the cases it studied were infected. CDC officials approached people who had gone for a test at 11 American hospitals in July and asked them to fill out a detailed questionnaire. Overall, about 300 participated, half of whom tested positive and the other half negative.


Participants were asked questions about possible community exposure over the previous 14 days, in settings including public transport, at private gatherings, offices, churches, salons, bars and restaurants. They realized that the participants who tested positive and those who tested negative reported similar mask-wearing behavior and similar levels of exposure in all the settings except bars and restaurants. “Adults with positive SARS-CoV-2 test results were approximately twice as likely to have reported dining at a restaurant than were those with negative SARS-CoV-2 test results,” it found. The risk was even higher for bars when the analysis was restricted to participants who hadn’t reported exposure to a person with a known case of COVID-19. The analysis will need further validation, particularly since it did not distinguish between indoor and outdoor drinking and dining settings.

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The courts.

Why Trump Will Likely Win a Second Term (Phoenix)

The media wants you to believe the election is over. By law, it isn’t. Unless a candidate concedes, the election remains in play until December 14th when states cast their electoral college votes. So, unless President Trump concedes between now and then, Joe Biden hasn’t won anything, no matter what the media tells you. Indeed, the media has no say in this, anymore than they can decide what color the sky is; they’re simply trying to get you angry so you’ll continue to watch their awful shows so they can sell your eyeballs to advertisers. With that in mind, we need to take a step back and assess how this election is likely to play out based on the LAW, not public opinion or media propaganda. Based on the law, it is highly possible and in fact probable that Donald Trump will end up winning the 2020 Presidential election.

Why? Because the election is now in the courts. And the courts have a clear precedent for how contested elections play out. When the courts get involved in an election, it becomes an issue of evidence. Specifically, what a given court decides is compelling versus non-compelling evidence, and how the court chooses to address the issue of voter fraud if indeed there is compelling evidence. For instance, if President Trump’s legal team goes to court and says, “we want to have a vote audit in Michigan because there was voter fraud” the first thing the court will ask them is, “what evidence do you have to support this claim?” If the President Trump’s legal team’s answer is “we saw some numbers that looked suspicious,” the court controls its urge to laugh, throws out the case, and that’s that.

However, if the President’s legal team responds, “we have sworn affidavits from 50 witnesses, video evidence, as well as three whistleblowers” then it’s a completely different story. Once evidence of fraud is introduced to the courts via a lawsuit, the court, NOT the voters and certainly NOT the media, is in charge of the election. The courts can demand a vote audit of every single vote counted in an election. If, during the vote audit, actual fraud is discovered, the court can rule that those votes are no longer valid, the formal vote counts can change, and it is possible that a given state ends up declaring a different winner. Even if fraud is not discovered by the audits, but there is a particular problem with vote cards (the wrong type of ink was used, the hole punch didn’t go all the way through the ballot as was the case in Florida in 2000, etc.), the courts can deem those problematic votes as illegitimate.

This again can mean the formal vote counts can change, and it is possible that a given state ends up declaring a different winner. This process is now underway in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Arizona. Any one of those states could see Biden end up losing (remember, he only won these states by 0.5% for most of them). That means that if Biden loses even 10,000 votes due to fraud or some technicality (the ballots arrived after the deadline), Trump could be declared the winner. Again, I am NOT saying I want this to happen. I am simply outlining how this process works. If a court says “jump” you jump, no matter who you are.

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However this may be, it’s a weirdstatement to say these were the most secure elections ever.

Routing votes through Spain

Trump Fires Agency Head Who Vouched For 2020 Vote Security (AP)

President Donald Trump on Tuesday fired the nation’s top election security official, a widely respected member of his administration who had dared to refute the president’s unsubstantiated claims of electoral fraud and vouch for the integrity of the vote. While abrupt, the dismissal of Christopher Krebs, the director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, was not a surprise. Since his loss, Trump has been ridding his administration of officials seen as insufficiently loyal and has been denouncing the conduct of an election that led to an embarrassing defeat to Democrat Joe Biden. That made Krebs a prime target.

He had used the imprimatur of Trump’s own Department of Homeland Security, where his agency was based, to issue a stream of statements and tweets over the past week attesting to the proper conduct of the election and denouncing the falsehoods spread by the president and his supporters — without mentioning Trump by name. Krebs stood by those assertions after his ouster. “Honored to serve. We did it right,” he said in a brief statement on Twitter. “Defend Today, Secure Tomorrow.” He closed with the phrase “Protect 2020,” which had been his agency’s slogan ahead of the election.

The firing of Krebs, a Trump appointee, came the week after the dismissal of Defense Secretary Mark Esper, part of a broader shakeup that put Trump loyalists in senior Pentagon positions. A former Microsoft executive, Krebs ran the agency, known as CISA, from its creation in the wake of Russian interference with the 2016 election through the November election. He won bipartisan praise as CISA coordinated federal state and local efforts to defend electoral systems from foreign or domestic interference. Hours before being dismissed, Krebs tweeted out a report citing 59 election security experts saying there is no credible evidence of computer fraud in the 2020 election outcome.

Jim Jordan

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Tweet: “The total number of ballots cast in Wayne County was about 863,000. Without Wayne County, Biden’s lead in Michigan would flip to a 177,000 Trump lead. So yes, certifying Wayne County is a big deal. The State of Michigan will now be tasked with attempting certification.”

Wayne County Fails To Certify Election Results, Then Reverses Course (JTN)

The elections board in Wayne County, Michigan’s largest metropolis and home to the city of Detroit, initially refused Tuesday night to certify the results of its Nov. 3 election before an angry outcry led two Republican members to compromise and approve results showing Joe Biden won. The initial vote and then sudden reversal injected new drama into the legal fight waged by President Trump’s campaign in several battleground states. The Wayne County Board of Canvassers originally deadlocked 2-2, with both Republican members refusing to certify the results after discrepancies were discovered in absentee ballot poll books in a majority of Detroit’s precincts. Similar problems were discovered in the county’s summer primary and the November 2016 election but did not impact the board’s vote then.

But during a tense public comment meeting that followed, angry residents raised issues of race, suggesting majority black voters in Detroit were being disenfranchised. From the sidelines, Democratic congresswoman Rashida Tlaib joined the protest, suggesting the GOP opposition to certification amounted to racism. “The Republican members of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers put politics above their duty to our residents,” Tlaib tweeted. “Suggesting that all of Wayne County can be certified, EXCEPT for Detroit, is horrifying racist and a subversion of our democracy. The two GOP board members then agreed to a compromise of certifying the results provided the count send a demand that Michigan’s Secretary of State conduct a “comprehensive audit” of “unexplained precincts.”

Under Michigan law, a county that fails to canvass within 14 days after the election must yield its documentation to the Secretary of State’s office and Board of State Canvassers to determine if the results should be accepted. The dramatic deadlock came just a week after a city of Detroit elections worker named Jessy Jacob submitted an affidavit saying she personally witnessed and was instructed by supervisors herself to back date absentee ballots the day after the election to make votes look like they had arrived on or before Nov. 3. Jacob testified she believed thousands of ballots had been altered.

Dooxed and threatened

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You made your bed.

Biden’s First Climate Appointment Is A Fossil Fuel Industry Ally (DP)

Following a campaign promising bold climate action, president-elect Joe Biden’s transition team named one of the Democratic Party’s top recipients of fossil fuel industry money to a high-profile White House position focusing in part on climate issues. On Tuesday, Politico reported that Biden is appointing U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., to lead the White House Office of Public Engagement, where he is “expected to serve as a liaison with the business community and climate change activists.” During his 10 years in Congress, Richmond has received roughly $341,000 from donors in the oil and gas industry — the 5th highest total among House Democrats, according to previous reporting by Sludge.


