Oct 012021
 
 October 1, 2021  Posted by at 8:26 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , ,  69 Responses »


M. C. Escher Development II 1939

 

Boosters Aren’t Effective Because They Target Viruses Previous Identity (DCP)
The Impact Of Covid Vaccination On Alpha And Delta Variant Transmission (Mxiv)
It’s A MYSTERY! -The Hell It Is (Denninger)
Berejiklian Resigns As New South Wales Premier (Sky)
NSW Threatens Jail Time For Unvaccinated Who Try to Enter Businesses (SN)
Los Angeles Moves Toward Barring The Unvaccinated From Most Businesses (R.)
Majority Of Americans Think Those Refusing Vaccine Should Not Lose Job (JTN)
‘Build Back Better’ Act Proposes To Increase Unvaxx Fines Ten Fold (SN)
Progressive Democrats Derail Pelosi’s Planned Vote On Infrastructure Bill (JTN)
Durham Issues Fresh Round Of Subpoenas (CNN)
The News is America’s New Religion (Taibbi)
Julian Assange Supporters Write To Scott Morrison Over Reported CIA Plot (Abc.au)

 

 

Rand Paul

 

 

 

 

Land of the free

 

 

“..Iceland, where 77% are vaccinated but cases are now 677 per-cent higher than a year ago. Norway is 66% vaccinated and cases are up 1.067 per-cent.”

Boosters Aren’t Effective Because They Target Viruses Previous Identity (DCP)

Dr. Ryan Cole, a pathologist and a Mayo Clinic-trained medical expert said the so-called “vaccines” against COVID-19 aren’t really effective because they are made to address the virus as it previously was, not as it is now. “It’s because the coronavirus mutates,” Dr. Cole said when he was interviewed on the Steve Deace Blaze TV show online. Dr. Cole has dealt with thousands of COVID cases in recent months. Deace posed questions about the extremely inconsistent results from around the globe. For example, in Israel, 80% of adults are vaccinated, yet year-to-year cases are up 130% and deaths are up 56%. And in Iceland, where 77% are vaccinated but cases are now 677 per-cent higher than a year ago. Norway is 66% vaccinated and cases are up 1.067 per-cent. But in Malta, cases are down 10% from a year ago.

Cole explained that the inconsistencies and randomness come because the vaccine really isn’t a vaccine; it’s more of a “therapy.” Dr. Cole added, “A true vaccine would allow one to be immune. We’re not seeing that.” “What would be good is to implement are the drugs that shall not be named, as prevention protocols,” Cole explained. Deace then commented, “The government and its media allies have for more than a year now tried to suppress access to and information about products like Ivermectin and Hydroxychloroquine which have been shown to reduce the impact COVID-19. Dr. Cole responded, “With the existing programs to withhold treatments for COVID, and push ‘vaccines,’ both the vaccinated and unvaccinated get sick.” “Early treatments save lives in both of those groups,” he added.

Dr. Cole further explained, “The viral mutations, however, prevent any developed vaccine from being fully effective, because it was made to address a previous rendition of the bug.” “What we have done is obviously made a shot that was partially effective, but these boosters are the wrong protection for the wrong virus,” Cole added.

Read more …

3 months. 12 weeks. Until your next shot.

The Impact Of Covid Vaccination On Alpha And Delta Variant Transmission (Mxiv)

Background Pre-Delta, vaccination reduced transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from individuals infected despite vaccination, potentially via reducing viral loads. While vaccination still lowers the risk of infection, similar viral loads in vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals infected with Delta question how much vaccination prevents onward transmission.

Methods We performed a retrospective observational cohort study of contacts of SARS-CoV-2-infected index cases using contact testing data from England. We used multivariable logistic regression to investigate the impact of index case and contact vaccination on transmission, and how this varies with Alpha and Delta variants (classified using S-gene detection/calendar trends) and time since second vaccination. Results 51,798/139,164(37.2%) contacts tested were PCR-positive. Two doses of BNT162b2 or ChAdOx1 vaccines in Alpha variant index cases independently reduced PCR-positivity in contacts (aOR, adjusted odds ratio vs. unvaccinated=0.18[95%CI 0.12-0.29] and 0.37[0.22-0.63] respectively).

The Delta variant attenuated vaccine-associated reductions in transmission: two BNT162b2 doses reduced Delta transmission (aOR=0.35[0.26-0.48]), more than ChAdOx1 (aOR=0.64[0.57-0.72]; heterogeneity p<0.001). Variation in viral load (Ct values) explained only a modest proportion of vaccine-associated transmission reductions. Transmission reductions declined over time since second vaccination, for Delta reaching similar levels to unvaccinated individuals by 12 weeks for ChAdOx1 and attenuating substantially for BNT162b2. Protection from vaccination in contacts also declined in the 3 months after second vaccination.

Conclusions Vaccination reduces transmission of Delta, but by less than the Alpha variant. The impact of vaccination decreased over time. Factors other than PCR-measured viral load are important in vaccine-associated transmission reductions. Booster vaccinations may help control transmission together with preventing infections.

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“Clotshot indeed.”

It’s A MYSTERY! -The Hell It Is (Denninger)

“During the summer there was a 25 per cent rise in the number of people rushed to the Golden Jubilee National Hospital in Clydebank with partially blocked arteries cutting blood supply to the heart.”

C’mon jackasses — a 25% increase in one year? You know good and damn well that’s not environmental nor is it due to people’s lifestyles. Yes, lifestyle causes this in many cases but it takes decades to get you due to your lifestyle, not months or a year. What did we change in the subject population less than a year ago, and since this is now happening what leads you to believe it is a one-off?

Oh, this is largely in older people too. Which is exactly who the US Government, anyway, would like to see take the dirt nap since that cuts down Medicare expenses and, to the extent they wind up in nursing homes later, Medicaid expenses too if they have no money. Congratulations on increasing your odds of pulling the short straw — by a lot. Oh, and how many people have an occlusive heart attack at 42? Not many. This guy did — here in the US. DVT, heart attack and a PE at 42? Uh huh. You’re damned lucky you’re not dead and you and I both know damned well why it happened too. Clotshot indeed.

Read more …

Some things you can’t make up. Gladys Berejiklian is possibly the worst face of all lockdowns. She resigns because of a corruption investigation. What corruption? I kid you not: She’s been accused of taking tens of millions from Pfizer and AstraZeneca.

Berejiklian Resigns As New South Wales Premier (Sky)

Gladys Berejiklian has resigned as premier of New South Wales after it was revealed she is under investigation from ICAC. She will also step down as the member for Willoughby, which will trigger a by-election. “I have made it clear on numerous occasions that if any of my ministers were the subject of allegations being investigated by an integrity agency or law enforcement, then he or she should stand aside during the course of the investigation until their name was cleared,” Ms Berejiklian said. “The reason for my stance was not to have made any presumptions, as to their conduct, but rather to maintain the integrity of the public office which has held, which that person is held whilst an investigation was completed.


“That same standard must always apply to me also as the premier, however standing aside is not an option for me as the premier of New South Wales as the people of this state need certainty as to who the leader is during the challenging times of the pandemic. “I cannot predict how long it will take the ICAC to complete this investigation, let alone deliver a report in circumstances where I was first called to give evidence in a public hearing nearly 12 months ago. “Therefore, it pains me to announce that I have no option but to resign from the Office of Premier, my resignation will take effect as soon as the New South Wales Liberal Party can elect a new parliamentary leader in order to allow the new leader and government, a fresh start.”

Clive Palmer

Read more …

Yeah, same state, same woman.

NSW Threatens Jail Time For Unvaccinated Who Try to Enter Businesses (SN)

Authorities in New South Wales are threatening to jail Australians who don’t show a COVID-19 vaccination pass when they enter businesses. Yes, really. NSW Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello threatened people who he described as “fraudsters” with arrest if they try to enter premises with “fake vaccine passports” “If people want to do the wrong thing, if they get found out, as I said, it could be jail time there,” said Dominello. According to the report, people who also try to enter without showing anything will also be subject to arrest.


“Mr Dominello reiterated that those who refuse to show their vaccine status when entering shops, restaurants and other venues should be reported to the police,” reports News.com.au. Enforcing such a system may be problematic however, as the Police Commissioner of New South Wales recently asserted that his officers wouldn’t be checking medical papers. “The role of police in terms of vaccine passports, we will not be walking through restaurants, cafes and pubs checking if people are double vaccinated,” said Mick Fuller. We now face a two tier society where the unvaccinated are not only brazenly discriminated against, but actually thrown in prison if they try to engage in basic commerce or lifestyle activities.

Read more …

People are planning to leave LA in droves. Businesses will follow.

Los Angeles Moves Toward Barring The Unvaccinated From Most Businesses (R.)

Los Angeles officials on Wednesday signaled they would vote next week to prohibit unvaccinated people from entering most businesses in the United States’ second-largest city, one of the nation’s most severe crackdowns so far of the COVID-19 pandemic. All but one of the City Council members present on Wednesday said they supported the proposed “emergency” ordinance, which would require proof of vaccination to enter restaurants, bars, shopping centers, gyms and other indoor spaces. “I am sick and tired of yahoos going into Trader Joe’s (grocery store) refusing to wear a mask,” City Council member Paul Kerkorian said in angry remarks. “I am fed up with people who want to make this into such a politicized issue they have lost all semblance of civility in our society.”


If the proposal is approved next week, as expected, Los Angeles would join San Francisco and New York among major U.S. cities requiring proof of vaccination for indoor businesses. The new rule would take effect in November. Political leaders across the United States, led by Democratic President Joe Biden, have ratcheted up pressure on the unvaccinated in recent weeks. Laws requiring proof of vaccinations are deeply controversial in the United States, with many Americans criticizing them as unconstitutional and authoritarian. A majority of the Los Angeles City Council was prepared to vote in favor of the proof-of-vaccine measure on Wednesday. They were frustrated in that effort by council member Joe Buscaino, who, by withholding his vote, stood in the way of a so-called “unanimous consent.” Buscaino said the vaccine mandate could not be enforced, citing a report by the city’s Department of Building and Safety that it was not equipped to take on such a law enforcement role.

Read more …

Impossible to even imagine a year ago, But here we are.

“..83.5% of Republican voters don’t want the unvaccinated to lose their jobs while 47.9% of Democrats feel the same way..”

Majority Of Americans Think Those Refusing Vaccine Should Not Lose Job (JTN)

New polling on President Joe Biden’s federal vaccine mandate shows the majority of Americans do not think unvaccinated workers should lose their jobs. Convention of States Action released the poll Wednesday, which reports that 65% of surveyed voters “do not believe Americans should lose their jobs if they object to taking the COVID-19 vaccine.” The poll also found 22.2% believe those who refuse the mandate should lose their job, while 12.8% aren’t sure. The data comes as health care workers around the country have lost their jobs for refusing the vaccine, causing staffing problems in some hospitals. Under Biden’s rule, millions of more workers could be in the same position.

Feelings on the mandate differed significantly based on political affiliation. According to the poll, “63.6% of Independent voters do not believe Americans should lose their jobs if they object to taking the COVID-19 vaccine, while 15.5% believe they should, and 20.9% aren’t sure.” Those independents tend to be key swing voters targeted by both parties in election years. The poll found 83.5% of Republican voters don’t want the unvaccinated to lose their jobs while 47.9% of Democrats feel the same way. The mandate in question requires all federal employees and government contractors to be vaccinated. It also requires all businesses with more than 100 employees to ensure their workers are vaccinated or test them weekly, among other new rules and guidelines released by the Biden administration earlier this month.

“This plan will ensure that we are using every available tool to combat COVID-19 and save even more lives in the months ahead, while also keeping schools open and safe, and protecting our economy from lockdowns and damage,” the White House said when announcing the mandate. Convention of States Action partnered with The Trafalgar Group to conduct the survey Sept. 17th through Sept. 19th. They queried 1,000 likely 2022 election voters. Biden already faces lawsuits over the requirement, and more than two dozen Republican governors have made clear their opposition to the vaccine mandate. The legal challenges and nationwide split on the federal order have set up a likely legal showdown that could go to the U.S. Supreme Court.

A different poll from the same group released earlier this month found that Americans support the Republican governors who oppose the mandate. The poll reported that 58.6% of those surveyed “do not believe President Biden has the constitutional authority to force private businesses to require vaccine mandates for employees.”

Read more …

“..any business that refuses to mandate COVID vaccination will face financial ruin…”

‘Build Back Better’ Act Proposes To Increase Unvaxx Fines Ten Fold (SN)

Joe Biden’s so called “Build Back Better’ Act has included COVID as an occupational hazard, and proposes to increase fines for non-compliant companies by TEN TIMES, meaning they could face punishments of $700,000 per violation for employees who are not vaccinated. The Daily Mail reports that fines for “willful and repeated violation” of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSHA) will increase from $70,000 for each violation to $700,000 under the $3.5 trillion spending legislation. The report also notes that serious violations will go up from $7,000 to $70,000, while repeated violations will mean fines of no less than $50,000 per violation, increased from $5,000.


Any business that does not address and correct the violation within an allocated time period will then be fined $70,000 PER DAY, up from $7,000. In other words, any business that refuses to mandate COVID vaccination will face financial ruin. Biden has decreed that any company with over 100 employees will be subjected to the mandate. As we have previously noted, around half of Americans are opposed to the mandate, with almost 60 per cent saying they do not believe Biden has the constitutional authority to enforce vaccine mandates. Biden’s commerce Secretary has claimed that ‘no one is being forced’ to take the vaccines, and that “There’s always been a choice” for workers to stay at home.

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Tastes like a game.

Progressive Democrats Derail Pelosi’s Planned Vote On Infrastructure Bill (JTN)

Progressive Democrats derailed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s planned vote on the Biden-backed $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill on Thursday. Moderate House Democrats had pushed for a vote on the bipartisan Senate infrastructure bill as opposed to waiting for the completion of the Democrats’ final filibuster-proof budget reconciliation bill. To pass the framework in August for the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill, Pelosi negotiated with moderate Democrats and had agreed to hold a vote on the Senate-passed infrastructure bill by Sept. 27. As of Thursday morning, Pelosi was not backing down from holding a vote on that bill, but House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said later in the day that he was not confident the bill would pass alone.

Meanwhile, on the Senate side, West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin reiterated he would not vote for the $3.5 trillion reconciliation proposal and tartly rejected its level of spending on new public benefit programs as “fiscal insanity.” Manchin indicated that he would support some of the tax reform items in the bill. Ahead of the scheduled House vote on the infrastructure bill, many progressives had said they were ready to vote against it if a final $3.5 trillion filibuster-proof budget reconciliation bill wasn’t voted on first. House Progressive Caucus Chairwoman Pramila Jayapal said recently that progressives had enough votes to sink the infrastructure bill. This scenario played out on Thursday evening when the vote was delayed, prompting Pelosi to send out a “Dear Colleague” letter indicating that she was pressing the pause button on the infrastructure bill vote.

“It has been a day of progress in fulfilling the President’s vision to Build Back Better,” Pelosi wrote. “Thanks to so many members and staff, the work is being done. Discussions continue with the House, Senate and White House to reach a bicameral framework agreement to Build Back Better through a reconciliation bill. Many thanks to members of our caucus for your participation and patience over the past few days. The bipartisan infrastructure bill has already had its rule passed and its debate has concluded. All of this momentum brings us closer to shaping the reconciliation bill in a manner that will pass the House and Senate.”

Read more …

CNN getting worried about Durham?

Durham Issues Fresh Round Of Subpoenas (CNN)

Special Counsel John Durham has issued a new set of subpoenas, including to a law firm with close ties to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, an indication that Durham could be trying to build a broader criminal case, according to people briefed on the matter. So far, Durham’s two-year probe into the FBI’s Russia investigation hasn’t brought about the cases Republicans has hoped it would. The grand jury subpoenas for documents came earlier this month after Durham charged Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann with lying to the FBI in a September 2016 meeting. During that meeting, Sussmann handed over data purporting to show links between the Trump Organization and Russia’s Alfa Bank. That tip became part of the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election but the FBI ultimately couldn’t find evidence of a link.

In seeking additional documents from Sussmann’s former law firm, Perkins Coie, investigators from the special counsel’s office appear to be sharpening their focus on the Democratic political machinery during the 2016 campaign and efforts to tie Trump to Russia. Perkins Coie’s clients in 2016 included the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. The law firm also hired on the campaign’s behalf a research company that commissioned the dossier from ex-British spy Christopher Steele that alleged that Trump was compromised by Russia. Durham has already accessed reams of the law firm’s records, such as billing records, meeting calendars and a log of documents that the firm protects under attorney-client privilege. Some of the newly sought-after documents have been guarded so far by attorney-client privilege.

Durham’s new subpoenas could lead to a court fight over privileged information and draw more about the Clinton campaign into the open. While working for Perkins Coie, Sussmann also represented Rodney Joffe, a cybersecurity expert referred to in Durham’s indictment as “Tech Executive-1.” In 2016, Joffe, who has not been previously identified, worked with researchers to collect internet data about the Trump Organization that Sussmann took to the FBI. Durham’s continued use of the federal grand jury in Washington, DC, signals that he could be interested in adding to Sussmann’s charges or bringing cases against additional defendants. Still, more than two years after being commissioned by then Attorney General William Barr to investigate whether federal authorities improperly targeted the Trump campaign, Durham has little to show for his efforts.

His special counsel probe, which has lasted longer than Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, has so far brought only two lying charges against little-known figures, including the case against Sussmann, who has pleaded not guilty. The results have underwhelmed Trump supporters who had hoped former top FBI and intelligence officials would be prosecuted for “spying” on Trump and his campaign. Already the scope of Durham’s probe has narrowed after Barr announced last year that investigators had found no wrongdoing by the CIA. Yet Durham has continued his investigation, largely in secrecy, working out of a non-descript office building near trendy Washington’s Union Market.

Read more …

Feels a bit stale, Matt.

The News is America’s New Religion (Taibbi)

News in America used to be fun to talk about, fun to joke about, interesting to think about. Now it’s an interminable bummer, because the press business has taken on characteristics of that other institution where talking, joking, and thinking aren’t allowed: church. We have two denominations, both as fact-averse as real churches, as is shown in polls about, say, pandemic attitudes, where Americans across the board consistently show they know less than they think. Surveys found a third of Republicans think the asymptomatic don’t transmit Covid-19, or that the disease kills fewer people than the flu or car crashes. But Democrats also test out atrociously, with 41% thinking Covid-19 patients end up hospitalized over half the time — the real number is 1%-5% — while also wildly overestimating dangers to children, the percentage of Covid deaths under the age of 65, the efficacy of masks, and other issues.

This is the result of narrative-driven coverage that focuses huge amounts of resources on the wrongness of the rival faith. Blue audiences love stories about the deathbed recantations of red-state Covid deniers, some of which are real, some more dubious. A typical Fox story, meanwhile, might involve a woman who passed out and crashed into a telephone pole while wearing a mask alone in her car. Tales of each other’s stupidity are the new national religion, and especially among erstwhile liberals, we take them more seriously than any religion has been taken in the smart set in a long, long time.

In the eighties we made celebrities out of televangelists like Jimmy Swaggart and Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, but none were believable as religious authorities. They were too interesting: they dressed like Vegas club acts, humped everything that moved, and had the enormous balls to stare at cameras and ask for money so the minister and his wife could be driving the right fully-loaded Caddy when Christ returned. By the Reagan years no one believed in miracles or divine retribution anyway, not even Catholics, whose priests had all read Nietzsche and would quietly concede the church’s whole act was a well-meaning metaphor, if cornered by an adult. (Their rap to kids was obviously different; insert your own joke here).

By the time Trump arrived, there was only one route left for media companies, who’d lost ad revenue to Internet platforms, to make money: putting content behind a paywall. Essentially, news companies passed a hat and asked for donations, just like churches. Also like churches, they began to sell belief instead of fact. They turned viewers and readers into congregationalists, people who’d be less interested in news than calls to spiritual battle. Fox had already proven this revenue model could work. In the Trump years, led by the New York Times — which lost other forms of income but went from 1.2 million digital subscribers in 2016 to 7.5 million in 2020 — the rest of the commercial media followed suit.

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I hope they don’t expect an honest answer.

Julian Assange Supporters Write To Scott Morrison Over Reported CIA Plot (Abc.au)

A group of prominent Australians have written to the Prime Minister, asking what the government knew about an alleged CIA plot to kill or kidnap WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in London, the ABC can reveal. The members of the group, who all visited Assange in London, have also demanded the government reveal whether they were caught up in the US plot and if their lives, too, were ever at risk. The group of 21 lawyers, journalists, academics, and activists wrote to Scott Morrison after revelations in the US media this week the CIA had contemplated kidnapping or assassinating Assange and others in 2017 while the WikiLeaks founder was living in Ecuador’s London embassy.

One of the letter’s signatories, barrister Julian Burnside, who has been negotiating with Canberra to have Assange returned to Australia since 2012, said the new allegations of a planned assassination were of concern. “It’s one thing [for the government] to ignore an Australian overseas who’s in difficulty,” Mr Burnside said. “It’s altogether another to ignore an Australian overseas who may be murdered by another government, a government that is ostensibly an ally.” Another of the signatories, Melbourne lawyer Lizzie O’Shea, said: “Recent events suggest that we’re in a closer relationship with the US than ever before.” “I would like to think that doesn’t come at the expense of our citizens’ rights, and this [letter] is one test of whether that’s true.”

The letter is signed by prominent Australians including Jennifer Robinson, Scott Ludlam, Mary Kostakidis and Kathy Lette. All of them have visited Assange at one time or another. All are concerned they may have been caught up in US intelligence operations. “We wish to know what surveillance or monitoring we have been subjected to by the intelligence agencies of our allies, the United Kingdom and United States,” the letter, sent yesterday afternoon, states. “Were any of us placed on speculative kill lists? “We also believe we have a right to know whether the Australian government was informed or consented to our communications and movements being tracked.”

Read more …

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Aug 182021
 
 August 18, 2021  Posted by at 9:05 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  137 Responses »


Salvador Dali Meditative rose 1958

 

Leaky Vaccines, Super-spreads, And Variant Acceleration (Gato Malo)
A Grim Warning From Israel: Vaccination Blunts, But Does Not Defeat Delta (SM)
Delta Spike P681R Mutation Enhances SARS-CoV-2 Fitness Over Alpha Variant (Bx)
Here’s Your (Dead) Canary (Denninger)
Malaysia’s Prime Minister Resigns Amid Skyrocketing COVID-19 Cases
The Authoritarian Takeover of Australia (Spiked)
Growing New Zealand Covid Cluster Linked To Sydney Delta Outbreak (G.)
Vaccine Mandate Protest Letter (Barnes Law)
One Of The Most Dangerous, Unpredictable Times In Modern History (BDW)
My Heart Is Broken by Biden’s Afghanistan Failure (Michael Flynn)
Biden’s Polling Takes Massive Hit Following Collapse Of Afghanistan (JTN)
Kamala Harris Is The Most Unpopular Vice President In 50 Years (DW)
Biden To Increase Food Stamp Benefits By 25%, Largest Hike In History (ZH)
US Gov’t Tells Americans In Afghanistan It ‘Can’t Guarantee’ Their Safety (DW)
Every American Stuck In Afghanistan To Receive A Mail-In Ballot (BBee)

 

 

DATA SHOWS COVID VARIANTS BEGAN AFTER VACCINATIONS STARTED

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“..you keep its host alive with a vaccine, then it can transmit and spread in the world. So it’s got an evolutionary future, which it didn’t have before.”

Leaky Vaccines, Super-spreads, And Variant Acceleration (Gato Malo)

The rule of evolution is simple: make a copy of me and pass it on. Any species still around to notice is very, very good at this. That’s the test and it’s as simple as it is daunting. This evolutionary selector creates pressures and these pressures shape evolution. Useful traits are conserved, traits that work against replication and propagation are selected against. This creates a simple evolutionary gradient for viruses: become more contagious, spread further, infect more hosts. Many viruses and bacteria are incredibly good at this. The good news is that harming the host is maladaptive. It’s like burning down your own house and your car with it. You soon have nowhere to live and no way to move around easily. So the selection process drives viruses away from being deadly. Ebola is a fearsome virus, but poorly evolved. It kills too quickly and spreads too slowly. That’s why outbreaks are small, rare, and (relatively) easy to manage.


People who feel sick stay home, they stop mingling and carrying the virus to where others are. It’s a built in societal and species level trait to mitigate pandemic. But what if you could break that trait? What if you could prevent a carrier from realizing it was infected? Well, then you’d spread virus far more effectively, wouldn’t you? You could do a lot of damage and the natural brake on the spread, harm, and lethality of a viral evolutionary vector would be removed. You’d supercharge a pandemic. This is a long discussed and hypothesized problem with “leaky” vaccines. A leaky vaccine is one that lacks sterilizing immunity. It prevents severe infection and perhaps death, but it does not stop infection and colonization by virus. So, the vaccinated become a carrier but remain unaware of it. This is a massive accelerator of disease spread and possibly/probably of overall fatality rates. You can see discussion here: (from 2015)

This is another example of “science we tossed out the window this year” and is exactly the sort of thing the fda should have been laser focused on from day one. “But a chicken virus that represents one of the deadliest germs in history breaks from this conventional wisdom, thanks to an inadvertent effect from a vaccine. Chickens vaccinated against Marek’s disease rarely get sick. But the vaccine does not prevent them from spreading Marek’s to unvaccinated birds. “With the hottest strains, every unvaccinated bird dies within 10 days. There is no human virus that is that hot. Ebola, for example, doesn’t kill everything in 10 days. In fact, rather than stop fowl from spreading the virus, the vaccine allows the disease to spread faster and longer than it normally would, a new study finds. The scientists now believe that this vaccine has helped this chicken virus become uniquely virulent.”

Stop for a minute and absorb what this means. By turning the vaccinated into essentially perfect carriers of virus, it transformed them into a set of plague rats to infect the rest. A disease so deadly it would burn itself out rapidly becomes one capable of endemic spread so long at there are more vaccinated carriers around. ““Previously, a hot strain was so nasty, it wiped itself out. Now, you keep its host alive with a vaccine, then it can transmit and spread in the world,” Read said. “So it’s got an evolutionary future, which it didn’t have before.”

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Even Science Mag. joins in.

“There are so many breakthrough infections that they dominate and most of the hospitalized patients are actually vaccinated..”

A Grim Warning From Israel: Vaccination Blunts, But Does Not Defeat Delta (SM)

Israel is being closely watched now because it was one of the first countries out of the gate with vaccinations in December 2020 and quickly achieved a degree of population coverage that was the envy of other nations— for a time. The nation of 9.3 million also has a robust public health infrastructure and a population wholly enrolled in HMOs that track them closely, allowing it to produce high-quality, real-world data on how well vaccines are working.

Israel’s HMOs, led by CHS and Maccabi Healthcare Services (MHS), track demographics, comorbidities, and a trove of coronavirus metrics on infections, illnesses, and deaths. “We have rich individual-level data that allows us to provide real-world evidence in near–real time,” Balicer says. [..] Now, the effects of waning immunity may be beginning to show in Israelis vaccinated in early winter; a preprint published last month by scientists at MHS found that protection from COVID-19 infection during June and July dropped in proportion to the length of time since an individual was vaccinated. People vaccinated in January had a 2.26 times greater risk for a breakthrough infection than those vaccinated in April. (Potential confounders include the fact that the very oldest Israelis, with the weakest immune systems, were vaccinated first.)

At the same time, cases in the country, which were scarcely registering at the start of summer, have been doubling every week to 10 days since then, with the Delta variant responsible for most of them. They have now soared to their highest level since mid-February, with hospitalizations and intensive care unit admissions beginning to follow. How much of the current surge is due to waning immunity versus the power of the Delta variant to spread like wildfire is uncertain. What is clear is that “breakthrough” cases are not the rare events the term implies. As of 15 August, 514 Israelis were hospitalized with severe or critical COVID-19, a 31% increase from just 4 days earlier. Of the 514, 59% were fully vaccinated. Of the vaccinated, 87% were 60 or older.

“There are so many breakthrough infections that they dominate and most of the hospitalized patients are actually vaccinated,” says Uri Shalit, a bioinformatician at the Israel Institute of Technology (Technion) who has consulted on COVID-19 for the government. “One of the big stories from Israel [is]: ‘Vaccines work, but not well enough.’” “The most frightening thing to the government and the Ministry of Health is the burden on hospitals,” says Dror Mevorach, who cares for COVID-19 patients at Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem and advises the government. At his hospital, he is lining up anesthesiologists and surgeons to spell his medical staff in case they become overwhelmed by a wave like January’s, when COVID-19 patients filled 200 beds. “The staff is exhausted,” he says, and he has restarted a weekly support group for them “to avoid some kind of PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder] effect.”

