Hieronymus Bosch The Conjurer 1502
Along the lines of “if a tree falls in a forest”, people are not alive without other people.
Nearly every culture and religion throughout human history has held that humans are both material and spiritual beings. However, living in the secular age as we do, the material aspect of our existence has supplanted the spiritual to such an extent that it is barely recognized to exist. Russell Kirk goes so far as to claim that the dividing line in contemporary politics hinges on this difference in understanding, stating that “on one side of that line are all those men and women who fancy that the temporal order is the only order, and that material needs are their only needs, and that they may do as they like with the human patrimony. On the other side of that line are all those people who recognize an enduring moral order in the universe, a constant human nature, and high duties toward the order spiritual and the order temporal.”
A purely material outlook on human existence will of course lead to certain policy prescriptions, especially in the face of a pandemic. To deny the spiritual existence of man is to deny the possibility of life after death—only the void of annihilation awaits. From this perspective, it makes sense that one might conclude that earthly life must continue on at any cost—that no tradeoff is too high to put off the coming oblivion. In contrast, those who retain a more traditional conception of human nature, no matter the specific religion or creed to which they belong, can easily see an entire world of costs to lockdowns that those with a purely materialist perspective are not even capable of understanding. Humans are social beings. Our very existence and development as human persons rests upon this social nature.
Social contract thinkers like Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau may fantasize about a solitary human existence, but all evidence from feral or isolated children indicates that without other humans a solitary individual would swiftly perish, not to mention fail to develop self-awareness or the ability to think and speak with language. Some personalist scholars, such as political theorist David Walsh, argue that our entire conception of self can only be formed in relation to other persons. In contrast to Descartes’s famous line that “I think, therefore I am” a personalist would argue that we are not even capable of understanding the existence of “I” until we have first understood the existence of an “I” in others. Much like we can never truly see our own face, but only the faces of others, which in turn allows us to understand our own unseen face, we cannot become aware of ourselves until we find ourselves in the context of others, and through them recognize the mutual nature of our interior lives that makes us persons.
More on that Johns Hopkins paper.
Last week, Johns Hopkins University published a now-deleted article explaining a study examining the effects of the novel coronavirus on United States death totals using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Genevieve Briand, the assistant program director of the Applied Economics master’s degree program at Johns Hopkins, determined, in the study, that there have been 1.7 million deaths in the U.S. between March 2020 and September 2020, 12% (or roughly 200,000) of which have been coronavirus-related. Briand posits that the only way to understand the significance of the U.S. coronavirus death rate is by comparing it to the number of total deaths in the country.
According to Briand, who compared the total deaths per age category from both before and after the onset of the global pandemic, the death rate of older people stayed the same before and after coronavirus. “The reason we have a higher number of reported COVID-19 deaths among older individuals than younger individuals is simply because every day in the U.S. older individuals die in higher numbers than younger individuals,” wrote Briand. She also noted that between 50,000 and 70,000 deaths are seen both before and after the emergence of the virus, meaning that, according to her analysis, coronavirus has had no effect on the percentage of total deaths of older people, nor has it increased the total number of deaths in the category.
These results contradict the way most people see the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, which disproportionately affects the elderly population. Briand believes, after reviewing the numbers, that coronavirus deaths are being over-exaggerated. After seeing that in 2020, coronavirus-related deaths exceeded deaths from heart disease — the leading cause of death in the U.S. for many years prior — Briand began to suspect that the coronavirus death toll figure may be misleading. Briand found that “the total decrease in deaths by other causes almost exactly equals the increase in deaths by COVID-19,” according to the original JHU newsletter.
“If [the COVID-19 death toll] was not misleading at all, what we should have observed is an increased number of heart attacks and increased COVID-19 numbers. But a decreased number of heart attacks and all the other death causes doesn’t give us a choice but to point to some misclassification,” said Briand.
And here’s the original Newsletter that was deleted. Because it “could lead to misinformation”?!