That includes corporate political action committee donations of $50,000 from Entergy, an electric and natural gas utility; $40,000 from ExxonMobil; and $10,000 apiece from oil companies Chevron, Phillips 66 and Valero Energy. Richmond has raked in that money while representing a congressional district that is home to 7 of the 10 most air-polluted census tracts in the country. Richmond has repeatedly broken with his party on major climate and environmental votes. During the climate crisis that has battered his home state of Louisiana, Richmond has joined with Republicans to vote to increase fossil fuel exports and promote pipeline development. He also voted against Democratic legislation to place pollution limits on fracking — and he voted for GOP legislation to limit the Obama administration’s authority to more stringently regulate the practice.

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“US air passengers have by far the biggest carbon footprint among rich countries. Its aviation emissions are bigger than the next 10 countries combined..”

1% Of People Cause Half Of Global Aviation Emissions (G.)

Frequent-flying “‘super emitters” who represent just 1% of the world’s population caused half of aviation’s carbon emissions in 2018, according to a study. Airlines produced a billion tonnes of CO2 and benefited from a $100bn (£75bn) subsidy by not paying for the climate damage they caused, the researchers estimated. The analysis draws together data to give the clearest global picture of the impact of frequent fliers. Only 11% of the world’s population took a flight in 2018 and 4% flew abroad. US air passengers have by far the biggest carbon footprint among rich countries. Its aviation emissions are bigger than the next 10 countries combined, including the UK, Japan, Germany and Australia, the study reports.


The researchers said the study showed that an elite group enjoying frequent flights had a big impact on the climate crisis that affected everyone. They said the 50% drop in passenger numbers in 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic should be an opportunity to make the aviation industry fairer and more sustainable. This could be done by putting green conditions on the huge bailouts governments were giving the industry, as had happened in France. Global aviation’s contribution to the climate crisis was growing fast before the Covid-19 pandemic, with emissions jumping by 32% from 2013-18. Flight numbers in 2020 have fallen by half but the industry expects to return to previous levels by 2024.

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They want the internet to have the same bias the MSM have.

Obama: The Internet Is “The Single Biggest Threat To Our Democracy” (AP)

Back in 2008, Barack Obama famously harnessed the internet and social media to help win the White House. He kept up the embrace once he got there. Now he worries that the internet and social media have helped create “the single biggest threat to our democracy.”Obama has been saying a version of this for four years — since he left the White House — but his words are getting steadily more pointed. He’s clearly sounding an alarm, but it’s not exactly clear what he thinks we should do about it. His latest critique comes in a new interview between Obama and Atlantic editor Jeffrey Goldberg, and before we go any further we should put it in full context: Obama was discussing a media landscape dominated not just by Facebook but by Fox News that allows Americans to choose their own distorted reality.

Which means, he says, we no longer have a shared set of facts. That assessment is now conventional wisdom among many critics of the TV and internet ecosystem. There’s almost no practical, constructive argument about how we should respond to that problem. Obama doesn’t offer one in his interview, either. And again, it’s incorrect to say that Obama is laying the problems of our broken information landscape solely at the feet of Facebook or any other particular tech company. But he is certainly lacing into them now in a way he didn’t do prior to leaving the White House.

Obama: “Now you have a situation in which large swaths of the country genuinely believe that the Democratic Party is a front for a pedophile ring…I was talking to a volunteer who was going door-to-door in Philadelphia in low-income African American communities, and was getting questions about QAnon conspiracy theories.” Goldberg: Is this new malevolent information architecture bending the moral arc away from justice? Obama: I think it is the single biggest threat to our democracy.

Read more …

 

 

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Nov 162020
 


Roy Lichtenstein Femmes d’Alger 1963

 

“We’re Getting Ready To Overturn Election Results In Multiple States” (ET)
Pro-Biden Bug Also Suspected in Georgia’s Vote-Counting Software (Sperry)
How A Philly Mob Boss Stole The Election (Buffalo Chronicle)
Illegitimate President (Jim Quinn)
What is John Brennan So Worried About? (Ray McGovern)
Geopolitical Risks of the 2020 Election (Achim Dübel)
6,000 UK Volunteers To Be Injected With Covid Vaccine In Phase 3 Trial (G.)
300,000 New Yorkers Have Fled The Big Apple Amid Coronavirus, Crime (NYP)
Trump Plans Last-Minute China Crackdown (Axios)
As China’s Blockade Unravels Australian Economy, Everything Is At Risk (SCMP)
Girlfriend Keeps Referring To Herself As ‘Wife-Elect’ (Babylon Bee)

 

 

Prof Sucharit Bhakdi : Take those masks off your face

 

 

 

 

Smartmatic, Dominion, Hammer, Scorecard.

“We’re Getting Ready To Overturn Election Results In Multiple States” (ET)

Former federal prosecutor Sidney Powell, a Trump campaign lawyer, suggested in a Sunday interview that there is still more evidence coming out in President Donald Trump’s claims of voter fraud and irregularities. “We’re getting ready to overturn election results in multiple states,” Powell said, saying that she has enough evidence of election fraud to launch a widespread criminal investigation. “I don’t make comments without having the evidence to back it up,” she added, saying that elections software switched “millions of votes” from Trump to Democratic nominee Joe Biden. Powell notably provided legal counsel to Gen. Michael Flynn in 2019. She was named to Trump’s legal team in the past several days.

Powell said a whistleblower came forward and said the elections software was designed to “rig elections,” saying that “he saw it happen in other countries,” referring to voting systems Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic, or perhaps other software and machines. “We have so much evidence, I feel like it’s coming in through a fire hose,” Powell said, while noting that she won’t reveal the evidence that she has. “They can stick a thumb drive in the [voting] machine, they can upload software to it even from the Internet … from Germany or Venezuela even,” she said, adding that operations “can watch votes in real-time” and “can shift votes in real-time,” or alleged bad actors can “remote access anything.” “We’ve identified mathematically the exact algorithm they’ve used—and planned to use from the beginning” that allegedly switched votes to Biden, Powell remarked.

[..] “(W)e have concerns about the spread and effect of private equity investment in many sectors of the economy, including the election technology industry—an integral part of our nation’s democratic process,” wrote the lawmakers in their letters to the firms about a year ago. “These problems threaten the integrity of our elections and demonstrate the importance of election systems that are strong, durable, and not vulnerable to attack.” Later in the Sunday morning interview, Powell said that her team has “detected voting irregularities that are inexplicable” in states where officials believe they have valid systems. During the election, Republicans in the House were able to flip at least 11 seats while the GOP is poised to maintain control of the Senate. Some conservatives have questioned how such a voting pattern is possible for Biden to win the presidential election, let alone receive more votes than any other presidential candidate in American history, including President Barack Obama’s victory in 2008.

Sidney Powell

https://twitter.com/i/status/1328049953927782407

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“Georgia is now Ground Zero in the battle for control of the Senate.”

Pro-Biden Bug Also Suspected in Georgia’s Vote-Counting Software (Sperry)

A curious thing happened as Fulton County, Ga., election officials counted mail-in ballots at Atlanta’s State Farm Arena in the days after the election. In the early hours of Nov. 5, a surge of some 20,000 mail-in votes suddenly appeared for Joe Biden, while approximately 1,000 votes for President Trump mysteriously disappeared from his own totals in the critical swing state, where Biden holds a razor-thin lead. A poll watcher noticed the suspicious shift in votes while monitoring the interim election results on the Georgia secretary of state website. “I concluded from looking at these results that this was an irregularity, since there was no obvious reason for President Trump’s totals to have decreased while former Vice President Biden’s totals increased dramatically,” Voter GA co-founder Garland Favorito swore in an affidavit he filed this week with the secretary of state’s office.

Favorito suspects a variety of factors, including that votes were “artificially inflated” for Biden while using the same Dominion Voting system used by Antrim County, Mich., which erroneously transferred 6,000 votes from Trump to Biden. Last year, Georgia contracted with Dominion to automate vote tabulations in all 159 of its counties. “The software appears to have thrown votes from Trump to Biden here too,” he said in a RealClearInvestigations interview. “Or Biden ballots were manufactured.” The large disparity of gains between the two candidates “was something I had never witnessed before in my years of election monitoring,” said Favorito, a career IT professional who has been a leading advocate for election integrity in the state over the past two decades. He says he is not a Republican or Trump supporter.