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The picture is getting painfully clear.

Delta Spike P681R Mutation Enhances SARS-CoV-2 Fitness Over Alpha Variant (Bx)

SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant has rapidly replaced the Alpha variant around the world. The mechanism that drives this global replacement has not been defined. Here we report that Delta spike mutation P681R plays a key role in the Alpha-to-Delta variant replacement. In a replication competition assay, Delta SARS-CoV-2 efficiently outcompeted the Alpha variant in human lung epithelial cells and primary human airway tissues. Delta SARS-CoV-2 bearing the Alpha-spike glycoprotein replicated less efficiently than the wild-type Delta variant, suggesting the importance of Delta spike in enhancing viral replication. The Delta spike has accumulated mutation P681R located at a furin cleavage site that separates the spike 1 (S1) and S2 subunits.


Reverting the P681R mutation to wild-type P681 significantly reduced the replication of Delta variant, to a level lower than the Alpha variant. Mechanistically, the Delta P681R mutation enhanced the cleavage of the full-length spike to S1 and S2, leading to increased infection via cell surface entry. In contrast, the Alpha spike also has a mutation at the same amino acid (P681H), but the spike cleavage from purified Alpha virions was reduced compared to the Delta spike. Collectively, our results indicate P681R as a key mutation in enhancing Delta variant replication via increased S1/S2 cleavage. Spike mutations that potentially affect furin cleavage efficiency must be closely monitored for future variant surveillance.


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Saw the article Karl talks about, on an outlet called Wesh(?!). But “Not available in your region”.

Here’s Your (Dead) Canary (Denninger)

She said, up until two weeks ago, she was able to successfully treat every patient who contracted COVID-19. But, since then, she said seven fully vaccinated patients died from complications, such as pneumonia or stroke, caused by the virus. “They were all fully vaccinated, which was disturbing… For one, I got to the hospital, the initial report, he was doing well. 2 liters of oxygen, sitting up, good saturation rate, crashed in 72 hours and died,” Seemann said. This sort of ridiculous acceleration of disease progression is a screaming safety signal. It strongly implies, but does not prove, that the vaccine turned on the recipient and when later exposed made the progression of disease worse.

This was repeatedly demonstrated in animal testing with the original SARS virus when vaccine development was attempted. It was believed the cause of it was evaded by the current vaccines developed for Covid-19 but the only way to know for sure was to take years of testing to make certain that the ordinary mutational patterns that all viruses undergo did not result in such an outcome down the road. This is one of the many reasons it takes 10+ years to qualify a vaccine; you can’t un-take the shot, and if something like this happens and then you get infected you’re ****ed. She said the vaccine isn’t 100 percent effective and there is a 4 percent chance of failure, but she still recommends it.

She has no evidence to support that these patients had an actual failure to build an effective antibody response. None. Zero. Determining that would require a fairly significant amount of lab and pathology work, which simply can’t be done that fast. These people need to be autopsied and exactly what happened determined. It won’t be done because if it is, and it turns out that they had circulating titers of binding antibodies for Covid in their system then it will be scientifically-irrefutable evidence that there are millions of Americans walking around with ticking bombs in their veins and there is nothing that can be done about it. The reason you don’t short-time vaccine studies, ever, is that THE VIRUS ALWAYS BATS LAST.

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“..despite a seven-month state of emergency and a lockdown since June to tackle the crisis..”

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Resigns Amid Skyrocketing COVID-19 Cases

Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin resigned less than 18 months into his tenure Monday, becoming the country’s shortest-ruling leader after conceding that he lost majority support to govern. Science Minister Khairy Jamaluddin wrote on Instagram that “the Cabinet has tendered our resignation” to the king, shortly after Muhyiddin left the palace after meeting the monarch. Deputy Sports Minister Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal also thanked Muhyiddin for his service and leadership in a Facebook message. Muhyidddin’s departure will plunge the country into a fresh crisis amid a worsening COVID-19 pandemic. Political leaders have already begun to jostle for the top post, with his deputy Ismail Sabri rallying support to succeed Muhyiddin and keep the government intact.


His resignation comes on the back of mounting public anger over what was widely perceived as his government’s poor handling of the pandemic. Malaysia has one of the world’s highest infection rates and deaths per capita, with daily cases breaching 20,000 this month despite a seven-month state of emergency and a lockdown since June to tackle the crisis. Local media said the national police chief, the Election Commission chairman and the attorney-general were also summoned to the palace Monday before Muhyiddin arrived. Muhyiddin, who chaired a Cabinet meeting at his office earlier Monday, waved at reporters at the palace gate and left 40 minutes later.

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“Some of us thought: who the bloody hell is this sheila? Not only had I never heard of her, I hadn’t listened to anything anyone like her had said since I’d been kicked out of high school.”

The Authoritarian Takeover of Australia (Spiked)

People who once thought they’d won the lottery of life by being born in Australia now wake in fright every day to the sudden realisation that they are living in a 21st-century penal colony. The country they once loved has been replaced by something they barely recognise. The restrictions imposed in response to the pandemic are just the start of it. People have been confined to their houses, prevented from going to school or work, denied the freedom to cross state borders even to see a dying relative, and coerced to take a vaccine in order hopefully to regain the freedoms that were once their birthright. Worse, these restrictions are being imposed by authoritarians who have seemingly come from nowhere and now dominate all of Australia’s positions of power, from the government to big business.

These people are unlike any ruling elite Australia has ever known. There were, to be sure, harsh authoritarians in middle levels of power during the nation’s initial 19th-century incarnation as a penal colony, especially at Port Arthur and Norfolk Island. But they never actually ran Australia. [..] Australians have, like the original settlers, never felt the need to explain the ideas on which their nation was founded. They have simply believed their version of Enlightenment truths to be self-evident in the standard of living they enjoyed and the audacious disrespect they showed for other, older cultures. I grew up in a country where such confidence was ubiquitous. A lack of academic achievement was never an impediment as long as you worked hard. Obstacles that were insurmountable to people from other countries were mere challenges to us. And we approached it all with a fatalistic humour that seemed all our own.

New South Wales chief health officer Kerry Chant became world famous recently when a video of her went viral. In it, she said, in the patronising tone of a school matron: ‘It is human nature to engage in conversation with others, to be friendly. Unfortunately, this is not the time to do that. So even if you run into your nextdoor neighbour, in the shopping centre, at Coles, Woolworths or Aldi or any other grocery shop, don’t start up a conversation.’ Some of us thought: who the bloody hell is this sheila? Not only had I never heard of her, I hadn’t listened to anything anyone like her had said since I’d been kicked out of high school. My robust upbringing among ratbags and larrikins in the Australian suburbs had instilled in me an instinctive and entirely rational distrust of anyone who, like her, placed an undue significance on obedience above personal freedom and responsibility. My life has been, and continues to be, all the better for it.

New South Wales residents were surprised to learn they had been paying Chant’s wages since she joined the public service in 1991. Like many of her fellow neo-authoritarians, she had spent her entire career cloistered away from the freely enterprising general population, biding her time until the opportunity arose to exercise the powers none of us knew she had. Now she and her type are all around us, telling us what to do every minute of the day. She is emblematic of Australia’s new elite, from the cops who told me to ‘move on’ when I was enjoying the sunshine by myself at Bondi Beach recently, to prime minister Scott Morrison, who peppers his updates on the latest panicking policies with reminders that ‘we are all in this together’. No, we’re not.

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Weirdest thing is they stopped vaccinations. Don’t really believe in those, I guess?

But also, what is the idea here? That they can have zero cases? And then? Lock the door?

Growing New Zealand Covid Cluster Linked To Sydney Delta Outbreak (G.)

New Zealand’s coronavirus cluster has grown to 10, with genomic sequencing linking it to the Delta outbreak that began in Sydney, as the country woke up to day one of a snap lockdown stemming from just one case. The prime minister’s office confirmed three new cases on Wednesday evening. The Covid-19 response minister, Chris Hipkins, told broadcaster RNZ “we’re seeing more cases coming through, I don’t have details of those cases. But yes, I can confirm that we have further positive test results since the press conference today.” He expected more cases to emerge overnight. The country went into a snap level four lockdown – the highest level of restrictions – on Tuesday night, after detecting one case with no obvious links to the border.

New Zealand has not had a level four lockdown in more than a year, and the case is the country’s first instance of Delta transmission in the community. The prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, warned on Wednesday that there would be more cases given the activity of those infected and that a link to the border had yet to be established, adding “there is more to be done to help piece together this puzzle”. “Our ability to narrow down that this is a case that is linked to New South Wales outbreak, gives us a lot of leads to chase down as quickly as we can,” she said. The seven community cases are all linked to the 58-year-old man who tested positive on Tuesday. One person is a fully vaccinated nurse at Auckland city hospital and another is a teacher at an Auckland high school.

[..] The vaccine rollout will also continue from Thursday morning, after momentarily being paused. The country’s Covid-19 vaccine rollout has faced scrutiny. As of Monday, 22.9% of the population had been fully vaccinated, with 40% having had at least one dose. The numbers are lower for fully vaccinated Maori (14%) and Pasifika (20%) populations, and New Zealand has the lowest vaccination rate in the OECD, according to the World Health Organization.

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Attorney f @barnes_law i has put together a warning letter for people to use (free of charge) when their employers force them into getting the jab.

Vaccine Mandate Protest Letter (Barnes Law)

No authorship claim or copyright asserted…this letter just came to me in a bottle, and I have no idea who might have penned it, nor can I possibly vouch for it, and what you fine folks do with it is entirely in your own hands, as the Gentlemen of the Bar remind me I can proffer no general legal advice in the matter, and must officially disclaim proffering any such advice here…edit and excise as you see fit, amend and append as you desire, and claim authorship or anonymity as may best befit you…as always, as you wish…

Dear Boss,

Compelling any employee to take any current Covid-19 vaccine violates federal and state law, and subjects the employer to substantial liability risk, including liability for any injury the employee may suffer from the vaccine. Many employers have reconsidered issuing such a mandate after more fruitful review with legal counsel, insurance providers, and public opinio n advisors of the desires of employees and the consuming public. Even the Kaiser Foundation warned of the legal risk in this respect. (https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/issue-brief/key-questions-about-covid-19-vaccine-mandates/)

Three key concerns: first, while the vaccine remains unapproved by the FDA and authorized only for emergency use, federal law forbids mandating it, in accordance with the Nuremberg Code of 1947; second, the Americans with Disabilities Act proscribes, punishes and penalizes employers who invasively inquire into their employees’ medical status and then treat those employees differently based on their medical status, as the many AIDS related cases of decades ago fully attest; and third, international law, Constitutional law, specific statutes and the common law of torts all forbid conditioning access to employment upon coerced, invasive medical examinations and treatment, unless the employer can fully provide objective, scientifically validated evidence of the threat from the employee and how no practicable alternative could possible suffice to mitigate such supposed public health threat and still perform the necessary essentials of employment.

At the outset, consider the “problem” being “solved” by vaccination mandates. The previously infected are better protected than the vaccinated, so why aren’t they exempted? Equally, the symptomatic can be self-isolated. Hence, requiring vaccinations only addresses one risk: dangerous or deadly transmission, by the asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic employee, in the employment setting. Yet even government official Mr. Fauci admits, as scientific studies affirm, asymptomatic transmission is exceedingly and “very rare.” Indeed, initial data suggests the vaccinated are just as, or even much more, likely to transmit the virus as the asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic. Hence, the vaccine solves nothing.

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Twitter thread. Bryan Dean Wright is a former CIA Ops. officer.

One Of The Most Dangerous, Unpredictable Times In Modern History (BDW)

Former US intelligence colleagues are angry and deeply worried at what has happened in Afghanistan. Here’s what I’m hearing, and why there’s nearly universal belief that America and the world are in for one of the most dangerous, unpredictable times in modern history. Afghanistan has shown the world — enemies & allies alike — that our military & intel assets are largely irrelevant because we can’t deploy them successfully. The blame lays at the feet of multiple Presidents. The Generals. The Spies. The Congress. America’s Elites are trash. China knows it. They will become emboldened, covertly & overtly. War over Taiwan and contested islands in the S. China Sea and E. China Sea is now more likely. Russia will consider similar covert & overt moves, focused on Crimea, & former Soviet satellites. The fear is that China & Russia will act in concert.

Why? America was whipped by a tiny rebel force and couldn’t even retreat properly. Meanwhile, the American people are angry, COVID weary, & divided. If there were ever a time to push American hegemony aside, this is it. If Cold War III grows hot, America will need to quickly build up & work with foreign counterparts. But who will trust America after Afghanistan? Who believes we have the leadership to use our military might well? Who will trust us when we say “We Will Stand With You”? Beyond China/Russia, others will take gambles too. Terror orgs like al-Qa’ida & ISIS are degraded but not dead. Their ideology is very much alive. Iran’s Hizballah — with terror cells throughout the US — may see an opening to create chaos too. Meanwhile, the disaster inside Afghanistan is only just beginning.

The Taliban will launch a terror campaign against American collaborators. The pictures will shock the conscience of the world, further degrading American moral authority. Biden & Co will struggle to respond. There’s also the nightmare of tactical weaponry now awash in Afghanistan, in the hands of the Taliban and — soon — on the global black market. These arms will fuel chaos around the world for decades. The Pentagon has no idea where this stuff is and no plans to destroy it. Finally, if Afghani refugees pour into the US, there are profound implications for security, culture, the economy, & politics. Are they properly vetted? Do they hold Western / tolerant values re: women, gays? Do they bring skills / education? Which party will they support?

The existential problem is that America needs good leadership to right its ship but there is none. Our federal bench is weak. Biden is a corrupt old man. Impeachment is a long shot; VP Harris is an unpopular paperweight. The Legislature is a feckless cabal of empty suits. Leadership could come from a state Governor, it’s true, but not soon enough. The above threats by China, Russia, & Co will metastasize well before the 2024 elections, and even a heroic new President will need years to clean things up. Again, our enemies and allies know this. Upshot: There is fear and outrage streaming through former intel officers over the Afghanistan debacle. America is rudderless. And the world now knows it. Grave dangers lie ahead, some predictable, others unimaginable. Keep your loved ones tight. Pray. And vote for change.

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The military comes to resent Biden, because he squandered all their efforts, and also to avoid being thrown under the bus.

My Heart Is Broken by Biden’s Afghanistan Failure (Michael Flynn)

My heart breaks as I see the Afghan people flood the Kabul airport in the hope of escaping the Taliban. President Biden’s assurances — supposedly based on what he was told by his intelligence community — that the Afghan Armed Forces were fully able to defeat the Taliban proved to be colossally wrong. Americans want to know whether President Biden and Defense Secretary Austin’s military-wide “stand-down” order to root out insufficiently woke “extremists” in the armed forces has caused our Defense Department to ignore what is unfolding in Afghanistan, as well as other real threats to our nation. After Afghanistan, I believe we can no longer rely on neocon senior military leaders, talking heads and politicians.

We have allowed military and civilian lawyers (read: rules of engagement restrictions) to become all-powerful, and many of our generals have been so indecisive and risk-averse that they are acting as little more than career-seeking politicians. We have been trained at participating in wars but untrained at winning wars since WWII. Afganistan is a tragic situation, much like the Kurds in Iraq, but at least President Trump drove up our respect internationally, which proves that being tough and smart is better than being tough and stupid. Today I don’t believe America is respected the way we were only a few short months ago. More countries visit China these days than come to the U.S., and China is prepped to recognize the Taliban once they declare the Islamic State — if only to embarrass us.

Seeing our defeat, my sense is Taiwan is having some incredibly uncomfortable internal discussions — as are a lot of U.S. allies in Europe. I also believe China is doing a lot of wargaming of costs and benefits with respect to future moves in the South China Sea and Europe. America is now in a fully engaged information war. Soon it may be worse. I pray our senior military leadership is intensely planning all options; the best plan offers the most options at the last possible moment. Trust me, our enemies are not waiting. They plan and they don’t care about stupid mask policies or fake insurrection show trials. Our enemies will be working on the next three vulnerabilities we haven’t even thought about. I believe Russia and China have a clear-eyed understanding of our corrupt political leadership that they and many other nations no longer respect or fear. America will come back soon, but it will come at a cost.

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46% approve? Of what?

Biden’s Polling Takes Massive Hit Following Collapse Of Afghanistan (JTN)

According to several new polls, President Biden is in trouble following the collapse of the Afghan government as U.S. and western troops withdrew from the troubled country after 20 years. A Rasmussen Reports poll illustrates the president’s approval index is currently 17 points down from where he started in January – the lowest it’s been since he took office. A total of 46% of Americans approve of Biden’s performance while 53% disapprove – also the highest that number has been. A new report from Convention of States Action in conjunction with the Trafalgar group shows that 69.3% of Americans disapprove of the president’s handling of military operations – a supermajority of the population. Just 23.1% approve, and 7.5% have no opinion.


Even among Democrats, 48.2% disapprove, compared to just 39.8% who approve of Biden’s Afghan strategy. Among GOP voters a stunning majority at 88.8% disapprove, while just 7.1% of Biden’s actions. Numbers for political independents tilt closer to GOP figures, with a total of 74.8% disapproving of the handling of military operations, and 19.8% giving a nod of approval. Democrats in Congress are speaking out against the actions of the president, and though National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan is set to brief the press corp today alongside Jen Psaki, none of Biden’s military leaders appeared alongside the Commander-in-Chief yesterday, as he deflected blame for the Afghan collapse during a brief speech.

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I had to look this up, but sure, maybe Spiro Agnew was at one point less popular than Kamala. Close call no doubt.

Kamala Harris Is The Most Unpopular Vice President In 50 Years (DW)

Vice President Kamala Harris has only been in office for six months, but she is already the most unpopular vice president since at least the 1970s, according to recent polls. The Los Angeles Times on Monday reported that as of July 27, “45% of registered voters had a favorable opinion of Harris and 48% had an unfavorable opinion — a net rating of -3 percentage points, according to a Times average.” The most recent YouGov tracking poll shows that Harris’ unfavorability rating has hit 49%, while her favorability rating sits at just 45%. Harris’ unpopularity is worse than former Vice President Mike Pence’s was six months into his tenure, according to The Telegraph.


The outlet reported that around this same time in 2017, Pence’s unfavorability rating sat at 41.9%, while his favorability rating was 42.1%. Pence may have been helped by a massive media focus on then-President Donald Trump and false accusations that he was a Russian agent who colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 election. During the Biden administration, much more focus has been on Harris since she’s the first black female vice president. President Joe Biden, however, has put her in charge of some nearly impossible tasks, including handling the situation on the southern border. As the Times reported, Harris’ approval ratings started to decline after she was assigned the task, though Biden also received a small decline in job approval.

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Buying votes.

Biden To Increase Food Stamp Benefits By 25%, Largest Hike In History (ZH)

Having solved domestic problems like inflation and foreign problems like the complete and total collapse of Afghanistan in minutes after the U.S. withdrew from the country, President Biden is now focused on offering the largest long-term increase in food stamp benefits in the program’s history. The program adds “billions of dollars in costs” to the government, Bloomberg noted in a writeup this weekend. But, in Biden’s defense, what are dollars anymore, after all? Benefits are set to rise more than 25% from pre-pandemic levels for some 42 million people enrolled in the program. Average monthly benefits will rise $36 per person, from $121, according to the report.


Yet despite the rise, there are still “anti-hunger advocates” that believe it isn’t enough. The Agriculture Department is responsible for the hike in benefits – which can be done without congressional approval – but adjusting the estimated costs of food. The USDA makes a “shopping list” to determine benefits which, when updated, can adjust the amount of benefits issued to recipients. The basket of food items used for the list was started in 1961 and then updated in 1975. Its latest review was in 2006. Benefits were set to drop prior to the planned update as a result of a September 30 expiration of a 15% boost in pandemic relief. Even with the boost, the USDA budget for a family of four amounts to about $22 in food per day. As Bloomberg notes, food stamps used to be bipartisan common ground, but have since “evolved into a partisan flashpoint”. Biden’s plans stand at odds with how President Trump attempted to limit eligibility for the aid. Trump’s attempts were overturned by courts.

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Most popular president.

US Gov’t Tells Americans In Afghanistan It ‘Can’t Guarantee’ Their Safety (DW)

President Joe Biden’s administration told American citizens trapped in Afghanistan that the administration cannot guarantee their safety if they travel to the airport in Kabul to be evacuated. The news comes as thousands of American citizens remained trapped as Taliban terrorists have now taken control of the country. The Biden administration sent the following message to Americans trapped in Afghanistan: “To American Citizens, Thank you for registering your request to be evacuated from Afghanistan. The U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan has confirmed that an undefined number of U.S. government provided flights will begin soon. Please make your way to Hamid Karzai International Airport at this time. PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT CANNOT GUARANTEE YOUR SECURITY AS YOU MAKE THIS TRIP.”

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“The Air Force will conduct a daring airdrop at night to deliver hundreds of pallets of paper ballots..”

Every American Stuck In Afghanistan To Receive A Mail-In Ballot (BBee)

Congress passed emergency legislation today to address the thousands of U.S. citizens still trapped in Afghanistan. The new legislation will mobilize the Air Force to drop much-needed absentee ballots for Americans eager to vote in the 2022 election. “Our heart goes out to the helpless Americans still stuck in Taliban-controlled Kabul,” said Senator Chuck Schumer. “We know they are eager to vote for us in the upcoming elections, and we will not rest until they receive the ballots they deserve. To our American friends overseas, help—in the form of easy-to-fill-out ballots—is on the way!” The Air Force will conduct a daring airdrop at night to deliver hundreds of pallets of paper ballots into the waiting hands of American citizens, eager to vote for their favorite Democrat politicians. To make things easy, Democrats have ensured all the ballots will be pre-marked for Democrats.

Read more …

 

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Jul 132021
 
 July 13, 2021  Posted by at 12:43 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  24 Responses »


Damien Hirst Renewal Blossom 2018

 

 

This is an essay I picked up in a publication from Sri Lanka. The author, Omar Khan, a “global consultant”, is not a blank sheet, he even appears in stories about a Ponzi scheme defrauding rich Wall Streeters in a wine set-up. But here, he asks a lot of the right questions, in a kind of summary of what we have been asking -and stating- for a long time now.

 

 

Omar Khan: Life has to be our dedication, not virus eradication. We are custom designed biologically and perhaps providentially to transcend viral challenges and pathogens, when we use our immunological hardiness, our medical acumen and data-based (not hypochondriacal) prudence.

 

 

The popular narrative reeks so pungently that we almost have to keep debunking these absurdities to dispel the trance that too many seem to be under.

 

C-19: It’s novel, it’s new, it’s unprecedentedly dangerous! 

No, it’s not! There is a family of coronaviruses. To that extent, this may have been ‘new’ and ‘novel, but not in any way to suggest that either our immune systems or our medical science was dealing with some uniquely implacable foe. Furthermore, it seems to have been circulating from the latter half of 2019. Medical researchers have repeatedly confirmed there were both examples of pre-existing immunity and crossover immunity due to prior immunological experience with similar pathogens. And now data clearly shows this was nothing unprecedented. 

 

It is primarily spread by droplets and infected surfaces

No, it isn’t. It is an airborne virus, and flourishes in congested, poorly ventilated indoor spaces, and is spread by minute particles. Ergo, being ‘locked’ in is simply insane. Even the US CDC confirms, there is roughly 1 in 10,000 chance of being infected by touching a surface. So, all this mass sanitising and social distancing was more kabuki theatre than anything else.

 

Everyone is equally at risk! 

No, they’re not! This is highly age stratified. Certainly, in the developed world, 93%+ of the deaths are above 70. There is a remarkably good recovery rate above 70, close to 97% for those without serious comorbidities. Another 6 to 10% fall within the ages of 40 to 69 (again, the majority with existing preconditions we are told by meta-analysts at leading universities) and below 40 the mortality rate gets increasingly nominal and infinitesimal. 

 

There is no treatment

Yes, there is! There is, of course, the Nobel Prize winning, WHO essential drug, Ivermectin There are studies, randomised trials, overwhelming front line clinical experience from around the world all testifying to its saving graces. There is also HCQ and Zinc, Corticosteroids, Monoclonal Antibodies, Vitamin D3, Budesonide and numerous others that are part of demonstrably effective, early treatment protocols. If treated early during the viral stage, leading doctors in the US, UK, Zimbabwe, India, Mexico, South Africa confirm virtually every symptomatic patient can be saved. 

Overall, even including the inflammation and thrombosis phase of the illness (when it becomes successively more dangerous) the most effective protocols have shown 85 to 90% reduction in hospitalisation and deaths. There is no sane reason not to embrace this, demonstrate it, and crystallise a Sri Lanka protocol drawing on the best of the rest.

 

Natural immunity cannot save us

Yes, it can! We would not be alive today if natural immunity did not work. Virtually all past vaccinations have taken place after a pandemic has waned somewhat because those actual vaccines did not get fast tracked past animal trials and safety trials. 

Every credible study reconfirms our immunological wisdom has always trumpeted. Namely immunity is long lasting. And while there is no guarantee no one will ever get re-infected, even that is extremely rare, with virtually no documented global cases. And when it does happen, it is substantially milder and our immune memory in terms of mobilising to deal with the pathogen becomes ever more profound. And that, indeed, seems to last a lifetime. 

Despite the seesawing medical vacillations of an increasingly confounded WHO, natural immunity trumps any vaccine-based immunity. And in the case of the current crop, the “vaccines” have been focused on suppressing symptoms and do not lead to the sustained immunological template that natural immunity confers (by their own admission). Despite this still being distorted in their description, at least natural immunity is back on the WHO website after having been pulled from there in an almost comic panic spasm. 

 

Asymptomatic people drive the disease, and so, we must lock everyone up

They don’t and we shouldn’t! Asymptomatic transmission is a dud, has not been demonstrated to be in evidence except where people’s immune systems are naturally dealing with the infection, in which case, they are not transmitting. Children, for example, fall within this description, and have not been shown to be vectors of transmission. This has been shown both in open schools in Florida and in Sweden where they stayed open throughout. 

Therefore, it may be necessary to revert to the unanimous pre 2020 consensus that said, ‘asymptomatic’ is really a euphemism for ‘healthy.’ Certainly ‘detecting’ an asymptomatic person based on highly fallible PCR testing is no basis to debunk centuries of medical consensus. Said PCR test anyway doesn’t test for live infectiousness, is not by itself (even as per WHO) diagnostic, and amplification settings are often set so high as to make the results almost a parody. And then lab contamination is often rife and viral debris can malinger long beyond any rational infection period. Other than that, we can swoon at its accuracy!

Ergo, locking up the healthy rather than allowing them to develop natural immunity if they are not in the vulnerable risk profile (which the majority are not) is oppressive, useless, society destroying and a form of protracted economic suicide. 

 

Everyone should be masked! 

No, they shouldn’t! In 2019 WHO had reviewed the 10 most seemingly credible mask studies, all of whom concluded masks don’t work in pandemic situations except in very crowded contexts and should not be used. This was also the conclusion up until the 2020 haemorrhage of medical sanity, of the US CDC, the European Medical Association, the Australian authorities, Johns Hopkins University and virtually everywhere else. There is no new research or any new studies that have led to this somersault. The only randomised trail done over this period, in Denmark, is consistent with all the earlier studies.

Dr. Frankenstein Fauci in his highly vocal emails disdains the use of such masks as well. The nano particles are too small for the masks to arrest anything. Anything other than respirators fitted to the face, which are not practical beyond a few hours, allow ready access to viral invaders, as we’ve said before. This is why one doesn’t use such masks to protect against anthrax, asbestos, black mould, all of which have larger particles. 

Masks are unhygienic, suppress oxygen flow, force you to inhale your own waste, and there are no long-term studies that demonstrate any efficacy or even confirm the safety of breathing in and out in such an encased, inhibited manner for a protracted period of time. Moreover, there’s the simple “live” case study of comparing open US states without mask mandates with those that are ‘muzzled,’ and one can see that there is no benefit in terms of mortality and overall results (on the contrary), other than totemic compliance and pathetic virtue signalling. 

By the way, there is not one recorded instance of outdoor transmission (even CDC accepts it is less than 1%). Therefore, unless you dislike breathing in oxygen there truly is no explanation for the endurance of this mad, sad ritual, when we are outside. 