According to new data, the U.S. currently ranks first in total COVID-19 cases, new cases per day and deaths. Genevieve Briand, assistant program director of the Applied Economics master’s degree program at Hopkins, critically analyzed the effect of COVID-19 on U.S. deaths using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in her webinar titled “COVID-19 Deaths: A Look at U.S. Data.” From mid-March to mid-September, U.S. total deaths have reached 1.7 million, of which 200,000, or 12% of total deaths, are COVID-19-related. Instead of looking directly at COVID-19 deaths, Briand focused on total deaths per age group and per cause of death in the U.S. and used this information to shed light on the effects of COVID-19.
She explained that the significance of COVID-19 on U.S. deaths can be fully understood only through comparison to the number of total deaths in the United States. After retrieving data on the CDC website, Briand compiled a graph representing percentages of total deaths per age category from early February to early September, which includes the period from before COVID-19 was detected in the U.S. to after infection rates soared. Surprisingly, the deaths of older people stayed the same before and after COVID-19. Since COVID-19 mainly affects the elderly, experts expected an increase in the percentage of deaths in older age groups. However, this increase is not seen from the CDC data. In fact, the percentages of deaths among all age groups remain relatively the same.
“The reason we have a higher number of reported COVID-19 deaths among older individuals than younger individuals is simply because every day in the U.S. older individuals die in higher numbers than younger individuals,” Briand said. Briand also noted that 50,000 to 70,000 deaths are seen both before and after COVID-19, indicating that this number of deaths was normal long before COVID-19 emerged. Therefore, according to Briand, not only has COVID-19 had no effect on the percentage of deaths of older people, but it has also not increased the total number of deaths.
From yesterday’s article.
Four German holidaymakers who were illegally quarantined in Portugal after one was judged to be positive for Covid-19 have won their case, in a verdict that condemns the widely-used PCR test as being up to 97-percent unreliable. Earlier this month, Portuguese judges upheld a decision from a lower court that found the forced quarantine of four holidaymakers to be unlawful. The case centred on the reliability (or lack thereof) of Covid-19 PCR tests. The verdict, delivered on November 11, followed an appeal against a writ of habeas corpus filed by four Germans against the Azores Regional Health Authority. This body had been appealing a ruling from a lower court which had found in favour of the tourists, who claimed that they were illegally confined to a hotel without their consent.
The tourists were ordered to stay in the hotel over the summer after one of them tested positive for coronavirus in a PCR test – the other three were labelled close contacts and therefore made to quarantine as well. The deliberation of the Lisbon Appeal Court is comprehensive and fascinating. It ruled that the Azores Regional Health Authority had violated both Portuguese and international law by confining the Germans to the hotel. The judges also said that only a doctor can “diagnose” someone with a disease, and were critical of the fact that they were apparently never assessed by one. They were also scathing about the reliability of the PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test, the most commonly used check for Covid.
The conclusion of their 34-page ruling included the following: “In view of current scientific evidence, this test shows itself to be unable to determine beyond reasonable doubt that such positivity corresponds, in fact, to the infection of a person by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.” In the eyes of this court, then, a positive test does not correspond to a Covid case. The two most important reasons for this, said the judges, are that, “the test’s reliability depends on the number of cycles used’’ and that “the test’s reliability depends on the viral load present.’’ In other words, there are simply too many unknowns surrounding PCR testing.
This is not the first challenge to the credibility of PCR tests. Many people will be aware that their results have a lot to do with the number of amplifications that are performed, or the ‘cycle threshold.’ This number in most American and European labs is 35–40 cycles, but experts have claimed that even 35 cycles is far too many, and that a more reasonable protocol would call for 25–30 cycles. (Each cycle exponentially increases the amount of viral DNA in the sample). [..] The Portuguese judges cited a study conducted by “some of the leading European and world specialists,” which was published by Oxford Academic at the end of September. It showed that if someone tested positive for Covid at a cycle threshold of 35 or higher, the chances of that person actually being infected is less than three percent, and that “the probability of… receiving a false positive is 97% or higher.”
Just as the WHO team is set to start investigating the origin. Good timing.
The coronavirus did not start in Wuhan, but instead emerged in India last summer, Chinese academics have boldly claimed, as tensions continue to flare between the two states and amid the ongoing search for the origins of Covid-19. Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences claim the pandemic actually originated in India, explaining that a heatwave there from May to June 2019 spawned a water crisis, which in turn led to increased close contact between humans and wild animals such as monkeys. In a preprint paper with the Lancet medical journal – meaning it has yet to be formally peer reviewed – the Chinese researchers outline their explanation of the “zoonotic transmission” of the SARS-CoV-2 virus from monkeys to humans as they shared water resources.