On Nov. 10, Favorito sent his affidavit to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, recommending a full, by-hand ballot recount. The next day, his office announced it will conduct such an audit for the presidential race. Biden currently leads Trump by more than 14,000 votes in the state. “It’s a good first step,” Favorito said. “A recount will be able to determine if there was electronic vote fraud.” In addition to helping certify the presidential race, he said it’s imperative investigators identify the source of the irregularities before the state holds its two U.S. Senate run-off elections on Jan. 5 so they don’t repeat themselves. Georgia is now Ground Zero in the battle for control of the Senate. Republicans currently hold a 50-48 edge, but if they lose both Georgia seats, presumptive Vice President-elect Kamala Harris could cast tie-breaking votes to carry out the Democratic agenda.

Giuliani Says Election will Be Overturned We Have Proof

Read more …

No idea what to make of this really. But I do know the song for it:

Well, they blew up the chicken man in Philly last night.
Blew up his house too.

How A Philly Mob Boss Stole The Election (Buffalo Chronicle)

The innermost circles of the American mafia are abuzz. The Boss of the Philly mob — ‘Skinny Joey’ Merlino — is taking a victory strut, hobnobbing around the highest echelons of old-time mafia folk, mostly in Florida, describing what may have been the heist of the century: the 2020 presidential election. The feat is drawing praise from far-flung corners of the Italian American business community, which sees the thanks of a grateful administration as key to the revival of the community’s political influence. But an associate says that Merlino might just be willing to flip on Joe Biden and the Pennsylvania political operatives who ordered up some 300,000 election ballots marked for Biden. The source alleges that Merlino and a lean team of associates manufactured those ballots at a rate of $10 per ballot — a whopping $3 million for three days of work.

They were then packaged into non-descript cardboard boxes and dropped off outside the Philadelphia Convention Center. Sources who spoke to The Chronicle on the condition of anonymity say that Merlino picked up those ballots from two private households where a trusted handful of associates were busily marking ballots with Sharpie markers. They were paid more than $1,000 per hour, often producing thousands of ballots every hour for more than 60 nearly-consecutive hours. The ballots were purchased in cash. It’s thought that Democratic Party operatives working inside Philadelphia’s election office provided Merlino with crates of raw ballots just hours before polls closed on election night, which he transported to two private households in South Philadelphia.

By 10 p.m. that night Merlino’s operation was already generating more than 3,000 ballots per hour, which quickly scaled to more than 6,000 ballots per hour before midnight. But now, Merlino might just be willing to flip on Biden — in primetime Congressional testimony — if President Donald J. Trump is willing to issue the longtime mobster a full expungement of his decades-long criminal record. And, of course, Merlino wants to be pardoned for the election fraud itself and any crimes to which he may incriminate himself during his testimony. “He wants a clean record. He wants to fish and hunt on federal lands. He’d really like a job with the National Parks Service. You need a clean record to get those things,” explains one confidant. “But most of all he wants the thanks of a grateful nation for coming forward.”

Read more …

Jim Quinn takes no prisoners.

Illegitimate President (Jim Quinn)

“Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.” – H.L. Mencken. It’s now almost two weeks since the most crooked, rigged, fraudulent election in U.S. history. The engineered elevation of a handsy, sniffy, senile, empty portal, trojan horse by billionaire oligarchs, their Silicon Valley techno-geek social media censorship police, and the corporate media propaganda mouthpieces looks like it might succeed. Republican cucks like Romney and even the pliable Fox News talking heads have acquiesced to this third attempt during this ongoing coup like obedient lapdogs positioning themselves to profit from doing the bidding of their global oligarch masters.

Make no mistake. There was a master plan implemented by dark forces to steal this election, overriding the will of the American people. The anger of 70 million Americans is perfectly captured in the above quote from Mencken. If Trump and his allies are unable to prove fraud and overturn this sham of an election, myself and millions more will treat the Kamala Harris administration as illegitimate and do everything in our power to resist and insure its failure.

The level of fake news media propaganda about the “most secure fairest election in history”, and the vociferous blatant systematic censorship by Twitter, Facebook, and Google of anyone who dares to question the approved narrative of “a mostly fraud free election” on their social media platforms is all the proof a critical thinking person needs to realize this election was stolen by left wing oligarchs. Trump was too erratic, uncontrollable and resistant to their new world order agenda of climate extremism, population control through fear, communist economics, cash elimination, and ruling through a technocratic Big Brother surveillance state.

Trump, through naivety, foolishness or carelessness, allowed enemies of his administration to wield power and influence for the last four years. He chose swamp creature after swamp creature for key cabinet positions and seemed surprised when they stabbed him in the back. He failed to purge Obama loyalists holding middle level positions in the FBI, CIA, Dept of Defense, and numerous other agencies. They actively worked to subvert everything he tried to accomplish.

The military industrial complex apparatchiks are cackling like hyenas about how they misled him about troop levels in Syria and continue to ignore his orders to bring the troops home from Afghanistan. Obama and his gang of traitorous thieves conspired to bring Trump down before he assumed office and continued for the entire four years, assisted by a feckless mainstream media of faux journalists peddling fake news and disinformation fed to them by the Deep State coup collaborators.

Read more …

As I said last week: he’s afraid of being exposed.

What is John Brennan So Worried About? (Ray McGovern)

Former CIA Director John Brennan is apparently so worried that Donald Trump might release certain classified intelligence that he suggested this week that Vice President Mike Pence and the cabinet remove Trump via the 25th amendment. Brennan appeared this week on both CNN and MSNBC to spread alarm about what Trump might do as he continues to contest the election results and appoints new people at Defense, NSA (and possibly CIA) who may do his bidding. Brennan warned on CNN that it was “very, very worrisome” that Trump “is just very unpredictable now … like a cornered cat — tiger. And he’s going to lash out.” Brennan told MSNBC he was worried that Trump has called for the “wholesale declassification of intelligence in order to further his own political interests.”

Whom would he lash out at and what classified documents might Brennan be referring to? The CIA’s point man at The Washington Post, David Ignatius, has provided the answer: “President Trump’s senior military and intelligence officials have been warning him strongly against declassifying information about Russia that his advisers say would compromise sensitive collection methods and anger key allies. An intense battle over this issue has raged within the administration in the days before and after the Nov. 3 presidential election. Trump and his allies want the information public because they believe it would rebut claims that Russian President Vladimir Putin supported Trump in 2016. That may sound like ancient history, but for Trump it remains ground zero — the moment when his political problems began.”

Protecting “sources and methods” is a red herring. They can be redacted from a classified document. It’s the content of these files that has Brennan extremely nervous as they might reveal Brennan’s role in the Russiagate scandal. Of course, Brennan invoked the old trope of “national security” when it appears it’s his own security he’s worried about. As we noted at a similar juncture in March 2018 (in “Former CIA Chief Brennan Running Scared”), Brennan’s foremost worry — then, as now — was that Trump was about to expose him to the disgrace that befell ex-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe for malfeasance in connection with Russiagate. The president had just fired McCabe for repeatedly lying, and Brennan had good reason to worry.

That was before the true extent of the roles McCabe, his boss, former FBI Director James Comey, and Brennan played in the WMD-style fabrication of “Russiagate” had became more fully understood. Brennan landed on his MSNBC perch as a paid commentator on Feb. 2, 2018 and was riding high with adulation from the likes of former UN Ambassador Samantha Power, who publicly warned Trump that it is “not a good idea to piss off John Brennan.” Even back then, however, storm clouds were gathering. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA), who knew much more than he revealed, was warning of legal consequences for Russiagate conspirators. Referring to the weavers and tailors of Russiagate, Nunes told reporter Sharyl Attkisson on Feb. 18, 2018: “If they need to be put on trial, we will put them on trial. The reason Congress exists is to oversee these agencies that we created.”

Read more …

View from Berlin.