 

Variants will haunt us forever

Who cares? Can we make our peace with the fact that viruses mutate? As explained before, former Chief Science Officer of Pfizer, Dr. Michael Yeadon, has pointed out that a variant is no more than 0.3% different than the original virus. And since we know immune systems that were earlier exposed (as Dr. Yeadon points out through medical testing), still recognise and immunologically rally when exposed again to the original SARS from 17 years ago – even though that is 20% different than SARS-CoV-2 – we can see how little we have to fear. These variants are simply the currently dominant strain, not some unknown predator. 

The current scaremonger, Delta, is actually welcomed by specialists like Dr. Harvey Risch of Yale and Dr. Peter McCullough of Baylor because it is so mild relative to mortality, and they say, among the most treatable variants they’ve encountered. So, despite PCR test spasms showing ‘surging cases,’ there has been virtually no impact on mortality. In fact, J.P. Morgan reports that in 10 out of 15 countries where Delta is dominant, even cases declined, and in 13 out of 15 countries, fatalities declined with vaccination percentages ranging from 32 to 63% of the population.

Even in the UK which has seen an uptick in mortality, as per government data, the case fatality rate hovers close to 0.3%

 

We must vaccinate everybody!

Actually, we need great caution! There are numerous early treatments. On that basis alone, the Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) should be rendered illicit and inapplicable (this is why there are such desperate attempts to suppress and smear these treatments). So, the deaths and adverse effects recorded even in government databases (which confess to being between 1-20% of actuals) are greater than the cumulative total for all other vaccines since such tracking was undertaken, at least since 1995. 

The types of issues range from severe neurological damage, myocarditis, life threatening blood clots, fertility issues, tragic pregnancy consequences and too many others to itemise or catalogue. To this, a riposte is often given that these adverse effects correlate to vaccination but cannot be proven to have been ‘caused’ by the vaccine. 

But repeated conjunction between a stimulus (‘vaccines’) and a pattern of adverse phenomena closely accompanying all the vaccines, is precisely what, in more prudent and more transparent times, would simply, on the basis of the precautionary principle, lead to stopping this manic jabbing, to do a proper investigative assessment. 

Beyond that we now know that the spike proteins, even without the virus, are lethal and this is what we are injecting in the case of the mRNA vaccines primarily. They also do not stay localised and instead spread throughout our organs (SALK Institute study, autopsy plus repeated testimony by Dr Robert Malone, one of the founders of the mRNA technology – who has for the sin of sharing his expertise, had both his LinkedIn account erased and has had Wikipedia attempt to rewrite history by expunging his mRNA contribution from their site). These are horrifying concerns, and it is monstrous not to have addressed them, rather than cravenly attempting to whitewash them.

 

The spectre of censorship

There are great concerns re the pervasive censorship. Such desperate attempts to silence and muzzle don’t usually spring from confidence, or positions that have self-evident appeal. Just a smattering of examples: Norway was de-platformed from Tweeting disquiet about Astra Zeneca! Dr. Robert Malone, as indicated above, has accounts cancelled, and is removed from the Wikipedia author page (Joan of Arc may be next). 

Evolutionary biologist and visiting fellow at Princeton (Bret Weinstein) “demonetised” from YouTube (after over three million views) because some cabal somewhere, somehow decide what is or isn’t fit for our eyes and ears. And when and how did that judgment seat pass to them, otherwise than through financial string pulling by desperate vested interests, thereby confessing their impotence in terms of having a case to make? 

Noble Prize Winner Professor Satoshi Omura, whose discovery of Ivermectin as an anti-parasitic drug led to one of the world’s greatest public health achievements, was just censored for daring to opine that indeed he believes his discovery will be hugely beneficial for COVID treatment.

None of this is normal! Martin Kulldorff, one of the world’s leading epidemiologists, at a meeting with Florida Governor De Santis suggests that universal vaccination is not called for, the interview is scrubbed immediately, because our precious sensibilities cannot even have that “suggested”, even from someone whose expertise fully entitles him to share an assessment we should be desperately interested to at least consider.

Remember, all this is being mounted over an age stratified illness of low risk to virtually everyone. So, all the frenzy to demonise, the incentive for that, once more, cannot have been public health. 

Yes, four million people are purported to have died of COVID with all types of death certificate rigging. And if you say it’s normal for a positive test on a death certificate to translate into causation (and nothing of course re vaccine deaths can rise to “causation” unless a spike protein jumped out and confessed perhaps), I will ask why this logic is only, uniquely applied to this pathogen? Why were these norms so hurriedly “updated” after decades of normal causal logic holding sway, of recording the primary cause of death?

Yes, four million died over this period, and five million die of all-cause mortality every month, so about 85 million have perished over the same period. There is no interest in the other causes of mortality? Or those coming from deferred cancer screenings, heart conditions not attended to, overdoses and suicides, literally many millions more from starvation due to interrupted supply chains? 

 

Re-opening society: A call to action

We had three of the world’s most eminent doctors present to policy makers here, and the conclusions in terms of re-opening society and keeping it open are given below.

1. Keep society open, solvent, functioning and able to provide public health resources to its citizens as well as livelihoods. Lockdowns are penal, take a devastating human toll which only worsens, and as demonstrated, backfire, and data shows that conclusively around the world. They do not help given all transmission is indoor, most people are not at risk, and abundant early treatments exist for the symptomatic.

2. Keep people out of hospitals by providing early treatment, open air clinics, mobile clinics. If treatment is given early on, the period of infectiousness can be vastly reduced to as little as five days. Home treatment guides can be provided and contact information for resources that can provide telemedicine, drive by clinics, guidance, treatment and early support, should be widely circulated. We can actively benchmark experience with everything from ivermectin to monoclonal antibodies (now cleared for use in Sri Lanka through Roche) to protocols in South Africa by Dr. Chetty (4,000 patients, everyone has survived), including fascinating local remedies in Tamil Nadu that actually work. And thereby, as cited above, we can create a “Lankan protocol.”

3. Consider augmenting conventional PCR tests which have time lags as well as often not being able to confirm live infectiousness with some of the newer saliva-based antigen tests, some of which now have demonstrated 98% accuracy and can report results in 15 minutes, or as Singapore is suggesting, focus on the symptomatic and do proper lab diagnosis. Regardless though, focus on the mortality needle, not ‘positive tests’ posing as ‘cases’ as per the example of Sweden this spring (rising positive tests with consistently falling death numbers due to focused protection). Singapore is another example of this “disconnect” with 62,000 positive tests and 36 deaths. 

4. Prioritise the vulnerable elderly in any vaccination efforts as well as in terms of temporary sheltering in place or other measures to shield them from infection when community disease spread is high. 

5. Ensure people are encouraged when indoors to be in not overly congested, well ventilated spaces, especially the elderly and vulnerable. And also, to get plenty of time outdoors, UV rays and vitamin D from the sun, germicidal air as epidemiologist Knutt Wittowski stresses are well documented benefits with all viruses in synch with seasonality and plenty of exercise which helps the immune system and improves indicators re other aspects of health, including comorbidities. 

6. Please note Sri Lanka still has among the lowest deaths per million in the world, (roughly 156 per million). Pakistan has a fairly low deaths per million (roughly 102 per million) and even India, despite its recent surge has roughly 1/7th the deaths per million of the US and Europe. We should take advantage of being in this relatively charmed immunological corridor and find the will and courage to open society up, let natural immunity among those at nominal risk (based on age first and overall health next) help to build a wall of immunity and treat everyone with symptoms who needs help as early as possible, thereby fast-tracking C-19 migrating to endemic status. This was the overall consensus of our global panel.

 

Of possible concern

As we open our borders or open society back up (which we must), or have another seasonal surge, if we stay infatuated with positive tests rather than symptoms, we may again panic unnecessarily. We should recall, positivity in Delhi in early May was staggering and by week of 31 May was less than 1% which shows how quickly the tide can turn. 

Knowing we have this suite of treatments and prioritising the vulnerable for treatment and/or vaccination will assure us that even if there is a temporary surge, focusing on the symptomatic, we can handle it and there is nothing to fear. The alternative is perpetual, recurring, pointless lockdowns and having to act as if no other cause of harm or concern matters even though we lose many more lives here through car accidents, diabetes, heart attacks, in some seasons, dengue. Hunger, bankruptcy, deferred vaccinations for even more serious diseases that we were on our way to routing, destruction of education for children for whom it is their literal future, simply cannot be ignored as we chase, to the exclusion of all else, the unattainable phantom of ‘zero COVID’. 

Life has to be our dedication, not virus eradication. We are custom designed biologically and perhaps providentially to transcend viral challenges and pathogens, when we use our immunological hardiness, our medical acumen and data-based (not hypochondriacal) prudence.

 

 

 

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May 232021
 
 May 23, 2021  Posted by at 9:17 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  66 Responses »


Edvard Munch Separation 1894

 

160+ Experts Slam Covid Vaccines As ‘Unnecessary, Ineffective And Unsafe’ (LSN)
Second And Last Reply To M. Yeadon (Van Den Bossche)
The Danger Of Claimed ‘Statistics’ (Denninger)
Daily US Covid Cases Lowest In A Year, Pandemic Worsens In Latin America (F.)
No 10 ‘Tried To Block’ Data On Spread Of New Covid Variant In UK Schools (O.)
Fauci Faces Drop In Confidence From 40% Of Americans Over Past Year (RT)
The Disintegrated States Of America (Escobar)
The New “Rush Hour” (ZH)
Lithuania Pulls Out Of China’s 17+1 Bloc In Eastern Europe (Pol.eu)

 

 

Yeadon

 

 

Michael Yeadon’s group.

160+ Experts Slam Covid Vaccines As ‘Unnecessary, Ineffective And Unsafe’ (LSN)

In their letter earlier this month, Doctors for COVID-19 Ethics emphasized serious health implications of the vaccines for both the healthy and ill, saying that the shots “are not safe, either for recipients or for those who use them or authorize their use.” They pointed to risks of “lethal and non-lethal disruptions of blood clotting including bleeding disorders, thrombosis in the brain, stroke and heart attack,” “antibody-dependent enhancement of disease,” autoimmune reactions, and potential effects of “vaccine impurities due to rushed manufacturing and unregulated production standards.”

“Contrary to claims that blood disorders post-vaccination are ‘rare’, many common vaccine side effects (headaches, nausea, vomiting and hematoma-like ‘rashes’ over the body) may indicate thrombosis and other severe abnormalities,” the experts said. “Clotting events currently receiving media attention are likely just the ‘tip of a huge iceberg.’” “Due to immunological priming, risks of clotting, bleeding and other adverse events can be expected to increase with each re-vaccination and each intervening coronavirus exposure,” Doctors for COVID-19 Ethics added. “Over time, whether months or years, this renders both vaccination and coronaviruses dangerous to young and healthy age groups, for whom without vaccination COVID-19 poses no substantive risk,” they argued.

“Just as smoking could be and was predicted to cause lung cancer based on first principles, all gene-based vaccines can be expected to cause blood clotting and bleeding disorders, based on their molecular mechanisms of action,” they said. “Consistent with this, diseases of this kind have been observed across age groups, leading to temporary vaccine suspensions around the world.” “Since vaccine roll-out, COVID-19 incidence has risen in numerous areas with high vaccination rates. Furthermore, multiple series of COVID-19 fatalities have occurred shortly after the onset vaccinations in senior homes,” the doctors said. “These cases may have been due not only to antibody-dependent enhancement but also to a general immunosuppressive effect of the vaccines, which is suggested by the increased occurrence of Herpes zoster in certain patients.”

“Regardless of the exact mechanism responsible for these reported deaths, we must expect that the vaccines will increase rather than decrease lethality of COVID-19,” they continued. The group stressed that the jabs remain technically experimental – a fact that legally precludes mandatory vaccination in many cases: “The vaccines are experimental by definition. They will remain in Phase 3 trials until 2023. Recipients are human subjects entitled to free informed consent under Nuremberg and other protections, including the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe’s resolution 2361 and the FDA’s terms of emergency use authorization.”

Read more …

Van Den Bossche has problems with Yeadon. I’m not going to pretend I understand his every word here. But I’d like to know what everybody thinks.

Second And Last Reply To M. Yeadon (Van Den Bossche)

Michael Yeadon’s rhetoric that mass vaccination campaigns do not have the potential to promote circulation of more infectious immune escape variants and that more infectious variants are not problematic are not based on sound immunological grounds at all. This will be my second but last reply to his erroneous and misleading interpretations. I hate to do this since this may leave the public with the opinion that people like me have nothing else to do than to focus on their own ego, although nothing is less true. However, when the most compelling arguments for my warning about the potentially disastrous consequences of mass vaccination are wiped from the table with scientifically hollow and invalid arguments, one has no choice but to react.

Now, more than ever before, criticism is indispensable to build and consolidate a consensus on why mass vaccination campaigns (using the current vaccines in the heat of a pandemic caused by a highly mutable virus) are highly problematic. However, it doesn’t help when people bring to the table arguments that are scientifically incorrect. Yeadon is basically not understanding the difference between viral escape from protection-blocking immunity and viral escape from infection-/ transmission-blocking immunity. His rhetoric about conserved T cell epitopes and long-lived cross-reactive MHC cl I-restricted responses to those, relate to protection against clinical disease but not against infection!

Yeadon doesn’t seem to understand the mechanism of S-directed immune selection, let alone adaptation of variants to conditions of suboptimal, S-directed immune pressure, which become increasingly prevalent upon mass vaccination. I can barely believe that someone who claims to be a skilled expert in immunology doesn’t see the parallel to serial in vitro cell culture passage of a mutable virus in the presence of suboptimal antibody (Ab) concentrations. In case of CoV inoculated on permissive cells, one would incubate the inoculated cell culture in the presence of suboptimal S-specific Abs to place infectious pressure on viral infectiousness. Provided you harvest the viral progeny and use it to repeat this procedure a number of times, you’ll manage to progressively enrich the viral progeny with naturally occurring S variants that have been selected to overcome the immune pressure placed on the S protein and which are, therefore, more infectious in nature.

Read more …

“If you’re offered some type of lottery-style prize to do a potentially dangerous thing — run.”

The Danger Of Claimed ‘Statistics’ (Denninger)

Let’s say that a “bad thing” is likely to happen to 50 in 100,000 people, that is, 0.05%. This is quite rare. Let’s say you do something with 30,000 people. You’d expect to see 15 bad things to happen. Well, let’s say you see three bad events. How confident are you that you just reduced the risk by 80%? If your answer is “not very” you’re wise. If you go cheering in the streets you’re stupid. Now might you try that thing that appears to be 80% effective? Sure, provided the risk of it doing something else that’s bad (which you don’t want to have happen) is also vanishingly small. But it’s one thing to try, and other to rely or make public policy based on those numbers. Remember that for any individual you are a trial of one; you’re not a trial of 100,000 or 330,000,000.

That is the roulette-wheel statistical fallacy and every single casino on the planet uses it to entice you to place a bet that in fact has no better or worse odds than the next table down the row! Assuming that there is no cheating going on and the wheel and ball are in fact “fair” (that is, the ball is round and balanced, and all of the spaces on the wheel have the same characteristics) each roll of the ball has exactly the same odds of landing on a given number on the wheel as every other roll of the ball. The distribution of former outcomes on that board is pure random chance and so is the next throw of the ball. So if the odds are in fact 0.05% of the bad thing then whether 10, 100 or 10,000 people all didn’t have it happen — or some did have it happen — prior to you doing it makes no difference whatsoever.

That five blacks all came up in sequence does not make either black or red (or green for that matter) more or less likely on the next throw of the ball. Your throw is a trial of one and so if the true odds are 0.05% then they are irrespective of all the other trials before. In addition be very careful that risks you think are not related are truly unrelated. For example the risk of being killed in a car accident is approximately 1 in 8,000 per year for a person in the United States. But that’s across everyone; your personal risk, if you drive while intoxicated, is likely quite a bit higher. How much higher? Don’t know, but I bet it’s higher. At the same time if you never take your vehicle outside of city limits where the speed limit is 25mph I bet it’s quite a bit lower. Not your risk of smashing the car, mind you, but your risk of dying due to a car smash.

This becomes quite important when we start talking about actions that have inherent risk to try to reduce a related risk. For example let’s say you take a drug for a given condition. The condition is dangerous and could kill you. The drug could kill you too; all drugs have some risk of doing bad things. Be careful assuming the risk of the drug is the same in everyone because it probably isn’t, just as the risk of the condition is probably not the same in everyone too. If the condition is more-dangerous in certain people for some reason and you know it’s more dangerous in you then you need to be extremely careful to find out whether the risks from the drug scale and, if they do, is their scaling more, equal or less than the factors for the condition. The best situation of course is that whatever makes the condition more-dangerous makes the drug less-so, but this is rare. That the two correlate is common, and that the two are uncorrelated is less-common, but certainly possible.

By the same token the reasonable risk from the drug depends greatly on the hazard from not using it, and instead employing all other known and available countermeasures that may exist. This is why companies look for cancer drugs, incidentally — it’s not just the money to be made but also the degree of risk that is acceptable. If you are searching for a drug that treats ordinary headaches it has to be extremely safe because headaches don’t kill people. Therefore the risk of not using the drug is zero and as a result the risk of using the drug has to be extremely small. But if you’re attempting to find a drug that cures pancreatic cancer then a risk of 1 in 100 or even 1 in 50 of the drug killing you outright looks very reasonable since at present pancreatic cancer is almost-always fatal even with the best of existing treatment.

One final point: If you’re offered some type of lottery-style prize to do a potentially dangerous thing — run.

Read more …

“In Russia, confirmed cases have fallen to 8,000 from almost 24,000 in early January. In Africa, daily confirmed cases have fallen to under 10,000 from 38,000 in early January.”

Daily US Covid Cases Lowest In A Year, Pandemic Worsens In Latin America (F.)

The seven-day average of new Covid cases in the U.S. fell to 27,815 on Friday, the lowest level since last June, but the pandemic is gathering strength in Latin America, where the number of virus-related deaths has passed 1 million, with almost half of them in Brazil, while the virus is spreading to rural parts of India from urban centers. A report from the Biden Administration released Friday showed that the number of U.S. counties with “high” levels of Covid transmission has been cut in half since mid-April to 694 But the Covid pandemic is worsening in some of the most heavily populated countries in Latin America, which accounted for 31% of global Covid deaths in May, while representing only 8.4% of the global population.

The seven-day moving average of confirmed Covid cases has risen in Brazil to more than 78,000 from about 57,000 in early May, and in Argentina to almost 37,000 from 5,760 in early February, according to Johns Hopkins. In India, the seven-day moving average of confirmed cases has fallen to about 265,000 from 382,000 a week ago, but health officials warn the pandemic has spread to rural areas amid a second wave. The U.S. is currently averaging about 552 Covid-related deaths per day, according to Johns Hopkins data, the lowest level since last July. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington projects that the number of daily deaths will fall to under 120 by early September, down sharply from 5,500 in early January.

In South America, only 15% of people have received at least one vaccination dose, versus 28% in Europe, while Asia and Africa have even lower rates of 5% and 1%, respectively, according to the website Our World in Data through May 19. Meanwhile, in other parts of the world reported infection rates are generally declining. Daily new infections in Europe have dropped to about 86,000 from 116,000 in early April, according to the Reuters tracker, while newly reported deaths have plunged to under 2,000 from almost 7,000 in late January. In Russia, confirmed cases have fallen to 8,000 from almost 24,000 in early January. In Africa, daily confirmed cases have fallen to under 10,000 from 38,000 in early January. In East Asia, Japan’s daily confirmed cases have jumped to about 5,250 from 1,530 in mid-March, while in South Korea, confirmed new cases have dropped to about 650 from 840 in early January.

Read more …

What a bunch of amateurs.

No 10 ‘Tried To Block’ Data On Spread Of New Covid Variant In UK Schools (O.)

Downing Street leaned on Public Health England not to publish crucial data on the spread of the new Covid variant in schools, documents seen by the Observer have suggested. Scientists, union officials and teachers said that the lack of transparency was “deeply worrying”. The focus of their anger concerns the pre-print of a PHE report that included a page of data on the spread of the India Covid-19 variant in schools. But when the report was published on Thursday 13 May, the page had been removed. It was the only one that had been removed from the pre-print. Days later, the government went ahead with its decision to remove the mandate on face coverings in English schools. Evidence seen by the Observer suggests No 10 was directly involved in the decision not to publish it.


The prime minister’s office acknowledged it was in correspondence with PHE officials about presentation of the data but vigorously denied this constituted “interference” or “pressure”. Data on the spread of the new variant in schools has still not been published, despite calls from union officials and scientists who say teachers and families are being put at risk. In hotspots such as Bolton, cases involving the variant are rising fastest among school-age children. Information seen by the Observer reveals that 164 cases of the new variant were linked to schools up to 12 May, or 13% of a total of 2,111 cases. Since then, the number of total cases of the new variant has risen to 3,424 cases, a rise of 160%. The number of cases now linked to schools is unknown.

Read more …

He’s just another politician.

Fauci Faces Drop In Confidence From 40% Of Americans Over Past Year (RT)

A new poll has found that over 40% of Americans have lost confidence in White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci in the past year. When asked whether their confidence in Dr. Fauci has gone up or down over the past year, 42% of respondents said their confidence had either “decreased significantly” or just “decreased.” The past year thrust the infectious disease expert into the national spotlight as he became a leader in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. Fauci’s support of lockdown measures and seeming flip-flops on issues like the safety of masking have earned him plenty of critics, however, especially among conservatives, which shows in the poll from Trafalgar Group. Among Republicans, 66% said their confidence in Fauci has waned.


Only 20% of Democrats said they were less confident in the health expert, and 34% even said they now have more confidence in the man. A YouGov and Yahoo News poll released last week reflected similar party-line results, as nearly 80% of Democrat respondents said Fauci was doing an excellent or good job, while less than 20% of Republicans described his job performance as either good or excellent. Over half of Republican respondents (55%) believed Fauci was doing a poor job. In the same poll, over 60% of Republicans said Fauci had actually “hurt” the US during the pandemic. Overall, 46% of participants said the doctor has “helped.”

Read more …

Changes. Greatly underappreciated in the West.

The Disintegrated States Of America (Escobar)

Here, Martyanov, in meticulous detail, analyzes the imperial decline thematically – with chapters on Consumption, Geoeconomics, Energy, Losing the Arms Race, among others, composing a devastating indictment especially of toxic D.C. lobbies and the prevailing political mediocrity across the Beltway. What is laid bare for the reader is the complex interplay of forces that are driving the political, ideological, economic, cultural and military American chaos. Chapter 3, on Geoeconomics, is a joy ride. Martyanov shows how geoeconomics as a field separate from warfare and geopolitics is nothing but an obfuscation racket: good old conflict “wrapped in the thin shroud of political sciences’ shallow intellectualism” – the stuff Huntington, Fukuyama and Brzezinski’s dreams are made of.

That is fully developed on Chapter 6, on Western Elites – complete with a scathing debunking of the “myth of Henry Kissinger”: “just another American exceptionalist, mislabeled a ‘realist’”, part of a gang that “is not conditioned to think multi-dimensionally”. After all they’re still not capable of understanding the rationale and the implications of Putin’s 2007 Munich speech that declared the unipolar moment – a crude euphemism for Hegemony – dead and buried. One of Martyanov’s key assessments is that having lost the arms race and every single war it unleashed in the 21st century – as the record shows – geoeconomics is essentially a “euphemism for America’s non-stop sanctions and attempts to sabotage the economies of any nation capable of competing with the United States” (see, for instance, the ongoing Nord Stream 2 saga). This is “the only tool” the US is using trying to halt its decline.

On a chapter on Energy, Martyanov demonstrates how the US shale oil adventure is financially non-viable, and how a rise in oil exports was essentially due to the US “pickin up’ quotas freed chiefly as a result of Russia and Saudi Arabia’s earlier cuts within OPEC + in an attempt to balance the world’s oil market”. In Chapter 7, Losing the Arms Race, Martyanov expands on the key theme he’s the undisputed superstar: the United States cannot win wars. Inflicting Hybrid War is another matter entirely, as in creating “a lot of misery around the world, from effectively starving people to killing them outright”. A glaring example has been “maximum pressure” economic sanctions on Iran.

But the point is these tools – which also included the assassination of Gen Soleimani – that are part of the arsenal of “spreading democracy” have nothing to do with “geoeconomics”, but have “everything to do with the raw power plays designed to achieve the main Clausewitzian object of war – ‘to compel our enemy to do our will’”. And “for America, most of the world is the enemy”. Martyanov also feels compelled to update what he’s been excelling at for years: the fact that the arrival of hypersonic missiles “has changed warfare forever”. The Khinzal, deployed way back in 2017, has a range of 2,000 km and “is not interceptable by existing US anti-missile systems”. The 3M22 Zircon “changes the calculus of both naval and ground warfare completely”. The US lag behind Russia in air-defense systems is “massive, and both quantitative and qualitative”.

Read more …

More changes.

The New “Rush Hour” (ZH)

With everybody moving out of cities and into the suburbs to work from home during the pandemic, there’s officially a “new rush hour”. Gone are the days of waiting on the interstate to get in and out of your local metro area around the edges of the nine to five workday. Here now are the days of a different kind of rush hour: one where running errands in the afternoon, while working from home, has suburban streets filling up. Afternoon traffic has “come roaring back” while traditional rush hour times across the U.S. still show traffic below pre-pandemic levels. Marjorie Crosbie, profiled in a new Wall Street Journal article, experienced this change firsthand. The 10 mile trip to pick up her daughter at an after-school program recently took her 45 minutes instead of the usual 22-23 minutes.


Crosbie works as a senior finance manager for PwC and has been working from home full time since the pandemic. In her area, Tampa, afternoon vehicle trips are at 105% of levels they were at pre-pandemic. “In more than 40 of the 100 biggest U.S. metros, roads are more congested on weekday afternoons than they were pre-pandemic,” the report notes. Tim Rivers, Florida market director for commercial real-estate firm JLL, told the Journal: “People are working from home, so the suburbs have tremendous traffic. They’re going out for a morning coffee at Starbucks to take their Teams or Zoom call, or going for a workout midday.” Traffic in the afternoon has come back quicker in metro areas that have reopened earlier, the report notes. 7 of the top 10 trafficked areas have been in Florida, with notable upticks in areas like Fort Myers and Sarasota. In places like San Francisco, New York and Detroit, afternoon weekday trips are still below 80% of pre-pandemic levels, the report notes.

Read more …

Why would China care about Lithuania? Eurovision?

Lithuania Pulls Out Of China’s 17+1 Bloc In Eastern Europe (Pol.eu)

Lithuania has dropped out of China’s “17+1” group and urged other EU countries to follow suit, the Baltic state’s foreign minister told POLITICO. “There is no such thing as 17+1 anymore, as for practical purposes Lithuania is out,” Gabrielius Landsbergis said in an email, referring to Beijing’s decade-old initiative to engage Central and Eastern European countries, most of which are from the ex-Soviet bloc. The Lithuanian foreign minister called on other EU countries to also abandon the initiative. “From our perspective, it is high time for the EU to move from a dividing 16+1 format to a more uniting and therefore much more efficient 27+1,” Landsbergis said. “The EU is strongest when all 27 member states act together along with EU institutions.”

“Vaccination rollout, tackling pandemics are just [a] few recent examples of the EU27 united in solidarity and purpose. Unity of [the] 27 is key to success in EU’s relations with external partners. Relations with China should be no exception,” he added. A spokesman for the Chinese Mission to the EU said China was “not aware” of Lithuania’s move, adding: “China-CEEC [Central and Eastern European countries] cooperation mechanism is a cross-regional cooperation mechanism jointly initiated by China and Central and Eastern European countries. It meets the desire of all parties to seek development together. “Rather than being dominated by China, the mechanism involves all parties in cooperation based on voluntarism, extensive consultation, joint contribution, openness and inclusiveness.

“China-CEEC cooperation has been very fruitful in the past nine years since its inception. It has brought tangible benefits to the nations involved and added a new dimension to China-EU relations,” he said. Lithuania’s move is the latest indication of an increasingly shaky relationship between China and the European Union. On Thursday, the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly to freeze the legislative process for ratifying the EU’s investment pact with China, unless Beijing lifts sanctions against EU lawmakers that were imposed after the 27 EU countries slapped Xinjiang officials with sanctions over mass internment of the Uyghur minorities.