The researchers also say that India’s poor hygiene conditions and “less efficient” public medical system, as well as its “tropical climate” and “very young population”, were all contributing factors in the virus’s spread. They estimate that the first “human-to-human transmission” of Covid-19 in India was in July or August. Back in March, Chinese officials blamed the coronavirus outbreak on US soldiers visiting Wuhan, while last week China pointed the finger at Italy after a study from Milan suggested the virus had been circulating locally since last year. The identification of India as the possible source of the virus comes after New Delhi last week fortified its military capabilities in Eastern Ladakh, the region by the Chinese border, by building camps for tens of thousands of soldiers. In June, 20 Indian soldiers and an undisclosed number of Chinese were killed as the two sides engaged in a skirmish in the contested border area.
What’s the technology behind this one?
“As for the immune response that it creates, there is a lot of hope for the vaccine, in contrast to the immunity formed as a result of infection..”
With Sputnik V set for launch after its phase-three trial is completed, another Russian Covid-19 vaccine, EpiVacCorona, will be made available to the public next month. It is hoped that mass inoculation can begin in the New Year. Developed by Siberia’s Vector Center, results from testing are ready to be presented, and an international publication is being sought to publish them, according to the head of the research body’s zoonotic infections and influenza department. “I think that in 2021 it will appear in almost all regions of Russia,” Alexander Ryzhikov explained. “The earliest date of receipt of the vaccine in civil circulation is December 10. In the future, mass vaccination will begin in 2021.”
On November 17, EpiVacCorona began third-phase, post-registration trials. Batches of the formula were delivered to nine medical centers around the country, with 30,000 volunteers due to receive the jab. Another separate trial for over 60s is taking place simultaneously, which will involve 150 people. Once the vaccine is received, a second booster jab is necessary six to 10 months later, with the current plan to revaccinate patients again every three years. “As for the immune response that it creates, there is a lot of hope for the vaccine, in contrast to the immunity formed as a result of infection,” Ryzhikov explained. “Immunity created as a result of infection and recovery has already been shown to be insufficient. After five to seven months, antibodies disappear.”
Unlike many other potential Covid-19 vaccines, EpiVacCorona does not need to be stored at sub-zero temperatures. The vector vaccine can be stored between two and eight degrees, significantly reducing the logistical burden. In contrast, the formula proposed by American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer needs to be kept at -70 degrees Celsius.
Which vaccine though?
Doctors are suggesting that the CDC warn the public that the new coronavirus vaccines, which are expected to be approved by the FDA in the next few weeks, will have unpleasant effects on patients. Pfizer and Moderna each have acknowledged that their vaccines could induce side effects similar to the virus itself, with possible muscle pains, chills and headache. In a Monday meeting with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisers, doctors said public health officials and drugmakers need to warn people about the rough side effects so they are prepared and not scared away from getting the second dose.
Both vaccines that are in the process of approval by the Federal Drug Administration require two doses, according to Dr. Sandra Fryhofer of the American Medical Association. Fryhofer says she’s warned that her patients won’t come back for the second dose if the side effects are bad enough. “We really need to make patients aware that this is not going to be a walk in the park,” Fryhofer said during a virtual meeting with the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, an outside group of medical experts that advise the CDC. “They are going to know they had a vaccine. They are probably not going to feel wonderful. But they’ve got to come back for that second dose.”
Participants in the September vaccine trials reported symptoms including a high fever, body aches and daylong exhaustion after receiving the vaccine. The side effects also raise the question about whether getting the vaccine outweighs the risk of getting the virus. A 50-year-old participant in the Moderna study said she suffered a bad migraine and loss of energy. “If this proves to work, people are going to have to toughen up,” she said. “The first dose is no big deal. And then the second dose will definitely put you down for the day for sure. … You will need to take a day off after the second dose.”
“The deadline for adjudicating the janky election is soon upon us, and upon the SCOTUS justices, so the country will know shortly whether it has become the Honduras of the north.”