Geopolitical Risks of the 2020 Election (Achim Dübel)

A drama is unfolding for Korea. President Donald Trump was a once in a generation chance for reunification on the East Asian peninsula, as President Ronald Reagan was for Germany almost half a century ago. With the victory of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, the pro-war tendency in America that goes back to President Harry Truman returns to power. The consequences for Korea and many other nations around the world will be terrible. It was Reagan himself, not the CIA man President George H.W. Bush, who followed him, who pushed for the first covert and then overt operation to bring the Berlin wall down. It was Reagan’s Jacksonian sense of independence and his personal charm that convinced a reluctant Soviet leadership and domestic administration apparatus alike to follow. Reagan did most of the job in his second term, after he had gained control – and had survived an assassination attempt.

Now the old British-American war networks that have dominated U.S. administration since the murder of President John F. Kennedy will take over again. When the debris of the wall was still lying around in Berlin, George H.W. Bush in 1991 blocked Helmut Kohl in his effort to build a joint European house together with Russia. Under President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the tension with Russia led into the current New Cold War. The new de-facto President of the United States, Kamala Harris, will now stop every effort to bring regional peace and cooperation. Harris was the first candidate to drop out of the Democrat’s race due to her profound unpopularity, but she was always the war network’s preferred candidate. I predicted in May that the US military industrial complex would push Harris through regardless.

The popular contenders such as Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and President Trump were axed away with the most unfair means to clear the path for Harris to reclaim control of the US for the war network. Harris’ career is also well planned ahead. The demented and corrupt Joe Biden, who is easy to manipulate and blackmail, is for some the perfect profile of a politician. Biden will be kept as a kind of political hologram for the next four, maybe eight years, while policy will be run by Harris and the corporate networks she represents. And then she will become President herself. It is reasonable to expect Harris to run the country until 2032 or 2036. The war network appreciates continuity.

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“This includes the development of “memory” immune cells, which should protect against future coronavirus infections.”

6,000 UK Volunteers To Be Injected With Covid Vaccine In Phase 3 Trial (G.)

Six thousand British volunteers are to be injected with an experimental Covid vaccine modelled on an Ebola jab. It is the third Covid vaccine to enter large-scale clinical trials in the UK. Pursuing multiple candidates is essential to guarantee UK supply and ensure that most effective vaccine is identified, researchers stressed. Already undergoing large clinical trials in British patients are the Oxford Covid vaccine, and one being developed by the US biotech company Novavax. A phase 3 trial of the latest vaccine, developed by global pharmaceutical company Janssen (a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson), begins on Monday.

Phase 3 trials are designed to test the safety and effectiveness of drugs or vaccines in thousands of people. It will initially involve 6,000 volunteers from 17 sites across the UK, including Belfast, Bristol, Cardiff, Dundee, Leicester, London, Manchester, Sheffield and Southampton. A further 24,000 volunteers are to be recruited from other countries. Like the Oxford vaccine, the Janssen candidate uses a weakened common cold virus called an adenovirus to deliver instructions for making the coronavirus’s surface spike protein to our cells. Cells infected begin making the viral protein and expressing it on their surface, triggering an immune response. This includes the development of “memory” immune cells, which should protect against future coronavirus infections.

However, whereas the Oxford vaccine is based on an adenovirus from chimpanzees, Janssen’s vaccine uses a human adenovirus, which has been modified so it can no longer multiply or cause disease. The same virus forms the backbone of a recently approved Ebola vaccine, deployed during the 2019 outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Janssen’s vaccine has already undergone smaller phase 1 and 2 trials, and interim analysis of a single-dose study suggests that it induces a robust immune response and is generally well-tolerated.

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Too close for comfort.

300,000 New Yorkers Have Fled The Big Apple Amid Coronavirus, Crime (NYP)

More than 300,000 New Yorkers have bailed from the Big Apple in the last eight months, new stats show. City residents filed 295,103 change of address requests from March 1 through Oct. 31, according to data The Post obtained from the US Postal Service under a Freedom of Information Act request. Since the data details only when 11 or more forwarding requests were made to a particular county outside NYC, the number of moves is actually higher. And a single address change could represent an entire household, which means far more than 300,000 New Yorkers fled the five boroughs. Whatever the exact number, the exodus — which began when COVID-19 hit the city in early spring — is much greater than in prior years.

From just March through July, there were 244,895 change of address requests to destinations outside of the city, more than double the 101,342 during the same period in 2019. The escape from New York is fueled not only by coronavirus concerns, but economic worries, school chaos and rising crime, experts say. Michael Hendrix, director of state and local policy at the Manhattan Institute, which has commissioned surveys about the state of the city, was not surprised by the data. “I think people are afraid,” Hendrix said. “They’re afraid of catching a deadly virus and they’re afraid of crime and other quality of life concerns. One thing we also hear is about trash and cleanliness of the city.”

The institute’s survey of six-figure earners in July and August found that 44% of respondents had considered moving outside the city in the prior four months. They cited cost of living as the biggest reason. More than a third, 38%, said they thought the city was heading in the wrong direction and only 38% rated the quality of life as good or excellent. More than half, 53%, said they were very concerned about sending their kids back to school. Major crimes have been on the rise this year with the number of murders in the Big Apple hitting 344 by October, surpassing the count for all of 2019. The number of shootings through Nov. 8 is up 94% over 2019.

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Not sure what Axios thinks of this….

Trump Plans Last-Minute China Crackdown (Axios)

President Trump will enact a series of hardline policies during his final 10 weeks to cement his legacy on China, senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the plans tells Axios. He’ll try to make it politically untenable for the Biden administration to change course as China acts aggressively from India to Hong Kong to Taiwan, and the pandemic triggers a second global wave of shutdowns. Watch for National Intelligence Director John Ratcliffe to publicly describe in granular detail intelligence about China’s nefarious actions inside the U.S Trump officials plan to sanction or restrict trade with more Chinese companies, government entities and officials for alleged complicity in human rights violations in Xinjiang and Hong Kong, or threatening U.S. national security.

The administration also will crack down on China for its labor practices beyond Xinjiang forced labor camps. But don’t expect big new moves on Taiwan or more closures of Chinese consulates in the U.S., officials say. National Security Council spokesperson John Ullyot told Axios, “Unless Beijing reverses course and becomes a responsible player on the global stage, future U.S. presidents will find it politically suicidal to reverse President Trump’s historic actions.” Senior administration officials are discussing expanding a Defense Department list of Chinese companies deemed to have ties to the Chinese military. An executive order issued last week barred U.S. investment in 31 such companies, and any additions would likely face a similar restriction.

Officials plan to target China’s growing use of forced labor in the highly competitive fishing industry. Coerced and unpaid labor isn’t just a human rights concern — it can also give Chinese fisheries an advantage over rivals in an industry with geopolitical significance. Trump officials have been looking to move more hawkish China experts into senior roles across the government, another senior official added. “Director Ratcliffe will continue playing a leading role, in coordination with other national security principals, in delivering a necessary mindset shift from the Cold War and post-9/11 counterterrorism eras to a focus on great power competition with an adversarial China,” DNI senior adviser Cliff Sims tells Axios.

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…but maybe this is what Trump has in mind. “China last week left 21 tonnes of live Australian lobster to die in Shanghai warehouses awaiting customs clearance.”

As China’s Blockade Unravels Australian Economy, Everything Is At Risk (SCMP)

The tide turning against Chinese goods in Australia did not come as a huge surprise given the shifting geopolitical winds, but I was taken aback that China fuelled this particular fire by enacting what could be interpreted as a trade embargo by blocking the imports of multiple Australian goods. If the countries stay this course, it would be a sharply negative development after they just five years ago signed the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA), which had taken nearly a decade to put into place. The knock-on effect would be far more serious than just shutting down the trade agreement in a huff. The risk in relying too heavily on Chinese goods and supply chains so heavily reliant on China became apparent during the Covid-19 crisis, and is leading to a global rethink about what we buy, from where and at what price.