Read more …

 

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May 152021
 


Wassily Kandinsky Contrasting Sounds 1924

 

Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Reprograms Innate Immune Responses
Long Covid-19 Linked To Early Aging Of Immune System (CGTN)
Pandemic To Be ‘Far More Deadly’ This Year – WHO (Y!)
Delay Child Vaccinations And Share Jabs With Covax – WHO (BBC)
India Variant Could Seriously Disrupt Lifting Of UK Lockdown (G.)
Failed Biden Nominee Neera Tanden Hired As White House Senior Adviser (F.)
The Age of Fear (Whitehead)
On the Hypocrites at Apple Who Fired Antonio Garcia-Martinez (Taibbi)
Remember It’s a Sin to Kill a Mockingbird (Turley)
Carbon Pricing Isn’t Effective at Reducing CO2 Emissions (INET)
Escalation In Palestine – Hizbullah Is Ready To Join The Fight (MoA)
Israel, the Big Lie (Chris Hedges)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Burr

 

 

This is the scary part. This is why we should not use untested substances on hundreds of millions of poorly educated people.

Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Reprograms Innate Immune Responses (MN)

Researchers in The Netherlands and Germany have warned that Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine induces complex reprogramming of innate immune responses that should be considered in the development and use of mRNA-based vaccines. Jorge Domínguez-Andrés and colleagues say that while the vaccine has been shown to be up to 95% effective in preventing infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and subsequent COVID-19, little is known about the broad effects the vaccine may have on the innate and adaptive immune responses.

In the current study (not peer-reviewed*), the research team from Radboud University Medical Center and Erasmus MC in the Netherlands, and the Helmholtz-Centre for Infection Research (HZI), Hannover Medical School (MHH), and the University of Bonn, in Germany, confirmed the efficacy of BNT162b2 vaccination at inducing effective humoral and cellular immunity against several SARS-CoV-2 variants. However, they also showed that the vaccine altered the production of inflammatory cytokines by innate immune cells following stimulation with both specific (SARS-CoV-2) and non-specific (viral, fungal and bacterial) stimuli.

Following vaccination, innate immune cells had a reduced response to toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4), TLR7 and TLR8 – all ligands that play an important role in the immune response to viral infection. Neta and colleagues also found that cytokine responses to fungi were increased following vaccination. The mRNA BNT162b2 vaccine induces complex functional reprogramming of innate immune responses, which should be considered in the development and use of this new class of vaccines,” writes the team.

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More immune system perils.

Long Covid-19 Linked To Early Aging Of Immune System (CGTN)

New studies show the effect of severe cases of the virus on the immune system and the premature aging of T-cells suggest a possible explanation for Long COVID-19. According to one publication, three months after patients have been discharged from hospital many showed signs of “premature immunosenescence” – the age-related decline in the body’s ability to form a defence against viruses and other illnesses. Researcher Niharika Duggal of the University of Birmingham said this included the loss of “naive” immune system cells (which have yet to be used in the body’s response), with an accumulation of “memory” B and T-cells, which circulate in the body holding the information to fight against a pathogen.


These symptoms are usually seen in people over 60 years old, but they were spotted in several COVID-19 survivors. It has been previously proved that traumatic injury and chronic disease can cause premature immune system aging, but this research is the first to argue a viral infection does the same. However, the research is still at an early stage and one researcher suggested it could be cause, rather than effect. Janet Lord of the University of Birmingham, explained: “Analysis of people in the UK … who developed COVID-19, showed they were biologically 10 to 14 years older.” She said it’s possible that patients who show prematurely aged immune systems may have caught the virus due to a weaker system – rather than the virus severely damaging the body’s immune response over a long period.

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Fear campaign?

Pandemic To Be ‘Far More Deadly’ This Year – WHO (Y!)

The World Health Organization issued a grim warning on Friday that the second year of Covid-19 was set to be “far more deadly”, as Japan extended a state of emergency amid growing calls for the Olympics to be scrapped. “We’re on track for the second year of this pandemic to be far more deadly than the first,” said WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. The mood also darkened in Japan where the coronavirus state of emergency took in another three regions just 10 weeks before the Olympics, while campaigners submitted a petition with more than 350,000 signatures calling for the Games to be cancelled. With Tokyo and other areas already under emergency orders until the end of May, Hiroshima, Okayama and northern Hokkaido, which will host the Olympic marathon, will now join them.

Japanese public opinion is firmly opposed to holding the Games this summer. Swiss tennis great Roger Federer said Friday that “what the athletes need is a decision: is it happening or isn’t it?” “I would love to play in the Olympics… But if that doesn’t happen due to the situation, I would be the first to understand,” he added. The pandemic has killed at least 3,346,813 people worldwide since the virus first emerged in late 2019, according to an AFP tally of official data. India meanwhile started deploying Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, the first foreign-made shot to be used in the country that has been reeling from an explosion in cases and deaths.

The first token batch of Sputnik vaccines — reportedly 150,000 doses — arrived on May 1 and a second delivery is expected in the next few days. A number of leading India-based drugmakers have agreements for local production of Sputnik V with the aim to produce over 850 million doses of the jab per year. India has been adding roughly as many new Covid cases daily as the rest of the world put together.

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Forget about herd immunity through vaccines. Not going to happen. Your immune system will have to do the job.

Delay Child Vaccinations And Share Jabs With Covax – WHO (BBC)

Wealthier nations should postpone plans to give children and teenagers Covid vaccines and instead donate supplies to low-income countries, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) says. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Friday urged countries to supply more vaccines to the global fair-access scheme Covax. The international distribution of Covid vaccines remains vastly uneven. Since the first vaccines were approved in December, wealthier countries have bought up most of the supply. Many are racing to vaccinate as much of their population as possible. Speaking at a virtual conference in Geneva on Friday, the WHO’s Dr Tedros said he understood why some countries wanted to vaccinate children and adolescents, but said “right now, I urge them to reconsider”.


“In low and lower-middle income countries, Covid-19 vaccine supply has not been enough to even immunise healthcare workers, and hospitals are being inundated with people that need lifesaving care urgently,” he said. Last week, US President Joe Biden laid out plans to begin coronavirus vaccine shots for 12- to 15-year-olds as soon as possible. He also said he hoped that 70% of US adults would receive at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine by 4 July, when American families are expected to come together to mark Independence Day. Meanwhile, Canada has authorised the use of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine for children aged between 12 and 15. The province of Alberta, which has the highest rate of the virus in the country, has already started offering the jabs to citizens over the age of 12. In Switzerland, some places began offering Covid vaccination appointments to 16-year-olds last week.

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Still makes me cringe: “..allowing people to meet in groups of six indoors ..”

India Variant Could Seriously Disrupt Lifting Of UK Lockdown (G.)

The final stage of the lifting of coronavirus lockdown restrictions across England could face “serious disruption” due to the India variant, the prime minister has warned, as he announced plans to accelerate the vaccine programme to curb its spread. Boris Johnson said the gap between the first and second Covid jab would be cut from 12 weeks to eight for all over-50s and the clinically vulnerable, admitting: “The race between our vaccine programme and the virus may be about to become a great deal tighter.” He announced that the army would be deployed to two variant hotspots – Bolton and Blackburn with Darwen – to help with vaccinations, and urged residents in those areas to “think twice” before taking advantages of the freedoms allowed again from Monday.


Johnson said plans to ease restrictions on 17 May – allowing people to meet in groups of six indoors – would go ahead, but that the variant “could make it more difficult” for the final stage of unlocking to proceed on 21 June. He said the India variant appeared to be “more transmissible” than the dominant strain in the UK, which originated in Kent, but that it was not yet clear by how much. If it is significantly more, then, he warned, “we’re likely to face some hard choices”. “I have to level with you that this new variant could pose a serious disruption to our progress and could make it more difficult to move to step four in June,” Johnson said. Asked whether the lockdown easing would have to be paused during a press conference, he added: “The truth is, we cannot say for certain … The situation is very different from last year, we are in the throes of an incredible vaccine rollout … We just have to wait and see … We rule nothing out.”

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“Tanden’s new post will not require Senate confirmation.”

Failed Biden Nominee Neera Tanden Hired As White House Senior Adviser (F.)

Neera Tanden will have a place in the White House after all following the withdrawal of her nomination to lead the White House Office of Management and Budget, with President Joe Biden on Friday hiring her as a senior adviser on Friday, according to a White House official. Tanden, the former president of the liberal think tank Center for American Progress, will be charged with handling the White House’s response to Republican lawsuits before the Supreme Court seeking to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.


Tanden has also been tasked with reviewing the United States Digital Service, an Obama-era White House office that oversees federal websites and consults with federal agencies on technology. Tanden’s nomination was derailed when Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), a crucial vote for any Biden nominee in an evenly divided Senate, announced his opposition over her social media posts disparaging Republicans. Tanden failed to make up the votes on the Republican side, having previously slammed critical swing votes like Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) in tweets. Tanden’s new post will not require Senate confirmation.

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“We allowed them to languish in schools which not only look like prisons but function like prisons..”

The Age of Fear (Whitehead)

Young people will find themselves overtaxed, burdened with excessive college debt, and struggling to find worthwhile employment in a debt-ridden economy on the brink of implosion. Their privacy will be eviscerated by the surveillance state. They will be threatened, intimidated and beaten by militarized police. They will be the subjects of a military empire constantly waging war against shadowy enemies and government agents armed to the teeth ready and able to lock down the country at a moment’s notice. As such, they will find themselves forced to march in lockstep with a government that no longer exists to serve the people but which demands that “we the people” be obedient slaves or suffer the consequences. It’s a dismal prospect, isn’t it?

Unfortunately, we failed to guard against such a future. Worse, we who should have known better neglected to maintain our freedoms or provide our young people with the tools necessary to resist oppression and survive, let alone succeed, in the impersonal jungle that is modern America. We brought them into homes fractured by divorce, distracted by mindless entertainment, and obsessed with the pursuit of materialism. We institutionalized them in daycares and afterschool programs, substituting time with teachers and childcare workers for parental involvement. We turned them into test-takers instead of thinkers and automatons instead of activists.

We allowed them to languish in schools which not only look like prisons but function like prisons, as well—where conformity is the rule and freedom is the exception. We made them easy prey for our corporate overlords, while instilling in them the values of a celebrity-obsessed, technology-driven culture devoid of any true spirituality. And we taught them to believe that the pursuit of their own personal happiness trumped all other virtues, including any empathy whatsoever for their fellow human beings. We have allowed them to be manipulated by a corporate culture that simply wants money and control. However, as Aldous Huxley warned: “The victim of mind-manipulation does not know he is a victim. To him, the walls of his prison are invisible and he believes himself to be free.”

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I know little about the situation, but I love Taibbi’s love of the man.

On the Hypocrites at Apple Who Fired Antonio Garcia-Martinez (Taibbi)

I’m biased, because I know Antonio Garcia-Martinez and something like the same thing once happened to me, but the decision by Apple to bend to a posse of internal complainers and fire him over a passage in a five-year-old book is ridiculous hypocrisy. Hypocrisy by the complainers, and defamatory cowardice by the bosses — about right for the Invasion of the Body Snatchers-style era of timorous conformity and duncecap monoculture the woke mobs at these places are trying to build as their new Jerusalem. Garcia-Martinez is a brilliant, funny, multi-talented Cuban-American whose confessional memoir Chaos Monkeys is to big tech what Michael Lewis’s Liar’s Poker was to finance.

A onetime high-level Facebook executive — he ran Facebook Ads — Antonio’s book shows the House of Zuckerberg to be a cult full of on-the-spectrum zealots who talked like justice activists while possessing the business ethics of Vlad the Impaler: Facebook is full of true believers who really, really, really are not doing it for the money, and really, really will not stop until every man, woman, and child on earth is staring into a blue-framed window with a Facebook logo. When I read Chaos Monkeys the first time I was annoyed, because this was Antonio’s third career at least — he’d also worked at Goldman, Sachs — and he tossed off a memorable bestseller like it was nothing. Nearly all autobiographies fail because the genre requires total honesty, and not only do few writers have the stomach for turning the razor on themselves, most still have one eye on future job offers or circles of friends, and so keep the bulk of their interesting thoughts sidelined — you’re usually reading a résumé, not a book.

Chaos Monkeys is not that. Garcia-Martinez is an immediately relatable narrator because in one breath he tells you exactly what he thinks of former colleagues (“A week before my last day, I had lunch with the only senior person at Goldman Sachs who was not an inveterate asshole”) and in the next explains, but does not excuse, the psychic quirks that have him chasing rings in some of the world’s most rapacious corporations. “Whenever membership in some exclusive club is up for grabs, I viciously fight to win it, even if only to reject membership when offered,” he wrote. “After all, echoing the eminent philosopher G. Marx: How good can a club be if it’s willing to have lowly me as a member?”

The irony is that if Garcia-Martinez has a failing as a writer, it’s that he’s too nice. Universally, the best writers are insane egomaniacs obsessed with staring at the great mirror that is the page. Garcia-Martinez, on the whole, would rather be sailing. I believe the reason he decided to go back to tech is that he preferred a quiet life of flying a desk to make mortgage payments to the never-ending regimen of self-salesmanship that the literary life requires (and which, again, is the easy part for most egocentric writers).

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And these people never happen to think of book burning?

Remember It’s a Sin to Kill a Mockingbird (Turley)

We have previously discussed efforts to ban classic books, including To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Lee’s book has been banned in states from Mississippi to California. The work, which exposed the deep-seated racism in our society, has been denounced as “violent and oppressive for black students.” I have opposed such efforts. Now, Loudoun County teacher Andrea Weiskopf has publicly called for the book to be banned in my neighboring county of Loudon. The reason? The character Attitus Finch is white and therefore the book is nothing but a “white savior” tale that traumatizes black students. The remarks reflects a harmful but growing movement to ban such books in public schools. The attack on this book in particular has left many of us dismayed. As Atticus himself said “remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”


Weiskopf told the board that not only is this classic work harming students but that, if any member does not accept that premise, they should not be making any decisions on book selections. ANDREA WEISKOPF: “It’s funny how they are so afraid of having their children seeing another view of sexuality, gender or religion…If you want to talk about books that are assigned, let’s read To Kill a Mockingbird together. If you aren’t able to consider the racial trauma this assigned book causes black children with its white saviorism, then you have no business discussing any books.” Her diatribe reminds me of the observation in the book that “It’s never an insult to be called what somebody thinks is a bad name. It just shows you how poor that person is, it doesn’t hurt you.”

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Use less energy, only solution.

Carbon Pricing Isn’t Effective at Reducing CO2 Emissions (INET)

How does carbon pricing affect macroeconomic balance and ultimately CO2 emission? What about electric vehicles that are now being promoted by the Biden administration? Economists’ standard advice for controlling global warming is to impose a high price on emitting CO2, which is said to discourage carbon-intensive activities and induce carbon-saving technical change. In a recent review of the New Deal, William Janeway (2021) draws a distinction between efficient and effective policies. He comes close to economist-speak by describing efficiency as a low-cost means for moving toward a desired goal. Whether an efficient intervention will be effective in reaching the goal is another question altogether. In the short- to medium-run, raising carbon prices within a politically acceptable range may be efficient at inducing macroeconomically small changes in the structure of the economy and level of emission.

But the move will not be effective, because the changes will remain small for at least three reasons. Energy constitutes a relatively small proportion of economic activity. It is crucial for the functioning of the macro system, but usually is not the tail that wags the dog. Carbon pricing brings in the “little triangles” of economic welfare analysis applied by Arnold Harberger (1954, 1971), which are not significant in terms of GDP (James Tobin, 1977). The reason, as illustrated below, is that the percentage change in, say, gasoline demand in response to a higher tax is the product of a negative price elasticity of demand which is a fraction of the percentage change in price, typically less than 100%. The product of two fractions is smaller than both, meaning that the demand response is weak. Even if the magnitude of the long-run elasticity is bigger than the short-run value (say -0.4 < -0.2 or 0.4 > 0.2), the conclusion remains.

Finally, following Harberger and lurching into jargon, economists usually assume that the proceeds of a tax are passed in “lump sum” fashion back to consumers. This transfer produces an “income effect” stimulating demand for all goods including gasoline. The increase can partially offset the price-induced demand reduction due to “substitution” of other goods for lower purchases of gasoline. Substitution effects almost always dominate income effects, so that most of the transferred income gets spent on non-energy goods and services. Total gasoline consumption still declines.

Somewhat similar reasoning applies to electric vehicles (EVs). They have a great advantage in delivering around 70% of the energy they use for moving the vehicle as opposed to 25% for internal combustion engine (ICE) counterparts. But the electricity has to come from some source. As of now 60% of the energy going toward electricity generation in the USA comes from fossil fuels. Unless that share is substantially reduced, EVs will not shift energy accounting by very much. They are efficient in reducing end-use of petroleum in the transport sector, but not effective in controlling CO2. Details appear below.

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Moon of Alabama with an original take.

Escalation In Palestine – Hizbullah Is Ready To Join The Fight (MoA)

The current war the occupiers of Palestine wage on the indigenous population has some unusual features. While the conflict was, without doubt, started by the colonial occupiers the course of the recent escalation seems to be managed by the resistance side. It may well be part of a larger plan. The Israeli army had for some time planned a large scale 30-days long maneuver to rehearse an attack on Hezbullah in Lebanon. Last week Hizbullah reacted to that: “The Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror organization has announced it is on high alert following the IDF’s launching of its largest-ever military exercise. The IDF launched on Sunday its “Chariots of Fire” month-long exercise simulating war on several fronts, and primarily against Hezbollah in the north, including the massive firing of missiles and rockets from all arenas on the home front. This is the largest and most comprehensive IDF maneuver in its history…”

[..] With unrest in Jerusalem, pogroms in Israeli cities, a potential third intifada in the occupied West Bank and a ground invasion of Gaza the Israeli army will be very busy. If it comes to that during the next few days the time could be right for Hizbullah, already on full alarm, to step in and to attack the occupation on the grounds that it is holding. Nasrallah’s speech last week can be understood as an announcement of such a step: “My last message will be for the Israelis themselves. I tell them this: you know well, in your heart of hearts, whether it is based on your religious texts or doctrines, on your books or your prophecies, and also based on what some of your leaders and experts say, and also some of your religious authorities, you know (very well) that this entity (Israel) has no future, that it is on the verge of extinction and that it has little time left to live, very little time. Therefore, in this battle you are wasting your energy, and your young people are wasting their youth and their blood, in vain and to no avail.”

We believe in this near future (where Israel won’t exist anymore), we believe in it very firmly, and this faith is not based only on religious and ideological bases, but is based (above all) on the data, on the events which occur, especially on those of the last decades, the last years and on what will happen (soon) in this region.”

It is possible that Netanyahoo had planned the original escalation in Jerusalem to stay in office: After four elections Israel still has no new government. Prime Minister Netanyahoo is on trial for corruption. A larger war that can be spun into a victory could help him to avoid a judgment and gain votes for the likely soon coming next election. It that was his plan he has achieved a first step towards it: “Yamina party leader Naftali Bennett has taken “off the table” the option of forming a government without Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud, due to the ongoing military conflict with Gaza terrorists, a political source says. Bennett has renewed his negotiations with Likud due to the emergency situation, and teams from both parties met today, the source says on condition of anonymity.

But it is not Netanyahoo who can decide when the missiles from Gaza will stop flying. It is not Netanyahoo who can control the Palestinian youth. The escalation dominance is not in his hands but in the hands of the resistance. It is the resistance that decides when the conflict ends.

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Hedges has been there, done that.

Israel, the Big Lie (Chris Hedges)

I spent seven years in the Middle East as a correspondent, four of them as The New York Times Middle East Bureau Chief. I am an Arabic speaker. I lived for weeks at a time in Gaza, the world’s largest open-air prison where over two million Palestinians exist on the edge of starvation, struggle to find clean water and endure constant Israeli terror. I have been in Gaza when it was pounded with Israeli artillery and air strikes. I have watched mothers and fathers, wailing in grief, cradling the bloodied bodies of their sons and daughters. I know the crimes of the occupation—the food shortages caused by the Israeli blockade, the stifling overcrowding, the contaminated water, the lack of health services, the near constant electrical outages due to the Israeli targeting of power plants, the crippling poverty, the endemic unemployment, the fear and the despair. I have witnessed the carnage.

I also have listened from Gaza to the lies emanating from Jerusalem and Washington. Israel’s indiscriminate use of modern, industrial weapons to kill thousands of innocents, wound thousands more and make tens of thousands of families homeless is not a war: It is state-sponsored terror. And, while I oppose the indiscriminate firing of rockets by Palestinians into Israel, as I oppose suicide bombings, seeing them also as war crimes, I am acutely aware of a huge disparity between the industrial violence carried out by Israel against innocent Palestinians and the minimal acts of violence capable of being waged by groups such as Hamas. The false equivalency between Israeli and Palestinian violence was echoed during the war I covered in Bosnia.

Those of us in the besieged city of Sarajevo were pounded daily with hundreds of heavy shells and rockets from the surrounding Serbs. We were targeted by sniper fire. The city suffered a few dozen dead and wounded each day. The government forces inside the city fired back with light mortars and small arms fire. Supporters of the Serbs seized on any casualties caused by Bosnian government forces to play the same dirty game, although well over 90 percent of the killings in Bosnia were the fault of the Serbs, as is also true regarding Israel. The second and perhaps most important parallel is that the Serbs, like the Israelis, were the principal violators of international law. Israel is in breach of more than 30 U.N. Security Council resolutions. It is in breach of Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention that defines collective punishment of a civilian population as a war crime.

It is in violation of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention for settling over half a million Jewish Israelis on occupied Palestinian land and for the ethnic cleansing of at least 750,000 Palestinians when the Israeli state was founded and another 300,000 after Gaza, East Jerusalem and the West Bank were occupied following the 1967 war. Its annexation of East Jerusalem and the Syrian Golan Heights violates international law, as does its building of a security barrier in the West Bank that annexes Palestinian land into Israel. It is in violation of U.N. General Assembly Resolution 194 that states that Palestinian “refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date.” This is the truth. Any other starting point for the discussion of what is taking place between Israel and the Palestinians is a lie.

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May 132021
 


Daniel Garber The quarry 1917

 

Public Health and the Triumph of Irrationality (CP)
Your Immune System Evolves to Fight Coronavirus Variants (SciAm)
Covid Pandemic Was Preventable, Says WHO-commissioned Report (G.)
Covid Surges In 4 Of 5 Most Vaccinated Countries (F.)
Ivermectin Tablets To Be Distributed Among Uttarakhand Residents (OneIndia)
Could Indian Variant Jeopardise UK Unlocking Plan? (DM)
Merriam-Webster: ‘Anti-Vaxxer’ Now Includes Those Who Oppose Forced Jabs (RT)
124 Retired Generals And Admirals Question Biden’s Mental Health (Hill)
Tesla Will Stop Accepting Bitcoin As Payment Due To Fossil Fuel Use (JTN)
Man Who Alleges He Created Bitcoin Takes £4bn Claim To London High Court (R.)
France Aims To Shut British Firms Out Of EU Financial System (ZH)

 

 

I put this chart here to start a discussion on Covid and different blood types. Shoot.

 

 

 

Does anyone still realize how short we’ve become on science and rationality in the Covid response? And how we claim the exact opposite?

Public Health and the Triumph of Irrationality (CP)

It’s been inspiring to see how the nation has pulled together to stop the spread of COVID-19. It’s also been puzzling, however, in that it’s so out of character with the attitude Americans have otherwise taken to issues of public health. According to a recent article in the New York Times, cancer killed almost twice as many Americans in 2020 as COVID, and heart disease killed more than twice as many. That is, heart disease was the leading cause of death in the U.S. even during the most lethal period of the COVID epidemic, and cancer was second. Twenty-one percent of the deaths in the U.S. in 2020 were from heart disease and 18% from cancer, as opposed to only 10% from COVID. My point here is not that we should have been less concerned about COVID than we were. My point is that if we care so much about public health, why are we doing next to nothing to reduce the death toll of these two far more lethal threats?

Take heart disease. Not only do we know what causes it and how to prevent it, prevention is far easier than is the prevention of COVID. The causes of heart disease are things such as obesity, poor diet, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, stress, and lack of exercise. It would be relatively easy to tackle these problems. We could outlaw the sales of jumbo-sized sugary drinks, limit legal amounts of sugar and fats in processed foods, outlaw smoking, establish legal limits on the sales on alcohol, and mandate short supervised exercise periods in workplaces.

Americans are generally hesitant to impose what many have traditionally taken to be excessive legislative measures to protect public health. There was enormous support, however, for the legally-mandated extended lockdown measures and mask requirements to protect people from COVID, so why is there so little support for more moderate legislative measures to protect Americans from these greater threats to their health? The attempted ban on jumbo-sized sugary drinks was so short-lived that most people no longer even remember it. We’ve done a great deal to limit smoking in the U.S., but even with those measures it continues to be a huge threat to public health. If we can shut down businesses to protect people from COVID, why can’t we shut down the tobacco industry to protect people from the ravages of smoking (which affects not only smokers, but everyone in close proximity to them, not to mention imposing enormous costs on the healthcare system)? Bars and restaurants can, in theory, be held legally liable for serving alcohol to obviously inebriated customers, but in practice that law is seldom enforced and we have no legal limits whatever on the sales of alcohol in retail outlets.

Obesity makes people more vulnerable to death not merely from heart disease, but also from COVID, but while we are going to unprecedented links to protect people from dying of COVID, we’re doing nothing to protect them from becoming obese. In fact, we are arguably encouraging obesity by our quiescence relative to the amounts of sugar and fat typically found in processed foods and grotesquely exaggerated restaurant portion sizes.

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Most people can have faith in their immune systems. But less so when they’re “vaccinated”.

Your Immune System Evolves to Fight Coronavirus Variants (SciAm)

A lot of worry has been triggered by discoveries that variants of the pandemic-causing coronavirus can be more infectious than the original. But now scientists are starting to find some signs of hope on the human side of this microbe-host interaction. By studying the blood of COVID survivors and people who have been vaccinated, immunologists are learning that some of our immune system cells—which remember past infections and react to them—might have their own abilities to change, countering mutations in the virus. What this means, scientists think, is that the immune system might have evolved its own way of dealing with variants.

“Essentially, the immune system is trying to get ahead of the virus,” says Michel Nussenzweig, an immunologist at the Rockefeller University, who conducted some recent studies that tracked this phenomenon. The emerging idea is that the body maintains reserve armies of antibody-producing cells in addition to the original cells that responded to the initial invasion by SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID. Over time some reserve cells mutate and produce antibodies that are better able to recognize new viral versions. “It’s really elegant mechanism that that we’ve evolved, basically, to be able to handle things like variants,” says Marion Pepper, an immunologist at the University of Washington, who was not involved in Nussenzweig’s research. Whether there are enough of these cells, and their antibodies, to confer protection against a shape-shifting SARS-CoV-2 is still being figured out.

Last April, when the pandemic was reaching its first peak in New York City, Nussenzweig and his colleagues sprang into action and began collecting the blood of COVID survivors. There were disturbing early reports of reinfection and waning antibodies, and the scientists wanted to understand how long the immune system could sustain its ability to respond to the novel threat. They took blood samples from people who had been hit by SARS-CoV-2 one month after the infection and then again six months later. What the scientists found was somewhat encouraging. Blood collected at the later date did have lower levels of circulating antibodies, but that made sense because the infection had cleared. And levels of the cells that make antibodies, called memory B cells, remained constant or even increased in some people over time. After an infection, these cells hang around in the body’s lymph nodes and maintain the ability to recognize the virus. If a person gets infected a second time, memory B cells activate, quickly produce antibodies and block the virus from creating a second serious infection.

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But then we put the WHO in charge…

Covid Pandemic Was Preventable, Says WHO-commissioned Report (G.)

The Covid pandemic was a preventable disaster that need not have cost millions of lives if the world had reacted more quickly, according to an independent high-level panel, which castigates global leaders and calls for major changes to bring it to an end and ensure it cannot happen again. The report of the panel, chaired by the former New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, a former president of Liberia, found “weak links at every point in the chain”. It said preparation was inconsistent and underfunded, the alert system too slow and too meek, while the World Health Organization was underpowered. It concluded the response had exacerbated inequalities. “Global political leadership was absent,” the report said. Clark described February 2020 as “a month of lost opportunity to avert a pandemic, as so many countries chose to wait and see”.

“For some, it wasn’t until hospital ICU beds began to fill that more action was taken,” she said. “And by then it was too late to avert the pandemic impact. What followed then was a winner takes all scramble for PPE and therapeutics. Globally, health workers were tested to their limits and the rates of infection, illness and death soared and continue to soar.” Sirleaf said: “The situation we find ourselves in today could have been prevented. An outbreak of a new pathogen, Sars CoV-2 became a catastrophic pandemic that has now killed more than 3.25 million people, and continues to threaten lives and livelihoods all over the world. It is due to a myriad of failures, gaps and delays in preparedness and response. This was partly due to failure to learn from the past.”