Donald Trump found out the hard way how illusory his powers as POTUS really were, conditioned against the inertia, malice, and bad faith resistance of the bureaucratic establishment, a.k.a. the Swamp. He also knows that the Swamp just worked the system it created to elect itself president as (it likes to think) a final act of revenge against the orange interloper who threatened to drain it and, alas, failed to. All hail President Swamp!Unless that doesn’t pan out, and there’s a fair chance it won’t, since a 2020 election fraud case will eventually land in the Supreme Court where at least five justices might not be so inclined to let what remains of the Republic roll into a Woke sludge of lawlessness. Do you suppose Clarence Thomas & Co haven’t been paying attention the past four years to the swampish doings in the other branches of government?
And that they are, just perhaps, good and goddam sick of it? Everything from RussiaGate and the manipulation of the FISA court through the attempted character assassination of Justice Kavanaugh, to the Eric Ciaramella “whistleblower” impeachment caper starring Rep. Adam Schiff, plus all the side dishes of Antifa / BLM street anarchy, Covid-19 lockdown tyranny, French Laundry hypocrisy, and the gaslighting of America by the news-and-social media, with a transsexual reading hour cherry-on-top?I hope the justices are pissed off a little bit at the hijacking of this country by a party that laughs at the law the way, for one example, DC District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan blew raspberries at the Department of Justice and the DC Circuit Court of Appeals when they both told him to drop the Flynn case.
The deadline for adjudicating the janky election is soon upon us, and upon the SCOTUS justices, so the country will know shortly whether it has become the Honduras of the north. In a just universe, the SCOTUS would invalidate the election results in several states and send the matter into the House of Representatives as the constitution stipulates. Heads would explode from sea to shining sea as heroes of the Resistance — Brennan, Comey, Weissmann, Strzok, and many more — realize they will not be getting their get-out-of-jail-free cards after all. Hunter B would retreat to the Chateau Marmont with his crack pipe for one last lost weekend. Nancy Pelosi would melt into a puddle of rage, prednisone, and hairspray in the capitol rotunda. And for Ol’ White Joe Biden it would be just another day of fog and stillness.
“Dr. Keshavarz-Nia is not a stranger to the mainstream media. In fact The New York Times published a glowing report on Dr. Navid Keshavarz-Nia way back in September writing, “Navid Keshavarz-Nia, those who worked with him said, ‘was always the smartest person in the room.’”
Dr. Navid Keshavarz-Nia, is an experienced cybercrimes investigator and digital security executive, who has worked with the CIA, NSA, FBI, and U.S. military counterintelligence. In addition to his work with U.S. intelligence agencies Dr. Keshavarz-Nia works on cyber security and fraud with financial giants like Deutsche Bank and Stripe. Within the documents filed by Sidney Powell in Georgia Wednesday, Dr. Keshavarz-Nia shares this bombshell assessment in his affidavit. Ms. Powell has some high-powered experts in support of her court filings.
It took her four years to get that right.
Let’s hope this makes it to the Trump Campaign. On October 30, 2020 2016 Green Party Candidate Jill Stein FINALLY won her groundbreaking case that gave her campaign the right to examine voting machine source code in Wisconsin.It took Jill Stein four years to win this court case. After witnessing the historic level of fraud in this year’s election it makes us all question the numbers in past elections. In 2016 Libertarian voters kept Donald Trump from adding New Hampshire, Minnesota and Maine to his electoral haul. Were those actual Libertarian votes in 2016 or were they switched from Trump to Gary Johnson to prevent him from winning those states? Dr. Jill Stein celebrated this win with a string of tweets on October 30th.
The Trump campaign should take notice. Confiscating the voting machines in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Georgia, Arizona and Nevada may be crucial to exposing the fraud in this year’s election.
“Rather than making cuts, the government should be using this opportunity to borrow more in order to finance the country’s recovery.”
When fiscal fundamentalists announce the government has “maxed out its credit card”, they belittle the experience of every poor family that has been forced to live on credit and pay higher interest as they borrow more. The truth is that the government can afford to take on debt. But acknowledging this reality would invalidate the fiscal fundamentalists’ beloved rhetoric of “tough choices”, which you will likely hear over the next few years from those attempting to make austerity palatable again. The fiscal centrists, meanwhile, know that Rishi Sunak has already effectively introduced austerity through a combination of public sector pay freezes, higher council taxes hidden in the small print and cuts to planned non-Covid spending in the future.