Untying such a trade relationship with China is tricky, though, because it is a two-way flow. Australia has become dependent on imported Chinese goods whilst China is its largest customer for raw materials and certain food products. China has the upper hand as there are many sources of the raw materials and foodstuffs it needs, while Australia can’t switch suppliers so easily and needs to find new buyers for its goods fast. In Australia the issue of reliance on China became even more raw with the realisation during the Covid-19 crisis that Australian manufactured medical equipment was being siphoned off and shipped out. Essentially, much of the country’s businesses and assets had been sold to the Chinese, presenting a potential national security issue as the Australians were no longer deciding where locally manufactured goods would be sold.

The Australian government has woken up to this and is now scrutinising foreign business acquisitions. But the recent blocking of the sale of Lion Dairy & Drinks by Japanese beverage group Kirin Holdings to China Mengniu Dairy is merely closing the stable door after the horse has bolted. Australia is taking issue with China on several fronts, and no punches are being pulled by the country’s commentators or politicians. One pressure point is Australia’s demand that China clarify what happened in the early stages of the coronavirus crisis when domestic flights from Wuhan were cancelled and international flights were allowed to continue. When China pushes back at Australia for having the nerve to even ask the question, Canberra interprets that as “punishment”.

Suggesting that Canberra “reflect on its own deeds”, China last week left 21 tonnes of live Australian lobster to die in Shanghai warehouses awaiting customs clearance. Chinese importers have been “advised” to stop importing barley, sugar, red wine, timber, coal, and copper ore and concentrates –and a ban on wheat is also expected. China can get its raw materials elsewhere. But as a friend of mine in Brisbane pointed out when trying get a water filter replacement and some kitchen storage boxes, she had only Chinese options.

Read more …

“At publishing time, Wendy had set January 20th as the perfect date for the two to unite…”

Girlfriend Keeps Referring To Herself As ‘Wife-Elect’ (Babylon Bee)

Sources close to Winston Davis say he is “totally screwed” as his girlfriend Wendy Fitzpatrick keeps referring to herself as “Wife-Elect” at any and every public gathering with close family and friends. This awkward situation is happening to Winston despite no clear moment in time in which it ever entered his mind that Wendy was “the one” or that he was even getting close to asking her the question to make such an interim title even remotely appropriate. “Uh, honey—” Winston could be heard starting to interject before Wendy went ahead and dialed up local caterers and contractors to make arrangements for the wedding, which was surely going to unify their two families who haven’t always gotten along, and bring about a glorious time of family healing.


Wendy had even started delegating bridesmaids to begin getting fitted for dresses and unironically telling members of her family that she was setting up an “Office of the Wife-Elect.” “Yeah I feel bad for the guy,” said Winston’s best friend, Paul. “It’s been an unhealthy codependent relationship from the beginning, but this recent turn of events is just pure cognitive dissonance.” “I keep telling him he needs to tell her straight up that an ‘Office of Wife-Elect’ isn’t a real thing and that he never officially asked her to be his fiancé, but I think he is afraid that will just make her mad,” Paul continued. “Like, there isn’t even an engagement ring.” At publishing time, Wendy had set January 20th as the perfect date for the two to unite into one in a wonderful winter wedding for W+W.

Read more …

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

Trump’s presidential shield of protection expires the moment he steps down Jan 20

 

 

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

 

Nov 152020
 


Pablo Picasso Les femmes d’Alger Version 0 1955

 

New US Defense Chief Tells Troops ‘Time To Come Home’ (F24)
Biden’s Transition Team: War Profiteers, Beltway Chickenhawks (GZ)
The Filthy Rich War Hawks That Make up Biden’s New Foreign Policy Team (MPN)
Cecilia Muñoz Defended Family Separations Under Obama, Joins Biden Team (DN)
Biden Will Fail To Bring Back ‘Normal’ Politics (Cook)
How Pence & GOP Senators Could Try To Steal The Election (DP)
Donald Trump’s Likeliest Path To Staying In Office (du Quenoy)
Everybody Knows the Fight was Fixed (Curtin)
Lockdowns Haven’t Brought Down COVID Mortality, But Killed Millions Of Jobs (Mises)
COVID19 Vaccines May Have Potentially Unpleasant Side Effects (Kaiser)
Australia Revels In Covid-free Days (G.)
The Huge New Trade Deal ‘Western’ Media Do Not Like To Talk About (MoA)
The Housing Bubble is Even Bigger Than the Stock Market Bubble (Mish)
The EU Funds Global iPhone And Facebook Surveillance (F.)
Bay Area Food Bank Now Serves 500k Working-Poor As Demand “Doubles” (ZH)

 

 

 

 

Great War of 2020

 

 

“We are not a people of perpetual war — it is the antithesis of everything for which we stand and for which our ancestors fought. All wars must end,” the memo reads. “Ending wars requires compromise and partnership. We met the challenge; we gave it our all. Now, it’s time to come home.”

New US Defense Chief Tells Troops ‘Time To Come Home’ (F24)

Newly appointed Pentagon chief Christopher Miller signaled Saturday that he could accelerate the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and the Middle East, saying, “It’s time to come home.” “All wars must end,” Miller, named acting defense secretary by President Donald Trump on Monday, said in his first message to the US armed services. He said that the US is committed to defeating Al Qaeda, 19 years after the September 11 attacks on the United States, and is “on the verge of defeating” the group. “Many are weary of war — I’m one of them,” he wrote in the message, dated Friday but posted early Saturday on the Defense Department’s website. “But this is the critical phase in which we transition our efforts from a leadership to supporting role,” he said.

“Ending wars requires compromise and partnership. We met the challenge; we gave it our all. Now, it’s time to come home.” Miller did not mention specific US troop deployments, but the reference to Al Qaeda appeared to single out Afghanistan and Iraq, where US troops were deployed after the September 11 attacks. The former US special forces officer and counterterrorism expert was named to lead the Department of Defense after Trump fired Mark Esper. Trump, who lost to Democrat Joe Biden in the November 3 election, has been pressing to pull US forces out of both countries since he came into office four years ago. Any such action would have to come in the 67 days before Biden takes office on January 20.

Esper cut US forces in Afghanistan by nearly two-thirds in the wake of the February 29 US-Taliban peace deal. But, drawing a line, he said he would hold troop numbers at 4,500 after this month until the Taliban, as they negotiate with the government in Kabul, follow through on pledged reductions in violence. Trump, however, has pushed for continued cuts, tweeting that he wants the troops “home by Christmas,” December 25. His national security advisor Robert O’Brien has said the goal is to cut to 2,500 by February.

Read more …

It’s a long list.

Biden’s Transition Team: War Profiteers, Beltway Chickenhawks (GZ)

A glance at the Biden-Harris agency review teams should provide a rude awakening to anyone who believed a Biden administration could be “pushed to the left” An eye-popping array of corporate consultants, war profiteers, and national security hawks have been appointed by President-elect Joe Biden to agency review teams that will set the agenda for his administration. A substantial percentage of them worked in the United States government when Barack Obama was president. The appointments should provide a rude awakening to anyone who believed a Biden administration could be pressured to move in a progressive direction, especially on foreign policy. If the agency teams are any indication, Biden will be firmly insulated from any pressure to depart from the neoliberal status quo, which the former vice president has pledged to restore.

Instead, he is likely to be pushed in an opposite direction, towards an interventionist foreign policy dictated by elite Beltway interests and consumed by Cold War fever. A prime example of the interventionist-minded establishment-oriented figures filling the Biden-Harris Defense Department agency team is Lisa Sawyer. She served as director for NATO and European strategic affairs for the National Security Council from 2014 to 2015, and worked for Wall Street’s JPMorgan Chase as a foreign policy adviser. Sawyer was part of the Center for a New American Security’s “Task Force on the Future of US Coercive Economic Statecraft,” which essentially means she participated in meetings that focused on methods of economic warfare that could be used to destabilize countries that refused to bow to American empire.