Urgent action must be taken, she said. “There are many reviews of previous health crises that include sensible recommendations. Yet, they sit gathering dust in UN basements and on government shelves … Our report shows that most countries of the world were simply not prepared for a pandemic.” The report was commissioned by the WHO director general at the instigation of member states, who called at the World Health Assembly in May last year for an impartial review of what happened and what could be learned from the pandemic. The panel calls for radical changes to bring heads of state together to oversee pandemic preparations, ensuring the finance and tools the world needs are in place. They want a faster-moving, better-resourced WHO. And they want a commitment now from leaders of affluent countries to supply vaccines for the rest of the world.

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If the Chinese vaccines don’t work, that leaves us with a lot of questions. Presumably, they wouldn’t work in China, either, for one thing.

Covid Surges In 4 Of 5 Most Vaccinated Countries (F.)

Countries with the world’s highest vaccination rates—including four of the top five most vaccinated—are fighting to contain coronavirus outbreaks that are, on a per-capita basis, higher than the surge devastating India, a trend that has experts questioning the efficacy of some vaccines (especially China’s Sinopharm) and the wisdom of easing restrictions even with most of the population vaccinated. Of the Seychelles, Israel, the UAE, Chile and Bahrain—respectively the world’s five most vaccinated countries—only Israel is not fighting to contain a dangerous surge in Covid-19 infections. Controlling for population, the Seychelles and Bahrain, alongside other highly vaccinated countries like the Maldives and Uruguay, recorded the highest number of daily coronavirus cases worldwide.

The Seychelles, a small island nation with almost double the U.S.’ vaccination rate, recorded 328 cases per 100,000 people, a far higher incidence than India (28) when population is accounted for. The outbreaks in vaccinated countries have sparked concern over how effective some of the Chinese vaccines are versus the western vaccines Israel used, including the Sinopharm vaccine the World Health Organization endorsed Friday that makes up a large part of the countries’ immunization programs. A relaxation of pandemic restrictions and mixed messaging from governments are also touted as potential explanations—tourism-reliant Seychelles and Maldives both (still) welcome tourists, Dubai exited lockdown rapidly and Chile loosened its restrictions and allowed domestic travel.

In many wealthy countries, vaccines have often been framed as the ultimate exit strategy from lockdown. Cases have declined in some countries executing successful and rapid campaigns, including the U.S., the U.K. and Israel, though experts point to places like Chile as a frightening example of what can happen if things are eased too quickly and warn a vaccine on its own is likely not enough. The efficacy of particular vaccines is likely to become a prominent concern as more countries begin to ramp up inoculation campaigns and there are concerns that some, like China’s Sinopharm vaccine, are far less effective at controlling the disease than those produced by the likes of Moderna and Pfizer. World leaders, including the head of the World Health Organization, issue frequent reminders that nobody is “safe until everyone is safe,” an issue underscored by the vast vaccine inequity between nations.

New, potentially more dangerous, variants are emerging across the globe, some of which could potentially evade existing vaccines. The WHO classified the B.1.617 variant tearing through India as a variant of concern Tuesday, noting it may be more infectious. 45%. All five of the world’s most vaccinated countries have at least this proportion of their population partially vaccinated. Data is available for Bahrain (47%), Chile (45%), Israel (60%) and the Seychelles (69%), with the UAE claiming third place thanks to its high number of doses given per capita (which is around 115,000 per 100,000 people; the UAE does not declare more granular data). The Seychelles (61%) and Israel (56%) also have the highest proportion of their population fully vaccinated, followed by Chile (38%) and Bahrain (35%). The U.S., where vaccination rates are declining in all but four states, sits just behind Chile and Bahrain, with 35% of its population now fully vaccinated and 46% partially.

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Pretty high doses recommended.

Ivermectin Tablets To Be Distributed Among Uttarakhand Residents (OneIndia)

The Uttarakhand government will be distributing Ivermectin, an antiparasitic drug, among the residents of the state as a preventive medicine against the spread of COVID-19, a senior official said. The Uttarakhand government’s announcement comes after Goa and Karnataka issued similar directions. The decision was taken on the recommendation of the state-level clinical technical committee, an order issued by Chief Secretary Om Prakash to all district magistrates said. The panel has recommended the Ivermectin tablet as “mass chemoprophylaxis” to effectively control the surge of COVID-19 infection apart from the vaccination drive, the order said. The 12 mg tablets of the drug will be distributed in a kit to all families through the health department and district magistrates, the order said.


Usually, Ivermectin tablets have to be taken by adults and those above 15 years twice daily for three days after breakfast and dinner. One person will thus need six tablets and a family of four will need 24 tablets. Hence, each kit will contain two dozen tablets, the order said. Children between 10-15 years will take only one tablet daily whereas those aged between 2 to 10 years can be administered the drug only after doctor’s advice. The tablet cannot be given to children below two years, pregnant women and those suffering from liver diseases, it said. The kit will come with directions on how to consume the medicine and dosage for different age groups. Information related to the daily distribution of the kits should be sent to the state nodal officer, the order said. Goa Health Minister Vishwajit Rane had on Monday said all people above 18 years will be given Ivermectin drug irrespective of their coronavirus status to bring down the number of deaths due to the viral disease.

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Sure.

Could Indian Variant Jeopardise UK Unlocking Plan? (DM)

India’s Covid variant is now dominant in four local authorities in England and its rapid spread could jeopardise plans to ease lockdown, experts fear. Analysis by one of the UK’s biggest variant trackers warns the strain is focused in hotspots Bolton and neighbour Blackburn with Darwen, where outbreaks have grown by 93 and 86 per cent in a week, respectively, with more than half of lab-checked cases proven to be the Indian strain. The mutant B.1.617.2 virus is also thought to be behind half of all Covid infections in London, Bedford and South Northamptonshire, although outbreaks in these areas are still small. Boris Johnson said in a statement to Parliament today that the variant was ‘of increasing concern’, warning that a strain that could slip past vaccines would have ‘potential to cause even greater suffering than we endured in January’.

No10’s top scientists fear it may be more transmissible than the currently dominant Kent variant (B.1.1.7) – with one Belgian scientist suggesting it could be 60 per cent faster-spreading – and that it could be behind a gradually rising infection rate in Britain. The UK today confirmed another 2,284 positive tests, up seven per cent on last Wednesday’s figure, along with 11 more deaths. Another 485,260 vaccines were given out yesterday, of which 350,000 were second doses. Early lab trials suggest the current vaccines will still protect against the Indian variants but there are concerns that a faster rate of spread could lead to a bigger outbreak, giving more opportunities for people to get reinfected. AstraZeneca’s Covid vaccine appears to be protecting people from the Indian variant of the virus, reports suggest.

And Pfizer said in a report there was ‘no evidence’ its shot would need to be updated to fight off the current variants. Environment Secretary George Eustice has refused to rule out local lockdowns from next month when the national restrictions are expected to end, adding that officials were ‘closely monitoring’ several outbreaks that had cropped up in recent weeks. But the Prime Minister stayed optimistic about ending lockdown, saying he expects to scrap advice for people to work from home in June and adding that he anticipates town and city centres will be ‘full of bustle again’ soon.

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“Welcome to ‘1984.’ This is the Ministry of Truth..”

Merriam-Webster: ‘Anti-Vaxxer’ Now Includes Those Who Oppose Forced Jabs (RT)

Merriam-Webster is again redefining language to fit a narrative, this time framing its definition of “anti-vaxxer” to include not only people who oppose vaccination, but also those who are against inoculation mandates. The definition on Merriam-Webster’s website says “anti-vaxxer” means “a person who opposes vaccination or laws that mandate vaccination.” It’s not clear when it was written to include opposition to forced jabs, but many observers noticed for the first time on Wednesday. “Welcome to ‘1984.’ This is the Ministry of Truth,” rapper and podcaster Zuby said on Twitter, referring to George Orwell’s dystopian novel.


Other reactions were similar, with many commenters noting that they now fit the dictionary definition of “anti-vaxxer,” even though they believe in the benefits of vaccinations and choose to receive the shots themselves. Merriam-Webster’s definition appears to dismiss the concept of favoring a product personally but being opposed, on principle, to forcing others to use it. Today, I begin my new life as an anti-vaxxer,” podcast host Matt Walsh said. The conservative Young America’s Foundation added that “when the Left control the language, they control the narrative.”

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ha ha ha

124 Retired Generals And Admirals Question Biden’s Mental Health (Hill)

A group of retired U.S. military admirals and generals signed a letter released Tuesday questioning President Biden’s fitness for office and seemingly challenging the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. The letter, signed by 124 former military leaders and posted by Flag Officers 4 America, said the “Constitutional Republic is lost” without “fair and honest elections that accurately reflect the ‘will of the people.’” “The FBI and Supreme Court must act swiftly when election irregularities are surfaced and not ignore them as was done in 2020,” the letter added. Former Attorney General William Barr said in December the Justice Department uncovered no evidence of voter fraud that could have affected the outcome of the 2020 election, The Associated Press (AP) reported.

The signatories also questioned the “mental and physical condition of the Commander in Chief,” adding that national security issues require quick and “accurate” decisions “involving life and limb.” “Recent Democrat leadership’s inquiries about nuclear code procedures sends a dangerous national security signal to nuclear armed adversaries, raising the question about who is in charge,” the letter said. “We must always have an unquestionable chain of command.” While in office, former President Trump periodically questioned Biden’s mental capacity and age during the campaign season, at times referring to him as “sleepy Joe.”

Kevin O’Connor, the president’s doctor, released a report earlier this month maintaining that Biden is a “healthy, vigorous, 77-year-old male, who is fit to successfully execute the duties of the Presidency,” Business Insider reported. The signatories additionally compared potential challenges to ideological battles not seen since America’s founding. “We are in a fight for our survival as a Constitutional Republic like no other time since our founding in 1776,” they said. “The conflict is between supporters of Socialism and Marxism vs. supporters of Constitutional freedom and liberty.” A statement on the Flag Officers 4 America website, says that although its members are no longer engaged in active military service, they are “bound by that oath to do what we can, in our capacity today, to protect our nation from the threats to her freedom.”

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Weeks after Musk says they will be accepted. Some PR.

Is Tesla going to take this policy to China?

Tesla Will Stop Accepting Bitcoin As Payment Due To Fossil Fuel Use (JTN)

Tesla’s Elon Musk announced on Wednesday that the electric vehicle company will no longer accept Bitcoin cryptocurrency as a payment method for automobiles due to the environmental impact of Bitcoin mining. “Tesla has suspended vehicle purchases using Bitcoin. We are concerned about rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for Bitcoin mining and transactions, especially coal, which has the worst emissions of any fuel,” Musk posted. “Cryptocurrency is a good idea on many levels and we believe it has a promising future, but this cannot come at great cost to the environment.”


However, the business magnate noted that Tesla will not sell off its substantial Bitcoin holdings and plans to resume accepting the cryptocurrency in the future when mining shifts to more sustainable energy. “Tesla will not be selling any Bitcoin and we intend to use it for transactions as soon as mining transitions to more sustainable energy. We are also looking at other cryptocurrencies that use <1% of Bitcoin’s energy/transaction.”

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Still a curious case.

Man Who Alleges He Created Bitcoin Takes £4bn Claim To London High Court (R.)

An Australian computer scientist who alleges he created bitcoin has launched a London high court lawsuit against 16 software developers in an effort to secure bitcoin worth around £4bn pounds (A$5.7bn) he says he owns. In a case that was promptly labelled “bogus” by one defendant, Craig Wright is demanding that developers allow him to retrieve about 111,000 bitcoins held at two digital addresses that he does not have private keys for. In his second London lawsuit in three weeks, Wright alleges he lost the encrypted keys when his home computer network was hacked in February 2020. Police are investigating.

Wright, who is bringing the case through his Seychelles-based Tulip Trading firm, concedes he is a controversial figure since alleging in 2016 that he wrote the bitcoin white paper – which first outlined the technology behind the digital assets – under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008. The claim is hotly disputed. The Australian, who is autistic and lives in Britain with his wife and two of his three children, alleges in his latest lawsuit that developers have breached their duties to act in the best interests of the rightful owner of globally-traded assets.

“Our client has always maintained that he created bitcoin to operate within existing laws and that in the event of loss or theft, where legitimate ownership can be proven, the developers have a duty to ensure recovery,” said Paul Ferguson, a partner at law firm Ontier, which is representing Wright. The case is being brought against the developers of four networks – Bitcoin Satoshi Vision (BSV), Bitcoin Core (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Bitcoin Cash ABC (ABC) – at addresses in continental Europe, the US, New Zealand, Australia and Japan, a court filing seen by Reuters showed.

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It’s highly fashionable to try and ban countries from international financial systems.

France Aims To Shut British Firms Out Of EU Financial System (ZH)

As the spat between the UK and France over access to British fishing waters – a contentious issue that nearly scuppered the post-Brexit trade deal – worsens, France has apparently decided to go for the jugular. Last week, French officials threatened to cut off electricity to the UK-dominated island of Jersey while a “protest” staged by French fishermen nearly prompted a confrontation between British and French naval ships. Now, France is threatening to do everything in its power to scupper a EU deal that would broaden access to European markets for British financial firms.

In keeping with threats made by a French diplomat last week, Bloomberg reports that French diplomats are working to stall an agreement that would help restore some of the access British financial firms once enjoyed to European markets, which was lost when Brexit officially came into effect following the end of the transition and the start of 2021. Though it wouldn’t have much practical effect in the near term, reaching a Memorandum of Understanding between the UK and the EU about plans to re-integrate their financial systems is seen by the UK as a critical first step to restoring the level of access they once enjoyed. Negotiations in Brussels later this month will bring EU leaders together to further the discuss a potential deal on market access. To be sure, the EU has said that it’s in no rush to restore the reciprocity rules that would restore trading rights for British financial firms.

Here’s more from BBG: “At the end of March, Britain and the EU had agreed on a forum regarding cross-border financial market access. While granting so-called equivalences that would allow U.K. financial firms to do business in Europe remains a separate and unilateral process, the MoU would help speed up the process. Since Brexit took effect at the beginning of 2021, London-based financial firms have been largely unable to operate in the bloc, forcing banks like JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to move billions of dollars in assets and thousands of staff to the continent.”

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Apr 112021
 


Bartolomeo Schedoni The Deposition of Jesus’ body by St. Joseph of Arimathea 1613

 

South African Variant Can ‘Break Through’ Pfizer Vaccine (R.)
SARS-CoV-2 Variants B.1.351 and P.1 Escape From Neutralizing Antibodies (Cell)
Facemasks in the COVID-19 Era: A Health Hypothesis (NIH)
DMX Given Covid Vaccine Days Before Lethal Heart Attack (Noq)
Data Substantiating Wide Asymptomatic Spread Of Covid-19 Remains Elusive (JTN)
German Govt Plans New Harsh Covid-19 Restrictions In Draft Law (RT)
Republicans Deflated As Nation Shrugs At Hunter Biden Revelations (G.)
Daily Mail Exposes Hunter Biden Bombshells (ZH)
More Money Put Into Stocks In Last 5 Months Than Last 12 Years Combined (CNBC)
Frederick Forsyth Says UK Government Has Launched “Campaign of Mass Fear” (SN)
Bellingcat Launders National Security State Talking Points into the Press (MPN)
Ukraine Redux – War, Russophobia, & Pipelineistan (Escobar)
A History of the Espionage Act and How it Ensnared Julian Assange (Lauria)
Julian Assange: The Corpse In The Basement Of The West (derstandard.at )

 

 

 

 

 

 

St. Vincent
https://twitter.com/i/status/1380790808153047042

 

 

Truth is stranger than fiction,but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.
– Mark Twain

 

 

Viruses mutate, albeit in unpredictable ways. This virus could disappear, like so many have. But with, at any given moment, 1-10-100 million new potential hosts, that is not likely. It’s much likelier that variants will evolve that evade vaccines. Especially since, as has been argued, there is no plan to vaccinate some 3-4 billion people.

The present rollout, along with the vaccines themselves, are sold to us as the summit of human intelligence. They could well be the summit of the exact opposite.

South African Variant Can ‘Break Through’ Pfizer Vaccine (R.)

The coronavirus variant discovered in South Africa can “break through” Pfizer/BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine to some extent, a real-world data study in Israel found, though its prevalence in the country is low and the research has not been peer reviewed. The study, released on Saturday, compared almost 400 people who had tested positive for COVID-19, 14 days or more after they received one or two doses of the vaccine, against the same number of unvaccinated patients with the disease. It matched age and gender, among other characteristics. The South African variant, B.1.351, was found to make up about 1% of all the COVID-19 cases across all the people studied, according to the study by Tel Aviv University and Israel’s largest healthcare provider, Clalit.

But among patients who had received two doses of the vaccine, the variant’s prevalence rate was eight times higher than those unvaccinated – 5.4% versus 0.7%. This suggests the vaccine is less effective against the South African variant, compared with the original coronavirus and a variant first identified in Britain that has come to comprise nearly all COVID-19 cases in Israel, the researchers said. “We found a disproportionately higher rate of the South African variant among people vaccinated with a second dose, compared to the unvaccinated group. This means that the South African variant is able, to some extent, to break through the vaccine’s protection,” said Tel Aviv University’s Adi Stern. The researchers cautioned, though, that the study only had a small sample size of people infected with the South African variant because of its rarity in Israel.

They also said the research was not intended to deduce overall vaccine effectiveness against any variant, since it only looked at people who had already tested positive for COVID-19, not at overall infection rates. [..] While the results of the study may cause concern, the low prevalence of the South African strain was encouraging, according to Stern. “Even if the South African variant does break through the vaccine’s protection, it has not spread widely through the population,” said Stern, adding that the British variant may be “blocking” the spread of the South African strain.

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This is just the beginning.

SARS-CoV-2 Variants B.1.351 and P.1 Escape From Neutralizing Antibodies (Cell)

The global spread of SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 is devastating health systems and economies worldwide. Recombinant or vaccine-induced neutralizing antibodies are used to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the recently emerged SARS-CoV-2 variants B.1.1.7 (UK), B.1.351 (South Africa), and P.1 (Brazil) harbor mutations in the viral spike (S) protein that may alter virus-host cell interactions and confer resistance to inhibitors and antibodies. Here, using pseudoparticles, we show that entry of all variants into human cells is susceptible to blockade by the entry inhibitors soluble ACE2, Camostat, EK-1, and EK-1-C4. In contrast, entry of the B.1.351 and P.1 variant was partially (Casirivimab) or fully (Bamlanivimab) resistant to antibodies used for COVID-19 treatment. Moreover, entry of these variants was less efficiently inhibited by plasma from convalescent COVID-19 patients and sera from BNT162b2-vaccinated individuals. These results suggest that SARS-CoV-2 may escape neutralizing antibody responses, which has important implications for efforts to contain the pandemic.

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NIH, January 2021. What struck me is the health effects listed in the graphic.

Facemasks in the COVID-19 Era: A Health Hypothesis (NIH)

The physical properties of medical and non-medical facemasks suggest that facemasks are ineffective to block viral particles due to their difference in scales [16], [17], [25]. According to the current knowledge, the virus SARS-CoV-2 has a diameter of 60 nm to 140 nm [nanometers (billionth of a meter)] [16], [17], while medical and non-medical facemasks’ thread diameter ranges from 55 µm to 440 µm [micrometers (one millionth of a meter), which is more than 1000 times larger [25]. Due to the difference in sizes between SARS-CoV-2 diameter and facemasks thread diameter (the virus is 1000 times smaller), SARS-CoV-2 can easily pass through any facemask [25]. In addition, the efficiency filtration rate of facemasks is poor, ranging from 0.7% in non-surgical, cotton-gauze woven mask to 26% in cotton sweeter material [2].

With respect to surgical and N95 medical facemasks, the efficiency filtration rate falls to 15% and 58%, respectively when even small gap between the mask and the face exists [25]. Clinical scientific evidence challenges further the efficacy of facemasks to block human-to-human transmission or infectivity. A randomized controlled trial (RCT) of 246 participants [123 (50%) symptomatic)] who were allocated to either wearing or not wearing surgical facemask, assessing viruses transmission including coronavirus [26]. The results of this study showed that among symptomatic individuals (those with fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose ect…) there was no difference between wearing and not wearing facemask for coronavirus droplets transmission of particles of >5 µm.

Among asymptomatic individuals, there was no droplets or aerosols coronavirus detected from any participant with or without the mask, suggesting that asymptomatic individuals do not transmit or infect other people [26]. This was further supported by a study on infectivity where 445 asymptomatic individuals were exposed to asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 carrier (been positive for SARS-CoV-2) using close contact (shared quarantine space) for a median of 4 to 5 days. The study found that none of the 445 individuals was infected with SARS-CoV-2 confirmed by real-time reverse transcription polymerase [27].

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The media story is a drug overdose.

DMX Given Covid Vaccine Days Before Lethal Heart Attack (Noq)

Rapper DMX, whose real name was Earl Simmons, died yesterday following complications from a heart attack. The 50-year-old music star was widely reported to have been hospitalized for a drug overdose that induced the heart attack, but a female member of his family told MTO News that he did not take drugs prior to the heart attack. He did, however, receive a Covid vaccination days before. Editor’s Note: We generally do not post single-source stories. The source for the information—MTO News—is a heavily trafficked site (over 10 million visitors per month) with contacts in the rap world. Though we have not been able to independently confirm the interview with a member of Simmons’ family, we are running the story based on the influence of the source publication.

We have reached out to a representative of his staff for confirmation. As of the writing of this story, only MTO News has been granted an interview and released the information. Some news outlets have picked the story up while a few fact-checkers have “debunked” it, though conspicuously none of the fact-checkers have provided information demonstrating the report is false. They’ve only said that they cannot confirm its validity. According to MTO News: “MTO News spoke with a member of the Simmons family who believes that it was NOT drugs that caused the heart attack. In an EXCLUSIVE interview, MTO News spoke with DMX’ family member who told us that the rapper received the COVID vaccine about a week before he suffered from the heart attack.

DMX’s family member told MTO News, “[DMX] got the vaccine when they opened it up to people over 50. He got it so that he could go travel and perform, stuff like that.” New York State opened up the COVID-19 vaccinations for people over the age of 50 in mid March. And the family member suspects that DMX heart attack could have been a reaction to the vaccine. The family member explained, “Everyone [in the news] keeps saying that [DMX] had a drug overdose. How do they know. I’m in the family and no doctor told me anything about an overdose.” The family member is FURIOUS about the speculation surrounding DMX drug use. She told MTO News, “Yes he had past issues with drugs. But nobody knows that he had an OD. It’s f**cked up that its being reported like that.”

She told MTO News that she – and the family – are considering taking legal action against news publications prematurely concluding that DMX suffered a drug overdose. But what is clear – according to the family member – is that DMX did take the Covid vaccine.” Chances are very high that we will not receive much more confirmation about this, especially from mainstream media. Only the family, hospital personnel, or others close to DMX could confirm or deny it, and other than the interview on MTO News, there has been no informed word one way or another. But we do know this. Unless the family makes a statement regarding the Covid vaccine, this story will be treated as “debunked” by those with an agenda to promote the Covid vaccine to everyone, especially African-Americans.

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“Lost in the chaos of the past year is any definitive indication that asymptomatic spread of the virus is widespread or common.”

Data Substantiating Wide Asymptomatic Spread Of Covid-19 Remains Elusive (JTN)

Hard data on the true prevalence of asymptomatic COVID-19 spread remains elusive, with scientists struggling to quantify just how often carriers of the SARS-Cov-2 virus transmit it without outward signs of illness. Fears that COVID-19 can spread very easily through asymptomatic transmission were a major factor behind the lockdowns and mitigation measures seen across the world over the past year. Health leaders claimed that the threat of symptom-free spread necessitated broad shutdowns of major portions of the economy, indefinite school closures, mandatory public mask-wearing, capacity limits and other social distancing measures, and various other tactics for containing the spread of COVID-19.

Lost in the chaos of the past year is any definitive indication that asymptomatic spread of the virus is widespread or common. Scientists and public health officials have struggled to come up with meaningful epidemiological evidence to that effect, though most have continued insisting that it’s a major contributor to the overall pandemic. In June of last year, WHO official Maria Van Kerkhove encountered significant backlash when she said that, based on current evidence, asymptomatic spread appeared to be “very rare.” Van Kerkhove subsequently qualified her comment, a qualification hyped as a “walkback” by some in the media. Health officials “don’t actually have that answer yet” as to the prevalence of asymptomatic spread, she said in narrowing her previous claim. “I was referring to a small subset of studies.”

Van Kerkhove has not responded to queries since then regarding the evolving study of asymptomatic COVID transmission. Several other scientists, meanwhile, have attempted to answer that question with mixed results. One study from December found that, within households, asymptomatic carriers of the virus passed it on to housemates at the rate of about 0.7%. That investigation made headlines for its apparent demonstration that asymptomatic spread is, in effect, vanishingly rare. Yet at least one coauthor of the study, University of Florida biostatistics Professor Natalie Dean, has been warning since the study’s publication that its findings on that front should be taken with a grain of salt.

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Berlin taking powers away from German states.

German Govt Plans New Harsh Covid-19 Restrictions In Draft Law (RT)

Night-time curfews, sweeping business closures and severe limits on public gatherings are all part of the German government’s new bill aimed at “standardizing” Covid-19 measures to stop the third wave, German media report. Berlin is currently working on amendments to the national Infection Protection Act that would significantly tighten the lockdown restrictions and greatly reduce the federal states’ ability to defy the government’s orders, German media that obtained the draft document report. The document that is expected to be discussed and potentially approved by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet on Tuesday includes binding requirements for all federal states where an average seven-day Covid-19 infection rate will rise over 100 per 100,000 people.

Such states will no longer be able to find any excuses to avoid imposing the so-called “emergency brake,” the supposed text of the bill, published by Die Welt on Saturday, reads. All states over this threshold infection rate will be bound to introduce a standard set of measures developed by the federal government, should the legislation come into force. Such measures involve a night-time curfew between 21:00 and 05:00, with exceptions for medical emergencies, professional activities and for looking after people or animals. Private and public gatherings would once again be limited to the members of one household and one person outside of it, with children under 14 excluded from this rule.

All non-essential stores and services, including cafes, clubs, museums and sports facilities, as well as shops other than grocery stores, pharmacies and petrol stations, would be closed. Employers would also have to let their employees work from home if there are no “compelling reasons” for them to stay in the workplace. Universities would switch to distance education, with in-person classes only being allowed if every person attending them presents a negative Covid-19 test result.

Ardern

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Silencing the Hunter story is not enough anymore, now the Guardian attempts to fully whitewash it. And calls him a brave man for writing about it all. “Hunter also uses the book to deny wrongdoing in joining the board of Burisma..”

Well, as Turley wrote: “Burisma and other companies not only gave massive payments to someone without any notable skills or experience, they hired someone who was a drug addict who was, by his own account, a total trainwreck.”

Burisma paid Hunter more than $50,000 a month from 2014 to 2019, aka the cash to buy his drugs. While he was by his own account a completely retarded junkie. And this had nothing to do with his father’s name.

Republicans Deflated As Nation Shrugs At Hunter Biden Revelations (G.)

In the memoir, Beautiful Things, Hunter, 51, details a lifelong struggle with drink and drugs. He writes that his “deep descent” into substance addiction followed the 2015 death of his older brother, Beau, who succumbed to brain cancer aged 46. Hunter admits that “in the last five years alone, my two-decades-long marriage has dissolved, guns have been put in my face, and at one point I dropped clean off the grid, living in $59-a-night Super 8 motels off I-95 while scaring my family even more than myself”. In an interview about the book on CBS, the president’s son recalled going 13 days without sleep as he smoked crack and drank vodka. “I spent more time on my hands and knees picking through rugs – smoking anything that even remotely resembled crack cocaine. I probably smoked more Parmesan cheese than anyone that you know.”

The Biden family staged an intervention at their home in Delaware in 2019, inviting two counselors from a rehab centre to dinner. Hunter swore and ran from the house but was chased down the driveway by his father, who “grabbed me, swung me around, and hugged me. He held me tight in the dark and cried for the longest time. Everybody was outside now.” Hunter also uses the book to deny wrongdoing in joining the board of Burisma, a gas company in Ukraine, where he earned more than $50,000 a month from 2014 to 2019. Republicans allege that he benefited from his family name when his father was vice-president. Hunter’s tax affairs are currently under investigation by the justice department. The memoir has earned positive reviews. Publishers Weekly found that Hunter’s “courageous self-assessment makes the despair of substance abuse devastatingly palpable”.