Centrists also worry – rightfully so – about where the money is going. When the crisis forced them to spend, the Conservative party gave Covid contracts to their friends and rewarded their voters, all the while pretending that there was no money available to feed children in poverty. While accepting that spending and taxing are political choices, centrists pray to the God of pragmatism. They believe the British public will not listen to politicians who forever throw money at social and economic problems, and that economic credibility is hard to earn and easy to lose. This is why they share the fundamentalists’ view that in the long run “tough choices” must be made.
This “tough choices” narrative – raise taxes or cut spending to reduce the deficit and bring public debt down – is compelling for centrists not because it is correct, but because it chimes with the public’s common sense, which has been shaped by decades of media coverage and political discourse venerating balanced budgets. The fiscal centrists, captive to their audience and unwilling to engage into the Herculean task of changing minds, can only ever promise to cut and tax better or slower than the Conservatives. The government is not a household, and it does not have a credit card that can be maxed out. Fiscal heretics know this, and reject the idea that we face a public debt crisis. There are numerous reasons why this narrative is flawed.
The government, unlike a household, has a central bank that can keep borrowing costs under control. The Bank of England, like other central banks across Europe, has this year bought more than 80% of all debt issued by the British government. It hasn’t done so under political pressure, but because independent central banks have come to accept that large-scale purchases of government bonds are a legitimate and effective monetary policy instrument. And unlike households, governments can rely on the financial sector to buy their debt in times of crisis. Modern financial institutions view government debt as the ultimate risk-free asset, a safe haven to run to when economic shocks hit. For instance, on 26 November, one day after Sunak warned that “the economic emergency has just begun”, investors were prepared to lend for 50 years to the UK government at an interest rate of less than 1%.
These two forces combined – the central bank and the City – explain why interest rates on public debt are at historical lows. Rather than making cuts, the government should be using this opportunity to borrow more in order to finance the country’s recovery.
This is serious.
Millions of Americans are in danger of losing their homes when federal and local limits on evictions expire at the end of the year, a growing body of research shows. A report issued this month from the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) and the University of Arizona estimates that 6.7 million households could be evicted in the coming months. That amounts to 19 million people potentially losing their homes, rivaling the dislocation that foreclosures caused after the subprime housing bust. Apart from being a humanitarian disaster, the crisis threatens to exacerbate the coronavirus pandemic, according to a forthcoming study in the Journal of Urban Health.
“Our concern is we’re going to see a huge increase in evictions after the CDC moratorium is lifted,” said Andrew Aurand, vice president of research at the NLIHC and a co-author of the report. The number of Americans struggling to pay rent has steadily risen since this summer, according to the Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey. In the latest survey, from early November, 11.6 million people indicated they wouldn’t be able to pay the rent or mortgage next month. Meanwhile, some renters who are still paying rent are relying on “unsustainable” income to make ends meet. Among those who report trouble making rent, “More than half are borrowing from family and friends to meet their spending needs, one-third are using credit cards, and one-third are spending down savings,” the NLIHC report found.
No, not political at all…
Australia has responded defiantly to China imposing anti-dumping tariffs on Australian wine, saying the “seriously concerning development” looks to be about diplomatic grievances and not any action by winemakers. China will impose temporary anti-dumping tariffs of 107.1% to 212.1% on wine imported from Australia from Nov. 28, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said on Friday. Australia’s trade minister Simon Birmingham said the tariffs were unjustifiable and it was a distressing time for hundreds of wine producers because it “will render unviable for many businesses, their wine trade with China”. China takes 37 per cent of Australia’s total wine exports, an industry worth AU$2.9 billion, the government said.
Last week China outlined a list of grievances about Australia’s foreign investment, national security and human rights policy, saying Canberra needed to correct its actions to restore the bilateral relationship with its largest trading partner. “China’s recent comments gives the perception that it’s more about their grievances around those matters, rather than in fact around anything any industry has done wrong,” Australia’s agriculture minister David Littleproud told media on Friday. He added, “It just doesn’t worry Australian exporters, it worries exporters from around the world.”
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