Sawyer believes the US government is not doing enough to deter Russian “aggression,” US troop levels in Europe should return to the levels they were at in 2012, and offensive weapons shipments to Ukraine should continue and increase in violation of the Minsk Agreements. “Instead of saying we will lift sanctions when Russia decides to comply with the next agreement, say that we will raise them until they do. Instead of kowtowing to Russia’s supposed spears of influence, provide Ukraine the lethal assistance it so desperately needs and increase US support to vulnerable nations in the gray zone,” Sawyer declared when testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee in 2017.

US assistant secretary of state for African affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield was appointed leader of the Biden-Harris State Department team. She is a stalwart ally of former US national security adviser Susan Rice, who pushed for war in Libya, supported the invasion of Iraq, and was involved in the decision to remove peacekeepers from the United Nations which enabled Rwanda genocide. As a developer and manager for US policy toward sub-Saharan Africa, she cheered President George W. Bush’s Millennium Challenge Account, a neocolonialist policy designed to privilege US corporations and facilitate the economic exploitation of so-called emerging African economies.

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And then there’s more. Enjoy your cabal.

The Filthy Rich War Hawks That Make up Biden’s New Foreign Policy Team (MPN)

Biden is no stranger to the rich and powerful. He kicked off his presidential campaign last year with a dinner for ultra-rich patrons at a Manhattan hotel, insisting that “nothing would fundamentally change” if he were elected, reassuring them that he would never demonize the rich and that they were not at fault for growing inequality. “I need you very badly,” he concluded. The former vice-president’s team is also looking to be made up of extremely wealthy individuals as well. His transition task squad has been, in his website’s words, crafted to ensure they “reflect the values and priorities of the incoming administration,” and includes executives from Lyft, Amazon, Capital One, Uber, Visa, and JP Morgan.

One name being strongly floated for a cabinet position is former mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel, a move being met with vocal opposition from the left. Emanuel’s first tour of duty in the White House came under President Bill Clinton, where he was one of the key architects of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a deal that decimated manufacturing in the Midwest, hobbled union power, and sent well paying blue-collar jobs to Mexico. In 2016, Trump constantly brought up NAFTA as a weapon to attack Hillary Clinton, winning him votes (and states) across the region. Emanuel also pushed through welfare “reform” bills that sharply reduced benefits for the poor and worked with Biden on the now-infamous 1994 Crime Bill, a key accelerator of mass incarceration.

He then left politics to pursue a lucrative career in finance — something that quickly netted him a reported $16 million fortune — before returning and becoming President Obama’s advisor and enforcer. Many of the president-elect’s potential picks for foreign policy positions — including Susan Rice and Michele Flourney — have onlookers worried. “With a Biden administration, we can expect a continuation of the Middle East wars and possible escalations in places like Syria. Biden could be better than Trump on Iran and Yemen, but judging by his potential cabinet picks, that should not be expected without significant pressure from antiwar activists and lobbyists in Washington,” Dave DeCamp, assistant news editor of AntiWar.com told MintPress.

“His administration will likely be more successful than Trump at expanding the empire, with a more diplomatic and coherent approach at building alliances to face Russia and China.” Rice, who was the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and National Security Advisor under Obama, has amassed a fortune of around $40 million. After leaving office, she was given a spot on the board of Netflix, being paid $366,666 as a base salary. On top of that, she was given $2.3 million worth of the company’s stock. However, it is her husband, former ABC News executive producer Ian O. Cameron (whose father was a super-wealthy industrialist), who is the prime source of her wealth. She was a key driver in U.S. action in Libya, and also successfully lobbied Obama to place harsher sanctions on North Korea and Iran.

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Unpossible, that was all Trump, remember?

Cecilia Muñoz Defended Family Separations Under Obama, Joins Biden Team (DN)

Joe Biden has named President Obama’s former top immigration adviser Cecilia Muñoz to his transition team. During her time in the White House, Muñoz often justified Obama’s harsh immigration enforcement policies, including the administration’s deportation of thousands of Central American children and its decision to kill an executive order that would have halted deportations. In 2011, Muñoz was interviewed by PBS’s Maria Hinojosa. Cecilia Muñoz: “At the end of the day, when you have an immigration law that’s broken and you have a community of 10 million, 11 million people living and working in the United States illegally, some of these things are going to happen, even if the law is executed with perfection. There will be parents separated from their children. We don’t have to like it, but it is a result of having a broken system of laws. And the answer to that problem is reforming the law.”

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“Those now bleating about how dangerous his current assertions of election fraud are should remember they were the ones who smashed that particular glass house..”

Biden Will Fail To Bring Back ‘Normal’ Politics (Cook)

The narrowly averted Trump second term has at least prompted liberal pundits to draw one significant lesson that is being endlessly repeated: Biden must avoid returning to the old “normal”, the one that existed before Trump, because that version of “normal” was exactly what delivered Trump in the first place. These commentators fear that, if Biden doesn’t play his cards wisely, we will end up in 2024 with a Trump 2.0, or even a rerun from Trump himself, reinvigorated after four years of tweet-sniping from the sidelines. They are right to be worried. But their analysis does not properly explain the political drama that is unfolding, or where it heads next. There is a two-fold problem with the “no return to normal” argument.

The first is that the liberal media and political class making this argument are doing so in entirely bad-faith. For four years they have turned US politics and its coverage into a simple-minded, ratings-grabbing horror show. A vile, narcissist businessman, in collusion with an evil Russian mastermind, usurped the title of most powerful person on the planet that should have been bestowed on Hillary Clinton. As Krystal Ball has rightly mocked, even now the media are whipping up fears that the “Orange Mussolini” may stage some kind of cack-handed coup to block the handover to Biden. These stories have been narrated to us by much of the corporate media over and over again – and precisely so that we do not think too hard about why Trump beat Clinton in 2016.

The reality, far too troubling for most liberals to admit, is that Trump proved popular because a lot of the problems he identified were true, even if he raised them in bad faith himself and had no intention of doing anything meaningful to fix them. Trump was right about the need for the US to stop interfering in the affairs of the rest of the world under the pretence of humanitarian concern and a supposed desire to spread democracy at the end of the barrel of a gun. In practice, however, lumbered with that permanent bureaucracy, delegating his authority to the usual war hawks like John Bolton, and eager to please the Christian evangelical and Israel lobbies, Trump did little to stop such destructive meddling. But at least he was correct rhetorically.

Equally, Trump looked all too right in berating the establishment media for promoting “fake news”, especially as coverage of his presidency was dominated by an evidence-free narrative claiming he had colluded with Russia to steal the election. Those now bleating about how dangerous his current assertions of election fraud are should remember they were the ones who smashed that particular glass house with their own volley of stones back in 2016.

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Steal? You sure?

How Pence & GOP Senators Could Try To Steal The Election (DP)

Since Donald Trump lost the election, he and GOP state legislators have suggested that the race was marred by voter fraud, and Trump administration officials have been publicly talking about Trump remaining president. On Friday, Vice President Mike Pence reportedly told a conservative group that there is already a “plan” for a second Trump term. Though Republicans have not produced any evidence to substantiate the fraud claims, they have continued to promote the fraud allegations — which could serve as a rationale for state legislatures, Republican electors and Mike Pence to try to use the Electoral College system to hand Trump a second term.

The unlikely-but-possible scenario revolves around the prospect of competing slates of electors. That situation has only arisen once in the modern era, when in 1960 then-vice president Richard Nixon faced a decision on whether to recognize Hawaii’s Republican or Democratic electors during the joint session of Congress to certify that year’s election results. The mini controversy spotlighted the pivotal role that the vice president can potentially play in the Electoral College system — and according to Harvard University law professor Larry Lessig, it should worry everyone right now.

In an interview with The Daily Poster, Lessig explained how Vice President Mike Pence could try to recognize slates of Republican electors sent to Congress from five Biden states where GOP legislators have started voicing allegations of voter fraud. In that situation, the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate would be in a position to decide on Pence’s move — and if they backed him up, Lessig says they could potentially throw the presidency to Trump. So far, GOP leaders in four of those states are saying they will not try to replace Biden electors with Trump electors in defiance of certified election results. Lessig’s group Equal Citizens is launching a petition on its website that calls on Republican U.S. senators to commit right now to uphold elector slates that represent the will of the popular vote in all states.