In a blurb on the book’s jacket, author Stephen King describes it as “harrowing and compulsively readable” with a bravery that is “both heartbreaking and quite gorgeous”. He comments: “Hunter Biden proves again that anybody – even the son of a United States president – can take a ride on the pink horse down nightmare alley.” And Dave Eggers, whose books include the memoir A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, writes in another blurb: “Beautiful Things is so concise, so unflinching and propulsive, that outside of turning the pages and occasionally picking my jaw off the ground, I didn’t move between the first page and the last.”

None of this gives Republicans the ammunition they hoped for. Politically, the book has been a dog that didn’t bark (unlike Biden’s actual dogs, Champ and Major, which have made headlines over biting incidents and excrement in a White House hallway) and, instead of turning into a liability, only appears to reinforce Biden’s image as compassionate and humane. Sykes, founder and editor-at-large of the Bulwark website, said: “It’s also a story of a very loving and loyal father and it’s hard to turn that into a negative. There are a lot of parents out there that know how dealing with a child who has problems is one of the greatest challenges you can face and so I think people are as likely to be empathetic as they are to see it as a negative.

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These revelations will also be silenced.

Daily Mail Exposes Hunter Biden Bombshells (ZH)

With Hunter Biden on a serious image rehabilitation tour – a ‘tell all’ book combined with television interviews from friendly outlets designed to invoke pity over the First Son’s crack and hooker habits, the Daily Mail is now telling the rest of the story regarding the contents of his abandoned laptop after Hunter admitted it ‘certainly’ could be his in a Sunday interview with CBS. If you’ve seen the laptop photos which leaked last October, you can probably stop here. The Mail did spare us from blurred pictures of Hunter’s wang, along with several sex tapes released by exiled Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui.

“After obtaining a copy of the hard drive, DailyMail.com commissioned top cyber forensics experts Maryman & Associates to analyze its data and determine whether the laptop’s contents were real. The firm’s founder, Brad Maryman, is a 29-year FBI veteran Supervisory Special Agent who served as an Information Security Officer and founded its first computer forensics lab.” -Daily Mail. The Mail obtained over 100,000 text messages, 154,000 emails and over 2,000 photos which were verified by top forensics experts, which reveal that Joe ‘became a punching bag for Hunter’s drug-fueled rants,’ and ‘paid his grandchildren’s bills when Hunter had drained his bank accounts with prostitutes and crack cocaine.’

“Hunter appeared to be obsessed with making and starring in porn films with prostitutes, videos and photos on his laptop show. The hard drive contains hundreds of pictures of naked women and naked selfies of Hunter, as well as dozens of videos. Hunter photographed and filmed himself, often with two prostitutes at a time, in explicit videos that he then posted on adult website Pornhub under the username ‘RHEast’. Hunter filmed himself with the women from his laptop webcam, sometimes shooting at different angles using an iPad and cell phone.”-Daily Mail

“Hunter’s laptop is a pandora’s box of shocking revelations, explicit photos and intimate communications.In the following days, DailyMail.com will publish more shocking stories from Hunter’s laptop, including: • How Hunter blew hundreds of thousands on prostitutes, drugs and luxury cars, leaving him scrambling to avoid jail for $320k in unpaid taxes • How five members of the Biden family have been to rehab for drug or alcohol abuse – and a stunning admission by Joe to his son • The OTHER Biden family member planning to buy and cook crack, after falling into the disastrous addiction with Hunter • Hunter’s unconventional and unlikely relationship with his well-known psychiatrist •The whispered bedroom conversation with a prostitute caught on Hunter’s webcam, in which he confesses he had a previous laptop stolen – by Russians for blackmail.

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“Market enthusiasm”.

More Money Put Into Stocks In Last 5 Months Than Last 12 Years Combined (CNBC)

The latest wave of market enthusiasm has brought with it a stunning rush of money, in which more of investors’ cash has gone to stock-based funds in the last five months than the previous 12 years combined. That statistic, from Bank of America, reflects a period in which the Dow Jones Industrial Average has risen more than 26%. At the same time, the market has undergone some wild trends that included a massive influx to meme stocks such as GameStop and AMC Entertainment Holdings. Trading volume rose 40% in the first quarter from the previous three months, with investors snapping up sectors that performed poorly last year amid hopes for a pronounced economic rebound from the Covid-induced slide in 2020.

Amid the frenzy, some $569 billion has gone to global equity funds since November, compared with $452 billion in the previous 12 years that go back to the beginning of the longest bull market run in history, according to Bank of America’s chief investment strategist, Michael Hartnett. Those numbers easily could exacerbate ongoing worries about financial market bubbles as valuations are around the same levels as just before the dot-com bubble popped in 2000. But these are not ordinary times. “There’s a certain amount of logic to markets right now,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities. “It’s less about irrational exuberance in the overall market, less about the 1999-2000 levels, and more about what’s the driver. The driver is clearly an explosion in economic activity that likely will have some earnings growth in its wake.”


First-quarter earnings season kicks into gear next week, and sentiment is running high. Year-over-year profits are expected to expand by 23.8%, which by itself would be the best growth rate since the third quarter of 2018, according to FactSet. However, what’s even more remarkable is that analysts continue to ratchet up expectations as the profit reports near, which is the opposite of what usually happens. Wall Street generally trims its outlook the closer it gets to the report date.

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“..using fear and shame as a driver of behaviour change.”

Frederick Forsyth Says UK Government Has Launched “Campaign of Mass Fear” (SN)

Iconic author Frederick Forsyth has accused the UK government of waging a “campaign of mass fear” against the British public by using psychological methods to ensure compliance with lockdown that resemble those used against East Berliners in the 1960’s. Forsyth was responding to an article published in the Telegraph which exposed the “covert tactics” being used by the British government to frighten the public into complying with COVID regulations. The article quoted a retired NHS consultant clinical psychologist who warned that there was “growing concern within my field about using fear and shame as a driver of behaviour change.”

Gary Sidley and 46 of his colleagues wrote to the British Psychological Society to express “concerns about the activities of Government-employed psychologists … in their mission to gain the public’s mass compliance with the ongoing coronavirus restrictions.” The letter states that the UK government is deploying “covert psychological strategies – that operate below the level of people’s awareness – to ‘nudge’ citizens to conform to a contentious and unprecedented public health policy.” Commenting on the article, Frederick Forsyth, author of classic thrillers such as The Day of the Jackal and The Odessa File, wrote to the Telegraph to express his alarm about how the British public had been terrorized by lockdown propaganda.

“Congratulations to the Telegraph and Gordon Rayner for revealing that the campaign of mass fear that reduced a once brave nation to trembling terror was deliberately organised to secure obedience to the policy of lockdown,” wrote Forsyth. “I have only once before seen anything like it. This was when I was posted to East Germany in 1962. Such a brainwashing tactic was employed to frighten East Berliners into believing that the Berlin Wall was a defensive measure to protect them from tiny West Berlin, and that the Stasi was their guardian. The wall was of course an instrument of enslavement.”

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Bellingcat is bad news.

Bellingcat Launders National Security State Talking Points into the Press (MPN)

[..] the evidence compiled in this investigation suggests Bellingcat is far from independent and neutral, as it is funded by Western governments, staffed with former military and state intelligence officers, repeats official narratives against enemy states, and serves as a key part in what could be called a “spook to Bellingcat to corporate media propaganda pipeline,” presenting Western government narratives as independent research. An alarming number of Bellingcat’s staff and contributors come from highly suspect backgrounds. Senior Investigator Nick Waters, for example, spent three years as an officer in the British Army, including a tour in Afghanistan, where he furthered the British state’s objectives in the region. Shortly after leaving the service, he was hired by Bellingcat to provide supposedly bias-free investigations into the Middle East.

Former contributor Cameron Colquhoun’s past is even more suspect. Colquhoun spent a decade in a senior position in GCHQ (Britain’s version of the NSA), where he ran cyber and Middle Eastern terror operations. The Scot specializes in Middle Eastern security and also holds a qualification from the U.S. State Department. None of this, however, is disclosed by Bellingcat, which merely describes him as the managing director of a private intelligence company that “conduct[s] ethical investigations” for clients around the world — thus depriving readers of key information they need to make informed judgments on what they are reading. There are plenty of former American spooks on Bellingcat’s roster as well.

Former contributor Chris Biggers, who penned more than 60 articles for the site between 2014 and 2017, previously worked for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency — a combat support unit that works under the Department of Defense and the broader Intelligence Community. Biggers is now the director of an intelligence company headquartered in Virginia, on the outskirts of Washington (close to other semi-private contractor groups like Booz Allen Hamilton), that boasts of having retired Army and Air Force generals on its board. Again, none of this is disclosed by Bellingcat, where Biggers’s bio states only that he is a “public and private sector consultant based in Washington, D.C.”

For six years, Dan Kaszeta was a U.S. Secret Service agent specializing in chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, and for six more he worked as program manager for the White House Military Office. At Bellingcat, he would provide some of the intellectual ammunition for Western accusations about chemical weapons use in Syria and Russia’s alleged poisoning of Sergei Skripal. Kaszeta is also a fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, a think tank funded by a host of Western governments as well as weapons contractors such as Airbus, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon. Its president is a British field marshal (the highest attainable military rank) and its senior vice president is retired American General David Petraeus. Its chairman is Lord Hague, the U.K.’s secretary of state between 2010 and 2015.

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Very good overview of what may well lead to an imminent war.

“Merkel and Macron seem to have gotten the message in their videoconference with Putin – who must have subtly alluded to the effect generated by Kalibrs, Kinzhals and assorted hypersonic weapons if the going gets tough and the Europeans sanction a Kiev blitzkrieg.”

Ukraine Redux – War, Russophobia, & Pipelineistan (Escobar)

Ukraine and Russia may be on the brink of war – with dire consequences for the whole of Eurasia. Let’s cut to the chase, and plunge head-on into the fog of war. On March 24, Ukrainian President Zelensky, for all practical purposes, signed a declaration of war against Russia, via decree No. 117/2021. The decree establishes that retaking Crimea from Russia is now Kiev’s official policy. That’s exactly what prompted an array of Ukrainian battle tanks to be shipped east on flatbed rail cars, following the saturation of the Ukrainian army by the US with military equipment including unmanned aerial vehicles, electronic warfare systems, anti-tank systems and man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS). More crucially, the Zelensky decree is the proof any subsequent war will have been prompted by Kiev, debunking the proverbial claims of “Russian aggression.”

Crimea, since the referendum of March 2014, is part of the Russian Federation. It was this de facto declaration of war, which Moscow took very seriously, that prompted the deployment of extra Russian forces to Crimea and closer to the Russian border with Donbass. Significantly, these include the crack 76th Guards Air Assault Brigade, known as the Pskov paratroopers and, according to an intel report quoted to me, capable of taking Ukraine in only six hours. It certainly does not help that in early April US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, fresh from his former position as a board member of missile manufacturer Raytheon, called Zelensky to promise “unwavering US support for Ukraine’s sovereignty.” That ties in with Moscow’s interpretation that Zelensky would never have signed his decree without a green light from Washington.

Sevastopol, already when I visited in December 2018, is one of the most heavily defended places on the planet, impervious even to a NATO attack. In his decree, Zelensky specifically identifies Sevastopol as a prime target. Once again, we’re back to 2014 post-Maidan unfinished business. To contain Russia, the US deep state/NATO combo needs to control the Black Sea – which, for all practical purposes, is now a Russian lake. And to control the Black Sea, they need to “neutralize” Crimea. If any extra proof was necessary, it was provided by Zelensky himself on Tuesday this week in a phone call with NATO secretary-general and docile puppet Jens Stoltenberg. Zelensky uttered the key phrase: “NATO is the only way to end the war in Donbass” – which means, in practice, NATO expanding its “presence” in the Black Sea.

“Such a permanent presence should be a powerful deterrent to Russia, which continues the large-scale militarization of the region and hinders merchant shipping.” All of these crucial developments are and will continue to be invisible to global public opinion when it comes to the predominant, hegemon-controlled narrative. The deep state/NATO combo is imprinting 24/7 that whatever happens next is due to “Russian aggression.” Even if the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) launch a blitzkrieg against the Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics. (To do so against Sevastopol in Crimea would be certified mass suicide). In the United States, Ron Paul has been one of the very few voices to state the obvious: “According to the media branch of the US military-industrial-congressional-media complex, Russian troop movements are not a response to clear threats from a neighbor, but instead are just more ‘Russian aggression.’”

A possibly hopeful sign is that on March 31, the chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, General Valery Gerasimov, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, talked on the phone about the proverbial “issues of mutual interest.” Days later, a Franco-German statement came out, calling on “all parties” to de-escalate. Merkel and Macron seem to have gotten the message in their videoconference with Putin – who must have subtly alluded to the effect generated by Kalibrs, Kinzhals and assorted hypersonic weapons if the going gets tough and the Europeans sanction a Kiev blitzkrieg. The problem is Merkel and Macron don’t control NATO. Yet Merkel and Macron at least are fully aware that if the US/NATO combo attacks Russian forces or Russian passport holders who live in Donbass, the devastating response will target the command centers that coordinated the attacks.

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The Espionage Act should non exist. It’s a giant stain on everything American.

A History of the Espionage Act and How it Ensnared Julian Assange (Lauria)

From its earliest years the United States has found ways to deny the rights of a free press when it was politically expedient to do so. One of the latest ways was to arrest WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange two years ago today and to indict him — the first time a publisher and journalist has ever been charged under the 1917 Espionage Act for possessing and publishing state secrets. Though several U.S. administrations had come close to punishing journalists for revealing defense information, they all pulled back, until Assange. They were restrained because of a conflict with the First Amendment, which prohibits Congress from passing any law, including the Espionage Act, that abridges press freedom. Until that legal conflict is resolved in court, resulting in parts of the Espionage Act being found unconstitutional, the language of the Act threatening press freedom remains.


Bolstered by 1950 amendments to the Act, the Donald Trump administration crossed a redline to arrest a journalist. A 1961 amendment made it possible to indict a non-U.S. citizen, acting outside U.S. territory. The Trump administration’s first indictment of a publisher opened an alarming precedent for the future of journalism. President Joe Biden’s Department of Justice has not reversed Trump’s move to continue to seek Assange’s extradition from Britain though it could have. Instead it decided on Feb. 13 to pursue the appeal of Judge Vanessa Baraitser’s decision not to extradite Assange to the U.S. on health grounds. If the U.S. should win on appeal, Assange will be brought to the Eastern District of Virginia to face 17 Espionage Act counts, amounting to 175 years in prison, as Baraitser challenged none of those counts in her judgement.

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2 years ago today, Julian was “arrested”.

Google translate

“The verdict, as it was passed, calmed the public discourse, took the wind out of the sails of critics, the big scandal did not materialize, and public attention has waned again.”

Julian Assange: The Corpse In The Basement Of The West (derstandard.at )

Immediately after a British court had rejected the US application for extradition of the Australian Julian Assange on January 4th, the user “Spezialfahrzeug” in the STANDARD forum couldn’t help but make a malicious comment after my last blog post to put on this topic: “Well, Mr. Rosner, your written scandal process is not taking place, as we know today – and actually always knew.” So the court ruling of January 4th would have made all criticism of the proceedings against Assange obsolete, the British judiciary would now be okay after all, and we could be reassured? Unfortunately, things are completely different.

If one were aiming to tinker with a conspiracy theory, one could literally believe in a very sophisticated conspiracy, the thing has now gone so favorably for the opponents of Assange due to the subtly formulated judgment of Judge Vanessa Baraitser. If the court had simply flatly approved the request for extradition, then this might have sparked a greater wave of outrage among the European public. The protests got food and multiplied. And then perhaps some of the top politicians in the EU who had been hesitant until then would have spoken out more clearly against it. The British judiciary would have been in a bad position and the matter would have been taken to the European Court of Justice. All embarrassing. There could have been headwinds in the USA too, because free journalism is a highly respected commodity there.

They have now saved themselves. The verdict, as it was passed, calmed the public discourse, took the wind out of the sails of critics, the big scandal did not materialize, and public attention has waned again. Assange can continue to rot in jail and almost everyone looks the other way. Everything seems to be fine again anyway. In fact, however, the scandal did not end with this judgment; on the contrary, it was prolonged. The situation of the Wikileaks founder, and this is deliberately overlooked by many, has so far not changed for the better. For a good two years now, Assange has been in solitary confinement – also known as “white torture” – in Belmarsh, a maximum security prison in London, which is intended for murderers and terrorists who are dangerous to the public and whose detention conditions are so notorious that it is the “British Guantanamo” ” is called. The judgment of January 4th has bizarrely changed nothing at all.

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“Sharks’ Skylight,” by Renee Capozzola. Photo taken near shore of Mo’orea, French Polynesia.

 

 

Sea angel

 

 

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Apr 012021
 


Pablo Picasso Jacqueline in Turkish costume 1955

 

Biden Unveils $2T Infrastructure Plan, Tax Increases (OAN)
Emergence Of Dominant Selective Immune Escape Variants (Vanden Bossche)
Therapeutics and COVID-19: Living Guideline (WHO)
Judge Demands That Belgium Scraps All Corona Measures Within Thirty Days (AD)
France Headed For New National Lockdown As COVID Cases Surge (ZH)
Outdoor Mask Decree Met With Dismay By Spain’s Tourism Industry (G.)
Washington State ‘Vaccine Breakthrough’: 100s Get Covid Weeks After Jab (JTN)
15 Million Doses Of J&J Vaccine Ruined By Ingredient Mix-up (DM)
Bipolar Corona-Politics Positive? (OffG)
Russiagate Prober Couldn’t Verify Anything in the Steele Dossier (RCI)
US Dollar’s Status as “Global Reserve Currency” Drops to 25-Year Low (WS)
Ron Paul: Gold and Bitcoin Are At Risk Of Government Crackdown (Kitco)
Journalists Are “Centering” Their “Trauma” To Acquire Power (Tracey)

 

 

We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.
— Elie Wiesel

 

 

Tucker Greenwald Vaccine passports
https://twitter.com/i/status/1377095450440785924

 

 

The problem with such schemes in the US can be summarized in one word: pork.

Biden Unveils $2T Infrastructure Plan, Tax Increases (OAN)

Joe Biden has unveiled his massive infrastructure plan, projected to cost roughly $2 trillion in taxpayer money. Dubbed the American Jobs Plan, the details of it were made public during an event in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Wednesday. “So today, I’m proposing a plan for the nation that rewards work, not just rewards wealth,” Biden said. “That builds a fair economy and gives everybody a chance to succeed, and it’s going to create the strongest, most resilient, innovative economy in the world.” The plan’s largest proposed investment is $621 billion devoted to transportation, with a heavy focus on transitioning to so-called “green energy,” followed by $400 billion to home care services, $300 billion to manufacturing and $213 billion to housing. It would also allocate funds to digital infrastructure, schools and workforce development.

Biden claimed the package would modernize the American economy and boost job creation. “It will create millions of jobs, good paying jobs, it will grow the economy, make us more competitive around the world, promote our national security interests, and put us in position to win the global competition with China in the upcoming years,” Biden stated. Yet despite Biden’s grandiose claims of an American revival brought about by government spending, conservatives have balked at the huge price tag attached to his plan, and how he intends to pay for it. The package proposed a reversal of the Trump administration’s 2017 cut to the corporate tax rate, raising it from 21 to 28 percent. It would introduce a minimum tax of 15 percent on book income, the income reported by companies to their investors rather than the IRS.

Additionally, it would increase the global minimum tax on international subsidiaries of U.S. corporations from 13 to 21 percent, regardless of where their profits were made. This last point is notable, as it creates a strong incentive for U.S. companies to reincorporate abroad and ultimately bypass the higher tax rates the Democrat administration wishes to levy from them. This has prompted leading Republicans to heavily criticize Biden’s plan for using infrastructure as a smokescreen to sneak in tax hikes favored by Democrat politicians. “I think the Trojan horse will be called infrastructure, but inside the Trojan horse will be all the tax increases that Senator Scott and others have talked about,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said. “They want to raise taxes across the board and the only way I think they could pull that off would be through a reconciliation process. They have one more of those available to them.”

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Vanden Bossche is not giving up.

Emergence Of Dominant Selective Immune Escape Variants (Vanden Bossche)

Mass vaccinaton of vulnerable groups does not abrupt viral transmission chains but increasingly redirects transmission events to asymptomatic carriers (i.e., vaccinated subjects as well as not yet vaccinated young and healthy people, several of whom experienced asymptomatc infecton without mounting long-lived Ab titers2 ). As ongoing mass vaccinaton campaigns are shifing the ‘reservoir’ of viral transmission to asymptomatcally infected subjects (whether vaccinated or not), the likelihood for unvaccinated, previously asymptomatcally infected subjects to experience re-infecton with Sars-CoV-2 while being endowed with suboptmal and short-lived ant-S Abs substantally increases.


This is to say that within the populaton that is now most actvely involved in viral transmission, new, spontaneously emerging S variants have plenty of opportunity to train under suboptmal immune pressure such as to ultmately adapt to the human host and become part of the dominant circulatng Sars-Cov-2 populaton. This is how – afer inital breeding of viral variants as a direct result of infecton preventon measures – subsequent mass vaccinaton campaigns will drive enhanced circulaton of additonal, more infectous viral S variants. ‘Training’ of such more infectous immune escape variants is thought to be refected by the plateau that follows the vaccine-mediated decline in cases and the height of which exceeds the one following the previous wave of cases.

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They test for those things that are most likely to fail.

Therapeutics and COVID-19: Living Guideline (WHO)

This fourth version of the WHO living guideline addresses the use of ivermectin in patients with COVID-19. It follows the increased international attention on ivermectin as a potential therapeutic option. While ivermectin is also being investigated for prophylaxis, this guideline only addresses its role in the treatment of COVID-19. Ivermectin is relatively inexpensive and accessible, and some countries have already witnessed its widespread use in the treatment of COVID-19; in other countries, there is increasing pressure to do so (14).

In response to this international attention, the WHO GDG now provides recommendations on ivermectin for treatment of COVID-19. Ivermectin is an antiparasitic agent that interferes with nerve and muscle function of helminths through binding glutamate-gated chloride channels (15). We currently lack persuasive evidence of a mechanism of action for ivermectin in COVID-19, and any observed clinical benefit would be unexplained (see Section 5).

[..] Benefits and harms: The effects of ivermectin on mortality, mechanical ventilation, hospital admission, duration of hospitalization and viral clearance remain uncertain because of very low certainty of evidence addressing each of these outcomes. Ivermectin may have little or no effect on time to clinical improvement (low certainty evidence). Ivermectin may increase the risk of SAEs leading to drug dicontinuation (low certainty evidence). Subgroup analyses indicated no effect modification based on dose. We were unable to examine subgroups based on patient age or severity of illness due to insufficent trial data (see Section 5). Therefore, we assumed similar effects in all subgroups. This recommendation applies to patients with any disease severity and any duration of symptoms.

Certainty of the evidence: For most key outcomes, including mortality, mechanical ventilation, hospital admission, duration of hospitalization and viral clearance, the panel considered the evidence of very low certainty. Evidence was rated as very low certainty primarily because of very serious imprecision for most outcomes: the aggregate data had wide confidence intervals and/or very few events. There were also serious concerns related to risk of bias for some outcomes, specifically lack of blinding, lack of trial pre-registration, and lack of outcome reporting for one trial that did not report mechanical ventilation despite pre-specifying it in their protocol (publication bias).

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Google translate

Judge Demands That Belgium Scraps All Corona Measures Within Thirty Days (AD)

The Brussels court of first instance orders the Belgian government to end the corona measures within thirty days, on pain of a penalty of 5000 euros per day. According to the judge, the current measures are based on laws that cannot serve as the basis for the ministerial decisions by which the corona measures are issued. The ruling follows a lawsuit brought by the League for Human Rights and has been confirmed to the Belgian media by the lawyers involved. The League is an independent Belgian foundation that fights “injustices and arbitrary attacks on the rights of the individual or the community”. The court finds that the measures taken by the governments to prevent the further spread of the corona virus are illegal. According to Lackner, the court actually says that the legal basis on which the ministerial decisions are based is not valid.

According to the court, the measures in Belgium to prevent the further spread of the corona virus are illegal. The measures are based on the 2007 Civil Security Act and two other laws, De Standaard writes about the case. That law came after a major train disaster in Ghislenglien to be able to act quickly and with urgency after such disasters. The court finds that this basis is not sufficient for the imposed corona measures. The judge gives the Belgian state thirty days to provide a solid legal basis on pain of a penalty of 5000 euros per day that that term is exceeded, up to a maximum of 200,000 euros. The Belgian Ministry of the Interior is said to be studying the verdict. An appeal is possible against the decision.

Belgium announced last week that it will continue to be locked, because the number of hospital admissions and infections with the corona virus continue to rise. The non-essential stores may only open by appointment and the very large stores for a maximum of fifty people at a time. The non-medical contact professions such as hairdressers also have to close again for the time being for four weeks. The number of people with whom Belgians are allowed to meet outside their families in the open air will be reduced from ten to four people. A number of corona measures remain, such as the curfew. Non-essential journeys from Belgium will also remain prohibited until April 19. According to Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, a “short period of pain, an Easter break” has been chosen in the hope of reducing the virus.

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It’s just sad.

France Headed For New National Lockdown As COVID Cases Surge (ZH)

Despite expanding lockdown measures to cover more than one-third of the country (including Paris and other major cities) earlier this month, and other areas French President Emmanuel Macron is expected to follow German Chancellor Angela Merkel by imposing strict new nation lockdown measures as Europe’s “third wave” of COVID cases intensifies. France has seen COVID cases (adjusted for population) surge to the highest level in Western Europe, while only hard-hit ex-eastern bloc countries like Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic have it worse than France, as the chart below shows. This has inspired Germany and Spain to restrict travel from the country.

Bloomberg reports that President Macron is planning to announce during a national address on Wednesday evening that he will impose new nationwide measures to contain the spike, and that these measures could include school closures and a ban on inter-city travel. The new national edict would mark the end of the “regional” approach that France has relied on all year. Although he declined to elaborate, government spokesman Gabriel Attal said Wednesday after a defense council meeting that “decisions have been made” regarding new lockdown measures, but he declined to elabroate. Macron will address the nation at 2000 local time (1400ET). If Macron follows through with the school closures, that would also mark a major reversal for France, which had insisted on keeping schools open over the past year, unlike many of its European neighbors.

Macron has so far been “unapologetic” about his resistance to more restrictive measures, according to Bloomberg. As the EU vaccination push lags for a number of reasons (primarily a shortage of supplies, and widespread skepticism) more than 8MM people have received at least one jab of the vaccine, which represents more than 10% of the population. The target to vaccinate all French adults willing to get the jab by the end of the summer remains in place. Notably, Macron ignored the advice of his health minister who began advocating for more restrictive measures earlier this year. Instead, the government imposed a nationwide curfew, closed malls and expanded travel curbs – but didn’t go all in on a national lockdown. The hope was that the most pessimistic forecasts wouldn’t become a reality – but they have.

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On the beach.

Outdoor Mask Decree Met With Dismay By Spain’s Tourism Industry (G.)

The Spanish tourist industry has reacted with dismay to the government’s decree that face masks must be worn in all outdoor spaces, including beaches and swimming pools, even when it is possible to maintain social distancing. “We’re going through hell with thousands of jobs and businesses threatened and now they want to turn the beaches into open-air field hospitals,” José Luis Zoreda, vice-president of Exceltur, the umbrella organisation that represents Spain’s tourism industry, told El País newspaper. Industry representatives complain that they were not consulted over the decision, which was announced in an official state bulletin on Tuesday. “We’ve already given up on Easter as a lost cause,” said Zoreda. “Now we have to put our hopes on summer.”


He said the “improvised measures” did not inspire confidence on the part of the foreign visitors whom the struggling industry is desperate to bring back. Tourism accounts for about 12% of Spain’s GDP. Masks have been obligatory indoors and out in Catalonia since last July and in Valencia since early this year, despite claims by scientists that there is a very low risk of contagion in the open air. Earlier this month Fernando Simón, head of Spain’s coordination centre for health emergencies and alerts, said: “I don’t believe that masks are the key to reducing transmission. It’s not necessary for everyone to wear one. What’s important is that people who are infected wear one, although we don’t know who is infected and who isn’t.” Simón added that they should be obligatory in enclosed spaces.