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“26 out of the 50 state delegations are majority Republican. Assuming they deliver strict party-line votes, Trump would win the contingent election and be constitutionally re-elected..”

Donald Trump’s Likeliest Path To Staying In Office (du Quenoy)

So far, the media debate revolves almost entirely around the final tabulation of votes. If enough evidence of fraud surfaces, and if court rulings based on that evidence favour Trump decisively, it is possible that he could win by court decision. Another scenario, however, lies in the recesses of the American Constitution. A significant part of Trump’s legal strategy is oriented toward preventing crucial states from certifying results that would be averse to him. All states require vote certification before electors are dispatched. Two states, Maine and Nebraska, allow slates of electors to be split in their support of candidates, but neither is among the states in contention. If Trump can throw sufficient dirt on the electoral process to convince the courts to issue injunctions against certification in just enough states, neither candidate would win the majority of 270 electoral votes needed to triumph in the Electoral College.

In that scenario, Article Two of the US Constitution, as modified by the Twelfth Amendment, provides for a “contingent election” in which the president is chosen by the House of Representatives from among the top three electoral vote winners, while the vice president is chosen by the Senate (recall that the electoral voting for president and vice president are separate). A “contingent election” provides for the vice president to be elected by a simple majority of votes cast by individual Senators. With a Republican Senate majority in the current Congress, Mike Pence would presumably win re-election as vice president. In the bigger contest, however, the House’s vote for president is not by individual ballot, but rather by state delegation en bloc. That means that all the Representatives from each state would cast one collective vote for president.

In the current Congress, 26 out of the 50 state delegations are majority Republican. Assuming they deliver strict party-line votes, Trump would win the contingent election and be constitutionally re-elected. This procedure is obscure, but not unprecedented in choosing American presidents. Thomas Jefferson was elected president in a contingent election in 1801, when the electoral vote in the previous year’s election resulted in a tie between him and incumbent president John Adams. In 1825, Adams’s son John Quincy Adams also won the presidency in a contingent election, in which four candidates split the Electoral College vote that resulted from the election of 1824. The younger Adams prevailed over Andrew Jackson, who had won large pluralities in both the popular and electoral votes.

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“Neither has the guts or the intelligence. They are nowhere men who fear the fate that John Kennedy faced squarely when he turned against the CIA and the war machine.”

Everybody Knows the Fight was Fixed (Curtin)

At the end of Henrik Ibsen’s classic play, A Doll’s House, Nora, the aggrieved wife, leaves her husband’s house and all the illusions that sustained its marriage of lies. She chooses freedom over fantasy. She will no longer be played with like a doll but will try to become a free woman – a singular one. “There is another task I must undertake first. I must try and educate myself,” she tells her husband Torvald, a man completely incapable of understanding the social programming that has made him society’s slave. When Nora closes the doll’s house door behind her, the sound is like a hammer blow of freedom. For anyone who has seen the play, even when knowing the outcome in advance, that sound is profound. It keeps echoing. It interrogates one’s conscience.

The echo asks: Do you live inside America’s doll house where a vast tapestry of lies, bad faith, and cheap grace keep you caged in comfort, as you repeat the habits that have been drilled into you? In this doll’s house of propaganda into which America has been converted, a great many of our basic assumptions are totally illusory. Americans who voted for either Trump or Biden in the 2020 election are like Torvald clones. They refuse to open that door so they might close it behind them. They live in the doll’s house – all 146+ million of them. Like Torvald, they are comforted. They are programmed and propagandized, embracing the illusion that the electoral system is not structured and controlled to make sure no significant change can occur, no matter who is president. It is a sad reality promoted as democracy.

They will prattle on and give all sorts of reasons why they voted, and for whom, and how if you don’t vote you have no right to bitch, and how it’s this sacred right to vote that makes democracy great, blah blah blah. It’s all sheer nonsense. For the U.S.A. is not a democracy; it is an oligarchy run by the wealthy for the wealthy. This is not a big secret. Everybody knows this is true; knows the electoral system is sheer show business with the presidential extravaganza drawing the big money from corporate lobbyists, investment bankers, credit card companies, lawyers, business and hedge fund executives, Silicon Valley honchos, think tanks, Wall Street gamblers, millionaires, billionaires, et. al. Biden and Trump spent over 3 billion dollars on the election. They are owned by the money people.

Both are old men with long, shameful histories. A quick inquiry will show how the rich have profited immensely from their tenures in office. There is not one hint that they could change and have a miraculous conversion while in future office, like JFK. Neither has the guts or the intelligence. They are nowhere men who fear the fate that John Kennedy faced squarely when he turned against the CIA and the war machine. They join the craven company of Johnson, Ford, Carter, Reagan G.H.W. Bush, Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama. They all got the message that was sent from the streets of Dallas in 1963: You don’t want to die, do you?

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But it’s easy to find the exact opposite view as well.

Lockdowns Haven’t Brought Down COVID Mortality, But Killed Millions Of Jobs (Mises)

[..] many proponents of lockdowns still contend that every covid infection is a failure of public policy. But this position is largely a luxury of white-collar workers who can afford to work from home. Lockdowns have been described as “the worst assault on the working class in half a century.” Martin Kulldorff, a biostatistician, says, “the blue-collar class is ‘out there working, including high-risk people in their 60s.” Kulldorff’s colleague Jay Bhattacharya notes that one reason “minority populations have had higher mortality in the U.S. from the epidemic is because they don’t often have the option…to stay at home.” In effect, top-down lockdown policies are “regressive” and reflect a “monomania,” says Dr. Bhattacharya. With this in mind, it is easy to see why more affluent Americans tend to view restrictive measures as the appropriate response.

For many Americans, prolonged periods of time without gainful employment, income, or social interaction are not only impossible but potentially deadly. Martin Kulldorff notes that covid-19 restrictions do not consider broader public health issues and create collateral damage; among the collateral damage is a “worsening incidence of cardiovascular disease and cancer and an alarming decline in immunization.” Dr. Bhattacharya correctly notes that society will be “counting the health harms from these lockdowns for a very long time.” Bhattacharya emphasized the politicization of these restrictions: “When Black Lives Matter protests broke out in the spring, ‘1,300 epidemiologists signed a letter saying that the gatherings were consistent with good public health practice,’” while those same epidemiologists argued that “we should essentially quarantine in place.”

Such a contradiction defies logic and undercuts arguments about the lethality of this virus. If this novel virus truly were as devastating to the broader public as advertised, then political leaders supporting mass protests and riots during a pandemic seem to be ill founded. This contradiction has been cited in countless lawsuits challenging the validity and constitutionality of covid-19 restrictions. Separately, these often heavy-handed restrictions have targeted constitutionally protected rights like the freedom of religion. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito criticized the Nevada governor’s restrictions saying, “that Nevada would discriminate in favor of the powerful gaming industry and its employees may not come as a surprise…We have a duty to defend the Constitution, and even a public health emergency does not absolve us of that responsibility.” This scathing criticism, however, did not gain the support of the Supreme Court as a 5–4 majority deferred to the governor’s “responsibility to protect the public in a pandemic.”

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“We are asking people to take a vaccine that is going to hurt..”

COVID19 Vaccines May Have Potentially Unpleasant Side Effects (Kaiser)

Pfizer is expected to seek federal permission to release its Covid-19 vaccine by the end of November, a move that holds promise for quelling the pandemic but also sets up a tight time frame to make sure consumers understand what it will mean to get the shots. The vaccine, and likely most others, will require two doses to work, injections that must be given weeks apart, company protocols show. Scientists anticipate that the shots will cause enervating flu-like side effects — including sore arms, muscle aches and fever — that could last days and temporarily sideline some people from work or school. And even if a vaccine proves 90 percent effective, the rate Pfizer touted for its product, 1 in 10 recipients would still be vulnerable. That means, at least in the short term, as population-level immunity grows, people can’t stop social distancing and throw away their masks.

[..] Pfizer and its partner, the German company BioNTech, said Monday that their vaccine appears to protect 9 in 10 people from getting Covid-19, although they didn’t release underlying data. It’s the first of four Covid-19 vaccines in large-scale efficacy tests in the U.S. to have posted results. Data from early trials of several Covid-19 vaccines suggest that consumers will need to be prepared for side effects that, while technically mild, could disrupt daily life. A senior Pfizer executive told the news outlet Stat that side effects from the company’s vaccine appear to be comparable to those of standard adult vaccines but worse than those of the company’s pneumonia vaccine, Prevnar, or typical flu shots.

The two-dose Shingrix vaccine, for instance, which protects older adults against the virus that causes painful shingles, results in sore arms in 78 percent of recipients and muscle pain and fatigue in more than 40 percent of those who take it. Prevnar and common flu shots can cause injection-site pain, aches and fever. “We are asking people to take a vaccine that is going to hurt,” said Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine and health policy at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “There are lots of sore arms and substantial numbers of people who feel crummy, with headaches and muscle pain, for a day or two.”

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For how long?

Australia Revels In Covid-free Days (G.)

When the premier of Queensland held her regular Covid-19 update on Friday she couldn’t help letting a smile creep across her face. “Now, here’s a good one,” Annastacia Palaszczuk told reporters. “I think all Queenslanders are going to be happy about it.” She went on to announce that Brisbane’s Suncorp stadium would host a capacity 52,500 crowd for the forthcoming State of Origin rugby league decider against New South Wales next week. “The cauldron can be filled to 100% capacity,” she said. In the midst of the pandemic, the idea of responsible leaders encouraging citizens to gather in large crowds to sit or stand shoulder to shoulder with strangers might seem to be a case of extreme recklessness.


But in Australia, where the Covid-19 pandemic has largely been controlled after months of lockdowns, border closures and strict limits on gatherings, moments like these are becoming more and more common. Last month, footage from a packed nightclub in Western Australia went viral, offering a surreal image of pre-Covid normality even as countries in the northern hemisphere began to return to lockdowns amid surging case numbers. In Sydney, about 40,000 fans were present for the rugby league grand final last month. The country has reason to be bullish about its successes. On Friday, Australia recorded no new cases of the virus for the fifth day in a row. In Victoria, where a second-wave spike of the virus forced Melbourne into a months-long lockdown and left hundreds dead, Friday marked the 14th day in a row with no new cases.

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Includes Australia, South Korea and New Zealand.

The Huge New Trade Deal ‘Western’ Media Do Not Like To Talk About (MoA)

Tomorrow a new trade agreement between 15 Asian states will be signed. It will soon be seen as a milestone in the global economic history. But only very few ‘western’ media have taken note of it or of the huge consequences the new agreement will have. The agreement is also a huge victory for China over U.S. hegemony in Asia: Fifteen Asia-Pacific nations including China and Japan plan to sign the world’s biggest free trade deal this weekend. The FTA will cut tariffs, strengthen supply chains with common rules of origin, and codify new e-commerce rules. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is expected to be announced at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit, which Vietnam is hosting virtually.


It will involve the ten member states of the ASEAN bloc – Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam – as well as their trade partners Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea. The new economic bloc will thus represent around a third of the world’s gross domestic product and population. It will become the first-ever free trade agreement to include China, Japan, and South Korea – Asia’s first, second and fourth-largest economies. The economies of the RCEP members are growing faster than the rest of the world. The agreement is likely to accelerate their growth. India is the only country that was invited but is missing in the deal. Its Hindu-fascist Modi regime had bet on the U.S. led anti-Chinese QUAD initiative pressed for by Trump and Pompeo and thereby lost out in trade terms.

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Bubbles “R” The Economy

The Housing Bubble is Even Bigger Than the Stock Market Bubble (Mish)

Stocks may be expensive based on historical measures, but it’s nothing compared to skyrocketing home values says Robert Shiller.


“Consider that the Case-Shiller National Home Price index has gained in excess of 6% per year on average since January 2012, while net rental income has barely kept up with inflation, increasing just less than 2% per year. The result is that home prices seem as overvalued as they were in the spring of 2005, nine months before the peak. One way to measure home valuations is with a cyclically adjusted price to earnings (CAPE) ratio developed by Yale University professor and Nobel Laureate Robert Shiller for stocks. The concept can be applied to a broad swath of assets by dividing the current price of an asset by the average annual inflation-adjusted earnings over the prior 10 years. The chart above shows CAPE for U.S. home prices and the S&P 500 Index since 1996.

The bad news is all previous history came at higher mortgage rates. The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate fell below 3% for the first time in August 2020, and rates are close to the lowest possible levels given the credit risk and costs of writing mortgages. It’s one thing to be a peak valuation, it’s another to be at peak valuation with no discernable upside.” Shiller compared home prices to stocks based on CAPE. To compute the CAPE for housing he used rent. My chart looks at household income vs the Case-Shiller Home Price Index. Both indexes have a base year of 2000. Household income is annual and the latest year available is 2019. I used Case-Shiller quarterly data. Since 2000, median household income is up about 64%. Home prices are up 118%. Robert Shiller calls this a bubble and so do I.

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Just lovely.

The EU Funds Global iPhone And Facebook Surveillance (F.)

Police across the world are getting special training from a little-known European Union agency on how best to snoop on Facebook and Apple iPhones, according to documents obtained by nonprofit Privacy International. The files reveal that CEPOL, the EU’s law enforcement training agency, instructed officers across the globe, from within Europe and in Africa, on how to use malware and other tools to gain access to citizens’ phones and monitor social networks. In some cases, the training was funded by EU aid coffers and went to countries with histories of human rights abuses, Privacy International warned. Furious about the previously secret initiatives that are aiding surveillance rather than protecting people from it, Privacy International and fellow human rights organizations are calling for reform, demanding that aid money going to intelligence training be diverted to more altruistic programs.


The revelations land just days after the EU Parliament announced plans to curb spy tool exports where human rights abuses were possible. “Today’s revelations confirm our worst fears about the diversion and securitization of EU aid,” said Edin Omanovic, advocacy director of Privacy International. “Instead of helping people who face daily threats from unaccountable surveillance agencies, including activists, journalists and people just looking for better lives, this ‘aid’ risks doing the very opposite. “The EU as the world’s largest provider of aid and a powerful force for change must enact urgent reforms to these secretive and unacceptable programmes. Failure to do so is a betrayal not just of the purpose of aid and the people it’s supposed to benefit, but of the EU’s own values.”

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Silicon Valley.

Bay Area Food Bank Now Serves 500k Working-Poor As Demand “Doubles” (ZH)

The virus pandemic is threatening another lost decade, similar to the Great Recession of 2007-2009, or even the Great Depression of the 1930s, for America’s working poor. Widespread permanent job loss and the collapse of small and medium-sized enterprises have become a severe risk to the broader recovery – as the economic fallout from the virus-induced downturn could linger for years. Case in point, the San Francisco Bay Area has lost 350,000 jobs this year – leaving many households with food and housing insecurity problems ahead of the holiday season. Local news station KQED offers a sobering reminder of the economic devastation left behind from the virus – and one that will likely continue to intensify as virus cases explode to new highs, forcing state officials to reimpose new social distancing restrictions.

KQED said, “food banks are racing to keep up with increased demand for food — and volunteers.” One of the top food banks in the state, called Second Harvest of Silicon Valley, has “literally doubled the amount of food we’re distributing,” said CEO Leslie Bacho. Bacho continued: “We already serving a quarter-million people. Now we’re serving a half million people.” She said many of the folks picking up care packages at food banks across the Bay Area are coming for the first time. “This is a testament to how the pandemic-induced economic crisis is disproportionately impacting low-wage workers,” she added.

“We are seeing so many people who are already just living on the edge, having to then burn through their savings,” Bacho said. “More than half the people we’re serving now have never sought food assistance before.” Someone named “Gabriel” sent Second Harvest of Silicon Valley a donation of around $1,300 – the letter Gabriel received from the food bank outlines the dire situation playing out in the Bay Area.

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