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Building trust.

Washington State ‘Vaccine Breakthrough:’ 100s Get Covid Weeks After Jab (JTN)

The state of Washington is investigating what officials are calling a “vaccine breakthrough,” after roughly 100 cases of people testing positive for the virus about two weeks after being vaccinated. Epidemiologists report evidence of 102 breakthrough cases in 18 Washington counties, among millions of vaccinated residents. Two patients who received the vaccination died after becoming infected with the virus. “DOH is investigating two potential vaccine breakthrough cases where the patients died. Both patients were more than 80 years old and suffered underlying health issues,” officials said in a news release.


The health department also said the majority of those vaccinated who tested positive experienced mild symptoms, but at least eight have been hospitalized. “It is important to remember that every vaccine on the market right now prevents severe disease and death in most cases,” said Dr. Umair A. Shah, the states’s health secretary. “Finding evidence of vaccine breakthrough cases reminds us that, even if you have been vaccinated, you still need to wear a mask, practice socially distancing, and wash your hands to prevent spreading COVID-19 to others who have not been vaccinated.”

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“..poorly trained employees, cracked vials and mold around one of its facilities..”

15 Million Doses Of J&J Vaccine Ruined By Ingredient Mix-up (DM)

The Biden administration knew more than a week ago that 15million doses of Johnson & Johnson had been ruined by its contractor – potentially causing significant delays in the vaccine rollout, senior administration officials said. Two senior officials on the government’s Covid-19 response team told Politico that it was clear there were serious problems at the West Baltimore plant of Emergent BioSolutons, a little-known company at the center of the vaccine supply chain. A third official said the Department of Health then found out last week that Emergent had ruined 15 million doses of vaccine by adding the wrong ingredient. ‘It was no secret that Emergent did not have a deep bench of pharmaceutical manufacturing experts,’ that official told Politico.

The news finally became public on Wednesday when Johnson & Johnson said that a batch of vaccine made by Emergent at its Baltimore factory, known as Bayview, can’t be used because employees accidentally swapped in an ingredient meant for a different vaccine into the J&J shot, the New York Times reported Wednesday. The Emergent BioSolutions plant is also manufacturing doses for AstraZeneca, and apparently used an ingredient for the UK firm’s vaccine in a batch of J&J’s. The gaff occurred two weeks ago and will delay tens of millions doses of J&J’s shot slated to ship next month while the FDA investigates.

The company at the center of quality problems that led Johnson & Johnson to discard 15 million doses has a had string of citations from U.S. health officials for quality control problems. Emergent, which was key to Johnson & Johnson’s plan to deliver 100 million doses of its vaccine to the U.S. by the end of May, has been cited repeatedly by the Food and Drug Administration for problems such as poorly trained employees, cracked vials and mold around one of its facilities, according to The Associated Press.

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“He trusts the government would only deliver a safe, effective vaccine.”

Bipolar Corona-Politics Positive? (OffG)

I had a patient this morning. More precisely, I telephoned him. He suffered a myocardial infarction last year and is on anti-hypertensives. His last few BP measurements showed very good, stable control. He barricades himself in his home against the rogue cold virus each time the government locks-down. He expressed terror about the link between hypertension and an enhanced Covid-19 risk. I would say he is, like the government, somewhat delusional about it or at the very least harbours some fixed false beliefs towards it. Hence, he measures his blood pressure many times a day. It fibrillates up and down with the propaganda. Masks are not enough for him. He refuses to leave his home until Johnson and Hancock lift lockdown. He asks me to increase his medications without seeing him.

The easy cure might be to turn off his TV and smartphone. But, there is more bipolarity, more paradox, more human folly. He refuses to come out for a hypertension review until he receives his Covid-19 vaccinations. I ask him how he suggests doing that? Perhaps he could find it reasonable to specifically come for his vaccine and have an opportunistic BP? He pauses, and then refuses. Classic Joseph Heller, Catch-22. Nothing surprises me these days in medical practice, so without a pause I remind him that we are not currently offering a bespoke domiciliary vaccination service. He remains insistent. As his doctor, I try to reassure him he is not at any great risk. I remind him we pay great lip service to all the viral psychological interventions such as porous ill-fitting mask, alcohol gel and … polythene apron.

Rather selectively, he dismisses these sacred verses of the government propaganda. As if to out-fox me, he replies in denouement, ‘Okay, I won’t come in, then.’ I leave it open for him to come back to us. It is not only the rule of law, but also the practice of medicine which has succumbed to hysteria. He is the ideal citizen of the corporate pharmaceutical Gods. Open to suggestion, vulnerable to propaganda, crouched with bayoneted rifle in trench against an unavoidable, invisible particle. Always willing to go above and beyond the unreasonable demands of tyrants. He trusts the government would only deliver a safe, effective vaccine.

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“..without the dossier, the warrants could not have been obtained.”

Russiagate Prober Couldn’t Verify Anything in the Steele Dossier (RCI)

For the past four years, Democrats and the Washington media have suspended disbelief about the Steele dossier’s credibility by arguing that some Russia allegations against Donald Trump and his advisers have been corroborated and therefore the most explosive charges may also be true. But recently declassified secret testimony by the FBI official in charge of corroborating the dossier blows up that narrative. The top analyst assigned to the FBI’s Russia “collusion” case, codenamed Crossfire Hurricane, admitted under oath that neither he nor his team of half a dozen intelligence analysts could confirm any of the allegations in the dossier — including ones the FBI nonetheless included in several warrant applications as evidence to establish legal grounds to electronically monitor a former Trump adviser for almost a year.

FBI Supervisory Intelligence Analyst Brian Auten made the admission under questioning by staff investigators for the Senate Judiciary Committee during closed-door testimony in October. The committee only this year declassified the transcript, albeit with a number of redactions including the name of Auten, who was identified by congressional sources who spoke on condition of anonymity. “So with respect to the Steele reporting,” Auten told the committee, “the actual allegations and the actions described in those reports could not be corroborated.” After years of digging, Auten conceded that the only material in the dossier that he could verify was information that was already publicly available, such as names, entities, and positions held by persons mentioned in the document.

His testimony, kept secret for several months, is eye-opening because it’s the first time anybody from the FBI has acknowledged headquarters failed to verify any of the dossier evidence supporting the wiretaps as true and correct. As one of the FBI’s leading experts on Russia, Auten was highly familiar with the subject matter of the dossier and the Russian players it cited. He also had a team of intelligence analysts at his disposal to pore over the material and chase down leads. They even traveled overseas to interview the dossier’s author, former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, and other sources. Still, they could not corroborate any of the allegations of Trump-Russia “collusion” in the dossier, and actually debunked many of them — including the rumor, oft-repeated by the media, that Trump attorney Michael Cohen flew to Prague in the summer of 2016 to secretly huddle with Kremlin agents over an alleged Trump-Russia plot to hack the election.

They determined that Cohen had never even been to the Czech Republic. Yet Auten and his Crossfire teammates — who referred to the dossier as “Crown material,” as if it were valuable intelligence from America’s closest ally, Britain — never informed a secret surveillance court that the dossier was a bust. Instead, they used it as the basis for all four warrant applications to spy on Carter Page, a tangential 2016 Trump campaign adviser. Former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who personally signed and approved the final application, has testified that without the dossier, the warrants could not have been obtained.

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But I see the remarkable strength of the USD. Yes, the euro has taken a few percent, and so has the yen. So what?

US Dollar’s Status as “Global Reserve Currency” Drops to 25-Year Low (WS)

Two decades ago, when the dollar had a share of about 70% of reserve currencies, a presumed competitor became day-to-day reality: The euro, which combined the currencies of the member states into one currency, thereby combining their weight as reserve currency. Since then, the dollar’s share has dropped by 11 percentage points. By contrast, between 1977 and 1991, the dollars share had dropped by 46 percentage points – with huge plunges in 1979 and 1980 possibly linked to US inflation which was threatening to spiral out of control, peaking at nearly 15% in 1980. The plunge bottomed out in 1991, with inflation more or less under control. And the dollar’s share then surged by 25 percentage points until 2000:


The euro’s share had since been in the range between 19.5% and 20.6%, but it Q4 it broke out of the range and rose to 21.4%, the highest in the data. The ECB’s holdings of euro-denominated assets that it acquired as part of its QE are not included in the euro-denominated foreign exchange reserves. The rest of the reserve currencies are also-rans – the spaghetti at the bottom in the chart below. This includes the Chinese renminbi, the bold red line at the bottom:

The renminbi’s share is still only 2.25%, despite the magnitude and global influence of China’s economy, and despite the hype when the IMF elevated the renminbi to an official global reserve currency in October 2016 by including it in the basket of currencies that back the Special Drawing Rights (SDRs). But the renminbi’s share has been creeping up ever so slowly. At the rate it has been gaining momentum over the past two years (+0.36 percentage points in two years), it would take the renminbi another 50 years or so to reach a share of 25%. Clearly, other central banks are still leery of the renminbi and its implications, and are not eager to dump their dollars all at once in exchange for renminbi; easy does it.


To see what’s going on with the spaghetti at the bottom of the above chart, I magnified the scale and limited it to the range of 0% to 6%. This takes the dollar and the euro out of the picture, and allows for a detailed look of the other reserve currencies. What sticks out is the surge of the yen, the third largest reserve currency. This includes a 2.0-percentage point gain since Q4 2016, which blew away the 1.15-percentage point gain over the same period by the renminbi. With regards to the yen, the renminbi is losing ground.Despite Brexit and all the scary hoopla around it, the pound sterling (GBP), the fourth largest reserve currency, has not given up any share.

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“I was banking committee for all those years, I couldn’t even go to the Open Market Committee meeting. There was no way that would be permissible..”

Ron Paul: Gold and Bitcoin Are At Risk Of Government Crackdown (Kitco)

The best way to protect against economic turbulence is with hard assets like precious metals and real estate, but even these are under threat from the government, said former Congressman and host of The Liberty Report, Ron Paul. “The government is a threat,” Paul said. “They will crackdown because they have the ability to do it. We had a taste of [a free society]. If you don’t know where to start, just start with the Constitution, that might give you an idea of what a free society is all about.” Paul noted that this “crackdown” could take the form of taxes. On President Biden’s proposed infrastructure bill, Paul said that its outcome would be “worse than average.”

“Most likely it will do what those kinds of programs always do, they spend a lot of money, they’re inefficient, they always cost more than they thought they should. Besides, it’s built on some mystical belief that you shouldn’t have any concern about the deficit…everybody’s just in a dream,” he said. During Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s testimony to Congress last week, Republican Senator John Neely Kennedy from Louisiana questioned whether or not the central banks around the world are still “independent” entities, or if they’ve already become intertwined with politics. Paul commented that “independence” was never the objective of central banks to begin with.

“This whole idea of independence…I just don’t believe they’re interested in secrecy because I don’t think of the Treasury or the Federal Reserve and the fiscal people in Congress as really representing a whole lot. I think about the people in the shadow government, in the Deep State, because there’s people pulling strings that have a lot of power and clout. I was banking committee for all those years, I couldn’t even go to the Open Market Committee meeting. There was no way that would be permissible,” he said.

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Virtue signalling in overdrive.

Journalists Are “Centering” Their “Trauma” To Acquire Power (Tracey)

On March 28, Washington Post journalist Felicia Somnez posted a Twitter thread describing the intense trauma she said she’d endured over the past year. An editorial policy imposed by the paper’s management had greatly exacerbated this trauma, she alleged, causing her to burst into tears during a recent therapy session and frequently lapse into spells of “vacant staring.” Somnez, a Harvard graduate in her 30s who holds one of the most prestigious journalism jobs in the country, spoke of being “silenced” by her editors, which in turn kicked her “trauma response” into overdrive and worsened her condition further. She declared that the new crop of young journalists now beginning at the Post “deserve better” than how she’d been treated, particularly on account of their being so “diverse, talented and relentless in their fight for equity.”

If any of these buzzwords and/or phrases sound familiar, it’s because their usage now dependably instigates a swift capitulatory reaction from the people who run legacy media institutions. The editorial policy adjustment that Somnez had demanded be effectuated did in fact get effectuated, within a matter of hours. Her elaborately confessional Twitter thread — a well-worn tactic by this point — worked fantastically. Whatever the merits of the proposed policy adjustment at issue (and she may well have been on sound footing in demanding it), no one can dispute that her chosen self-advocacy approach achieved what she set out to achieve. Because increasingly, as this episode once again demonstrated, the key to coaxing stodgy old editors into acquiescence is to publicly “call them out” using a now-familiar punchy, emotionally inflammatory rhetorical style.

We can just take Somnez at her word and grant that this professional adult journalist genuinely did undergo the debilitating trauma she described, vacant staring spells and all. It’s impossible to judge the precise veracity of these trauma-related claims anyway, given how inextricable they are with the interior mental state of the individual in question. So we’ll have to just accept that Somnez being “attacked online,” as she put it, really did result in the kind of extraordinary psychological turmoil she says she experienced. What can be judged, however — and what has to be judged given its rapidly increasing prominence in public life — is the wider impact of the rhetorical style used so adroitly by Somnez. Because it very clearly gets results. Call it therapeutic trauma jargon.

Read more …

 

 

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Engineered food

 

 

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Mar 172021
 


Vincent van Gogh Peach trees in blossom 1888

 

Russia Stoked Ukraine Allegations To Undermine Biden – US Intel (Pol.)
Big Media Outlets “Independently Confirm” Each Other’s Falsehoods (Greenwald)
US Admits Waging InfoWar Against Russia’s Sputnik Vaccine (ZH)
Biden Gets Away With Exactly What Cuomo Is Accused Of (Emmons)
Pandemic Blunder (Hirschhorn)
New Covid-19 Variant Found In Brittany May Not Show Up In Regular Tests (RT)
Why We All MUST Reject Vaccine Passports (Krainer)
Wall Street Is Greenwashing The Financial World (Fancy)
US Joins India And China In Ramping Up Coal Usage (ZH)
Courts Close In On Gig Economy Firms Globally (G.)
Getting Hyperinflation Right (Dmitry Orlov)

 

 

 

 

This stuff must stop, but it won’t. These idiots are endangering the entire world. And that wanking rodent Schiff pops up again too.

Russia Stoked Ukraine Allegations To Undermine Biden – US Intel (Pol.)

Russia tried again last year to help then-President Donald Trump win the White House, the U.S. intelligence community said Tuesday in a long-awaited postmortem — adding that a “primary” tactic in that effort was the spreading of corruption allegations involving Democratic challenge Joe Biden and Ukraine. But the effort fell short of the Kremlin-backed efforts to assist Trump in his 2016 contest against Hillary Clinton, the spy community wrote in its unclassified assessment of foreign threats to the 2020 U.S. federal elections. And the agencies found no attempts by foreign countries to change vote tallies or final results.

“We assess that Russian President [Vladimir] Putin authorized, and a range of Russian government organizations conducted, influence operations aimed at denigrating President Biden’s candidacy and the Democratic Party, supporting former President Trump, undermining public confidence in the electoral process, and exacerbating sociopolitical divisions in the U.S.,” the assessment said. “The primary effort,” the document added, “revolved around a narrative-that Russian actors began spreading as early as 2014-alleging corrupt ties between President Biden, his family, and other US officials and Ukraine.” It said Russia’s intelligence services “relied on Ukraine-linked proxies and these proxies’ networks-including their US contacts-to spread this narrative.”


Unlike in 2016, however, “we did not see persistent Russian cyber efforts to gain access to election infrastructure,” added the document, issued by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Iran, meanwhile, waged a “covert influence campaign intended to undercut” Trump’s reelection bid without directly promoting his rivals in order to “undermine public confidence in the election process” and “sow division and exacerbate societal tensions” in the country. “We assess that Supreme Leader Khamenei authorized the campaign and Iran’s military and intelligence services implemented it using overt and covert messaging and cyber operations,” the examination states. The agencies found no efforts by China to interfere in the election, although one intelligence official maintained in a minority opinion that Beijing “took at least some steps to undermine” Trump’s chances, “primarily through social media and official public statements and media.”

Schiff

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Russia Russia Russia Russia Russia

Big Media Outlets “Independently Confirm” Each Other’s Falsehoods (Greenwald)

For a few weeks following the issuance of the Mueller report, Democrats and media figures gamely attempted to deny that it obliterated the conspiracy theories to which they had relentlessly subjected the country for the prior four years. How could they do otherwise? They staked their entire reputations and the trust of their audience on having this be true. To avoid their day of reckoning, they would hype ancillary events such as Paul Manafort’s conviction on unrelated financial crimes or Michael Flynn’s guilty plea for a minor and dubious charge (for which even Mueller recommended no prison time) or Roger Stone’s various process charges to insist that there was still a grain of truth to their multifaceted geopolitical fairy tale seemingly lifted straight from a Tom Clancy Cold War thriller about the world’s two largest nuclear powers.

But even they knew this was just a temporary survival strategy and that it was unsustainable for the long term. That the crux of the scandal all along was that key Trump allies if not the President himself would be indicted and imprisoned for having conspired with the Russians was too glaring to make people forget about it. That was why former CIA Director John Brennan assured the MSNBC audience in March — just weeks before Mueller closed his investigation with no conspiracy crimes alleged — that it was impossible that the investigation could close without first indicting Trump’s children and other key White House aides on what Brennan correctly said was the whole point of the scandal from the start: “criminal conspiracy involving the Russians . . . . whether or not U.S. persons were actively collaborating, colluding, cooperating, involved in a conspiracy with them or not.”


Brennan strongly insinuated that among those likely to be indicted for criminally conspiring with the Russians were those “from the Trump family.” As we all know, literally none of that happened. Not only were Trump family members not indicted by Mueller on charges of “criminal conspiracy involving the Russians,” no Americans were. Brennan believed there was no way that the Mueller investigation could end without that happening because that was the whole point of the scandal from the start. To explain why it had not happened up to that point after eighteen months of investigation by Mueller’s subpoena-armed and very zealous team of prosecutors, Brennan invented a theory that they were waiting to do that as the final act because they knew they would be fired by Trump once it happened. But it never happened because Mueller found no evidence to prove that it did.


The Advocate, Mar. 10, 2017

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“Combatting malignant influence in the Americas…”

Who’s the actual malignant influence?

US Admits Waging InfoWar Against Russia’s Sputnik Vaccine (ZH)

The Kremlin on Tuesday called out what’s it’s dubbed the “unprecedented” propaganda war against Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine. The words were issued by spokesman Dmitry Peskov in response to widespread allegations that the Untied States is actively trying to dissuade its allies from purchasing the Russian-produced vaccine. This despite the emerging scientific consensus that’s found it to be at least 91% effective while further preventing inoculated persons from becoming severely ill. The Kremlin is responding to newly emerged proof that the US intervened with the largest country in South America, Brazil.


The Washington Post details that “Buried deep in the dry, 72-page annual report of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services lay a startling admission: U.S. health officials under President Donald Trump worked to convince Brazil to reject Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine.” Brazil has long stood as the second highest COVID-19 infected country in the world behind the US, with over 11.5 confirmed infections so far (with the US now approaching the 30 million mark). Here’s the key controversial section from the 71-page document. The section is entitled “Combatting malignant influence in the Americas”…

“Examples include using OGA’s Health Attache office to persuade Brazil to reject the Russian COVID-19 vaccine,” the government report spelled out explicitly. Brazil’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has since claimed it never received directives or “consultations” such as are described in the report from the US, with a statement saying, “the Embassy of Brazil in Washington has not received consultations or actions from United States authorities or companies regarding the possible purchase, by Brazil, of the Russian vaccine against Covid-19.” Kremlin spokesman Peskov in his comments didn’t name the allegations specifically but only denounced generally that “In many countries the scale of pressure is quite unprecedented… such selfish attempts to force countries to abandon any vaccines have no prospects.

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“Cuomo is not liked and, now, not useful. If Biden becomes similarly expendable in the future, he may finally face the same kind of treatment.”

Biden Gets Away With Exactly What Cuomo Is Accused Of (Emmons)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been accused of unwanted touching and sexual harassment. President Joe Biden has been accused of everything from creepily sniffing women’s hair to sexual assault. Yet Biden is the one who gets the folksy treatment, perceived as merely touchy-feely, while Cuomo, despite his status as prince of the pandemic press conference, could be facing the end of his career. Prominent Democrats have called for the governor’s resignation over the scandal. Seven women now say they experienced unwanted touching at the governor’s hands. Cuomo claims he never did it, and apologized for making anyone feel bad. By his own admission, Cuomo may be a little handsy. He’s said that “You can go find hundreds of pictures of me kissing people . . . it is my usual and customary way of greeting.”

The public is meant to believe that it’s simply part of his charm. Contrast this to Biden in 2019, who said “I’m not sorry for any of my intentions, I’m not sorry for anything that I have ever done. I have never been disrespectful intentionally or a man or a woman. So that’s not the reputation I’ve had since I was in high school for God’s sake.” Cuomo apologized and he’s going down. Biden refused to apologize, and he’s practically sanctified. “Social norms are changing. I understand that,” Biden said, “and I’ve heard what these women are saying. Politics to me has always been about making connections, but I will be more mindful about respecting personal space in the future. That’s my responsibility and I will meet it.”

But has he? He barely gave a glance at Tara Reade’s accusations, never mind the myriad other women who stepped forward to say that Biden made them uneasy either with touching or his penchant for sniffing. The charges against Biden are well-documented, but it’s Cuomo that’s in the hot seat, and Biden chilling in the Oval. A take down of Biden over sexual harassment charges is simply not politically expedient. But for Democrats, Cuomo has got to go. While they are loath to admit it, the outcry over the sexual harassment scandal is likely about something else. Cuomo is embarrassing for Democrats who praised him during the COVID-19 outbreak. An investigation by the attorney general’s office found that not only did the Cuomo administration undercount nursing home deaths by up to 50 percent, they did so on purpose in order to avoid political fallout.

The Democrats who are intent on hounding Cuomo out of office do not want the political fallout of the nursing home deaths. It’s easier to hold Cuomo’s hands to the fire over these allegations of unwanted touching than it is to deal with the intentional cover-up of elder deaths, in which they may find themselves to have been complicit. In short, Cuomo is not liked and, now, not useful. If Biden becomes similarly expendable in the future, he may finally face the same kind of treatment.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1371660114629849094

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Hirschhorn reached out to me after I published VandenBossche’s piece. I haven’t read his book -yet-. The video seems interesting.

Pandemic Blunder (Hirschhorn)

A huge amount of data and information not covered by mainstream media are in Pandemic Blunder that tells the story of how over 300,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 unnecessarily because the government has blocked early home treatment and prevention.  With 500,000 COVID deaths, learning about safe and effective early home treatment/prevention more important than ever. About the Book: Pandemic Blunder contains considerable medical information and data to support a number of proven safe, cheap generic medicines and protocols that knock out the coronavirus when given early. Read about the pioneering, courageous doctors who have been using innovative approaches to prevent their COVID patients from needing hospital care and facing death.

The book includes many expert opinions from doctors who support the view that 70 to 80 percent of COVID deaths could have been prevented—and still can be. Don’t be victimized by disinformation and propaganda from leftist media. Learn how corrupt forces are aiming to make billions of dollars from expensive medicines and vaccines, and how hundreds of thousands of deaths could have—and should have—been prevented! Pandemic blunder is defined as the failure of the United States public health system and federal agencies to support and promote early home/outpatient treatment for the COVID-19 pandemic disease. 

Considerable medical information and data convincingly show that when given early a number of proven safe, cheap generic medicines and protocols knock out the coronavirus. Early means within the first few days of getting symptoms or a positive test. Some pioneering and courageous doctors have been using innovative approaches to prevent their covid patients from needing hospital care and facing death. Many expert views of doctors support the view that 70 percent to 80 percent of covid deaths could have been prevented – and still can for future victims of the disease.  Learn how hundreds of thousands of deaths could have and should have been prevented.

This book does more than describe the pandemic blunder, particularly in terms of the influence of Dr. Anthony Fauci. It can help Americans protect their lives by not being victimized by disinformation and propaganda from leftist media.  Pandemic management has failed because of corrupt forces aiming to make billions of dollars from expensive medicines and vaccines. There has been a widespread dereliction of duty on the part of many local, state, and federal government officials.

Read more …

The virus is endemic. New variants will keep emerging.

New Covid-19 Variant Found In Brittany May Not Show Up In Regular Tests (RT)

France’s health ministry has warned that a new variant of Covid-19 found in the country’s north may evade conventional PCR testing, but initial analysis suggests it is not more contagious or deadly. On Monday, the Directorate General of Health (DGS) said in a press release that a new Covid-19 variant was being investigated after genomic sequencing confirmed the existence of 8 cases at a single hospital, where the new strain had been identified but had initially not shown up after PCR tests. The DGS said the new variant does not appear to be more contagious or deadly, although this is a very early assessment.


The statement adds that the virus appears to have evaded RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) test results on nasopharyngeal samples. Instead, the diagnosis had to be made “by serology or by performing RT-PCR on deep respiratory samples.” The statement concludes by noting that the local authorities and prefectures are stepping up measures to curb the transmission of the virus, “as a precaution.” Measures include “speeding up vaccination, reminding people of the importance of social distancing and limiting gatherings.” In a message to healthcare professionals, the DGS said analysis carried out by the Pasteur Institute had revealed the new variant was “carrying nine mutations in the region encoding the S protein but also in other viral regions.”

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Freedom.

Why We All MUST Reject Vaccine Passports (Krainer)

The enemy is fear. We think it is hate; but it is really fear.
– Mohandas Gandhi


To ‘normalize’ vaccine passports, the idea is increasingly being discussed in the media as we trudge on through the umpteenth version of lockdowns. On Saturday (13 March 2021) I got accosted by the police in Cap d’Ail (south of France) for the offense of taking my kids out in the sun without having a justificatif. I have long lost track of the ever changing rules and shifting logic, but I didn’t feel like arguing. The police were just doing their jobs, enforcing shitty rules that harass and antagonize people. For example, I would have been allowed to be where I was if it were a working day, but since it was Saturday, it was verboten. The objective of such rules is nothing to do with public health; they are intended to exasperate us all to the point where we yield to the indignity of vaccine passports when they are rolled out, just so we can live our lives and be left in peace.

Alexis de Tocqueville understood the nature of this dumb, slow march of bankers’ tyranny. In “Democracy in America” (1835) he predicted that the society would fall into a new kind of servitude which, “covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules,” which “does not tyrannise but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes and stupefies people, till each nation is reduced to be nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals of which the government is the sheppard.” De Tocqeville’s book was published mere two years after President Andrew Jackson ended the Second Bank of the United States, and the struggles between the bankers and the society was very pertinent to his observations.


The small complicated rules are a sinister trap and it is imperative that we not fall into it. Even if we are ready to yield on vaccines and vaccine passports to end our present predicament, our children and grandchildren will have to live with the consequences of our compromises. We therefore have no right to decline this struggle.

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Former chief investment officer of Sustainable Investing at BlackRock

Wall Street Is Greenwashing The Financial World (Fancy)

The financial services industry is duping the American public with its pro-environment, sustainable investing practices. This multitrillion dollar arena of socially conscious investing is being presented as something it’s not. In essence, Wall Street is greenwashing the economic system and, in the process, creating a deadly distraction. I should know; I was at the heart of it. As the former chief investment officer of Sustainable Investing at BlackRock, the largest asset manager in the world with $8.7 trillion in assets, I led the charge to incorporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) into our global investments. In fact, our messaging helped mainstream the concept that pursuing social good was also good for the bottom line. Sadly, that’s all it is, a hopeful idea. In truth, sustainable investing boils down to little more than marketing hype, PR spin and disingenuous promises from the investment community.

In many instances across the industry, existing mutual funds are cynically rebranded as “green” — with no discernible change to the fund itself or its underlying strategies — simply for the sake of appearances and marketing purposes. In other cases, ESG products contain irresponsible companies such as petroleum majors and other large polluters like “fast fashion” manufacturing to boost the fund’s performance. There are even portfolio managers who actively mine ESG data to bet against environmentally responsible companies in the name of profit, a short-selling strategy. Risk managers are focused on protecting their investment portfolios from potential damages done by a worsening climate rather than helping prevent that damage from occurring in the first place.


As disheartening as this reality is, claiming to be environmentally responsible is profitable. Last year alone, ESG mutual funds and exchange-traded funds nearly doubled. The investment community understandably reacted to this with cheers. But those cheers were only for fund managers and their bottom lines. No matter what they tout as green investing, portfolio managers are legally bound (as well as financially incentivized) to do nothing that compromises profits. To advance real change in the environment simply doesn’t yield the same return.

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Green New Deal.

US Joins India And China In Ramping Up Coal Usage (ZH)

Major users of coal across the world are set to ramp up their usage of the fossil fuel in coming months. Power plants in the U.S. are expected to consume 16% more coal this year than in 2020 and another 3% on top of that in 2022. China and India also have “no plans to cut back” their use of burning the fossil fueld. In fact, “it’ll almost be as if the pandemic-induced drop in emissions never happened,” Bloomberg reports. Inevitably, this will result in higher emissions, which stands at stark odds with the climate initiatives that President Joe Biden ran on. Amanda Levin, policy analyst at the New York-based National Resources Defense Council said: “We’re going to see a really marked increase in emissions with coal consumption at U.S. power plants returning almost to 2019 levels.”

She says that changes to mitigate usage could happen quickly if Biden implements his planned green-energy policies. In the U.S., the ramp comes as a result of both costlier natural gas, and a broad re-opening from the pandemic. For India and China, the steady use is indicative of growing demand, despite the fact that both countries are trying to use wind and solar, as well. China’s power consumption, for example, has grown, despite the country reducing coal’s share in the nation’s energy makeup. President Biden’s upcoming infrastructure bill is expected to include plans to “fulfill his campaign pledges on climate change, making the U.S. best poised to salvage progress in reducing global emissions,” Bloomberg reports. In China, President Xi Jinping has committed to net-zero emissions by 2060.

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It will be a long fight.

Courts Close In On Gig Economy Firms Globally (G.)

Gig economy companies, including Uber and Deliveroo, have faced at least 40 major legal challenges around the world as delivery drivers and riders try to improve their rights. The analysis of 39 employment cases, and seven linked cases on matters such as competition law, covers legal action in 20 countries including Australia, Chile, Brazil, South Korea, Canada and across Europe. The cases have been brought by gig economy workers seeking access to basic rights, such as minimum wages and sick pay. Put together by the International Lawyers Assisting Workers Network of more than 600 lawyers from at least 70 countries, the report highlights a string of court rulings in favour of drivers including in Italy, where authorities have fined Uber Eats, Glovo, Just Eat, and Deliveroo €733m (£628m) for misclassifying 60,000 couriers. That case is being appealed against.

A court in Spain ruled last year that drivers for food delivery firm Glovo were employees and the government in Madrid has since announced legislation confirming delivery riders’ status as salaried staff. In South Korea, a driver working via the Tada van hailing app was also ruled to be an employee. Last month, the UK supreme court dismissed Uber’s appeal against a landmark employment tribunal ruling that its drivers should be classed as workers with access to the minimum wage and paid holidays. On Tuesday night, Uber announced it will guarantee its 70,000 UK drivers a minimum hourly wage, holiday pay and pensions, in a dramatic u-turn which could put pressure on other gig economy firms to change tack.


Jeff Vogt, at the Washington DC based Solidarity Center workers rights group, said there was a clear trend towards recognising improved rights and employment status for those working for gig economy companies dealing with food delivery and taxi hire. “The courts are closing in on them,” he said. However, the report also warns that not all claims are successful and states must act to enforce the regulations as gig economy firms use their considerable resources to defend their practices. Tactics include contracts with mandatory arbitration clauses, which fend off legal action by forcing those with a grievance to pay costly administration and filing fees in the preliminary stages. This has proved a particular problem in the US.

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”..we have the technology to make hyperinflation safe, comfortable, convenient and fun for the whole family!”

Getting Hyperinflation Right (Dmitry Orlov)

The sheer mechanics of hyperinflation—of printing and issuing ever more notes, repeatedly exchanging older, increasingly worthless notes for newer ones, making payments using cartloads and wagonloads of cash—become increasingly burdensome. When it takes an entire suitcase of cash to pay for a pack of cigarettes or a bar of soap, soap and cigarettes themselves become a makeshift form of currency. Hyperinflation is most unpopular with people who insist on storing their savings in the form of cash. In response, they turn to buying up and hoarding other things, causing shortages and further driving up prices. But all of these problems can now be solved because we have the technology to make hyperinflation safe, comfortable, convenient and fun for the whole family!

However, this requires a change in mindset and a different approach to money. To start with, we need to recognize that money is not a physical quantity. It is dimensionless because it can only be measured relative to other currencies. Unlike any physical quantity, it is measured with infinite precision; any physical measurement, be it in kilograms, cubic meters or kilowatt-hours, has to have error bars on it to be meaningful, while monetary quantities, no matter how large, are precise down to the last penny. It is circularly defined: money derives its value from things that can be purchased with it, and these things in turn derive their price from the value of money.


Although money can be given a physical representation in the form of coins or paper currency, its essential nature is ephemeral, nonphysical and intangible. In essence, money only exists as pure thought in the minds of people who are involved in its exchange. Its physical embodiments are just theatrical props. Its reality is conceptual, similar to that of the irrational number π, which can also be given a physical representation—as, say, a one-meter-diameter circle carved in stone that has a circumference of π meters—but that would be pointless. Just as π is ubiquitous in mathematics, money is ubiquitous in economics.

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Mar 162021
 
 March 16, 2021  Posted by at 9:08 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  46 Responses »


Paul Gauguin A Day of No Gods 1894

 

Biden To Propose First Major Federal Tax Hike Since 1993 (DM)
This Is What You Voted For (Kunstler)
White House Set To Unveil Sweeping Vaccine-Confidence Campaign (STAT)
Is Biden Holding America Hostage Until ‘Independence’ Day? (Ron Paul)
Germany, France And Italy Suspend Oxford Covid Vaccine (G.)
UK Coronavirus Variant Significantly More Deadly Says New Study (F.)
Regular ‘Booster’ Shots Will Become Commonplace As New Variants Emerge (RT)
Cuba Working on a ‘People’s Vaccine’ (CP)
Facebook Will Add Labels To All Posts About Covid-19 Vaccines (F.)
Immigrant Teens To Be Housed At Dallas Convention Center (AP)
Beijing Orders Alibaba To Dump Media Assets (ZH)
The Stockton Experiment: How a Guaranteed Income Can Actually Solve Inequality

 

 

 

 

How an anonymous source becomes part of a impeachment trial.

 

 

“..a conundrum on how much of the bill should be paid for with tax hikes and what parts should be financed with even more federal borrowing..”

Biden To Propose First Major Federal Tax Hike Since 1993 (DM)

Joe Biden is planning to propose the first substantial federal tax hike since 1993 for Americans to help pay for his long-term economic program after he signed the largest stimulus package in U.S. history with a price tag of $1.9 trillion. Four people familiar with discussion told Bloomberg that Biden is expected to propose a series of tax increases, including repealing parts of Donald Trump’s 2017 tax law that resulted in most Americans seeing more in their paychecks, to help fund the latest proposal. Trump’s tax cuts led to most Americans receiving more take home pay and resulted in an average increase of $90 in tax returns from 2017 to 2018. With the former president’s income tax cuts, Americans immediately saw somewhere between a 0.4 per cent and 2.9 per cent increase in their paychecks after taxes.

Now the White House is preparing to roll out another sweeping plan to tackle infrastructure and the economic crisis, which some say could fall somewhere between the $2-$4 trillion mark. Biden plans to kick off his cross-country tour this week promoting and seeking to bolster enthusiasm for the coronavirus relief package, where the White House will also ensure he receives credit for benefits included in the bill. First lady Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and first gentlemen Doug Emhoff will also hit the road this week to promote the sweeping legislation. Next on the president’s docket is getting another pricey funding bill through Congress that addresses infrastructure, climate and education.

Republicans are more than likely to pounce on the plan, painting Democrats as the Party of higher taxes. The tax hike could also blow any chances of lawmakers reaching a bipartisan deal on infrastructure – something Democratic Senator Joe Manchin says is unacceptable and that he will likely block. With a narrow majority in the House and a 50-50 split in the Senate, Democrats must craft the proposal in a way that gains support from nearly every lawmaker in their caucus. White House officials are now facing a conundrum on how much of the bill should be paid for with tax hikes and what parts should be financed with even more federal borrowing.

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“Mr. Biden’s “honeymoon” period is about over.”

This Is What You Voted For (Kunstler)

Meanwhile, up in Minneapolis, where jury selection is underway in the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd, the City Council approved 13-to-0 a $27-million wrongful death civil settlement to Mr. Floyd’s family. Say, what…? The way it’s supposed to work is that a civil case for wrongful death follows the criminal trial — for how would you know what’s rightful or wrongful in a matter before the facts in the case have been adjudicated? Sounds like Hennepin County, MN, may not be the right venue for these proceedings.

Should Mr. Chauvin face a jury that will likely have heard news reports that the city council already decided the verdict, and in the most imprecise terms possible? “Mr. Floyd died because the weight of the entire Minneapolis Police Department was on his neck,” Floyd family Attorney Ben Crump said when the suit was filed. Systemic racism, you see. Following the George Floyd riots last year, the Minneapolis City Council announced its plan to defund the police. In February 2021, the council announced the release of $6.4-million to hire more police, following a dramatic uptick in crime. Such are the strange inconsistencies of life under the crypto-Jacobin revolution in America today.

Speaking of Joe Biden, alleged to be president, he was oddly absent altogether on the front page of Monday’s New York Times, leading the curious to wonder if last Tuesday night’s Coronavirus Action speech drained his dwindling mojo for the rest of the month. The curious might also seek to know why Mr. Biden’s “team” is still so wound up about eradicating Coronavirus, yet eager to let tens of thousands cross the border illegally from Mexico, many of them live vectors of the virus, who are then bussed all over the USA under the revived “catch-and-release” policy. Mr. Biden’s “honeymoon” period is about over. The country had not quite discovered just how leaderless it is. Will it come as a shock to find out? After all, isn’t this what you voted for?

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Snake oil salesmen?

White House Set To Unveil Sweeping Vaccine-Confidence Campaign (STAT)

The White House will soon unveil a wide-reaching public relations campaign aimed at boosting vaccine confidence and uptake across the U.S., Biden administration aides told STAT. This television, radio, and digital advertising blitz, set to kick off within weeks, will focus on Americans outright skeptical of vaccines’ safety or effectiveness as well as those who are potentially more willing to seek a Covid-19 immunization but don’t yet know where, when, or how. Specifically, the campaign will target three groups in which access, apathy, or outright skepticism may pose a barrier to vaccinations: young people, people of color, and conservatives, according to a Biden aide. Congress and the administration have set aside over $1.5 billion for the effort.

The effort highlights a looming and underappreciated public health challenge: Though millions of Americans are currently clamoring to receive a Covid-19 vaccine, in a few short months, or even weeks, the opposite may be true. Instead of scrambling to manufacture doses, the government may soon be scrambling to find arms willing to receive them. While the administration Covid response advisers organizing the effort are broadly optimistic, they and many public health experts fear that without winning buy-in from a critical, final slice of the population, the effort could fall short of its goal: effectively ending the country’s coronavirus crisis. “I’m worried about the 15% of Americans who say they will not take the vaccine,” said Sten Vermund, the dean of the Yale School of Public Health.

“And about 8% or 9% of Americans say, ‘I will take it if they make me, if my job forces me to.’ So that’s about 23% or 24%, and that’s flirting with the level we need to get to herd immunity.” The rollout fulfills one of Biden’s first promises in office. He pledged on Jan. 21 to kick off an “unprecedented vaccination public health campaign” aimed at convincing every American adult to seek a Covid-19 immunization.= As for the specific content, administration officials said they were mindful that appeals directly from President Biden or Anthony Fauci are not likely to sway vaccine-hesitant people. As a result, they are expected to recruit both celebrities and trusted local officials to advance the pro-vaccine message.

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“..politicians cannot bear the possibility that they might have to give up some of that power over us they have grabbed for themselves..”

Is Biden Holding America Hostage Until ‘Independence’ Day? (Ron Paul)

Last week President Biden addressed the nation on the first anniversary of the coronavirus being declared a “pandemic.” It was a disturbing speech, warning us that the “hopeful spring” will only emerge “from a dark winter” if all Americans “stick with the rules.” Whose rules? His rules. The message from the president was clear: he will only allow us to have some of our freedoms back if we do exactly as he tells us. It was the language of extortion, of a bank robber who demands you do what he says or face the consequences. It was not the language of someone we are told is the leader of the free world. In the speech Biden laid out a list of what was taken from us over the past year, “weddings, birthdays, graduations…family reunions, the Sunday night rituals.”

It was as if somehow the virus, instead of authoritarian government officials, prevented us from enjoying these normal human activities. Though we continue to see Covid disappear across the country with the end of the winter season, Biden was not about to let go of his perceived power to control our lives. He said, “if we do all this, if we do our part, if we do this together, by July the 4, there’s a good chance you, your families and friends, will be able to get together in your backyard or in your neighborhood and have a cookout or a barbecue and celebrate Independence Day. That doesn’t mean large events with lots of people together, but it does mean small groups will be able to get together.” Imagine our Founders hearing this speech. The US president might – just might – allow small family gatherings at home in four months if we follow all of his rules.

King George looked benevolent by comparison! As Rep. Thomas Massie Tweeted shortly after the speech, “If you’re waiting for permission from the chief executive to celebrate Independence Day with your family, you clearly don’t grasp the concept of Independence.” It seems like yesterday – it almost was – that Biden “asked” us to just wear the mask for 100 days. “Just 100 days to mask, not forever. 100 days,” he said. So from “just 100 days” to maybe you can have a small gathering by July 4th? Perhaps he just forgot his earlier speech? As usual, the goalposts keep being moved because politicians cannot bear the possibility that they might have to give up some of that power over us they have grabbed for themselves.

Fauci made the usual mainstream media rounds over the weekend and was asked by the fawning host when Americans might have permission to hold weddings again! So now Americans need Fauci’s permission to get married? What is happening to this country? The propaganda is so relentless that it seems most Americans don’t see how not normal this is! In saner times, Fauci would be laughed off the stage. Now, he’s treated as some sort of divine source of truth. Biden promised he was “using every power…as the president of the United States to put us on a war footing.” Of that I have no doubt. But Biden’s war is not against the virus. It’s against the US Constitution and liberty itself.

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The very same people who advocated we “listen to the science”, have now abandoned the science and advocate untested substances.

Germany, France And Italy Suspend Oxford Covid Vaccine (G.)

Germany, France and Italy have suspended the Oxford/AstraZeneca’s Covid vaccine as the World Health Organization said it had seen no evidence the shot had caused incidents of blood clots and a low platelet count in some people who received it. The German health ministry said the country’s vaccine authority, the Paul Ehrlich Institute, “considers further investigation necessary after new reports of cerebral brain thrombosis in connection with vaccination in Germany and Europe”. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) should decide “whether and how the new findings will affect the approval of the vaccine”, the ministry said. The health minister, Jens Spahn, said seven cases of cerebral vein thrombosis had been reported.

While this was a “very low risk” compared with the 1.6 million jabs already given in the country, Spahn said, it would be above average if a link to the vaccine was confirmed. “The decision today is a purely precautionary measure,” he said. The French president, Emmanuel Macron, said France would also stop administering the AstraZeneca shot pending an EMA assessment due on Tuesday, while the Italian medicines authority, Aifa, said it was temporarily halting inoculations as a “precautionary and temporary measure” before the EMA decision. The three countries join a growing number in Europe to have temporarily suspended use of the AstraZeneca vaccine in recent days.

Denmark and Norway last week reported incidents of bleeding, blood clots and a low count of blood platelets in people who had received the AstraZeneca shot, prompting Ireland and the Netherlands to join them on Sunday in temporary suspensions. Karl Lauterbach, a professor of health economic and epidemiology at the University of Cologne and a German MP, criticised the decision. “Based on the data available, I consider this to be a mistake,” Lauterbach said. “Testing without suspension of vaccination would have been better because of the rarity of the complication. In the third wave, which is now picking up speed, the first vaccinations with the AstraZeneca vaccine would be lifesavers.”

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Scary, but why try to scare us?

UK Coronavirus Variant Significantly More Deadly Says New Study (F.)

The U.K. coronavirus variant known as B.1.1.7 is not only more transmissible, but also more deadly than other coronavirus variants, according to a new study. B.1.1.7 was first identified in the U.K. last fall and by December it was detected in several other countries including the U.S. The variant is known to be substantially more transmissible than other SARS-CoV2 coronavirus lineages and quickly took over as the dominant variant in the U.K., late last year, sparking off a damaging and deadly second wave. Scientists had suspected that B.1.1.7 might be more deadly, as well as more transmissible following a higher-than-expected number of deaths in the U.K. during the third wave this winter, which saw the U.K’s worst daily death total in January claim over 1,800 lives.

But, the new study published in the journal Nature, led by researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine all but confirms that this correlation is genuine. The study looked at viral genetics data from almost 5,000 people in the U.K. who died from Covid-19, with two-thirds of those being confirmed to have the B.1.1.7 variant. It found that people who were infected with B.1.1.7 had a 55% higher risk of dying within 28 days of being tested positive for Covid-19. “England has suffered an enormous toll from B.1.1.7 in the last few months, with 42,000 COVID-19 deaths in January and February 2021 alone,” said Nick Davies, PhD, lead author from LSHTM’s Centre for the Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Diseases.

“In spite of substantial advances in COVID-19 treatment, we have already seen more deaths in 2021 than we did over the first eight months of the pandemic in 2020. Our work helps to explain why,” Davies added. The new work follows another study from the U.K. published last week, which showed that people who tested positive for B.1.1.7 in a community setting were also more likely to die within 28 days of a positive test than those with other variants.

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What a lovely prospect.

Regular ‘Booster’ Shots Will Become Commonplace As New Variants Emerge (RT)

The head of Britain’s Covid-19 genomics programme has warned that there will be a need for regular booster jabs to protect people against the virus as new potentially vaccine-busting variants emerge. “We have to appreciate that we were always going to have to have booster doses; immunity to coronavirus doesn’t last forever,” Sharon Peacock, UK Covid-19 Genomics (COG-UK) chief, told Reuters at the Wellcome Sanger Institute’s Cambridge campus on Monday. Peacock, whose COG-UK programme has sequenced half of the world’s mapped Covid-19 genomes, said she was confident new variants would emerge that would render the current vaccines ineffective.


“We already are tweaking the vaccines to deal with what the virus is doing in terms of evolution – so there are variants arising that have a combination of increased transmissibility and an ability to partially evade our immune response,” she said. The genomics chief said the “cat and mouse” battle with the virus will require international cooperation. COG-UK was set up a year ago by Peacock and the British government’s chief scientific adviser, Patrick Vallance, and has sequenced 346,713 genomes out of a total of 709,000 genomes mapped worldwide. To date, more than 24 million people in the UK have received at least their first vaccine dose; all vaccines being used have demonstrated considerable efficacy against the virus variants prevalent in Britain.

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“The life of just one person is worth more than the private property of the richest man.”

Cuba Working on a ‘People’s Vaccine’ (CP)

“The life of just one person is worth more than the private property of the richest man.” This is what’s written on the Calixto Garcia public hospital in Havana Cuba as a testament to the country’s commitment to free public healthcare, and to putting people before profit. I know this about Cuba because in March, at the onset of the global Covid-19 pandemic, I spent a week in the ICU at Calixto Garcia. I had been hit by a speeding ambulance, and Cuban doctors saved my life, operated on me twice, and nursed me to stability before putting me on a private medical evacuation flight back to the U.S. All of this, including the flight, was free of cost to me- covered by Cuba’s government-run insurance for foreign visitors.

From my hospital bed, as the global emergency around me escalated, I witnessed how the Cuban government swiftly mobilized resources to protect its citizens from Covid-19: at-home testing for anyone with symptoms, door to door preventative education in the most vulnerable neighborhoods, and coordinated isolation when necessary. While deaths soared toward 100,000 in the U.S., Cuba was able to get the average daily Covid-19 related deaths close to zero for most of May-August. Cuba’s humanist approach when it comes to health was not new to me. In 2013, I co-directed a documentary on a free hospital in northern Honduras. The doctors there, all from afro-indigenous Garifuna communities, had been trained in Cuba at the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM) for free.

Cuba created the ELAM in 1999 to train doctors from the poorest regions of countries around the world (including the U.S.), providing full scholarships of six years tuition, room, and board, with the hope that these doctors would return and provide accessible and preventative healthcare in their communities. The ELAM was born as a response to the devastation of Hurricane Mitch in 1998, and has trained tens of thousands of doctors from over 110 countries since then. Cuba is now poised to play an important role in global efforts to curb the pandemic. New variants in South Africa and Brazil, all with yet unknown implications for vaccine effectiveness, have shown us that any effort to achieve herd immunity is only as good as it is accessible equitably across the globe. Yet, as predicted, the global north is outpacing the global south dramatically in vaccination.

On February 3, Anthony Fauci said, in an event hosted by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) network, that developing COVID-19 vaccines “is not a race.” “We want everybody to get over the finish line,” he assured. Dr. Fauci mentioned the Russian and the Chinese vaccines and later suggested that the U.S. should help other countries strengthen their vaccine manufacturing capacity to promote more vaccinations globally. At no point did he mention Cuba. Thanks to an established publicly-funded biotechnology program, Cuba currently has four vaccine candidates. One of those vaccines, Soberana 02, started Phase 3 clinical trials in early March. Another candidate, Abdala, started Phase 2 trials in February. Both vaccines are being developed by public research institutions and are the most promising candidates in Latin America. The fact that Dr. Fauci failed to mention these candidates is disappointing.

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“No King in the History of the World has been the Ruler of Two Billion People, but Mark Zuckerberg is”

Facebook Will Add Labels To All Posts About Covid-19 Vaccines (F.)

Facebook will soon add labels to all posts about coronavirus vaccines that points people to its Covid-19 Information Center, the company said in a blog post on Monday as part of its plans to promote vaccination efforts on its platforms, amidst continued criticism from health experts and lawmakers for allowing misinformation about vaccines to spread on its platform. In a blog post, Facebook said it is already adding labels to posts that discuss the safety of the Covid vaccines, pointing people to credible information from the World Health Organization both on its main platform and Instagram. In the coming weeks, labels will be added to all posts generally about Covid-19 vaccines and the company also plans to add additional targeted labels about other specific Covid-19 vaccine subtopics..

Users who share a post about Covid-19 vaccines on Facebook or Instagram will see an additional popup with an informational label which the company says will offer people “context they need to make informed decisions about what to share.” Facebook has also rolled out its Covid-19 Information Center on Instagram for the first time on Monday, nearly a year after it appeared on the main platform. The company also disclosed that it has implemented several temporary measures to limit the spread of vaccine misinformation including reducing distribution of content from users who have violated the platform’s policies on COVID-19 and vaccine misinformation.

In addition to tackling misinformation Facebook has promised to share real-time aggregate trends on Covid-19 vaccinations, intent to get vaccinated and reasons for hesitancy with public officials. Facebook is also working with health authorities and governments to expand their chatbots on the messaging service WhatsApp to enable it to allow registration for vaccinations. Facebook also announced it is rolling out a tool in the U.S. that will help people identify nearby places where they can get a vaccine. The tool, which is part of Facebook’s Covid-19 Information Center will include details about hours of operation, contact info and links to make an appointment. Announcing some of the new measures in a Facebook post, the company’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote: “The data shows the vaccines are safe and they work. They’re our best hope for getting past this virus and getting back to normal life. I’m looking forward to getting mine, and I hope you are too.”

‘No King in the History of the World has been the Ruler of Two Billion People, but Mark Zuckerberg is’

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Growing numbers.

Immigrant Teens To Be Housed At Dallas Convention Center (AP)

The U.S. government plans to house up to 3,000 immigrant teenagers at a convention center in downtown Dallas as it struggles to find space for a surge of migrant children at the border who have strained the immigration system just two months into the Biden administration. American authorities encountered people crossing the border without legal status more than 100,000 times in February — a level higher than all but four months of Donald Trump’s presidency. The spike in traffic poses a challenge to President Joe Biden at a fraught moment with Congress, which is about to take up immigration legislation, and has required the help of the American Red Cross.

The Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center will be used for up to 90 days beginning as early as this week, according to a memo obtained by The Associated Press that was sent Monday to members of the Dallas City Council. Federal agencies will use the facility to house boys ages 15 to 17, according to the memo, which describes the soon-to-open site as a “decompression center.” The Health and Human Services Department is rushing to open facilities across the country to house immigrant children who are otherwise being held by the Border Patrol, which is generally supposed to detain children for no more than three days. The Border Patrol is holding children longer because there is next to no space in the HHS system, similar to the last major increase in migration two years ago.

A tent facility operated by the Border Patrol in Donna, some 500 miles (804 kilometers) south of Dallas, is holding more than 1,000 children and teenagers, some as young as 4. Lawyers who inspect immigrant detention facilities under a court settlement say they interviewed children who reported being held in packed conditions in the tent, with some sleeping on the floor and others not able to shower for five days. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Saturday directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help manage and care for children crossing the border. “I am incredibly proud of the agents of the Border Patrol, who have been working around the clock in difficult circumstances to take care of children temporarily in our care,” Mayorkas said in a statement. “Yet, as I have said many times, a Border Patrol facility is no place for a child.”

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Where’s Jack Ma these days?

Beijing Orders Alibaba To Dump Media Assets (ZH)

Beijing is reviving its crackdown on the country’s biggest tech firms, reminding the world that the CCP is still focused on neutralizing any and all threats to its control of the Chinese economy and its people. Even after amending China’s official ideology to include entrepreneurs among the protected classes represented by the CCP (in addition to workers, farmers and soldiers), Beijing, with President Xi at its center, has apparently decided that Chinese tech firms won’t follow the American model after all. Instead, their growth and competitive capabilities will be curtailed for the sake of stability at home.

After Tencent was censured and strict new requirements weren officailly imposed on Alibaba-owned Ant Group that will prevent the company from growing, the Wall Street Journal reports that next up on Beijing’s to-do list is to force Alibaba to dump its array of media outlets. Presumably, Beijing sees these outlets as an unwelcome competitor to Beijing’s own propaganda machine. Alibaba’s media portfolio includes ownership of the South China Morning Post, Hong Kong’s most widely read English-language newspaper, which has an audience far outside of Hong Kong. The paper often struggled with its coverage of the unrest in Hong Kong, occasionally adopting the language of the CCP (like referring to the demonstrators as “rioters”) while still managing to rankle Beijing with its detailed coverage of the demonstrations.

According to WSJ, the CCP has been “discussing” whether to force the divestitures since early this year. Chinese regulators have been “reviewing” a list of media assets owned by Hangzhou-based Alibaba, which earns most of its money via an online retail business. Officials were appalled at how expensive Alibaba’s media interests have become. Now, Beijing is asking Alibaba to devise a plan to “curtail” its media holdings. Now, just imagine if President Trump tried to force Amazon to sell the Washington Post.

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Botched UBI?

The Stockton Experiment: How a Guaranteed Income Can Actually Solve Inequality

An ongoing study conducted in Stockton, California, examines how the lives of low-income Americans can improve if they are simply given money—a modest, but reliable source of income with no strings attached. The Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration (SEED) randomly chose 125 participants from poverty-stricken residential areas and gave them $500 per month to simply use for whatever they wanted over the last two years. A majority of the participants were women (69 percent) and people of color (53 percent). Preliminary results from the first year are tantalizing for anyone interested in solutions to address rising inequality in the United States, especially as they manifest along racial and gender lines.

Within the first year, the study’s participants obtained jobs at twice the rate of the control group. At the beginning of the study, 28 percent of the participants had full-time employment, and after the first year, that number rose to 40 percent. Sukhi Samra, the director of SEED, explained to me in an interview that although Andrew Yang, the former presidential candidate now running for mayor of New York City, helped popularize the idea of a universal basic income (UBI), the Stockton study of a “guaranteed basic income” (GBI) is subtly different from Yang’s proposal. “Where guaranteed income differs,” said Samra, “is that it’s usually targeted along income lines,” rather than given to everyone.

“It’s more often touted as a tool for equity, especially racial and gender equity,” she added. Samra said it was important to frame the idea of GBI within the “racial justice and social justice movements of the 1960s when you had Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the National Welfare Rights Organization and the Black Panthers all advocating for a guaranteed income as the simplest and most effective way to abolish poverty.” Indeed, Dr. King wrote in his last book, Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?, that he was “convinced that the simplest approach will prove to be the most effective—the solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a now widely discussed measure: the guaranteed income.”

Read more …

 

 

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“You know, if baseball umpires were on the front page of the sports section every week, you’d know something was desperately wrong with the game.”
– Jim Grant, on Central Bankers

 

 

 

 

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